My stint with vanity publishing

A while back I was contacted by a publishing group calling themselves “Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP)”, expressing an interest in “publishing my thesis”. A short exchange of emails made it clear that the woman who sent the email had no idea what my thesis was about, what sort of thesis we were talking about, or actually whether I had a thesis she could publish at all.

I realized, as I had suspected all along, that this was a standardized email sent an mass to people employed at universities and colleges around the world. The company presented its business-idea as making all sorts of academic work that normally only collect dust on local campus libraries available online as print-on-demand. Basically, I think this sounds as a good idea, but I did not like the way the company tried to present itself as a genuine academic publishing house. This kind of subtle falsehood is, in my view not compatible with academic values. In addition, publishing with them would mean giving them rights to my work.

However, I thought the idea of making old academic works available for a larger audience sounded good. If only there was a way I could do this without the pretence and dishonesty, and without giving away the rights to my own work.

I then suddenly remembered having read the blog of a freelance journalist who had used the online service Lulu, which allows you to do just this, to publish his book. I therefore decided to do the same with my old cand.scient-thesis about neutrino-emitting processes in neutron stars.

And: Presto - you can now buy it at an affordable price, directly on Lulu, or on Amazon (or Amazon UK). I have only rounded the sum up from the price Lulu demands, so don’t buy it thinking I’ll benefit financially from it (I have a steady day-job, and really don’t need the money anyhow).

Selling an e-book however was a bit more tricky - they only support the epub format, and I have as yet not had the time to figure out how to convert a lateX-file with different special add ons into epub.

But do not despair. As an active file-sharer, I have made a pdf available on this wonderful book-sharing site for free download for all. Good reading!

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