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18 October, 2010

Does this look like a publishing scam to you?

This refers to this listing, and this one, both on Caferati Listings (free sign-up needed to view).

Via our friend, the novelist Venita Coelho, we learn that things are not quite what they seem at Cedar Books. I'm pasting in a letter Venita forwarded to me, with the name of the writer to whom it was sent removed.

To: _____
Subject: Re: submission
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 2010 11:17:57 -0700
Dear _____,

We are glad to inform you that we are ready to publish your novel provided you agree with our certain terms and conditions.

Following are some of the terms which you will be required to agree before we take things forward. A detailed contract will be send to you once you agree with these terms.

1. Considering the word count, we will keep the price of your book at Rs 175.

2. You have to buy back 300 copies of the book at a discount of 25%.

3. You have to make one time payment either through DD or Cheque along with the signed copy of the agreement which we will send, after you agree with these conditions.

4. An additional Rs 5000 will be charged if we design the cover for you and if you chose to design your own cover then for the final designing part we will be charging Rs 2000.

5. As we promote our books through various digital mediums we charge Rs 3000 for that.

6. And lastly you will get a 4.8 % royalty on the cover price for each book.

Hope you find these terms suitable.

Do acknowledge the receipt of this mail along with your response. Please feel free to mail your queries, if any.



What this means is that to publish this author, Pustak Mahal would charge her/him Rs 39,375 (75% of the cost of 300 copies s/he would be forced to buy) + Rs 2,000 as a design fee even if s/he designed her own cover (Rs 5,000 of she wanted PM to design a cover) + Rs 3,000 for promotions. That's Rs 44,375 (Rs 47,375 if PM did the cover).

I'm not sure of current prices, but it looks like the author would be paying Pustak Mahal / Cedar Books enough to totally cover the cost of printing, with a handsome profit left over. Note that Pustak Mahal / Cedar Books has no obligation to actually print any more than the 300 copies that the author must buy. Even if they did, the author would get a piddly 4.8% royalty on any sales, despite financing the entire operation.

Sounds like rather more than the 'benign scam' of the type of website. There, at least, you can choose to buy only one copy of the book, even if at a high price.

If you know of similar publishers elsewhere, do please tell us about it in the comments.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got this mail too, and was duly advised by all writing friends to stay away.

18 October, 2010 22:31  
Blogger deblina.. style is a dress said...

got this mail today... i think i should ignore and blacklist the sender... the sender in my case was Mitalee Hazarika

24 June, 2011 00:13  
Blogger jack said...

Cedar publishing Edmonton is carrying on in a similar tradition Phoneing People then sending out a bill stating you advertised in one of thier magazines eg crimestoppers who by the way sued them. They just switched geers chose a name like childfind who also sued them. etc.etc. They then start phone harrasment to collect a small bill usually 200.00 dollars more or less the person is mohamed nasmadeen not sure of spelling

27 September, 2011 07:43  
Blogger jack said...

they have a similar scam in edmonton alberta canada mohamad nadjmadeen cedar publishing Phones promeses what ever to put an ad in a magazine, for example Child Find sounds like a worthy cause. If you fall for it they bill you a small amount about 200.00 dollars and hope you pay it. Even if you tell them no they bill you any way and harrass you hoping you will pay. The actual Child Find does exist but they sued cedar publishing. They did the same with Crime Stoppers with the same results they sued. Edmonton Police service they sued etc. etc. Why these people are not in jail I dont know

27 September, 2011 07:50  

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