Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Approved Forgeries

The only biblio-story making any waves at all today is this one, a Gawker report that a U.S. publisher (thus far unidentified) posted an ad on the LA Craigslist site seeking "ghost-signers" - fourteen people to sign "copies of a newly released book on behalf of the authors. You will need to be able to copy the look and style of both author's [sic] signatures." They'll pay $25 per 200 books signed.

Ian says "It used to be that you could at least count on publisher's signed copies to be legit...oh well." He also notes that the Guardian picked up the story. Richard Davies at Reading Copy adds "That’s a nice, easy life for those two authors - no aching wrists or mindnumbing boredom of signing book after book after book. On the secondhand and rare book market, any book advertised as signed by the author but in fact signed by someone else is basically fraud. I’m sure buyers and booksellers will not be happy about this development."

It's not basically fraud, it is fraud. Or sanctioned forgery, as Michael Lieberman so nicely puts it.

Joyce coins a new term for this "practice": crapple tunnel syndrome. I like it.

Currently the website of the ad agency whose phone number was listed on the posting and the blog of said agency's leader, Nance Rosen, are not functioning. The ad itself is still live, here. The phone number for "details" is (310) 837-0513 - if anybody's reading in the LA area (or not) and wants to give them a call (I just tried, no answer), try to find out what the authors' names are. A prize to the first person who makes the discovery.

[Update: The Exile Bibliophile has some news; he got through to someone: "I just got a very tired young lady on the phone and asked about the position. She said, 'It was a mistake. A big misunderstanding. That project is not going forward.' She said the ad was, or should be, taken down already. I asked which authors it was for, and she said she was not privileged to give out that information. I asked which publisher and got the same answer only more curt." Good sleuthing!]