After Christian Formatter ‘Modified’ an Atheist’s Book, a Happy Ending

Last week, I posted about Joseph Herrera, the author of a book called God Doesn’t Exist: And Yes, I Can Prove It. It seemed like the Christian formatter for his book had stuck an anti-atheist message in one of the bookmarks and added in his own links in the appendix.

I’m happy to say there are some positive updates to this story.

First, the book is finally available on Amazon.

Next, the formatter, Jacob Drake, has been dropped from Smashwords’ “recommended” list. Drake also refunded Herrera’s fees — which was not an admission of guilt, Drake explained, but just a quick way to resolve this unfortunate situation.

Finally, Smashwords’ founder Mark Coker went through the files and emails from both guys and ran his own investigation into the matter, eventually siding entirely with Herrera. In an email to him, Coker wrote:


Thank you for sending me the files. I’ve completed my investigation, and have had several emails with Jake.

He steadfastly denies altering the files whatsoever. Yet based on my inspection of the files from each of you, I find his protestations implausible. Furthermore, I find it implausible and impossible that you could have doctored your own files — as he speculates — to build a fictitious case against him. I came to this conclusion based on the versioning properties of the documents I inspected.

I’m going to drop him from my list. It pains me to do so because he’s provided great service to many of our authors. On the other hand, I refuse to work with service providers who are dishonest to our authors. Our relationship with our authors is paramount, and I trust this unfortunate incident does not sour you to Smashwords or the many fine professionals that remain on the list.

best wishes,

That’s excellent customer service right there, so kudos to Coker for tackling this problem himself instead of pawning it off to someone else.

Herrera appreciates all the support he received from readers of this site. Now, his focus can go back to where it should’ve been all along: promoting his book.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Tainda

    And another “persecuted christian” falls. I love how the guy said Joseph doctored his own files and is basically just out to get him lol

  • Drew M.

    The “righteous lie” is a cornerstone of the Christian faith.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Yay, it worked out well. There must be a God.

  • Layla13

    I love happy endings. *sigh*

  • LesterBallard

    Fucking lying for Jesus Christians.

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    Jake wouldn’t change the book material that would be dishonest and Jake is a Christian and would never be dishonest. The real solution is so simple. God made it appear like Jake had changed the material so he would lose his job. Now God waits to see if Jake will still trust him. Most likely it is a bet between God and Satan. There is a common well known method of God entertaining himself. God also plays this game with fossils and evolution to see if Christians will fall for it or continue to trust the creation story.

  • JWH

    I can understand why everybody would want to do a monetary settlement and go home … but part of me would have really liked to see Drake answering questions in court.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    “Lying for Jesus”™

  • jdm8

    It’s really annoying when people make excuses when they’re caught red-handed. Better people would at least own up to their deeds, even better people would do a better job of not falling for the temptation.

  • Richard Wade

    I find it implausible and impossible that you could have doctored your own files — as he speculates — to build a fictitious case against him.

    Jake Drake, winner of the Lamest Excuse of the Year Award. So let’s look at his “speculation”: A writer who doesn’t understand formatting well enough to do it himself picks a formatter from a list that tells him nothing about that person’s private life, but the writer somehow finds out through nefarious means that the formatter is a Christian. The writer then uses formatting skills that he has inexplicably acquired to fake vandalism on his own manuscript to discredit the hapless Christian formatter. Yeah.

    Uh, Jake, there’s something you seriously need to know: You’re not important enough for anyone to go to any trouble at all to persecute you. If you’ve had trouble with nobody giving a crap about you, you just made it a lot worse.

  • LesterBallard

    With his hand on the Bible, swearing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  • Mario Strada

    I can actually somewhat respect someone saying “yes I did it. So?” At least I know who I am dealing with. But by his own action it is now clear that this guy is a weasel.

  • Jeff

    Hey, aside from the doing the “unauthorized” formatting and then lying about it, I give credit to Mark Coker and Smashwords. I don’t care if they serve coffee or create supercomputers. That is great customer service, and great customer services need to be recognized.

  • Smiles

    Funny how you don’t see Joe Klein inserting his own feelings into…er, never-mind.

  • more compost

    I remember seeing several posts, tweets, whatever, blaming this on Mark Coker and Smashwords. I really hope that all those people will see this and realize that they were blaming the wrong person and wrong organization.

  • Atom Jack

    Aww, don’t defame weasels, they have a purpose in life. :)

    It’s good to see someone who screwed up for jesus getting their comeuppance.

  • ufo42

    Lying for Jesus is a time-dishonored tradition among the faithful. I guess they figure that since it has been done since the inception of religion, it must be ok with God. :)

  • skinnercitycyclist

    Yes, that does sound like a job for god.

  • TeeDee

    I applaud the extra lengths that Mark Coker went to in this despicable situation. And I’m happy things got resolved, and Mr. Herrera’s book finally got published.

  • Bdole

    Hope springs eternal, eh?

  • GubbaBumpkin

    It is backed like a weasel.

  • Bear Millotts

    Professionalism or religion.

    Guess we know what Jake chose.

    Couple that with lying or honesty.

    Jake chose poorly again.

    And religion makes people better?!?!?!?!

  • EvolutionKills

    It sounds like God needs a new hobby, like masturbation…