Betascript Publishing

Betascript Publishing June 9, 2014

Sometimes when I’m on eBay, I’ll type in a word related to my research interests, to see what’s there. When I typed in “Mandaean” today, I saw a book that I had never seen before, on the Mandaic Language, selling for $68.93, published by Betascript Publishing.

A quick glance at the cover had this self-contradictory notice: “High quality content by Wikipedia articles.”

I Googled the publisher and quickly deduced that it is a company that offers print-on-demand books which reproduce Wikipedia content. They have apparently been the focus of a lawsuit.

Had readers of this blog heard about this before? If not, please be warned about this scam! There is no reason anyone in their right mind should pay to have Wikipedia’s free content printed between covers.

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  • Steve Caruso

    Welcome to the bane of librarians everywhere. Their business model is a disease and “Betascript” is only one of about a hundred names they go under.

  • I’ve known about this since at least 2010-11, and probably earlier. The opening kind of gives it away. This publishing model is a clear inevitability in any universe that allows massive CC-BY-licensed frequently updated websites to exist. My question is how can they afford to stay in business? Also, while the notice is not necessarily “self-contradictory”, it is rather pathetic.

    • Sean Garrigan

      No, it’s contradictory. They don’t call it Wiki-stupidia for nothing.

  • I’ve seen a number of “books” that are based on reprints of wikipedia articles.
    Probably not worth buying — since you can access Wikepedia for free!

  • Rai

    Thanks so much, don’t know why I chose to read what you wrote instead of anything else, but you just saved me some cash. These folks are selling this knockoff for a crazy amount of money. I had no idea?