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Jul 17, 2006: Letting the cat out of the wrong bag

Rich Wiggins, my co-author, just blogged about his extreme displeasure with a certain publisher that has mistakenly announced to the world that it has published and is now selling our book. You know, the book that we haven't exactly, umm, written yet. And that'll be published by a different company.

Screw-ups happen, and I can look forward to many in my own career as a publisher. I do believe O'Reilly is sincere in trying to fix the problem. And yet...

And yet it's just another data point, along with the errors found in our credit reports and medical records, that demonstrates the fragility of reality in a world of decentralized information. This mistake is intractable because it has propagated itself widely—globally, in fact—and will likely continue to do so. It may cause marketplace confusion that could damage sales of the book—and the fledgling publisher behind it.

So my hope is to spread the word that Rosenfeld Media is indeed the one and only publisher of our forthcoming search analytics book. If it's a book you're looking forward to, please bookmark the site or grab its RSS feed. And if O'Reilly has already signed some other authors named Wiggins and Rosenfeld to write a book on search analytics, then guys: my sincere apologies.

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Comment: Myra Klarman (Jul 17, 2006)

A big concern many of us have about new ventures (even established ones thanks to rampant phishing) is legitimacy -- are you who you say you are, and is it safe to do business with you?

This kind of "error" creates confusion that borders on identity theft. In essence, they are claiming your book is theirs. Rosenfeld Media is a new venture, they're an established one. Who's to be believed?

I sincerely hope O'Reilly will publicly admit this error, and take effective steps to bolster the veracity and reputation of Rosenfeld Media. Otherwise, shame on them!

Comment: Victor (Jul 17, 2006)

Perhaps this is an opportunity rather than a problem, e.g. to negotiate a world-wide distribution deal and capitalize on pre-ordering.

Comment: Michael Biven (Jul 17, 2006)


You might be interested in http://claimid.com, http://microid.org/ and some of the other identity services.

Comment: Prentiss Riddle (Jul 17, 2006)

What I want to know is, how can I get O'Reilly and Amazon to sell *my* book that I haven't written yet? Sweet! :-)

Comment: John Weise (Jul 24, 2006)

Wiggins mentioned that O'Reilly says a retraction is difficult, but I'd be curious to know what Onix has to say about it. Have they really never had to deal with this before?

It is not uncommon for a title to be represented multiple times in Amazon, etc. when a book is simultaneously published, or even just for different bindings, or editions. Maybe Rosenfeld Media should start with the second edition! Hmmm.

Maybe O'Reilly's blunder will turn out to be a great publicity "stunt". Maybe the extensive exposure for the title and the authors will actually promote sales of the Rosenfield Media book in a favorable way.

I declare the glass half full (at least)!

Comment: Lou Rosenfeld (Jul 25, 2006)

Based on a recent call with some senior O'Reilly people (who got back to me right away), I'm hopeful that we'll rectify the problem soon and make lemonade out of these lemons...

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