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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

If their website is this ugly, would you trust them to publish a book?


Virtualbookworm is a pay-to-publish company. Allegedly they have some standards for accepting books and are not a vanity press.

In addition to their website designer's extremely ugly and inappropriate justified type (shown above, from their homepage), their copywriter could not decide between "Print-on-Demand" and "print on demand." The designer hid the last "demand" by placing white type on a white background.

Other pages have bad writing, bad typography, factual errors, bad grammar, an empty "news" section, and a non-functioning link to the company's blog.

The site is also misleading. Alluding to competitors, it asks, "Does the company have an online bookstore for customers to purchase your book directly (which means higher revenues for you) or do they force you to rely on Amazon and other middlemen?"

Amazon sells MUCH more than any vanity press's website, and this particular publisher is nearly invisible in the publishing business.

And the company lies, claiming that a Library of Congress Control Number is worth $75. Actually, anyone can get one free with about five minutes' work.

Claiming to provide "self publishing" is also a lie. If this company publishes your book, you are not self-publishing. Just as no one else can take a bath for you or eat lunch for you, no one can self-publish for you. Only you can self-publish for you.

The company offer a "Professional Editing Package," but the one book they published that I bought has a terrible error, claiming that Amazon owns POD printer Lightning Source.

And...WOWEE! If you use Virtualbookworm, you'll get a "FREE BOOK." (However, since you'll pay as much as $2,100 first, it's not really free.)

The site says: "We won't print garbage."

I admit that a website is not necessarily printed, but Virtualbookworm did display this garbage sentence: "Virtualbookworm.com is one of the most established POD publishers in the industry." "Most established" is very stinky garbage.

The company brags about being NUMBER ONE on BooksAndTales, but that site is not exactly an influential endorser, and the ranking is from 2005.

They also claim to be ranked #4 by TopTenReviews. Apparently the bookworm has crawled down hill, because in the 2009 rankings Virtualbookworm has dropped to #5.

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