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Monday, June 9, 2014

A crooked publishing-services company has finally died. Good.

The headline of a previous blog post was: "Christ-centered" Schiel & Denver may be the most dishonest company in the publishing business. Historically I considered PublishAmerica (now America Star Books) to be the worst publishing-services company in the world and Outskirts Press to be the second worst. A while ago I announced good news for Outskirts. I demoted them to third-worst, and "leading international book publishing services company" Schiel & Denver became the new second-worst.

However, the recent, long-overdue and completely justified demise of Shiel & Denver means that Outskirts has reclaimed its sad title. Outskirts is stupid, sloppy and sleazy, but S&D was so pathetically dishonest and incompetent that it overwhelmed Outskirts.
  • Schiel & Denver said, "You can rest assured your book will go on sale at over 160,000+ online and traditional retail stores, in over 100 countries." This is a pile of steaming bullshit. In truth, a Shiel book may be orderable at thousands of stores, but that's not the same thing as "on sale at" with implied on-the-shelf availability along with classics and recent bestsellers. 
  • The company also bullshit about its printing facilities. It said, "The company operates printing and distribution centers in the following locations:  Lavergne, Tennessee; Near Bangor, Maine; Allentown, Pennsylvania." It's 99% likely that the facilities in Tennessee and Pennsylvania belong to Lightning Source, not to Schiel & Denver. I doubt that S&D owns the Maine printing plant. 
  • They also bullshit about freebies. They say, "Your book gets free marketing in our professional trade catalog" and brags about providing "FREE softcover copies on publication." They're free only if you ignore the payment of as much as $20,999 for a publishing package.
  • They also bullshit about providing books through the instant-printing Espresso book machines at "ski resorts." No EBM was at a ski resort.
  • They also bullshit that "Schiel & Denver is at the cutting edge of book technology to ensure our titles will be available via Espresso Book Machines...at thousands of library and bookstore locations across America by December 2010." The correct number of EBMs for 2010 was about 30, not "thousands."
  • They also bullshit about showing customers' books at Book Expo America. 
  • They also bullshit about protecting your book from "literary theft and plagiarism." That's impossible.
  • They also bullshit about a "unique aspect" -- a catalog sent to booksellers. It's hardly unique. Lots of publishers produce book catalogs.
  • They also bullshit that your color book will be "selling at top bookstores in over 100 countries." They can't possibly guarantee that.
  • The company grossly overcharged for some services. For example, they'd grab $249 from you to get a copyright, which you can get yourself for $35! Their fee for a Library of Congress Control Number was $150. You can get one for FREE, in a few minutes!
  • The company said it was a "Christ-Centered Publishing House" and employed "staff who... lead with high ethical and professional standards, embody the character and compassion of Jesus Christ, and who thereby are prepared to impact the world. Our community of Christian book publishing staff seeks to honor and obey Jesus Christ, who is present in Spirit and speaks in Scripture, and to advance God’s purposes in the lives of every member." Also, "...as a company we strive to publish books that impact our Christian culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, and other such causes that preserve and promote high moral and ethical standards." Somehow, I just don't think that lying and overcharging are "high moral and ethical standards." And how does "limited government" preserve those standards?
(left-click on image to enlarge)

  • (above) Schiel & Denver plagiarized a press release distributed by competitor CreateSpace in a silly effort to gain news coverage for Schiel & Denver. Press releases, like all written works, are copyrighted, but they are expected to be copied without permission by members of the media who use them to publicize the company, person, event or topic in the release. Companies that send out press releases do NOT expect the words to be copied by competitors who use those words to try to take business away from them.
  • Schiel & Denver bragged about its "high ethical and professional standards, [that] embody the character and compassion of Jesus Christ." I doubt that Jesus would be compassionate about lying and stealing.
  • The web is filled with complaints from customers of Schiel & Denver. Here's one: " This company stole $450 from my account as overcharge."  
  • And: "The books didn't come a month after the release date of July 23, 2012, and I still hadn't received any response about my book order.  I started sending messages asking where the free copies were and what would be my price for the book order, and no one responded.  Finally after several attempts, I finally received a response for a person identifying themselves as the shipping manager.  He apologized and said that my book was delayed because they had an equipment malfunction that put them on backorder. . . .  my name was misspelled on the side binder.  There were also numerous errors within the text of the book.  I immediately notified them of the error, and I was told that I authorized everything in the proofs.  I informed them that that was not in the proofs and demanded that it gets corrected immediately because I'm a serious writer, but no one that sees that book would take me seriously.  I was then told that the corrections could be made if I pay $800.00 for the text corrections and $800.00 for the cover correction. . . . Do not use Schiel & Denver for you life work because it will end in disappointment.  They'll throw the contract in your face that you have to honor, but they are not honoring anything in it except their payment."
  • The company's website showed the photos pasted-in below. A prospective customer who is impressed by S&D's claims to be Christ-centered and having high ethical standards might logically assume that the photos were taken at S&D facilities. Not so. The photos were either purchased from stock-photo suppliers or copied from other websites. If you can't trust a company to be honest about its printing plants, warehouses and photographs, can you trust it at all? Probably not. It's quite common to use stock photos on websites. But a company that brags about ethics and claims a Christ connection with web pages devoted to a statement of faith and vision and values should be held to a higher standard.


from ShutterStock

from iStockPhoto
from phasev.com/

from XYZhost.com 

The crooks and liars who operated Schiel & Denver deserve to burn in hell.

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