Thursday, 20 January 2011

Caustic Kindle Critic

The huge number of people doing quickie formats of public domain texts for the Kindle e-reader, and then charging for them, surprises me--can't you download the originals from Project Gutenberg free? Or are they just hoping to make money from the clueless? In any case, a look at some of the offerings offers plenty of "cover" design amusement.

One anonymous person is selling a couple of D. H. Lawrence novels for the Kindle, pitching them as orgies of pornography. I especially like the sensitive type treatment, as well as the masterful image choice and wrong title on the first of the two.



They're almost Tutis-worthy.

A different approach to Lawrence is apparent in this title by an outfit called SmartBookWorms...


..that approach being the theft of an image especially commissioned by Penguin Classics in the UK for their own collection of Lawrence's Italian writings. It's an oil painting, 'Helen', by Aaron Robinson.


SmartBookWorms have done this with a number of their titles, such as this rip-off of Hesperus's edition of The Scarlet Plague...




..and these outdated movie/TV tie-ins that I somehow suspect were never licensed.




There's also an ebook company called Big-K, with their own approach to other publishers' works. See their oddly familiar edition of Fitzgerad's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.



Lucky they changed those white stripes at the top and bottom to brown, and cut out the Penguin logo, otherwise someone might have noticed. Big-K also do this version of War of the Worlds that uses a screen-capture from the Spielberg movie's spin-off mobile phone video game as its cover...



..and this unexpected interpretation of Tolstoy's War and Peace.



Another unknown publisher thinks that Proust's madeleines were not colourful enough a baked good to launch such a big book...



..while another tries wet-T-shirting-up Shakespeare.


Finally, and getting (a long, long) way from the classics, it's nice to know that no matter how specific and peculiar your tastes, there's a Kindle ebook to suit you.





(With many thanks to ILX's Stevie T, who first spotted Woman in Love and the unexpected Proust cakes)

19 comments:

downtown guy said...

I got to the end and had to bust out laughing.

The above fore-mentioned. said...

They are just awful, what is so "smart" about those book worms? They have bad taste and a limited understanding of copyright. The worst for me was the Proust cover, what a garish mess. But thanks for sharing!

Amy L. Campbell said...

Woooow, the things people (try to) get away this.

They couldn't come up with a better title for that last one? I mean...it's just begging for all sorts of jokes.

The Undead Wood
The Amorous Corpse in the Copse

Help me out here guys.

Brian Busby said...

The eyes do hurt. Copyright violators aside, the most offensive eBook covers I've yet come across belong to EbooksLib. Once seen, their image for Grant Allen's Recalled to Life cannot be forgotten.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

gothiclg said...

Honestly this is sad. I could think of plenty of other ways to make easy money. Maybe something like making basil into an herbal vitamin and claiming it will cure Alzheimer's. Sure it would wear out after awhile but it would make money. What I think really scares me is that people will believe its the actual work of the author and download it to their kindles anyway.

Martin H. said...

Hilarious!

Chasch said...

Shocking and very funny! My favorite remains the "Woman" in Love cover. Are those beads or cherries in the bed?

Matthew Adams said...

A Midsummer Night's Wet Dream woohoo... TITania spanks Bottom!

I think Undead Wood is a great title Amy, and The Amorous Corpse in the Copse is very Edward Goreyish, but the original title Billy Does a Vampire in a Tree is just so wonderfully stupid that one could not change it, it is probably the only worthwhile thing about the book.

Tulkinghorn said...

The author of "Billy", one Ura Sar, is a fellow blogger (http://internetdog.org/urasar/) who describes the story this way:

The story starts with Michelle, an attack dog of the right-wing pundit circle, being interviewed, on television, by Goldbach–a manipulative, misanthropic, half witted, rabble-rouser with an ability to rile up plebeians not seen since black-and-white, grainy footages of military mad men on balconies. His sexual fantasies reflect the same personality.....

It's satire!

Tulkinghorn said...

Apologies to all.... I did not read the story description carefully enough (although reading it at all was probably too much time spent in the only life I will ever have). It is the blurb for the sequel to "Billy", called "Billy does a Right-Wing Pundit", available on your Kindle in UNDER A MINUTE! (emphasis in the original) "Billy...Tree" opens as follows:

“You sure this is safe?” In mid-sentence, he wonders whether he should have skipped this question in favour of coming across more manly.

“Trust me!” she says, not minding at all that she is playing the lead in this, as she had all morning, as she had according to plan. “Trees like it when you get off on them. It’s like the cycle of life…and birth and all that. When you do it in the middle of the woods, it’s just more natural.”

“So can’t we just go in a hay loft or something?”

“When you see a hay loft, let me know! Just when was it the last time you ran into one, eh?”

“Well I can’t say I’ve often run into an old-growth redwood, either. Let alone for having sex on.”

“You just hadn’t heard of it. And this isn’t a redwood, anyway!”

JRSM said...

Tulkinghorn, I thank you for your selfless research duties. You're a stronger man than me!

Lucy Fishwife said...

I REALLY want a copy of Billy Does A Vampire In A Tree. Is there a series of them? Billy Makes Out With A Werewolf In This Really Cool Sauna?

HENRY FRY said...

How have I missed 'Billy does a vampire...'?? This could rise to Classic status in one of those ironic '100 best of the worst titles of all time' lists. It would certainly get my vote.

Raquel said...

Swann's Way...

Oh... my... Gad!

Craig D. said...

This may be the funniest ebook cover I've ever seen:

http://tinyurl.com/3oomzed

"Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!"

JRSM said...

Ha! That's great. And see ther newest post for 2 more by the same folk.

Anonymous said...

They're like penny dreadfuls...but more dreadful.

Anonymous said...

The image used on The Rainbow is a production photo from the Metropolitan Opera's 2007 production of Gounod's Romeo et Juliette starring Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna. I'm sure that was never licensed!

JRSM said...

Wow, nicely spotted. Yes, I'd say that was a safe bet!