Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Academic Vanity Presses?

For approximately 5,947 reasons (only one of which involves a wealthy Nigerian prince with banking difficulties), I'm not going to reply to this email. Chief among those very many reasons are 1) my dissertation raises some interesting ideas but needs a lot of revision before it's a useful, trenchant, insightful and mature work of scholarship, and 2) it's much better to publish with a university press. But has anyone heard of the sort of thing that's proposed in this email I just received? Or heard of this publishing house or read anything they've published? Is it just some kind of glorified UMI/Proquest?


Dear Sarah Pearce,

I have been informed through the Cornell University's repository, of the paper you submitted in 2011 for your postgraduate degree, entitled "'No achievement but through Arabic': The Ibero-Almohad education of Samuel ibn Tibbon".

LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing is a member of an international group specializing since 2002 in the publication of dissertations and  high-quality theses from respected institutions worldwide.
We would be glad to know whether you would be keen on publishing the above mentioned work with us.
Upon a successful evaluation of your work,  we would make it available in printed form and market it globally through our distributors at no cost to you.

Please let know if you would be interested in receiving a detailed brochure.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Hannah Olsen
Acquisition Editor

LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG
Heinrich-Böcking-Str. 6-8
66121, Saarbrücken, Germany

Fon +49 681 3720-310
Fax +49 681 3720-3109 /

Handelsregister Amtsgericht Saarbrücken HRA 10752
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Managing directors: Thorsten Ohm (CEO), Dr. Wolfgang Philipp Müller, Esther von Krosigk


  1. Yeah, it's a scam. Or not exactly a scam, but it has no scholarship value whatsoever. You can do a google search on it, and you'll see what people are saying. I think it's probably worth if you got a PhD in Engineering (or a discipline where you do not publish book), and want a copy of your dissertation that looks like a book so you can give it to your mother (or similar relative) who doesn't know much about academia and s/he can feel proud of your achievements (My son/daughter published a book!!!!) I think I received something similar after graduating.

  2. Cool. Er, well, not cool, but thanks for confirming my suspicions. I'm not sure why this kind of service needs to exist independently, though, since I had the option of getting bound copies of my diss through the university printing office when I filed; and in fact, I was required to purchase one for the uni library as part of my filing fees.

  3. I got a similar offer once (from a different publishing house, though.) I was told by my mentor that publishing with this kind of a vanity press practically demolishes one's hopes for tenure. It's better to have no book than a book with this kind of a press. Of course, there are people who received their tenure a long time ago and haven't been able to publish a book in their life who accept such offers just to boost their vanity. :-)