More on republished classics

I discussed previously my shock at discovering that some enterprising persons were taking out-of-copyright classics and turning them into new publications on Amazon. The example I discussed was a Jack London book, but now I have found any number of classic cookbooks which are appearing on Amazon for sale, in facsimile editions without any mention of who is in fact selling these books. Some are pretty good – the facsimile of American Cookery, 1796, which seems to be a Dover book reprinted from a facsimile published by Oxford University Press in 1958 looks at least legible. But recently I paid for a print copy of The English and Australian Cookery Book and when it arrived it was indeed a perfect facsimile but so small it was almost impossible to read at all. Someone – but who? – is making money from these books and there is nobody to complain to about the fact that some at least are virtually useless.

One would think Amazon, who is distributing most of them, should take responsibility for the quality of the books they sell. If it is a hapless indie author who has made some mistakes about which readers complain his account is likely to be suspended. What happens to these legal pirates?

Page 53, “Puddings and Pies”, from The English and Australian Cookbook, 1864, anonymous facsimile edition.