Sunday, May 01, 2005


Not Mitch-Albom-Fake, But Still Pretty Fake

Now that they're finished counting the money made from Harry Potter and Leopard Walk Up To Dragon, the LA Times finds that Chinese publishers are issuing idiotic fake translations of nonfiction:

The five-volume "Executive Ability" book series is a classic in Chinese business and management circles. Collectively, it has sold more than 2 million copies in the last two years. Top universities and public libraries in China keep multiple copies on hand.

It's also a big fake.

The series purports to be a translation of English-language works, but no such titles exist. The principal author — a Paul Thomas, said to be an eminent Harvard University business professor — is not real.... [In fake books] "There are [bogus] recommendations from Bill Gates, New York Times or even Einstein, which is really ridiculous," said Jiang Ruxiang, general manager of Beijing Zion Consulting Co., which has been trying to expose the problem ever since Jiang found out that his own articles were copied into someone else's book. He and his staff of six recently inspected about 1,000 different management books. A third were deceiving readers, Jiang said.

The funny-fake story is a perennial media item from China, of course, but they haven't been unknown in the English-speaking world. I've come across in the British Library a fake 1794 jokebook, Tom Paine's Jests -- not written by Tom Paine, in case you were wondering. And I've come across complaints in the past that entire 19th century triple-decker novels were being hawked as "by Sir Walter Scott," when they were nothing of the sort.

Well, perhaps they were simply written by two guys named Walt and Scott.

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