Last week I ordered Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons, from barnesandnoble.com. The edition I purchased came from Wilder Publications. I didn’t do any due diligence, in part because this is Barnes & Noble, right? I should have known better, since barnesandnoble.com is a related company but is not the bookstore chain.
The edition arrived, a 50- or so page booklet that was a crude summary of a classic novel. It was chopped up and bowdlerized and had entire chapters and scenes cut from it.
The gall of a company to take someone else’s novel, put it out under their copyright (the copyright page says only Wilder Publications, 2011, and nothing about the original publisher), and then do their best to ensure that the book pops to the top of search results on an online bookseller site. This is beyond contempt. It is disrespectful and wrong, and trades on the good name of a beloved author.
How dare they?! Who the hell do they think they are? Why would a company do such a thing?
After receiving this travesty, I sent it back to barnesandnoble.com for a refund. I will also write to Wilder and express my displeasure, that is if I can find an address. The book had a P.O. Box but who knows it that is even valid.
I did a little research after the fact, and Wilder comes up a lot for putting a warning label on its books containing the Constitution of the US, the Declaration of Independence, and other historical documents. What? Why? And what does such a warning serve? What is Wilder’s point and what is it trying to do?
The whole idea of the company is baffling to me.
Again, Wilder should be ashamed to be doing business like this. I wrote to barnesandnoble.com and told them they should take the book off their search results. I’ll put up a review and a warning to other readers (I should have checked because indeed, there was already a disgruntled review). I hope this post helps warn others away from Wilder. It appears that part of its business model is to take out of copyright classics and redact them into these weird booklets. If so, spread the word so people don’t lose any money to them.
Edit: Interesting to note that on barnesandnoble.com, the reviews for all editions come up for the book. So this edition looks like a winner, what with all the reviews praising the novel. On amazon.com, one can leave a review for that specific edition, which I did.
I hate getting duped and I hope this prevents someone else from falling into the same trap.