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Author Topic: Publishing with Verlag Dr. Mueller? (VDM)  (Read 374909 times)
verdell
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Posts: 146


« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2008, 3:40:08 PM »

I did it.  I did not give them my personal bank account (left it blank) and I got my 5 free copies today.  The book is on amazon.com, blackwell, amazon.com in the uk, and several other sites with plenty of other VDM books.

I have 2 journal articles from my dissertation and now they have published it as a book.  No one else was going to publish it, so I think it was a good deal.
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onion
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 3,694


« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2008, 3:50:04 PM »

I just got the same solicitation today from the same company.  In my field, almost no one turns the dissertation into a book; instead, we derive journal articles from it, typically two or three.  People do publish books (both peer-reviewed and not), but not from their dissertations.  For CV purposes, peer-reviewed journal articles count for more than non-peer-reviewed books--but if you have the reviewed articles, then the books are a nice addition.

My own first reaction to the email, especially after looking at the website (which doesn't seem to have much to it), was that this has to be some sort of scam.  No one in his or her right mind would publish my dissertation.  And, as sandgrounder asked, how does this company make its money?  Etc.  But the solicitation sent to me was cc:ed to my advisor, who promptly sent me an email saying what a "rare honor" this was and promising to let the entire faculty of my alma mater know of my great achievement.  Does he know something I don't?  Or is he even more clueless than I am?

I'd be grateful for any additional information anyone can provide, beyond what has already been posted here.  Thanks!

I got solicited from VDM last week, and the email was also sent to my advisor.  I'm a historian and need a book for tenure.  I already have a contract with a University press, so I politely said no to the VDM editor, never having heard of them before.

My advisor forwarded her copy of the email to me, and said "don't say yes to this offer."  I conclude that this would mean that, in my field, my university, and my country, this is not a publication that would do me any favors.

My two cents.
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verdell
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Posts: 146


« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2008, 3:56:36 PM »

If you are in a discipline that expects you to publish your dissertation as a book, then don't do this because no one in the US will know them.

If you are in a discipline in which publishing your dissertation is rare (like mine), then do it because you will never impress your parents more than by giving them a book you wrote.  I could be published in premier academic journals, but they will always think the book is my big achievement.  Your parents will keep (a signed copy of course) on the coffee table.  It can't hurt your career and at worst, people will disregard it, but your CV will be a few lines longer.
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captain_obvious
Senior member
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Posts: 409


« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2008, 5:19:35 PM »

...aggressively German ...

These words scare me!  Run OP, run!


Notaprof, this is a manipulated quotation.  The original said "aggressively advertising German companies...."  Hardly the same.  Besides, what would it mean for them to be "aggressively German"?  Are you suggesting that they're like Nazis?  That's pretty ridiculous.
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normative_
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Posts: 10,828

Check, please.


« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2008, 4:52:18 AM »

...aggressively German ...

These words scare me!  Run OP, run!


Notaprof, this is a manipulated quotation.  The original said "aggressively advertising German companies...."  Hardly the same.  Besides, what would it mean for them to be "aggressively German"?  Are you suggesting that they're like Nazis?  That's pretty ridiculous.

Oh, now calm down, everyone.

Have a cuppa.
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Normative, that was superb.
sachmo
New member
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Posts: 1


« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2008, 7:52:37 PM »

Hello, I was also solicited a week ago - my PhD thesis is in mathematics but I no longer work in academia and probably won't for a while (if ever). I hardly ever hear of mathematics PhDs being turned into books.

VDM wrote to me saying that they thought they'd be a market for my thesis which surprised me!

I'm thinking that it can't do me any harm in having them publish it.
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juanina
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Posts: 1


« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2008, 2:40:05 PM »

I got the same offer last week. My field is Law and Business and I didn't think about publishing my master thesis until they asked me for. I am willing to do it, since they will do everything for me.
Did anyone send bank account number? I am still thinking about it.
ciao!
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djoe2
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Posts: 3


« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2008, 11:55:14 PM »

I've just been approached in much the same way as others here. The best "Book Review" I've found on the process is here:
http://rlstorment.blogspot.com/

It seems that this is a company that operates as a Print on Demand service. They print 5 copies for you, then wait till anyone orders a copy before they print anything (if at all) else.

There's also a thread at ask.metafilter here: http://ask.metafilter.com/67149/What-kind-of-unsolicited-publishing-query-is-this
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canadianbacon
New member
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Posts: 15


« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2008, 10:12:00 AM »

The funny thing is they quote my advisor in the email (and got my email address from hu) and they also know the title of the my dissertation as they reference it. So there are researchers for the company working on this.

I am wondering what is in it for them to spend all that time looking for me.
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onion
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 3,694


« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2008, 10:15:46 AM »

The funny thing is they quote my advisor in the email (and got my email address from hu) and they also know the title of the my dissertation as they reference it. So there are researchers for the company working on this.

I am wondering what is in it for them to spend all that time looking for me.

The same thing happened to me, but my advisor told me that all of her advisees in my cohort were contacted.  Apparently, they went to the library or department website, where all of our dissertations and relevant info are listed, and contacted everyone.  I guess it's like a fishing expedition?  Someone is bound to bite.
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infopri
I guess I'm now a VERY
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Posts: 23,568

When all else fails, let us agree to disagree.


« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2008, 11:25:16 AM »

Yup, it's not hard to get a list of completed dissertations.  Heck, you can have UMI notify you automatically whenever new dissertations or theses get added to their database.

I found out that the reason my advisor got so excited at my invitation to be published was that he had confused VDM with Springer-Verlag.  When he learned what VDM actually is, he got a lot less excited.  I also consulted two other faculty, who seemed pretty unimpressed.  But one thought it was a scam, so I'm guessing he's never heard of VDM, either.

On the other hand, I heard from a former classmate from my doctoral days, and she said a friend of hers had published with VDM and was happy.  From the email from my friend, about her friend: 

"Once they evaluate your dissertation and accept to publish, it is just like any publisher. No charge for the author, 80% of the content can still be published somewhere else (i.e. journals), 13% of the sales to the author."

I suspect that there's a typo, and it's actually 3 percent of sales, rather than 13 percent.  I seem to recall seeing that number (3, not 13) somewhere else.  I should mention that the friend who sent the email was also contacted by VDM and plans to publish with them.

I'm still not sure I see a downside, but at the same time the upside seems pretty limited.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2008, 11:26:03 AM by infopri » Logged

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djoe2
New member
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Posts: 3


« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2008, 8:22:10 PM »

I've just received an email back from VDM, after asking for more information. The royalties, (according to the pdf they sent me) are:

Quote
VDM pays a royalty fee of 12% of the publisher’s proceeds for a print book and 40% of
the publisher’s proceeds for an e-book.

I talked to a German friend last night and he's going to get in touch with a literary agent he knows in Germany. I'll post anything I learn here. In the meantime, I can email the info PDF to anyone interested. Just give me an address to send it to.
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djoe2
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Posts: 3


« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2008, 7:42:56 PM »

I've spoken to my German friend and he feels that it's a reputable company - he says go for it (with the reservations noted earlier in this thread regarding how your own field of research operates and what it expects in terms of output.)

Cheers
Damen
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cranefly
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 2,260


« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2008, 9:09:06 AM »

I just got a book from Amazon that happens to be from VDM. It's awful. It needs not only some serious peer review, but a spell check!
If they can't bother to at least copy edit the work they publish, it can't be reputable.
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Oh yeah--Professor Sparkle Pony. "Follow your dreams, young genius, and you will meet with success!" Students eat that up.
etnomusicologo
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Posts: 1


« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2008, 10:38:08 AM »

I published my MA thesis with VDM.  There is nothing really negative about it to report, but I haven't been with them long enough to know how royalties will pan out (not that they would amount to much anyway).  They don't charge anything and provided me with 5 free copies, though I was contacted by another potential VDM author saying they now only offer 3 free copies.  So, yes, they're probably hoping the author will order some.  However, the nice thing about this is that it allows you to reach people who might not otherwise hear about your work and allow them to order it with the ISBN.

The quality of the books themselves is nothing to get excited about.  Actually, it seems like VDM essentially licenses the PDF files to be printed just about anywhere.  Amazon, for example, seems to print their own (and thus the paper and cover material were slightly different from what the publisher sent to me).

I've had a couple libraries order the book.  However, by the time VDM approached me, I had already sold over 50 copies of my thesis that I had printed up at the local copy shop.  That, and the expense of their books (mine is $75 on Amazon), doesn't bode well for sales.  They also probably don't do any real marketing or advertising, despite claims to the contrary.

One way to get the word out and make extra money off of this is to become an Amazon associate and then direct people who are going to buy the book to do so by entering Amazon through your own website.  I've made a few dollars this way (though I really mean just a few):

http://www.nolanwarden.com/info.html

So, for me this worked out fine.  They are generous about allowing material to be reproduced for journals, edited works, etc.  If you work in a very obscure field or otherwise don't anticipate being able to interest any traditional publishers, this would be an acceptable alternative, though not exactly a prestigious one.

Hope this helps.

-Nolan

p.s. In response to another post, yes, the editing is a problem.  I even wondered if they read the whole thing!  They are counting on the fact that these are dissertations and theses that have already been edited/proofed by the universities in some way.  Essentially you just send them a PDF of your thesis/dissertation and it becomes a book... not much to it.
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