I took the third choice, gave them an abstract, and posted my dissertation on SSRN.2 This move was a triple win, as it gave readers access for free, allowed me to format it (two colums, double sided) as I wanted, and gave me many more readers (1,600+ downloads so far!)
A few months later, I got a letter from VDM Verlag (now Akademiker Verlag3), a German firm that offered to publish my dissertation at no cost to me (they even sent me two copies). What's to lose, I wondered? Maybe I could even make some of that phat royalty money off their €63 price? I sent them the PDF, got two (print on demand) copies of my "book," and forgot about it.
Yesterday, I got an annual royalty statement, which revealed an even funnier pattern of rip offs.
If my book sells, I get €3.81 (6%) of the cover price, but that's not how it works.
- In 2009, one copy sold. The royalty was lower than the monthly minimum of €10, so no payment.
- In 2010, no copies sold, but my 2009 royalty disappeared... "as described in the publishing agreement."
- In 2011, one copy sold, but the royalty was kept as before.
- In 2012, the monthly minimum was reduced to €0.01 but no sales.
- In 2013, one copy sold! But my royalty came as a voucher for VDM books. Great.
Bottom Line: The academic world has scams just like everywhere else.
- Those are current prices. I think they were higher back in 2008.
- Conflict and Cooperation within an Organization: A Case Study of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California should be required reading for anyone interested in California water development, subsidies to sprawl, and political fighting over water and money, but that's perhaps a based opinion ;)
- Their website, curiously, is only in German, but author logins are in English. I think they are hiding from English speakers who may want to know more about this scummy company.