Though I’ve always appreciated Jane Austen’s wit, I was surprised to hear Mr. A.M.B. chuckle only moments after he’d opened an e-book version of Persuasion. This is my husband’s third Austen, after Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, both of which he thought were funny and insightful (and who says Jane Austen is only for girls who want a boyfriend?!).* As it turns out, though, his laughter had nothing to do with the text: it stemmed from an amusing citation in the introduction (see the image above). “Another great moment in literary criticism. I suppose I prefer candor to citogenesis,” he explained, knowing that he can’t really expect perfection from a 99 cent e-book.
However, the leftover “citation needed” wasn’t as odd as the fact that the e-book was attributed to only Jane Austen. She definitely didn’t write that intro! To find out who did, we turned to Google.
What we learned is that this exact line (see image above) actually appears on the Internet in a few places, including on Wikipedia (see image below). My guess is that the people behind e-book lifted the entire introduction section from Wikipedia, right down to the amusing “citation needed.” It seems to be just another example of Internet-fueled plagiarism and copyright violations (here’s Wikipedia’s page on whether you can lift their content).**
Amusingly, this e-book version is even described on Amazon as being “unique” because it has an “exclusive Introduction.”
So, Mr. A.M.B. paid 99 cents on Amazon for the Wikipedia page added onto Jane Austen’s out-of-copyright work (which he could’ve otherwise downloaded for free). Inexpensive e-books are great, but consumers have to be careful. It was suspicious that e-book was marketed as “annotated” without clearly listing who annotated it.
It’s easy to get sucked into a scam when it only costs 99 cents.
Have a great weekend!
*For Mr. A.M.B’s thoughts on these two novels, see (1) Jane Austen Isn’t Just for Mothers and Daughters (So Says My Husband); and (2) More Reasons Why Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice Isn’t Just For Girls Who Want a Boyfriend.