They Never Learn

The Martinsville Reporter-Times reports that the FBI and the U.S. Postmaster have launched a joint investigation into the business practices of Airleaf Publishing/Bookman Publishing, a notorious vanity press scam that went bankrupt last year. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of a national crackdown on the deceptive practices of the vanity press industry.

But its hard to feel any sympathy for the Airleaf victims. Any reasonably intelligent person could have seen that Airleaf (and its previous incarnation Bookman Publishing) was a sham.  Even if the aspiring authors were too blind with desperation and naivete to see the scam for themselves, a simple Google search would have turned up plenty of resources (including my blog and others) that talked about the company’s many deceptive practices and false promises.

They made a dumb, costly, and humiliating mistake.

So you’d think that now the Airleaf victims would know better than to ever get involved with a POD vanity press again.

Well, you’d be wrong.

Incredibly, many of them are once again writing checks to vanity presses, including Bonnie Kaye, who founded the Airleaf victims blog and whose relentless efforts are largely responsible for Airleaf’s fall and the subsequent federal investigation.

She’s now a customer of CCB Publishing, a print-on-demand vanity press that she calls her "new publisher."  CCB’s former Airleaf clients include John Krismer, who has written a book that reveals this:

Few realize a New World Order plans to replace our constitution with a
Single World Government, nor that our Federal Reserve Bank is privately
owned and is not subject to oversight by Congress or the President.

[…]George H. W. Bush, the undisputed “Overlord” of the Shrub Dynasty, in
his State of the Union Message in 1991 said: “What is at stake is more
than one small country, it is a big idea – a new world order.” Did We
the People ever agree to this treasonous act of turning over our
nation’s sovereignty to a Single World Government?

Uh-huh. This is the kind of unpublishable swill that the vanity press industry thrives on. Is it any wonder he has written a check to another POD printer?

I applaud Kaye for going after Airleaf and bringing the company down…but she’s still foolishly writing checks to a POD vanity press and deluding herself into thinking that she’s "published." By doing so, and praising the company to other Airleaf customers, she’s perpetuating the myths that the vanity press industry thrives on. How sad.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Some other former Airleaf clients have become customers of Jones Harvest, a vanity press that is run by former Airleaf employees!  Those  particular Airleaf customers aren’t victims at all. They are brain-dead morons.

10 thoughts on “They Never Learn”

  1. Wow. Not a lot of people will have the guts to say out loud that people who let themselves be deluded multiple times by the same scam(sters) are morons. But that’s what they are.

  2. One might have a modicum of sympathy for one who’d been burned by these scam artists for their desire to see their books published. But as Gomer Pyle once said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

  3. Dear Lee,
    As the organizer of Airleaf Victims, I would like to respond to your recent posting.
    Sadly, not for my lack of trying, my books are not being pursued by traditional publishers because they believe that I am writing for a niche market. As a counselor who needs to get her message out, going the POD route is a viable alternative for me. There are members of my Airleaf Victims group who are very talented writers who have been published through the traditional route but realize that it’s a difficult journey at best and a timely one. There are others who want to leave a story in print for other reasons that are not commercially viable. POD is a solution for them as well.
    That being said, regardless that the concept of POD may be “pooh-poohed” by reputable authors who have had commercial success, it is a way to get a book in print.
    I try to be honest and focused with the group I am leading. I am clear that they should keep it simple if they want their book out and not expect miracles of any kind.
    Before I went with CCB Publishing, I made a six-month study of POD companies and investigated over 40 companies trying to find one that would fit my publishing needs. I did in-depth research with those which interested me including personal interviews with the owners. CCB is the company I chose and it has been a wonderful experience.
    I realize that I am paying for a service, but it’s a service that I am getting everything I am paying for. No false promises–no illusions–no fake promises of pretend marketing. The cost was quite reasonable, the book was out in a month, and the owner worked with me almost daily until its completion. He fulfilled all ends of his promises.
    I have worked with the larger POD companies including iU and Authorhouse. In fact, iU bought my first book, “Is He Straight? A Checklist for Women Who Wonder” right before they went POD while they were still a traditional publishing company. However, my promises of mass distribution went down the drain when they converted to POD three months after the book came out. Now, nine years and five books wiser, I know what the expectations are on my end from a POD publisher.
    Airleaf left many of us very traumatized. And you are right when you say that some people still haven’t learned a lesson because they are publishing with Jones Harvest which continues to repeat the Airleaf fraudulence. But that’s another battle for another day. I’m trying to pull together the Airleaf case so that people who lack conscience and call themselves “publishers” are punished. I appreciate your exposure of this fraudulence, but please understand that some of us need reputable POD companies who can produce a book timely, cost efficiently, and with integrity.
    Best regards,
    Bonnie Kaye, M.Ed.

  4. Besides giving money to Airleaf, you also were a customer of Authorhouse and iUniverse? Holy shit, you are a bigger fool than Lee Goldberg thought. Will you NEVER learn? How many times do you have to be screwed over before you WAKE UP?

  5. “In fact, iU bought my first book, “Is He Straight? A Checklist for Women Who Wonder” right before they went POD while they were still a traditional publishing company.”
    As Batman used to say, “You poor, deluded child.” I will happily accept correction, but I recall when iUniverse and Xlibris first launched in 1997, as there were quite a few articles about them. Both companies started out as subsidy publishers employing POD.

  6. “In fact, iU bought my first book, “Is He Straight? A Checklist for Women Who Wonder” right before they went POD while they were still a traditional publishing company.”
    Oh come on, Bonnie. IUniverse was never a traditional publishing company in any way, shape or form. They never “bought” books from authors and they never were an off-set publishing company. Are you lying to yourself or are you lying to others? No wonder you were easy picking for the Airleaf scam.

  7. From iUniverse:
    “iUniverse Incorporated was founded in October 1999 and quickly became the leading provider of publishing technology solutions. The company initially focused on business-to-consumer (B2C) print-on-demand publishing with two facets: new title publishing (through the Writer’s Club Press imprint) and back-in-print publishing.
    Barnes & Noble invested in the company and soon started offering iUniverse books for order online at Barnes & ( and through Barnes & Noble retail stores.”

  8. Indiana Attorney General Prosecutes Airleaf

    The Airleaf Victims blog reports the terrific news that Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter has filed a lawsuit against Carl Lau, founder of Airleaf and Bookman Marketing, for violating the state’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act by taking money without…


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