LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing AG & Co. KG and VDM Verlag Dr Mueller

About six months after I filed and defended my dissertation at UCLA, I received the following email from LAP Lambert:

Dear Lisa Luise Spangenberg ,

While researching publishable academic papers at the Library of University of California, Los Angeles University, I came across a reference to a work entitled “The games fairies play: Otherworld intruders in medieval literary narratives”.

LAP Lambert Academic Publishing AG & Co. KG specializes in the publication of theses and dissertations.

I am therefore wondering if you would be interested in cooperating with us towards a worldwide marketed publication of your work.

Your reply including an e-mail address to which I could send an e-mail with further information in an attachment would be greatly appreciated.

Looking forward to hearing back from you.

The sig area of the email included a link to their web site: www.lap-publishing.com and the information that their Board of Directors included: Dr. Wolfgang Müller (CEO), Christoph Schulligen, Jürgen Gerber, Esther von Krosigk Supervisory Board: Prof. Dr. Johannes G. Bischoff (Chairman), RA Thomas Bischoff, RA André Gottschalk

Then last May, I got another email from them:

I am writing on behalf of an international publishing house, Lambert Academic Publishing.

In the course of a research on the University of California, I came across a reference to your thesis on “The Games Fairies Play: Otherworld Intruders in Medieval English and Celtic Literary Narrative”. We are an international publisher whose aim is to make academic research available to a wider audience. LAP would be especially interested in publishing your dissertation in the form of a printed book.

Your reply including an e-mail address to which I can send an e-mail with further information in an attachment will be greatly appreciated.

The LAP website notes:

LAP publishes academic research worldwide—at no cost to our authors.

We are one of the leading publishing houses of academic research. We specialize in publishing theses, dissertations, and research projects.

What they are is an academic author mill; they exist to exploit the work of naive scholars who think they’re a legitimate academic/scholarly publisher, the kind that counts for tenure and hiring committees. There are several similar companies who offer to print your dissertation or thesis. LAP has a number of other branches; one of them is their German alter-ego VDM Verlag Dr Mueller

Victoria Strauss of SFWA Writer Beware, has observes that:

VDM uses digital technology (which it dubs “print-to-order [PTO], a further development of the print-on-demand [POD] procedure”) to make its books and monographs “available” (which just means they can be special-ordered) through online and physical booksellers. There’s no cost to authors, who receive a “fee” plus “up to” 20 free copies of their book. There’s also no editing or proofreading: what you turn in is what’s printed, and the process for doing so, in which authors essentially create their own books and covers, is very similar to uploading content to a self-publishing service. Retail prices are absurdly inflated, even for a digitally-based publisher. As for marketing, “data is optimized by the publishing house and entered in all relevant catalogs worldwide. The book is offered to the leading international book distributors.” Put another way: there isn’t any.

VDM, in other words, is an academic author mill.

They aren’t really publishing your dissertation, they aren’t making it available for other scholars, and they most certainly aren’t going to help you pay off your student loans. Do go read all of Victoria Strauss’ post; she knows what she’s talking about. By the way; it’s not terribly bright to waive all your rights to your dissertation—it puts paid, among other things, to you revising and publishing your work as a scholarly monograph from a publisher who will help you up the tenure-track ladder, and quite possibly, put money in your pocket. Victoria Strauss and I are not alone in being less than delighted at the practices of LAP et al.

Nothing in the Ph.D. process prepares us for this kind of thing.

16 thoughts on “LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing AG & Co. KG and VDM Verlag Dr Mueller

  1. Of course companies like VDM and LAP exploit recent Ph.D.s and itinerant scholars. It’s much easier than trying to rip off people who may have lawyers on retainer!

    Seriously, though, it almost amounts to criminal negligence when graduate programs in the humanities have almost no resources or expertise to offer their students about intellectual property issues.

  2. Those companies even prey on folks lower on the academic food chain than recent Ph.D earners. A couple of them sent me phishing emails similar to yours offering to publish my profoundly insightful MA thesis. Right.

  3. Thanks so much for the post. I received the same query letter one month after submitting to Proquest. After months of academic publishers not even acknowledging my proposals it of course seemed too good to be true. Shame.

    • Academic life doesn’t at all prepare us for this kind of thing. I’d suggest you go look at your book shelves; who published the books you like the most in your field? Go look at the sites for those publishers. Look at their submission criteria; think about revising the dissertation (you’ll need to anyway, for professional publication). Write a proposal that fits the submission requirements for that publisher; while you wait to hear from them, look at a second and third choice.

      And don’t forget about submitting new material to journals!

      Best of luck to you–

  4. i am a young african writer who specialised in poems of climate change, nature, contemporary Nigerian issue and africa. I will like my works to be publish by your establishment.

    • Victor, you need to conquer the basic skill of reading the post you comment on, including the links.

      Because you’re exactly the kind of fresh meat scammers look for; they will take your book and your money and leave you weeping in the dust.

      There’s a point at which I rapidly begin to lose sympathy with victims of vanity and subsidy publishers; because often, they authors are looking for something for nothing. It’s the thing con artists pick up on; greed.

      If you don’t know faculty who publish with them and have good things to say, if you can’t find the publisher’s books in your library and bookstore, run the hell away.

  5. Thank you. I was investigating this company because they sent me the same information as they did you and I did not know what to make of it. Your information was truly eye opening. Thank you for your service.

  6. I’m glad I could help Terren. If you’re trying to have an M.A. thesis or a dissertation published, I’d suggest looking at it closely in terms of revising it to be a stand alone book, rather than a proof of proficiency. Look at other books in your field: who published them? Look at the way the structure of a monograph or book is different from your dissertation or thesis and think about the necessary revisions. Look at the submission requirements from publishers in your field (see their Web site) and start working on a query. Talk to your advisers and faculty mentors about what they suggest–especially in terms of revisions.

  7. Last week , i too received the mail and i have no idea about the publishers and ,,when i was searching information about them .. i found this post really helpful..thank you !

  8. How do you know about my research work on ” Ameliorative effect of Ocimum sanctum leaf extract in lead induced toxicity in rats. As you mentioned in the mail the printing of research work in the form book,really is it possible. Still I am having some doubt please clarify it.

  9. K.Sujatha

    1. I am not LAP Lambert.

    2. I do not know anything about your work on “Ameliorative effect of Ocimum sanctum leaf extract in lead induced toxicity in rats” nor do I care to.

    3. I am not a publisher.

    4. Read things before you comment on them.

    5. LAP Lambert is not a legitimate academic or scholarly publisher.

  10. A real eye opener. A friend of mine (classmate) actually recommended them to me saying they published his work. Mine are literary jobs. I’m taken aback by the comments I’m seeing.

    • I’m not surprised. Academe doesn’t really prepare us for publishing in the real world. There are any number of fake publishers and vanity presses out there. If they don’t require you to submit a proposal for a scholarly book, if they don’t send it out for peer review, and most especially, if they ask for money, be wary. Look for a publisher whose books are in your university’s library, and reviewed in the peer reviewed journals of your field.

  11. Thanks for this info. I just received an email from LAP and was very surprised and curious to know how they got my email and how they came to know that my dissertation is complete! A reply to the sender of the email bounced though.

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