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What is Thomas Nelson up to?

iStock_000008393401XSmall[1]I have just noticed something odd on Amazon: hundreds of books released by Thomas Nelson lists the publisher as the author. You might expect that on their releases that are collective works like Bible translations, but why stuff from well-known Christian authors? Books by Charles Stanley, John C. Maxwell, and Sarah Young have the author’s name scrubbed. Is this an attempt to improve their brand name at the expense of their authors? Or is this just sloppy uploading of the books’ data by someone in their offices? I’m not certain, but I find it weird. We aren’t talking just a handful of titles here, but dozens upon dozens.

See for yourself at Amazon. My first thought was that maybe it was a glitch with that retailer, but when I checked Barnes and Noble online, the same thing came up. (Here’s the Barnes and Noble search results link). However, I didn’t find the same issue at Family Christian’s online store.

I don’t think this is some grand conspiracy to steal the spotlight from deserving authors, but it does make me question how professional their team is. Thomas Nelson isn’t some small outfit- they are a division of HarperCollins, one of the Big 5 Publishers here in the USA. (By they way, I checked the parent’s company works and didn’t find this happening- HarperCollins only claimed authorship to some media tie-in books and some collaborative works like dictionaries.)

Did they do this on purpose? So why are they claiming to be the “author” of books where they have only been the publisher? If done purposefully, then they are hurting their authors’ works, for most readers would search by the author’s name, not the publisher’s. Most have no clue who the publisher is and really don’t care about that. So why is the publisher now claiming to be the author of the work? Well, at least they didn’t purge their names from the actual cover images.

Is this just an oft-repeated error? More likely, this is a mistake from someone in Thomas Nelson’s office. Maybe this is just a data-entry error that keeps getting repeated with every new upload. But if that is the case, you need to wonder about their quality control. Has no one higher up in the company ever bothered to check their products at Amazon or Barnes and Noble to make sure everything is correct?

Frankly, if I were one of their authors I would feel rather insulted by their actions. What are your thoughts on this odd claim to authorship? Is it purposeful or just bumbling?

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