Menstrual Cup Book
“Menstrual Cup” by Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, John McBrewster (Ed.)
Background story – (see more here) This book concerned many of us who have websites about reusable menstrual products, because of it’s description claiming “Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online.“ As we feared some of our websites may have been copied and put into this book. So I bought a copy, so that we could see for sure if any of our work was in the book. Long story short – it wasn’t.
When the book (using the term “book” lightly) says “the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from wikipedia and other free sources online“ – they actually mean just wikipedia. As in, essentially they have pressed the print screen button on their browser, printed off some pages from wikipedia and then bound it to make a “book”. (apparently wikipedia basically has a button you can press that will make you a copy of the site for your printing and exploiting pleasure – hence “books” like this.
I almost wish they had ripped off websites like mine, at lest then the poor people who paid for this piece of excrement would have had something actually usable and informative. (please note, that’s not an invitation to copy my stuff :Þ)
Now, given that wikipedia articles are subject to a creative commons license (they can be freely redistributed, even commercially) and that anything that uses them must also be likewise free for people to redistribute – and this is stated in the license at the front and back of this book. I could scan the entire book and make it available freely for anyone who wants to download it, but frankly there is no point as it’s all just on wikipedia, and 90% of it is utter rubbish you’d not be interested in anyway. Which is a shame, I can’t even make this book useful (or get my money’s worth) by being able to freely distribute it among others…. it’s not even worth the time to scan it! URGH! So what I’ll do is just link to the wikipedia articles they used. Infact that’s more useful than this “book” because wikipedia is updated frequently.
So….. The in depth look.
It’s very thin…. I’m sure I’ve seen Woman’s Weekly magazines that are thicker. Though they made the font miniscule to save on pages, so I suppose there’s something good to be said about not wasting as many trees to bring this bound pile of uselessness to the unsuspecting customers.
The chapters (aka “wikipedia pages they printed out”) are as follows (an apologies from here on in, my camera isn’t high enough resolution to really show enough detail, but trust me, you’re not missing much):
- Menstrual Cup
- Sanitary napkin
- Thermoplastic Elastomer
- Diaphragm (contraceptive)
- Food and Drug Administration
- Toxic Shock Syndrome
Then we have “references”
- Article sources and contributors
- Image sources, Licenses and contributors
Then the Licensing information (which is just saying it’s free to distribute under the creative commons license and a whole page of copy and paste of what that actually means).
The inside cover is a bit interesting… (easily the most interesting thing in here really….)
As it shows not only are the people whose names are on the front of the book not “authors” (no, really?), and it’s the only part of the book someone actually took the time to type onto a keyboard instead of just printing off the web…. but it shows how crap the actual publisher is. You can click that image for a larger one you can read, but here’s some highlights (bolding is my own):
“all parts of this book are extracted from wikipedia”
(so what about the other “free sources online” they claimed?)
“you can get detailed informations about the authors of this collection of articles at the end of this book. The editors (Ed.) of this book are no authors. They have not modified or extended the original texts”
(in actual fact there is no information about the editors in the book at all)
It says the information was gathered by volunteers and that “nothing found here has necessarily been reviewed by people with the expertise required to provide you with complete, accurate or reliable information. Some information in this book may be misleading or wrong.”
It also says it’s printed in USA, UK and Germany, and specifically says not in Mauritius (which is where the VDM publishing house that’s responsible for publishing this load of steaming horse poo is from)…. wonder why they felt the need to say that?….
So… anyway… what follows is just page after page of printed out wikipedia articles. Some of which are vaguely related to menstrual cups (like the page on pads and tampons)… some really not relevant at all. Not even grouped into logical sections… not even alphabetically…. quite the hodge podge!
What makes me laugh is that on a couple of the pages, they still keep in the “see also” links from wikipedia. Of course since it’s a book, and you can’t have a hyperlink in a printed book, and those articles you could “see also” don’t appear in this “book”, so it’s completely stupid and irrelevant.
Nice one, genius! Or should I say geniuses, since it apparently took 3 people to collect all this highly useful information!… Which says a lot about their editorial skills really, as I’m sure I could train a monkey to press ctrl+P on a wikipedia page, and apparently it took 3 of them to do much the same…
… moving on…
Now I guess including the articles on Thermoplastic Elastomer, Latex and Silicone are being “thorough”, but really…. without actually introducing people to why you’re including those pages in this book, it just looks like half a science text book got mistakenly bound in with a feminine hygiene book.
(that last one is another “see also” page)
So this is how they did the article sources…. they basically took the wikipedia page, and then listed all the contributors to that page. Fair enough I guess, since you have to credit the people who wrote it, even if what they wrote could have been deleted by someone else. Looks a bit silly though….
Except….. Look Ma! I’m famous!!!
(sorry, camera flash)
Images sources are likewise just the wikipedia url of the image and the name of the person who uploaded it if wiki had that information. I checked, there was nothing I could see that wasn’t from wikipedia. Not that the photos were anything spectacular anyway.
So… there you have it…. wow… that’s certainly worth $50 isn’t it!