Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Recently, I paged through a friend’s copy of a just-­released bestseller in political theory. I then ordered my own copy, exactly twenty days after the book’s release. When my copy arrived, I found that it sported the same dustjacket as my friend’s, but underneath the jacket it was different. In place of a sewn binding, the pages were glued to the spine, and the cover was cruder. It wasn’t a true hardback at all, but a paperback slapped between boards.

I had the same experience with another book, from a favorite established author whose new release was still riding the first wave of reviews. My purchased copy was substantially lower in quality than the one I had borrowed. I discussed it with friends, and on social media, and found that others were noticing the same thing: Respectable presses were issuing “fake” hardcovers. In some instances, fuzzy, pixelated text made matters worse.

You've reached the end of your free articles for the month.
Read without Limits.
Stacked Mgazines
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article.
Purchase this article for
only $1.99
Purchase
Already a subscriber?
Click here to log in.