A STOLEN DREAM : Amazon fulfilled Jamie Lendino's dream of becoming an author.

A computer buff who delights in the digital past, Mr. Lendino, 45 wrote a book called ''Breakout'', about the Atari machines of the 1980s that ushered in a new era of games.

He self-published it two years-ago through Amazon, which charged him nothing upfront but took a commission on the 1,223 paperback copies bought by devoted Atari fans.

Then Amazon fulfilled someone's dream of becoming Jamie Lendino.

A fellow purportedly named Steve S. Thomas took Mr. Lendino's book a year ago and remade it as his own. Mr. Thomas got rid of the title ''Breakout'' and converted the subtitle  - ''How Atari 8-Bit  Computers Defined a Generation'' - into the title.

He put on a new cover and substituted his name for Mr. Lendino's although he kept all of Mr. Lendino's biographical details about being the editor of ExtremeTech.com and writing for PC magazine and Popular Science.

It was the latest entry in Mr. Thomas's substantial body of work. He also put his name on scholarly and expensive books like ''Preharvest and Postharvest Food Safety'' and ''Real-World Electronics Voting : Design, Analysis and Deployment,'' none of which he had actually written.

Mr. Thomas's plagiarism of Mr. Lendino brought his caper to a close. Kavin Savetz, another Atari biff, spoted ''How Atari 8-bit Computers Defined a Generation.'' He ordered it, although as he noted, ''the titele seemed a little familiar.''

When Mr. Savetz got the book, he realized it was more than familiar and tweeted Mr. Lendino, who  was surprised that someone was stealing from him.

''If you're going to counterfeit a book, you'd pick something by Dan Brown or Neil Gaiman,'' Mr. Lendino said. ''You don't pick a tech guy writing about a 40-year old computer.''

Things got more strange. Allison Tartalia, Mr. Lendino's wife, was browsing on Amazon as this was happening, when she saw that a 152-page biography of her husband had recently been published.

''I was like, 'Honey? Someone apparently knows something about you that I don't,'' Ms Tartalia said.

She ordered a copy of the biography, which had been put together by two entrepreneurs using s rudimentary artificial intelligence program scraping material from the Internet.

So far, they seem to have produced 3,000 of them, including titles such as ''Dick Hardt, Identity Guy at Amazon Web Services.'' They sell for $15, though sales to be rare and satisfied customers even rarer.

After Mr. Lendino complained to Amazon about the counterfeit, the retailer wiped out Mr. Thomas's oeuvre from its store.

The honor and serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Amazon, Present, Future and Power, continues. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher, David Stretfeld 


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!