I got spam email at work today:
Note, I do not work in a field even remotely related to dentistry.Dear Dr. W--,
I wish to introduce my new Ebook entitled A Handbook of Oral Physiology and Oral Biology.
This Ebook should be extremely useful for researchers and working professionals in the field of Dentistry. I am confident that after reading the synopsis and content description given below, you will recommend this book to your colleagues, students and library. Alternatively, you may want to purchase individual chapters of my Ebook: for more details please CLICK HERE
Anastasios K. Markopoulos
The "click here" takes you to Bentham Science Publishers. They publish a heap of peer-reviewed scientific journals with high impact factors. But from what I can tell, their new e-book publishing arm accepts submissions without fact checking or peer review, as long as the submissions meet their layout standards. Authors sign copyright over to Bentham (this is not uncommon for peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, but it's definitely not the norm for textbooks). Bentham then sells the books, or offers the books for free if the authors have paid Bentham $900 for open-access.
So Bentham makes a profit for very little work, authors get a publication credit without having to pass much/any editorial review, and readers -- well, they get books that I'm guessing may have a high likelihood of being utter crap. Or that's my uncharitable, and possibly inaccurate, assessment of this venture. Does anyone have more info?