Ethics and Consequences in Publishing

The controversy rages on about authors who put up anonymous glowing reviews of their own books and anonymous damning reviews of their rivals’. Today one of the most well-known self-publishers has added a little more fuel to the fire in a rant which basically says that anyone who’s upset about this kind of unethical behavior is an envious whiner. After all, even though it’s unethical to do that sort of thing, still it’s allowed and therefore everyone should just shut up and deal with it.

quote: “If it was wrong to trash a book, it wouldn’t be allowed. Like murder isn’t allowed. Our society doesn’t allow murder.”

So hey, what’s the big deal? No big deal, actually, it’s just that when people behave unethically they face consequences when found out, and that’s all that’s really happening. Consequences. When journalists are caught plagiarizing, they lose their jobs. When writers post fake glowing reviews of their own books and get caught, they face a little public humiliation, and probably some loss of sales as well as prestige. What I don’t understand is why anyone should get outraged about those consequences. Seems like just desserts to me.


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