Friday, January 25, 2013

Springer Verlag is one fucked-up company

I apologize for the profanity in the title but, as Mark Twain so eloquently put it, "there are some instances when profanity provides relief denied even to prayer" .

What is prompting this post?  Things have  been piling up.   I have published a Morse theory book with Springer in 2007 (or thereabout) and the experience was great. In particular,  I worked with  a most professional  editor from whom I learned quite a bit.

The book did well, and Springer offered to    publish a second edition. I jumped at the opportunity. I could  fix errors in the first edition, and add things  that crossed my mind after the publication  of  the first edition. I joyously  worked  on the second edition, sent the manuscript,    kept to the agreed deadlines.  This is when the story goes  dark.

They sent the manuscript for copy-editing in India to a crew  who was obviously   not trained to edit science   books in general, math books  in particular.

Leaving aside the minor fact that they  did not respect the deadlines they themselves imposed,  what came back to me  was a complete disaster.

I could see that  two different people  worked  on the manuscript, but these two people read different grammar and ponctuation books.     One of them was not  even  in great control of English  because he/she    disagreed with  several  of my linguistic constructions which were OK-ed by Oxford and Webster's Online Dictionaries.  Springer    must at least provide these guys with Internet acces to these dictionaries.

The real tragedy  was that these two  untrained   individuals changed the manuscript, without  asking for my consent.  They changed things to the point that  the  mathematical meaning was  severely affected.  They rewrote definitions in what they believed  was proper English,   in the process creating new and meaningless Mathematics. They changed the fonts I was using with   some other idiotic fonts  which did not distinguish very much between  Latin $v$ and the Greek "nu", $\nu$.  I myself could not make  any sense of my own goddamn  proofs.

I was   extremely upset  and  I made sure  that both NY and Europe    headquarters      were aware of  this intellectual rape I was subjected  to by their  perpetual   search for  profit. Ain't publishing books with them anymore.   They ain't professional anymore. They're selling a load a crap    wrapped  in corporate bullshit. (There are still many  professionals working for the company, but they are smothered by the idiots running this joint.)

Yesterday, I received a letter  from a debt collection  agency hired by Springer for a  $50 bill  for a mysterious charge which they did not bother to detail.  This is adding  insult upon insult  stacked  on injury.    The Springer-US site  has not    information whom to contact about a possible erroneous bill.

This is one fucked-up company and it's a pity because  it has  a great tradition and reputation which it's gradually converting into  a pile of shit,  all in the name  of profit.

 I'm running  out of insults and I think I have already devoted too much of my limited time to this  genuinely fucked up   company, a  shameful  anorexic  shadow of  the former self.

Update, Jan 28, 2013:     Springer has  finally replied to my inquiries  regarding the $50 bill.  It  was a screw-up with my credit card    and I sent them a check.

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