Next on my list of author/reader networking websites is the Dutch site Bookabook.com. This site, which seems to have only a handful of users at the moment, screams "scam"...though it could also, to be fair, just be a well-intentioned but thoroughly impractical and poorly thought out business plan.
The idea is that you put your book up in the site, and at the same time 1,000 shares in the book are offered for sale at 15 Euros apiece. Once all thousand shares are sold, Bookabook publishes the book.
Right off the bat, this is absurd - They're making 15,000 Euros ($20,000 US) off the shares before they've even published the book. When you can publish a book through iUniverse for around $1,000, or through CreateSpace or similar companies for...well... $0. Though to be fair, they'll never make any money off of it because they allow users to get their money back any time before all the shares are sold.
Before publishing your book, though, Bookabook will edit it. They will not do a nasty developmental edit and mess with your artistic vision, but they will do a copy edit and check for typo's (sic). Yes, they had a typo on the word "typo." A quick scan of the rest of the site established that the quality of their text was uniformly atrocious. But I digress.
Once the shares are sold and the book is published, you start raking in the profits. Bookabook takes 60%, of course, and the author gets 20%. The other 20% is split among the 1,000 shareholders.
The math hurt my head so I shopped it out to the computer science student on my other couch. He laughed at me and explained some basic principles of algebra that I failed to absorb at any level. The result, however, is that with a postulated $15 cover price, the company would have to sell 75,000 Euros worth (6,800 copies) of a book before shareholders would make back their initial investment.
And that, my faithful reading public, is today's lesson in why the stock market crashed.