14 August 2009

A POD Publisher's Alternate Universe

I've taken more than a few swipes at print on demand publishers. And why not? The industry has yet to complete its second decade and already these firms are responsible for a great percentage of the ugliest books in existence. Blurred scans, scored texts and missing pages only add to the unpleasantness. However, much was forgiven today – if only temporarily – after I happened on the latest post by J.R.S. Morrison at his always interesting Caustic Cover Critic blog. Mr Morrison brings to our attention English POD publisher Tutis Digital, whose covers feature the most bizarre pairings of title and image I have ever seen.

A quick visit to the company's website brings photographs of Jacques Cartier's nuclear submarine, the Samurai War between Canada and the United States and the tropical paradise that is Quebec. I present the following without further comment, adding only that Tutis offers an alternate edition of The Backwoods of Canada, one that features a handsome cover image of the majestic mountains of Peterborough, Ontario.


  1. I'm astounded and gratified. If we could uncover the mental processes at play here, I have a feeling we'd really be onto something. Not something good, obviously, but a deep insight into what happens when brains fail.

    I'm now working backwards through your excellent blog, by the way, and have started a list of books to seek out. I'm ashamed to say that many of these wonderful-sounding books are completely unfamiliar to me, but I aim to rectify that.

  2. These are unbelievable. But I think I know what happened. The POD "publisher" hired a high school dropout to find free cover images...
    I have a comprehensive description of publishing options on my website, which also contains lots of other free information. Go to:

  3. Barbara, I don't think you're far off, though the real story may be even less happy. After posting my second piece on Tutis - yes, I couldn't leave well enough alone - I awoke one morning to a mailbox full of comments which appear to have originated in Mumbai. All defending Tutis' covers, each was more complimentary than the last. I posted only the first... the most restrained.

    The interesting thing is that a great many of their covers use images that are most definitely not copyright free. The caustic - yet fair - JRSM has posted a very good piece on the publisher's appropriation of cover art: 'Fish, Barrel, Gun: Tutis'.

  4. Hilarious! I think from the "Pvt." in the name when you look up Tutis Publishing, it's an Indian company, which makes sense if you got comments from Mumbai. I like that Catherine Parr Traill encountered The Backwoods of Canada via the Mediterranean. And that the sun clearly never sets on Quebec, since it's also setting in Hawaii.

  5. Brian, I laughed at "some of which I dare not speak" in your profile. I used to ghostwrite for a rather prominent Canadian, and when I met her and discreetly mentioned this (since I'd been told she thought her ghostwriter was great), she had a major hissy fit right in front of me. It was kind of comical to witness, because it was distinctly at odds with her public persona. Ah well, I get much pleasure looking at various things attributed completely to her, but written by me...