An interesting request: get books without paying for them!?

Like every blogger, I get a certain amount of mail.  Most of it is nice and interesting.  I’ve not had any death threats at all!

Then there is the item that reached me recently via the Chieftain Publishing website, where I advertise the two volumes that I published.  I don’t get much email from that site, because the publishing is pretty much done now.

Anyway, here is what I received.

Created On: 7 April 2019 at 08:47
From: John Rishel <Johnrishel4@gmail.com>
X-Mailer: PHPMailer 5.2.22
Subject: Crucial help to obtaining your Awesome books

I hope u all are better than well and exceeding thank you to read the following with prayerful consideration.
I recently found a couple incredible looking books by you all–Origen on Ezekiel. And Eusebius on Gospel Problems and solitions.
If was able to work would get them asap, however since some yrs ago when I’m an intense car accident when a reckless driver going well over fifty blindsided my passenger side of car…my severe spinal trauma has kept me still injured and not working. Cause of financial issues was forced to live with my mom…with limited six security $ I get of course goes to help mom pay rent and other.
Ever please if there is Any POSSIBLE way you all could EVER generously donate those books, the fruit born would increase into eternity.
Each of the authors are clearly God’s All Stars.
If you could only allow one to give, Origen on Ezekiel would be epic.
I know you all are young publisher starting out and I’m sure more than busy, though I hope and pray you all night be help !e in such a way, that would be lifechanging…Cause your amazing gift would be the Only way I could study these vital works!!!😊
Thx ever so again for ur time and prayerful consideration in these matters of interest.
Please take it Easy and better than best!!!
Sincerely

John Rishel
3217 SAint James Place
Mckinney, Texas. 75070. USA

May the Triume Almighty so Richly bless, protect and direct you all at Chieftain Publishing!!😇

Sadly I have been unable to find the time to reply to this.  I did look up the address in google, and it is a very nice house with an estimated value of $250,000.   Looking up the address in whitepages.com reveals a John Rishel living there, who is in his 70s, and a John Ashbrook Rishel IV in his 40s, and a Judith Rishel in her 70s, and a Xiaochun Zhao.  Searchbug.com lists four people living there; John, Katie, Leigh Ann and Xiaochun.  Who are these people, one wonders?

Yet … the author has never even googled for my “awesome books”, or he would find them freely available online in PDF form.  Nor has he realised that I blog about them here.  All he knows is that there is a website for “Chieftain Publishing” which sells a couple of expensive books. His nearly illiterate email tells us that he is not qualified to use these books!  Most of the email is clearly boiler-plate.

It looks very much to me as if Mr Rishel – or Mr Zhao? – has just searched for small publishing companies, and fired off a mass begging email to them all.   Since he obviously just wants stuff, and has no interest in the books themselves, I can only suppose that the books would then be sold for cash on eBay, or something like that.

I post his email, in case anyone else is getting them.  Clearly a scam.

A kind invitation; or a hard-faced attempt to loot?

I get a lot of emails.  Most are very welcome.  But I’ve never had an email like the ones I received this morning.

From: Ambrose Adriano
Subject: Roger Pearse’s blog contact form: Interested in merging Tertullian.org with Patristics.co?

Hey Roger,

First of all, thank you for all the content you’ve done. I can only imagine how long it took. I am the creator of www.patristics.co, and I was wondering if you wanted to join forces and merge your content onto my site. I have great aesthetics, but I am lacking in time and resources when it comes to uploading content. I would love to work with you, since we seem to have the same heart for the church fathers. Anyway, I just thought I’d ask.

-Ambrose

Well that’s a very kind invitation, of course.  Mr Adriano has created an empty website with some graphics; would I care to fill it with content?  My first reaction was to write back “Write your own damn content”.  But of course I get offers of collaboration from well-meaning people, which are sometimes clumsily expressed, and one must be polite.

But then I thought … “content”?  I don’t write “content”.  I write stuff for people to use.  “Content” is what a professional might call it.  This… this does not feel like a well-meaning amateur.

Sadly I was unable to think of any reason why I should donate my website with a mass of intellectual property to a complete stranger, and work at his direction, so I replied:

Hi Ambrose,

That’s an interesting email.  But I’m actually very happy doing my own thing, you know?  🙂

Good luck with your project.

That should have been the end of it.  But Mr Adriano – the name on the email was now “Garry Adriano” – was not finished, and wrote this:

Alright, I’ll make one last pitch then I’ll leave you alone Roger 😉

I understand that it would probably be uncomfortable to make such a big change, and it’s much easier to go with business as usual. However, are you really happy with “your” thing? Don’t you want to broaden your vision and make this about more than just you? I have a vision, and my heart is for educating the common man (through beauty) instead of just being a resource that scholars use occasionally.

If you’re afraid that you’d lose autonomy, I’m not interested in controlling you. You have the freedom to do what you already do, and you wouldn’t have to pay for hosting.

I have thousands of visitors with a rejuvenated love for the content, and it’s always growing. People do not want the past, they want the future, and this is what I am trying to give them. I will pray that you would one day reconsider and see me as being an opportunity for your own increase, rather than bury your talent in the sand merely because it happens to be yours.

“I have a vision….” is very eloquent, isn’t it?  And, despite having no content, he already has “thousands of visitors”.  Note the absence of mention of copyright, tho.

But funnily enough neither email actually shows any interest in the “content”.  That’s of no importance, plainly.  That “email” reads like boiler-plate.  If you wanted to get some gullible amateur to hand over their content to you, on some random subject, so that you could monetise it and make money, you might have such a letter on file, usable for any subject.

Perhaps I’m over-wary, but this really made me nervous.  The internet was once a network of people giving generously of their time and knowledge to the world. In some places it still is.  Today there are plenty of sites which purport to advise the reader on how to get rich quick by creating a blog or a website.  It seems we have a population of takers, rather than givers, attempting to take advantage.

I have no idea who Mr Adriano might be.  But perhaps others will receive his eloquent emails also.  Falling in with his requests might not be in their best interest.

Let the website author beware.  Caveat auctor.

UPDATE: A fresh email this evening.

Your blog post is very sad, inaccurate, and filled with assumptions about my intent, but if you wish to immediately judge and publicly mock people you don’t know, that’s between you and God. I did not even bring money into the conversation. That was your assumption.

The good news for you is, I don’t really care about your opinion of me. The bad news is, God does.

Oh dear.