Nov 30 2012

Barton Fraudulently Selling Thomas Nelson Edition of ‘The Jefferson Lies’ on Amazon

So, David Barton is lying about his book of lies about Jefferson, selling it on Amazon with the claim that the edition currently being sold is published by his own WallBuilder Press. It’s not. What he’s apparently doing is selling off those 17,000 copies of the original book he had to buy back from Thomas Nelson — the publisher that originally published but subsequently pulled it — but claiming the book is published by his own Wallbuilder Press by listing Wallbuilder Press as the publisher in the book’s description on Amazon.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, when I saw that Barton’s book was once again being sold by Amazon, I ordered a copy. Barton had repeated claimed that the book was going to be republished by an even bigger publisher than Harper Collins (the owner of Thomas Nelson), and that the new edition was going to include a slew of material that Thomas Nelson had edited out — material that was supposed to be additional proof of Barton’s claims. Then, Barton’s BFF and co-conspirator Glenn Beck said that his publishing company, Mercury Ink, would be the new publisher.

Ever since August, when Thomas Nelson yanked Barton’s book, the only way to buy it on Amazon was through one of the third party Amazon Marketplace sellers who were selling copies of the original book published by Thomas Nelson. But then, a few weeks ago, I noticed that Amazon was once again selling the book directly. The only difference was that the publisher listed for it was Barton’s own WallBuilder Press instead of Thomas Nelson.

The new copy I received from Amazon two weeks ago is not a new edition. It is the same Thomas Nelson edition I got back at the end on March when I pre-ordered it from Amazon before it was released. (The publication date was April 10, but Amazon began shipping pre-orders before that, so I got my copy at the end of March). The book currently being sold as a WallBuilders Press edition is not a new edition containing all that additional material that Barton has been promising would be in the next edition. This is fraud.

But there’s more. In addition to claiming that the next edition of the book would contain the material edited out by Thomas Nelson, Barton has claimed that corrections were made with each new “edition” of The Jefferson Lies while it was being published by Thomas Nelson. Here’s what he said on his August 16, 2012 WallBuilders LIVE! radio show:

“We’ve done this every book that we’ve printed since the beginning. If somebody points out an error we’ll go back and change that. So every edition of every book — this Jefferson Lies book has already been through three editions and we made changes in each one of them because people wrote and said ‘hey did you see this?’ … We’ve made three or four or five corrections.”

This is complete bullshit. The copy of the book I received two weeks ago is identical to the copy I received back in March. There weren’t any corrections were made with each printing by Thomas Nelson as Barton claims. I went through all seven chapters of the two copies page by page and can’t find a single difference. They didn’t even correct the obvious typos (“publically” instead of publicly, “Governor” Morris instead Gouverneur Morris, three instances — including in the index — of referring to John Holt Rice as “Holt” as if that were his last name, etc.), let alone make any corrections to the content because “people wrote and said ‘hey did you see this?’”

If Barton wants to sell off the copies he has of the Thomas Nelson edition of his book on Amazon, he needs to do it like everybody else — as a third party seller. I’ve already sent Amazon a correction of the publisher via their automated system, informing them that the publisher of the book they’re selling is Thomas Nelson and not WallBuilders Press. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to call them and explain what Barton is doing and that they are abetting his little fraud by allowing him to lie about his book’s publisher.


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  1. 1

    My inner 12-year old thanks you.

  2. 2
    Chris Rodda

    ROFLMAO!!!! That was actually supposed to be “publically!” I don’t believe I misspelled the freakin’ typo! I just fixed it to be wrong in the right way!

  3. 3

    You should just file fraud charges against him.

  4. 4

    Isn’t that illegal?

  5. 5

    If it’s fraud, isn’t it Amazon’s fraud? They claim the wrong publisher for the book they sell. While I recently learned that authors can edit their Amazon biographies at will, I would have thought the product details were under Amazon’s control. Unless I’m mistaken the publication date of April 10, 2012 is still the original Thomas Nelson date, isn’t it? I’d also expect that a new publisher would have to use a new ISBN; does the one they advertise correspond to the book’s?

  6. 6
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Heh heh.

    And for typos:

    the published→r that originally published but subsequently pulled it

    Because I know you care.

  7. 7
    Chris Rodda

    Fixed. Guess I hadn’t gotten a sufficient level of caffeine into my bloodstream before I started typing today! ;-\

  8. 8


    I just took a quick look at Wikipedia about ISBN.
    I confirmed what I had observed as true. The publisher is encoded in the ISBN.

    That means that the ISBN must change if the publisher changes. I’ll bet the ISBN imprinted on your two copies is the same.

  9. 9

    If David Barton says the sun is shining, that means it’s midnight.

  10. 10

    At this point it would only be surprising if Barton said something that was true.

  11. 11

    The political triumph in the USA of extreme right wing Christian Dominionist ideology is the “end;” Lying, dissembling, prevaricating, obfuscating, and misrepresenting are the “means” Barton and his ilk employ to accomplish that end. For Barton and the rest of the evangelical nutbags, the end they seek fully justifies the means they employ. Put yourself in their shoes for five seconds and you can easily see why. Hell, if God was willing to slaughter the whole human race in a flood, and then later slaughter a few pagan civilizations by the swords of the Hebrews, certainly a few lies here and there for a good cause can’t really be wrong, can it?

    Barton is now evidently completely incapable of grasping what a fraud he has become, because he has even managed to completely fool himself into believing he is doing God’s work. He’s like Romney on the morning of election day, certain of victory, and completely out of touch with reality. And you, Dear Chris, are his Nate Silver.

    “David Barton, why you no tell truth?” I love that!

    Chris, do not let up on this guy for an instant. Not that you would anyway, as much fun as you are obviously having as you repeatedly prove that Emperor Barton has no clothes.


  12. 12

    @jamesramsey #8

    Yes, the ISBN includes the publisher prefix. However, it does occasionally happen that a publisher will sell the rights to a title to another company, transferring the remaining physical inventory as well. In this case the ISBN transfers to the new publisher as well.

    Practically speaking this is unusual, and somewhat problematic for retailers from a logistical point of view, but it is not illegal.

  13. 13

    He couldn’t care less. He’ll eventually sell all of his books and laugh at his gullible readers while he spends the money.

  14. 14

    I am not a professional author, but I don’t see why claiming an incorrect publisher is a big deal. I understand it isn’t true, but would that be particularly important, assuming Thomas Nelson didn’t just sell the rights?

  15. 15
    Chris Rodda

    @ cheesynougats … It wouldn’t be that big a deal if we weren’t talking about an author who promised for months that the next edition of his book was going to contain a whole bunch of additional material that he claimed was cut out of the book by the original publisher and that this additional material would prove that the inaccuracies that made the original publisher pull the book weren’t inaccuracies. Of course he can sell the book if he bought the ISBN from the original publisher, but claiming that the book he’s currently selling is not the same book by saying it has a different publisher (after months of saying that it would be republished by a different publisher) is completely and deliberately dishonest. If he wants to sell it on Amazon, he needs to do it like everybody else – as a third party seller with the book honestly advertised as the same book he’s been selling since April.

  16. 16

    The mindless sheep have already forgotten about Barton’s book being pulled from the publisher due to bad information. If this piece of dishonesty gets any press in the xtian sub-culture, they will consider it to be the first and only time that Barton has ever been accused of being dishonest. Then they will forget about that.

  17. 17
    Crudely Wrott

    When a lying liar lies some more
    Leave it lying where it lays . . .
    . . . after kicking it a few times to see if it’s dead, of course.
    If it struggles or moans or dances about, it’s not dead.
    More kicking is recommended.

    Thanks, Chris. Nice work; endless though it seems.

  18. 18

    ‘The book you buy has been fact-checked, and all errors removed!’ It is the same as the previous edition, of course, but is sounds good. Reminds me of the Glenn Beck wheeze, that he had a red phone that he claimed was connected directly to the White House, and they would call if he said anything on his show that wasn’t true. The phone (go figure) never rang, therefore . . .

  19. 19
    Banned Atheist

    Obnoxious! I chipped in and notified Amazon.com of Barton’s lies, as well. I also posted a review (1 star minimum?!? WTF?!?) pointing out the lies and more lies to that readers might at least be informed.

    Crowd-sourcing is great fun. Effective, too.

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