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Publisher Files Defamation Complaint Against Self-Styled Reviewer

by Staff
April 21, 2009
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ENUMCLAW, Wash., ( -- A Christian publisher in the State of Washington is filing a legal complaint for defamation after a reviewer used the company's religious principles to justify a scathing attack centered on accusations of dishonesty.

Mark Levine, founder of Click Industries in Minneapolis, MN, wrote and published a book titled The Fine Print of Self-Publishing in 2008. In it he claims to "rank, analyze, and expose" 45 self- publishing companies - including Pleasant Word, the print-on-demand division of The WinePress Group.

Mr. Levine's website states that his book helps prospective authors to "avoid book publishing companies that are nothing more than dream- crushing scam artists." Then, in ranking Pleasant Word as a "Publisher to Avoid," he unleashes a string of accusations that label the company as dishonest. His review of Pleasant Word closes with the statement that "there are plenty of honest Christian publishers. Find one."

In the book, Mr. Levine asserts that he holds publishers "who cloak their services around religion to a higher standard." However, he ranks another Christian publisher as "Outstanding," despite comparing poorly on many of the same criteria he used to judge Pleasant Word.

The Winepress Group has been a leading light in Christian self-publishing since 1991 and enjoys a reputation for integrity and quality within the industry. The company is also a member of the Better Business Bureau with an excellent record.

"This is not about a bad review," said Malcolm Fraser, the Executive Officer at WinePress, "Mr. Levine's research was certainly poor and his conclusions are totally inconsistent, but he's entitled to his opinion. However, he has misrepresented the facts and published statements that are blatantly untrue. His accusations of dishonesty cross the line into slander and break the law. It's potentially very damaging to our reputation and harmful to everyone connected with the company."

The WinePress Group contacted Mr. Levine several times to point out factual inaccuracies and inconsistencies in his review and his methods of comparison with other publishers. However, Mr. Levine refused to retract or modify his comments.

"We would have preferred Mr. Levine to admit his mistake and put it right himself," Mr. Fraser said, "but we're not going to ignore this. If he can do this to Pleasant Word, he can do it to other publishers, and he needs to be held accountable."

Mr. Levine has been served with a copy of the complaint and the attorney for The Winepress Group is awaiting his response. The case is ongoing.

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