You may not know the author Jared Ledgard but it would appear his self published books have been attracting some attention over the past year in newspapers here in Ireland and the UK. Here is a link to a news item in The People UK newspaper from January, 2008, by journalist, Daniel Jones.
Oddly, the news story was picked up again by The Irish and UK Daily Star newspaper this morning. Here is the Daily Star news article by Tom Savage, claiming an ‘exclusive story’, (Hardly exclusive, I think Tom, that is if you had read the People in January, 2008):
Notwithstanding the glaring headlines of the original People newspaper article; ‘DIY Bomb Manuals on Sale with the Groceries at Tesco’, the story perked my attention despite the newspapers not mentioning the fact that Jared Ledgard’s series of books on chemicals and explosives are self published. Here is a listing of Ledgard’s books on Amazon.co.uk
Going by The People article, Tesco withdrew the products from online sale, but even now, the books are still freely listed on many book retail sites. Although Amazon.co.uk list his books as being published by ‘Jared Ledgard’, a little digging and research revealed that Jared has a storefront on Lulu.com and clearly uses them as his source for self publishing his books. What shocked me most was not the fact that these books detail explosives and could be used as guidebooks for the budding terrorist, but his prices are astronomical!! They range from 12.90 euro for a simple calendar, right up to 37.01 euro. It would be interesting to know just how many sales Ledgard has generated over the past few years with books titled, ‘The Preparatory Manual of Black Powder and Pyrotechnics’, ‘Kings Chem Guide’, ‘Explosives Information Calendar’, and ‘A Laboratory History of Chemical Warfare Agents’. Though, for me, his most interesting book is ‘The Eternal Equinox’, described as ‘a revolutionary and radical book designed to train the defense services of nations to better help them understand the ideologies, theologies, beliefs, causes, and structure of terrorism and their individual attributes, and how to combat them.’ The book blurb does also add ‘The following book does not reflect nor express the ideas or beliefs of the author or publisher in anyway.’
I’m not sure what reasoning the Irish Daily Star had for re-igniting the news story again, but it does highlight another viewpoint on the freedom of expression and the freedom of authors to self publish, and indeed, exactly what kind of information is included in the books published.
I did do a search on Google Book Search and came across this discussion about the author’s books. Here is a small snippet:
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 06:16:14 -0800 (PST)
Local: Sat, Dec 27 2008 9:16 am
Subject: Re: Rubbish book
Reply Reply to author Forward Print Individual message Show original Report this message Find messages by this author
On 26 Dec, 18:15, johnhibb…@yahoo.com wrote:
John H. The author has been known for quite some time to compile info from old patent applications and aged journal articles into a book on the subject. These books range from pyro to explosives and the like. All have been found to be extremely lacking in original research and are absolutely rife with errors. Use any info from any book that bears the name Jared Ledgard at your own risk!
It will be interesting to see if this story gets picked up anywhere else and why exactly the Irish Daily Star decided this morning to run with it more than one year after it initially reported in The People newspaper by Daniel Jones.