Answered By: ESC Sara Last Updated: Oct 31, 2023 Views: 58
Companies with access to a printing press and a market for books, often access content for those books via free sites like Wikipedia. Because Wikipedia is in the Creative Commons, it’s not even illegal* to copy that content into books and sell it.
They claim to be providing a service by packaging Wikipedia content in a print form. But if you wanted a Wikipedia article, you could get it for free from Wikipedia, and then you would be able to see all the recent updates, and click the hyperlinks.
It’s common knowledge that Wikipedia is not academic quality research material, even if it’s repackaged in book format. It’s a reference resource (a form of tertiary source, which means it’s too many steps removed from the original source of the information to be cited in a research paper). Furthermore, Wikipedia’s quality control is inconsistent.
It is easy to stumble across these fake books when you are searching the Web or Google Books. They may have covers and citation information that make them look like reputable resources. But you should always have a look at the content and use your own educated judgment before you invest too much time or money in a resource.
Visit the library's Evaluating Information Sources page--part of our Research Skills Tutorial--for help with this.
* Plagiarism isn’t illegal, just unethical. It will get you expelled or fired from academic institutions, and blacklisted from professional associations.
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