The WTF TOS Of Bookish

The Savior of the Dying Traditional Book Industry launched today.

It’s called Bookish.

It was in private beta for the longest time.

Probably because they had so many damned insane lawyers vetting the Terms Of Service (or Terms Of Use, as they call it).

Have a gander and join in the WTF merriment with some excerpts that are probably against the TOU itself. (Like I give a fuck. I have accounts at Amazon, Kobo, and Sony.)

Here we go:


You further agree that BOOKISH is free to use any ideas, concepts, know-how or techniques contained in any User Content you send to the Site or BOOKISH, for any purposes whatsoever, including, without limitation, developing, manufacturing and marketing products and or services using such User Content

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Bookish at least gets the power relationship all up front. They be the boss. You be a serf they can take from.


You agree that BOOKISH has no obligation to monitor or enforce your intellectual property rights to your User Content but has the right to protect and enforce its and its licensees’ licensed rights to your User Content

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

See Boss and Serf relationship, previously.


Though nudity is natural, not everyone wants to see it. The same goes for hateful things, spam, and irrelevant photos. So steer away from naked people, meanness, grossness, inappropriateness and anything else that you wouldn’t want to see when you’re exploring.

Boldfaced in the original.

“Meanness,” “grossness”?

Why does nudity score its own little section? You pack of pervs!


Do we hear music? Your User Content may not contain any music unless the work and performance is original with you and/or you have all rights to the musical work (including any performances). No jingles, sampling or otherwise.

Boldfaced in the original.

Wut? Can people actually upload that to Bookish? If not, why is it there? If so, what the hell are they thinking? Hey Jonathan Coulton and Amanda Palmer, I think this clause means YOU.


Do not use the Community for commercial purposes. Your User Content may not advertise or promote a product or service. You may not use your User Content to raise money for anyone or for a pyramid or other multi-tiered marketing scheme.

Boldfaced in the original.

Pyramid scheme? Really, what the hell are they even thinking with that?


You understand and acknowledge that BOOKISH may from time to time monitor or review the Community, provided, however, that BOOKISH has no obligation to monitor the content of the Community and assumes no responsibility for libel, slander, omission, falsehood, obscenity, pornography, profanity, danger, illegality or inaccuracy contained in any information transmitted to or from any such locations on this Site. BOOKISH reserves the right at all times to disclose any information as necessary to satisfy any law, regulation or governmental request, or to edit, refuse to send or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, that in its sole discretion are objectionable or in violation of these Community Rules.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

The Boss must sleep from time to time. But never forget you’re a Serf.



BOOKISH grants you the revocable permission to link to the Site; provided, however, that your web site, or any third party web sites that link to the Site: (a) must not frame or create a browser or border environment around any of the content on the Site or otherwise mirror any part of the Site without BOOKISH’s express written consent; (b) must not imply that BOOKISH or the Site is endorsing or sponsoring it or its products, unless BOOKISH has given its prior written consent; (c) must not present false information about, or disparage, tarnish, or otherwise, in BOOKISH’s sole opinion, harm BOOKISH or its products or services;

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Does this post qualify under the boldfacing? I haz such a sad now.


Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in these TOU, BOOKISH reserves the right to prohibit linking to the Site for any reason in our sole and absolute discretion even if the linking complies with the requirements described above.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Send that nasty legalgram to, bitches.


Software related to or made available by this Site may be subject to United States export controls. Thus, no software from the Site may be downloaded, exported or re-exported (a) into (or to a national or resident of) Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria or any other country to which the United States has embargoed goods; or (b) to anyone on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the U.S. Commerce Department’s Table of Deny Orders. By downloading any software related to this Site, you represent and warrant that you are not located in, under the control of, or a national or resident of, any such country or on any such list.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

The “software” in question is probably the widgets mentioned elsewhere. Dammit, North Korea and Iran were looking forward to weaponizing them! And why is there no provision against using them for biological weaponry? The iTunes TOS used to contain that! (I am not kidding.)


Digital Content

Users may generally browse, preview, or search Digital Content without having to purchase or download the Digital Content. In order to be able to purchase and/or download Digital Content, a User must first open a Online Retail Store account; provide valid credit card information and the User’s billing address to Retailer as stated in Section 5; and install the e-Reader onto their computer or electronic reading device(s), if the e-Reader is not already preloaded.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Lacking plastic, I’m not buying a thing from them. Like they would even let me have an account after they read all of this.


Your purchased Digital Content will be stored in, or accessible from, Your content library at the Online Retail Store. You can access Your content library by signing into Your Online Retail Store account. You may also transfer the Digital Content from Your content library to no more than a total of five (5) other electronic devices that You own. You may not transfer the Digital Content from one electronic reading device to another without maintaining the applicable digital rights management solution for that Digital Content. You may not bypass, modify, defeat or circumvent any of the security features, special rules or other applications that protect the Digital Content.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Oh my gods! People can buy one book and have five copies of it. The greedy writers and the insane writers will feel cheated!

Also: Don’t break that DRM. No. (I know you will anyway. And thank you for that.)


Except as expressly states in these Terms of Use, all sales of Digital Content are final after the Digital Content has been downloaded to User. Retailer will accept the return of User’s purchase of physical Products only in its original condition with the manufacturer’s shrink-wrap intact within 20 days of shipment date. Upon receipt of User’s return of such physical Products we will credit your credit card the amount paid for the Products less shipping charges. All returns must be accompanied by a copy of the packing list included with the Products. User is responsible for the cost of shipping a returned physical Product to Retailer. Retailer will not accept returns of physical Products with freight charges due.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Man, you better hope none of the formatting is fucked and that the content matches the description!


You may not post User Created Content that: involves the transmission of “junk mail,” “chain letters,” or unsolicited mass mailing, instant messaging, “spimming,” or “spamming”;

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

“Spimming”? Yes, it exists. Who knew there was an actual term for all those idiots on Twitter who spam people like that?

Next — and this one I can’t even …

With respect to Product or Content related to the medical field, User acknowledges that medicine is an ever-changing science. As new research and clinical experience broaden knowledge in the field, changes in treatment and drug therapy are required. In view of the possibility of human error or changes in medical sciences, neither Retailer nor Retailer Providers warrant that the information contained in the Product or the Content is in every respect accurate or complete, and they are not responsible for any errors or omissions or the results obtained from the use of such information. Users are encouraged to confirm the information obtained in the Product and the Content with other sources. For example, and in particular, Users are advised to check the product information sheet provided in the package of each drug they plan to administer to be certain that the information contained in the Product and/or Content is accurate and that changes have not been made in the recommended dose or in the contraindications for administration. This recommendation is particularly important in connection with new or infrequently used drugs. Neither Retailer nor Retailer Providers shall be liable to any User or to anyone else for any inaccuracy, delay, interruption of service, error or omission, regardless of cause, or from any damages resulting therefrom.

Really, I just can’t even.

Why are there no such disclaimers for say, Legal Advice for Morons or Fixing Your Cars For Blondes?

Those are the WTF highlights. Do you still want to sign up?



Filed under Books: General, Marketing, Stupid

8 responses to “The WTF TOS Of Bookish

  1. Bette Forester

    thank you!!!! I started reading their stuff this morning and gave up as too involved for me to try to understand… so decided then, that I don’t need to sign up unless Mike Cane reports a Good Reason.

    • mikecane

      I’m giving them 24 hours to pre-emptively ban me before I try to sign up for an account so I can review the actual site.

  2. Pingback: Calling Bookish’s Terms of Service Idiotic is a Violation of the Terms of Service | The Passive Voice | Writers, Writing, Self-Publishing, Disruptive Innovation and the Universe

  3. You’re being much too hard on Bookish. Their featured interview at the moment is with the lovely Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret and an inspiration to us all! Read this glowing review and you will see that Bookish are doing the world a service in bringing her to our attention.

  4. And I thought I was the only one that actually reads these things before I click “I agree!” Great piece, Mike!

  5. Pingback: Reading about eReading this week 2/11/2013 « Allegany County Library System Director's Notes

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