As a Kindle owner, I buy a lot of literature collections.  I recently found a new eBook publisher by the name of Delphi Classics at delphiclassics.com

Delphi Classics sells complete literature collections for authors like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, etc.

First, I purchased the Charles Dickens collection and upon going through it, found that there were missing works so I e-mailed the publisher letting them know.  Peter

Delphi Classics Kindle Collections (delphiclassics.com)

Delphi Classics Kindle Collections (delphiclassics.com)

Russell, the owner asked me to hold off on leaving negative feedback until the edition was updated, so I obliged.  I also purchased several other works by this publisher and found that every one of them had a ton of missing works.  This is important because the seller advertises them as “complete collections,” even taking it further by stating…

“This is the COMPLETE WORKS of Mark Twain. Why buy any other Kindle version, which will have texts missing? This is the only eBook available with every novel, every short story – even the very rare ones – essay, travel book, non-fiction text, letter and much, much more! Now you can truly own all of Twain’s works on your Kindle, and all in ONE file.”

Every release by Delphi Classics has a similar statement.  Sadly, I reviewed and purchased more than a half dozen of these products and all of them were missing a ton of works by the author, which is obviously false advertising. I was able to find tons of missing works with about 30 minutes of research time so finding these is extremely easy and show’s that the seller is just quickly copying and pasting items, most likey from Project Gutenberg, and slapping them up as “complete” without any research whatsoever.  All of the delphi classics products are also listed as having “excellent formatting” and in some cases, are even listed as having “perfect formatting,” but in each of them, I found hundreds of pages of formatting errors.  When I asked the seller, Peter Russell about this, he said “it isn’t feasible at the moment to proofread all of the text.”  I then said that was fine, but he shouldn’t be advertising that each of these collections has “excellent formatting” or as “complete collections” if those statements weren’t true, and this is where Peter Russell got confrontational.

Peter Russell Of Delphi Classics (delphiclassics.com)

Peter Russell Of Delphi Classics (delphiclassics.com)

After purchasing several collections and finding missing works and formatting errors in each, I was getting a bit frustrated as I was paying for accuracy.  After all, I can get badly formatted versions for free at Project Gutenberg and directly on Amazon.  I didn’t feel that it was right that I had to do the research I was paying the publisher to do so I figured I would just leave appropriate feedback on Amazon regarding the missing works.  However, I noticed that Delphi Classics was a new business and didn’t want to tarnish their reputation so I came up with a way to make lemons out of lemonade – I contacted Peter and offered to do the research I had been doing for free up until this point, in exchange for review copies of the products before they went live instead of just leaving appropriate feedback and moving on.  Peter then sent me the complete collection of Wilkie Collins, which I reviewed and sent back with a list of missing works and formatting errors.  I let him know I could do several more and this is where things got weird.  He then said he would send no more and got rude for seemingly no reason at all – the second the confusing (and rude) ways he treated me.

Of course, I let him know that I couldn’t just continue to spend hours doing the research on these “complete collections,” which I was paying him to do when I purchased his products.  I assumed that Peter would then take more care in researching his products prior to releasing them and prior to advertising them as “complete and having every single work, even the rare ones” but I was wrong.  I purchased several more releases only to find that they were missing a ton of works.  In fact, one of the collections, Leo Tolstoy, had 18 missing works that are in the public domain and available to be put into the collection, which I was able to find in about 30 minutes of research.  I then left appropriate feedback for each of these collections that were being falsely advertised.  One of my reviews was one star, such as Leo Tolstoy, because they were missing so much content but I was completely fair in my reviews.  I was not alone in my one star review of the Tolstoy collection – Another use left a one star review because of all the typo’s in the text making it nearly impossible to read.  I even left a three star review for the Mark Twain collection in spite of it missing his auto-biography and having a ton of formatting errors and praised the Delphi work there.  But again, we have another occurrence of Peter Russell getting aggressive with me for seemingly no reason…

After my reviews, Peter Russell of Delphi Classics started commenting on my reviews with personal attacks saying that I threatened to leave negative reviews if he didn’t give me free copies of his books, which is completely fabricated.  Sure, I said I would leave appropriate feedback based on the actual missing works and formatting errors, but was already planning that when I purchased a product before having any contact with Peter, and I held of on doing so at his request.  I purchased his products first, I did research for his products for free first, I held back on leaving negative feedback at the request of Peter while he updated the products.  To show how vindictive Peter is, he even debated with me over the auto-biography of Mark Twain being in the public domain, which I quickly proved him to be wrong on – all it took was five minutes worth of research and the work is even available for free download on Project Gutenberg!  Now Peter thinks he is going to be able to get Amazon to remove my reviews based on his lies when my reviews all contain facts that are easily verifiable by Amazon or any other customer on Amazon.  You can’t dispute the truth, and when you download the products and compare it with my review everything becomes clear.

The real scam artist is clear here.  I did research and found missing works in the complete collections of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Sir Conan Arthur Doyle, Wilkie Collins for free, I wasn’t paid a dime, and if I hadn’t, Peter Russell at Delphi Classics would still be selling people these incomplete collections he was advertising as complete.  The Mark Twain collection is still missing items, even after all of my research!  There are also still a TON of collections he’s selling on Amazon as complete which are still far from complete.

The sad thing about this situation is that the Delphi releases do have a ton of value, I’m not dogging his work completely.  Some of them are missing a lot of work, but many of them are great products, which I voiced in my Mark Twain review on Amazon. Peter Russell, however is very unprofessional in his dealings with customers and if you mention that they are missing works and littered with hundreds of pages of formatting errors, he immediately get’s rude.  Leave negative feedback and prove that there’s a missing work in your review, and he goes completely ballistic.

Update – Peter Russell Is Now Scamming Amazon.com Via Fake Reviews On His Own Products…

I’ve discovered that Peter Russell is attempting to “game” the Amazon review system by planting reviews under fake names!  I’ll detail this scam via screen shots to prove it (the screen shots are a bit smushed but can be clicked for the full size, clear image).  Good luck trying to change them Peter, they’re immortalized on this blog forever now and Amazon.com certainly has records of them!

This feedback scam has been taking place via three fake accounts Peter Russell created on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk under the names “L Bryant” and “John Khastin.” What’s funny is that he thinks he did a good job diguising this, but he hasn’t.  In fact, the dates that reviews are posted, and even the matching writing style expose this very clearly.  To top that off, Peter even had the two fake accounts interacting with each other in an attempt to combat completely accurate negative reviews by two customers!

What’s even more revealing is that these fake accounts were created when Delphi Classics started releasing products and have ONLY reviewed DelphiClassics.com releases with 5 stars – a couple of reviews have been sprinkled in with the Delphi ones on one of the accounts in an effort to make the accounts look natural but, again, they have been reviewed on the same day as the Delphi reviews.  And when you see how one of these fake accounts seemingly jumps across continents to Amazon.co.uk, you’ll be even more surprised!

And if all this wasn’t enough, Amazon put’s a link next to each product you review, which you’ve actually purchased, that says “Amazon Verified Purchase” and NONE of these reviews have actually been purchased!  Add on the fact that Amazon.com also put’s a “Real Name” badge next to your name when you have a credit card on file with them and none of these accounts having that badge, and it’s plain to see that these accounts are certainly fake.  But that’s not all…

Firstly, we’ll introduce the first fraudulent Amazon account, “John Khastin,” who’s very first Amazon review ever, just happens to come in response to a completely legitimate 1 star review on the Leo Tolstoy Delphi Classics release on April 28th…

Delphi Classics Scam JohnKhastin1

It’s important to note that this reader states they have gone through and the formatting is excellent and that he “hasn’t seen a complete works like this,” when in fact, this collection has a ton of missing works, which I verified.

Now here’s where this get’s REALLY interesting!  The second fraudulent account under the name “L Bryant” comes to the rescue less than 24 hours later and “agrees” with “John,” on the same Leo Tolstoy review, while *playfully* interacting with him – again praising formatting and completeness, which has been verified to not be accurate, by two independent sources!…

DelphiClassics.com Peter Russell Scam L Bryant

Now we’re back to April 28th with “John Khastin” again, who has another glowing review, this time about the Charles Dicken’s release praising how complete it is.  However, I purchased this product myself and it was missing work, I sent a list to the publisher.  So it’s beyond me how “John”, who happens to have all of Dickens’ print works, and meticulously went through and checked everything is stating how complete it is, when I found stuff missing (and formatting errors) in just 30 minutes worth of online research…

Delphi Classics Peter Russell Scam John Khastin

What’s even more interesting is when “L Bryant,” again, less than 24 hours later, hits Amazon with a 5 star review for the Delphi Classics Jane Austen collection.  What’s important to note here is that “L Bryant” is first talking about how “dazzling” the Dicken’s product is, but he hasn’t reviewed it.  However, “John Khastin” did, less than 24 hours previously.  What’s the matter Peter, getting your accounts mixed up?  Forgetting which account reviewed each of your own products?

DelphiClassics.com Scam John Khastin

Now we have yet another incredible development (and leap across the ocean)!  24 hours later, “L Bryant” has now registered a account on Amazon.co.uk and left a glowing review of the the DelphiClassics.com Oscar Wilde collection!  Firstly, I purchased the Oscar Wilde “Complete Collection” and it’s missing 29 poems and 19 of Oscar’s essays!  A FAR cry from complete I’d say.

This jump from the US to the UK is interesting because you cannot order Kindle products from Amazon.co.uk unless you have an account separate from the US Amazon.com website.  Most importantly, you must also have a UK address and credit card to match that address on file with Amazon.co.uk.

So did “L Bryant” move to the UK in less than 24 hours?  I don’t think so, especially since he’s not done leaving US reviews yet (read on)…

Delphi Classics Peter Russell Scam L Bryant 3

Back to the US Batman!  “John Khastin” is back with a 5 star review of the Mark Twain release by DelphiClassics.com.  Sadly, I found so many missing works and formatting errors in this item after I purchased it, I could not believe it.  I sent the publisher a list of several pages (and sent them to Amazon) of these errors…

DelphiClassics.com Peter Russell Scam John Khastin

And “John” is not done yet!  On the same day he comes and writes a review in response to my review on the George Eliot Delphi Classics review, which pointed out numerous missing works, and writes in a confusing “voice of the company” kind of tone.  He also alludes to the fact that I might have George Eliot “confused with some other writer” when referring my finding missing texts.  Wrong, I verified them on multiple sources and even looked at the texts online.  Nice try though Peter.  Or should I say John? Or should I say L Bryant? …

DelphiClassics.com Peter Russell Scam John Khastin

And guess who’s back on the same day as “John Khastin?”  That’s right, “L Bryant” has a review on the “amazing” Edgar Allen Poe release by Delphi.  Peter Russell has been a busy bee today!…

DelphiClassics.com Peter Russell Scam L Bryant 4

If those aren’t dirty tactics (most likely illegal) I don’t know what are.  The writing style, use of words, and tone of the writing by both “John Khastin” and “L Bryant” is exactly the same and also matches Peter Russell’s writing – we don’t need to be forensic writing analysts to see that.

Not a shocker on the rating of Peter Russell and his Delphi Classics (delphiclassics.com) brand…

Zero Stars Chris Elliott Rated

Until next time,

Chris Elliott Signature

 

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15 Comments on Delphi Classics Kindle Collections – False Advertising And Lies (DelphiClassics.com)

  1. William says:

    Dear Chris,

    I bought a Kindle from Amazon.com (altought I live in Brazil) and have just started to purchase some books. After reading your review I am convinced that Delphi is not worth the purchasing. But would you recommend another brand, where I could find complete collections ? From which brand have you purchased your Kindle books ?

    Kind regards and a happy new Year

    William

    • Hi William,

      It really varies. Your best bet is to check out the free samples most publishers offer, take a look at the table of contents, and check the formatting of the chapters in the sample. Plus, of course check reviews. I’ve had good luck with a wide array of publishers but you have to be discerning. There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a product and finding stuff missing or that they got lazy on the formatting half way through the book like that of Delphi Classics.

      Happy Holidays!
      Chris Elliott

  2. Mel u says:

    On the brand new delphi collection of the complete works of virginia woolf, on the cover of the sample kindle edition they have a pic of vita sackville-smith instead of woolf.

  3. Joel says:

    Found this after seeing some of the shenanigans in response to your Amazon review of the Oscar Wilde collection. I’m very thankful that you’ve exposed this absurd affair so that myself and others don’t waste money or time on that charlatan’s products.

  4. Hello Chris, I value your contribution here I have several Delhi classics and now I will begin my research as you did which I should have done before. Most of the books and works I have on my Kindle are from the Internet Archive, yes the formatting is not that good very bad in some cases and yet again some books are decently formatted with nothing missing,. I know because after years of buying printed books I have many in the printed book. My prime reason for buying the Kindle was to save space as I have run out of it. I expect when I buy anything that it is as DESCRIBED.

  5. contulmmiv says:

    Thanks for raising awareness.

  6. Roy Glashan says:

    I am the webmaster of Roy Glashan’s Library, a sister-site of Project Gutenberg Australia. I started looking for information about Delphi Classics when readers began reporting that this publisher is exploiting books from RGL and PGA commercially, for example, in their collection of works by Edgar Wallace. Although the texts of the books we publish are in the public domain, many also contain additional proprietary material (introductions, commentaries, annotations, etc.) that is protected by copyright laws.

    In the past I have had some success in thwarting the commercial exploitation of our books. In one case Amazon’s copyright agent had over 30 books removed from their their catalogue and I took appropriate action against the offenders.

    I plan to post a notice my readers of about Delphi Classics’ unsanctioned use of books from RGL and PGA and would like your permission to include a link to your blog.

    Please let me have your e-mail address so that I can send you an advance copy of this notice for verification prior to posting.

    With best wishes,

    Roy Glashan

    • Hi Roy,

      Glad to hear about your efforts in thwarting this kind of things.

      Feel free to post a link right here in the comment section of my blog post to generate some awareness for your work also.

      Thanks!
      Chris Elliott

  7. Meg says:

    I’ll add my thanks for the exposé, Chris. I have been disappointed in Delphi too – I don’t mind mentally correcting errors on free books but I object to having to do so on books I’ve paid for. However, I was looking for something this morning and thought to check whether Delphi has it. The site is down – is it down for good I wonder? Has Delphi decided to fold up its tent and quietly slink away?

    • Hi Meg,

      Yes, the site is down for me also. Upon some research, I found many forum threads where Delphi customers reveal that Peter Russell, owner of Delphi Classics is demanding payment for the free upgrades that he promised for free now. And bear in mind that the majority of these updates do NOT include new material, but corrections of grammar, spelling, and formatting errors Peter/Delphi falsely advertised as not being there in the first place!

      I found an interesting discussion on how Peter Russell (Delphi Classics owner) treated one customer via their blog here…

      http://www.teleread.com/ebooks.....-business/

      http://www.teleread.com/ebooks.....the-owner/

      Seems to be some underhanded stuff going on over there at Delphi.

      The claim that since their “website went down” they’ve lost all customer data? That doesn’t even make sense. As an online business owner who has processed credit cards, I can tell you that the customer data is also stored off site in the credit card processors system, thereby not being able to be affected by an entire site going down.

      Not looking good as the ship comes tumbling down, yet they still have works for sale on Amazon. Shameful.

      Chris Elliott

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