“Books” so bad they don’t deserve the name

I have been reading voraciously about the history of the Earth and deep time — fun subject matter that takes me as far away from the headlines as possible — but it’s hard to find good content about it. Today I went looking in Apple Books and found a series of $4 books, each named for a geological epoch or age: Triassic, Pleistocene, and so on.

I tried a free sample, and it was hot garbage. The most generous interpretation is that it was a sloppy translation of source text that was rambling and unclear to begin with, but I think it’s more likely that these titles are just outright fraudulent, produced to look just legitimate enough to generate a few sales to unwary customers.

Bookstores and libraries have always been full of terrible books that should never have been published, usually pandering to a very specific audience. But, execrable as they can be, they do invariably deserve the noun “books.” These terrible things I found barely qualified as functional documents, let alone books. How much of this kind of thing is out there?