They have snakes in every industry, but, in publishing they seem to be focused mostly in the so-called 'vanity' publishing arena.

Bruce C. Smith of the Indianapolis Star  reports this story on one vanity publisher located in his state:

Vanity book publisher and former Downtown bookstore owner David William Caswell was accused in a lawsuit filed Tuesday of violating the state's deceptive consumer sales laws.

This is the third time in 20 years the Indiana attorney general has sued the 58-year-old Indianapolis man and his job placement or publishing companies. Customers claim Caswell took their money and failed to deliver on his promises.

In the latest suit, 16 authors from Indiana and other states said they paid Caswell and his New Century Publishing to edit, illustrate and print their books, but they never received the copies. Most paid at least $1,500, some much more.

"Our investigation into the consumer complaints indicates that he intentionally misled consumers," Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a written statement. "He also has a history of deceptive business practices."

Dixie Richardson, an Indianapolis writer who paid $1,500 but didn't receive copies of her book, said, "We weren't stupid. We knew this was a vanity publisher and we were buying a product. But he has made a career of misleading people."

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