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Photo Atlas of Mineral Pseudomorphism

Posted by JL  
JL September 14, 2017 11:54AM
So ....

I just received my copy of Photo Atlas of Mineral Pseudomorphism by J. Theo Kloprogge and R. Lavinsky....

I'm sorry to say it that way but it's the worst mineral book I've ever seen, i'm sending it back.

For something named "Photo Atlas", one would expect to see a lot of wonderfull pictures.

Well, guess again !

No glossy paper, just regular paper, like the one you put into your printer.
No full page pictures.
No high-def pictures. Just a regular color laser printing (in fact there's even some black and white pictures!)

Most of the pictures are blurry !!!! Can you believe it ?!?! I can take better pictures with my smartphone, or even with a smartphone from the year 2000.

In some of them you can't even see the mineral ..... you have to imagine it.
The contrast is bad, the colors are off....

No wonder the amazon preview only shows the ''text'' pages... I really feel ripped off.

For the price asked, that book is totally NOTworth it.

How can the authors agree to such a poor quality print at such a high price ????

It's a shame, I was looking forward to this book since last year....

Edit: the back cover says "Contains 500 high-resolution full color photos". That's a shameless lie...

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2017 12:08PM by JL.
JL September 14, 2017 02:41PM
Owen Lewis September 14, 2017 03:42PM
JL's post served to pique my interest. The link Uwe gives leads to a googlebook peep inside of the first 36 (out of 200) pages. Clearly, this is not a coffee-table 'art book' :-) However, for some like me who need to understand more about pseudomorphism than we presently do, this book just might be a good eye-opener.

My order (through Amazon UK) has just been sent off. At £67.78 and with free delivery for a new hard-back copy, I shan't be expecting the highest quality of book-making or art-work - just the quality of the knowledge it promises to hold.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2017 03:44PM by Owen Lewis.
Luís Martins September 14, 2017 03:46PM
I always find suspicious when a name is not associated with such hard criticism... The same thing on the incredibly similar comment in

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2017 04:01PM by Luís Martins.
Jeff Weissman September 14, 2017 04:45PM
Sorry JL, but my Amazon preview shows nice well reproduced full color images - Rob Lavinsky is well known for his mineral photography and that skill is reflected in the free preview of the book, as seen on Amazon. Perhaps you bought a photocopy of the book and not the actual book?

Would like to see opinions from others who may have the actual book on hand.
Owen Lewis September 14, 2017 04:55PM
Failing all else, my copy will be to hand within the next 10 days and I will post an opinion then.
JL September 14, 2017 05:43PM
Luis .... Well, I'm the one who posted the comment on, also on .com. Problem solved !
Also, I don't see why I should reveal my real name. I never do so on the internet and I won't do it for you.
I'm just sharing my disapointment here and warning people on amazon.

If you think I'm a lier or just someone trying to ''bash'' this book, try to get your hands on a copy and tell me what you think of it.

Personnaly, when I pay ~90€ for a book I expect quality and all the more when the book is entitled ''Photo Atlas'' !

And, no I didn't bought a photocopy of the book (well, I sure hope so...), I bought it on amazon, from amazon.
So unless amazon has begun to sell fake books, I think I have the actual one.

The images may show great on your computer as they are probably from the ebook version.

As I said, the problem comes from the paper used and the low quality printing.

I will also like to add that I would really like people to tell me their copy of the book has great images... because that would mean mine is defective and I could get it replaced by a good one.....

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2017 05:50PM by JL.
Kevin Conroy September 14, 2017 06:01PM
I haven't done much with Amazon, so how do I see the preview?
Jeff Weissman September 14, 2017 06:36PM
Kevin - when looking at the Amazon page, you should see a "look inside" message - click on it and a window should open, you can then page through to near the end, where the full color images are located. And no, I looked at the hardcover book preview, not the Kindle e-book preview.
JL September 14, 2017 06:52PM
Well, I looked to the preview (before buying it I had only looked to the ebook preview...).

I don't find the pictures that great.... far from it.

But, anyway, they are still a LOT better than the ones I see on my copy of the book :(

As I said, the paper is really cheap, the pictures are blurry (most of them, and it's not a printing defect affecting only some pictures, all of them have the same ''grain'') and the colors are really off.

The book really looks like someone printed it with somekind of not-so-good laser printer in his office and then had it binded with a premium cover (I have to admit the cover is great!).

Isn't there someone who actually has the book ?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2017 12:44AM by JL.
Kevin Conroy September 14, 2017 06:53PM
Thank you Jeff!
Alysson Rowan September 14, 2017 09:40PM
I have just looked at the Google preview on the Elsevier website.

This looks to be a well presented textbook, richly illustrated with a mixture of colour and monochrome photographs, photomicrographs and sketches.

While I might agree that the title may hint at a coffee-table book, any cursory glance at the inside will tell you that this is a textbook.

I could sympathise with a complaint about the quality of the printing (I haven't seen a physical copy) but not with any complaint about the content, since a preview is offered.

Just my ha'penneth worth.
Wayne Corwin September 14, 2017 09:42PM

Maybe you got a cheep 'knock off'' somehow?
JL September 14, 2017 10:32PM

I haven't complained about the content, just the quality of the printing. :(

Wayne, I really wish that's the case.... As I said, I bought it from amazon (sold by amazon), so I don't think I got a knock off, but who knows ???

That's why I would like to know if anyone else have the book.

I've send mine back but if I found out I the one I got was a knock off, I would definitely buy another ''real'' one.
As I said, my complaint is only about the quality of printing/paper.

Frankly, when I saw how the book was, I didn't even bother to look at the content (even though that's why I bought it...), I just shuffled through and decided to get my money back.

From my point of view, it is just unacceptable to market something of such poor quality.
I have many many books about minerals and a other things, and that's the worst book I've ever seen. In terms of quality, the only thing it can be compared to is an amateur print made using cheap office paper and a cheap laser printer (that's something I know as book binding is one of my hobbies. I've done it many times, often, if not every time, with a better paper and print quality).

Anyway, if I got a phony book, the authors (if they read this thread) will be able to do something to stop it.
If I got the "real" book..... well..... the only thing I can say is : please don't do that and/or find a better publisher.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2017 10:48PM by JL.
Owen Lewis September 14, 2017 11:33PM
This gets a little bit like 'Never mind the quality (of the content). Just feel the width (of the binding) :-) Science books are always relatively expensive because they sell only in short runs. The production standards tend the mediocre (in many but not all cases) because most students would rather pay less that the costs that a good quality short run book necessitates.

This book sell in hardback and including the e-book version for USD100. That is not expensive for a hardback science text book.

And, re-reading your original post, you did not just attack the production quality but were scathing about its content, that you now say you only glanced at!

As said, more to follow when my copy has arrived and I have read it.
JL September 14, 2017 11:56PM
Owen, I don't really see where I scath the content ?? But english isn't my native language so I may have said more than what I wanted to ?
And, if my original post sound like I'm scathing the content, let me say this loud and clear : I have no opinion about the content (quality of the texts inside), I haven't read it and even if I had, I wouldn't be able to tell good from bad. I also assume the text is good as it come from serious people.

I don't find USD100 to be cheap for a short run text book, but i'm not in the US so ...

To compare, look at what Bode (german publisher) is able to do (Namibia I & II for example), limited edition (1000), hardbound, high quality (texts and photos) and a lot more pages (600+) for 75€. It's not exactly the same thing as it's not a textbook but I don't think such prints are cheaper than textbooks.

But that's not really the point.
The book is described by the publisher as :
There are many examples of pseudomorphs, but they have never been brought together in a single reference book that features high-resolution, full-color pseudomorph formations together with the original minerals that they have replaced.

That's a lie. And that's my point, nothing more, nothing less.
If the book was marketed as a textbook I would have no problem with it and probably wouldn't have bought it.
I'm not a mineralogist nor a geologist, I'm curious about pseudomorphs but not necessarily interested in all the technical details. I was only hoping to learn a little more about it and to enjoy some "high-resolution, full-color" pictures.

You (not specially Owen) claim this is a textbook and I should not be complaining. I have to disagree.
The very ''showy'' cover, the publisher description, the name (Photo Atlas) and the participation of R. Lavinsky who is -as someone pointed out- known for his photos, the price, everything indicated a good ''picture book".
You may not agree with me but I think that's false advertising.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you think about the book.

PS: sorry for the multiple edits, but I tend to make a lot of mistakes when I write in english.

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2017 01:03AM by JL.
Jorge Santos Garcia September 15, 2017 12:16AM
This is a really amusing threat.

There is a person who actually bought one book and wrote a post saying he do not like it because of the pictures' quality.

A bunch of other persons that do not have or even saw the book are trying to convince him that the book is great and the pictures are of very good quality.

There is something strange in all of this.

Jorge Santos Garcia

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2017 12:30AM by Jorge Santos Garcia.
JL September 15, 2017 12:58AM
Thank you Jorge.

I feel less alone in here...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2017 12:58AM by JL.
Malcolm Southwood September 15, 2017 04:12AM
I downloaded the e-version of this book a couple of weeks ago and have started reading the text section, as the mechanisms of pseudomorphism are something I’m really interested in. I have to say that my impression of the book so far is mixed, although I cannot comment on the quality of the hard copy as I’ve yet to receive it.
The first half of the book – the text section (115 pages) – is extremely useful if you want to learn about the physics and chemistry of how pseudomorphs happen. However, the casual collector will probably find this section heavy-going and, I have to say, parts of it would have benefitted from a more thorough proof-reading. The references section is extensive and has already pointed me to a number of important papers that I was previously unaware of.
The second half of the book – the photographs (roughly 160 pages) – is a little disappointing to me. Based on what I’ve read so far, there is little (if any ?) cross referencing between the text section and the photograph section. (True, there are illustrative figures within the text section itself, but may of these are SEM images or photomicrographs of thin sections or polished sections.) The photo section per se is, therefore, essentially stand-alone, and the photographs are presented with minimalistic captions and no discussion whatsoever of the geological environment in which they occur; this is disappointing to me.
Yet more concerning (again, this is a personal opinion) is that the photographs have been poorly selected. The style is that each page represents a particular type of pseudomorph – typically headed “A pseudomorph after B” – and then three or more photos are shown; typically one of the pseudomorph, one of Mineral A and one of Mineral B. It would seem to me that the value of each of these pages would be best served by ensuring that the photograph of Mineral B shows a similar habit (and, where possible, a specimen from the same locality) as the pseudomorph itself. Unfortunately this is not the case. Taking the “Bayldonite pseudomorph after mimetite” example (on page 199), a photograph of “bayldonite” (although I suspect it is arsentsumebite) after slender hexagonal prisms of mimetite from Tsumeb is shown. It would have been relatively easy, one would think, to find mimetite crystals of a similar habit from Tsumeb for the “Mineral B” photograph but, instead, a specimen of thick tabular mimetite crystals from Cobar in Australia is shown which bears minimal similarity to the illustrated pseudomorph.
Over the years Rob Lavinsky has accumulated a formidable photographic database and, as we have seen here on Mindat, he’s been more than generous with its use and availability. Here, too, I would congratulate Rob on making the database available for a project such as this. However, the overall quality of this book would have benefitted if the photographs had been multi-sourced and selected more appropriately for the task of illustrating and explaining pseudomorphism.
So, knowing what I know now, would I buy the book? Yes, I would, but much more for the textbook aspect than for the “photo atlas” concept.
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