Quill and Quire

Book news

« Back to
Quillblog

The battle over robot toothbrushes

Two weeks ago we blogged about Scholastic’s controversial misuse of its book clubs, but it would appear that was a mere footnote compared to the uproar generated by the company’s Klutz division, which has published Invasion of the Bristlebots, a book packaged with two tiny toothbrush robots – and which fails to credit wife and husband team Lenore Edman and Windell Oskay for the invention.

A storm of fury has unfurled across the blogosphere, according to Publisher’s Weekly:

A typical one, on blog.makezine.com: Sad to see something for fun take on evil overtones of corporate thought theft. Others on the same site acknowledged the possibility of innocence: Given how stressful publishing is these days, and how shoestring those types of projects can be, I wouldn’t be surprised that they were completely unconscious of the need to attribute.

The storm even prompted an apology from Pat Murphy, an editor at Klutz:

I wanted to let everyone know that Lenore Edman at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and I had a good conversation this afternoon.

We spoke about our shared commitment to making science and technology accessible to children. We began a discussion of ways that Klutz could acknowledge the exceptional work that Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has done in Bristlebot research “ starting with this message and continuing with acknowledgment in the next printing of the book and on the Klutz website.

Let this be a lesson: never deny the power of the blog.