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In today's Observer, Sheelah Kolhatkar goes spelunking about Alloy, the book packaging company responsible for Kaavya Viswanathan's impressively plagiarized debut novel. Aside from developing ideas in-house and then not allowing their originators to write the resulting books, Alloy books are often written by multiple ghostwriters. In the case of Opal Mehta, a multi-author approach would explain why the thing seems to be cribbed from some 32 different sources.

"To me, all that stuff is such a black box," said one author who has worked with the company. "They have writers who don't exist, and they have writers who don't really write the stuff, and they have one series supposedly by one author that are by many. There's no one-to-one alignment between anything that gets produced and the producer. There's no literary accountability."

Maybe it's just us, but that's fucking awful. How is this company even allowed to exist? Can you imagine spending your bookworm youth idolizing Ann M. Martin, only to find out that she probably never laid a finger on the first Baby-Sitters Club Super Special? Heartbreaking.

Viswanathan-athon: Plagiarizing Writer Fell in Weird Alloy [NYO]