A review copy of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency: International Legal and Regulatory Challenges (Bloomsbury Professional, ISBN 978 1 52650 837 9) makes a gratifying thump when it lands on Obiter's desk. At 357 pages from three expert authors, it looks a weighty and very timely briefing on the legal questions raised by the application of new encryption techniques.
And, for the first 162 pages, the title lives up to its promise. Authors Dean Armstrong QC, Dan Hyde and Sam Thomas follow through on their pledge in the introduction to 'elucidate blockchain, cryptocurrency and the new thinking that these topics represent whilst always keeping in mind that it should be explained in a way that anyone, including a six-year-old, would understand'. A particularly topical chapter deals with the collision course between blockchain-enabled services and the 'right to be forgotten and right to erasure' created in European law.
From page 163, however, the standard of writing falls off. In fact the next 123 pages are devoted to an appendix reproducing in full the text of the European General Data Protection Regulation. The subsequent 97 pages reprint the final report of the UK government's Cryptoassets Taskforce. Worthy documents both, but they are easily findable on the web (look here and here). Allocating more than half of a £95 textbook to them looks suspiciously like padding.
Do the publishers think no one is going to fork out nearly 100 quid for only 162 pages of original analysis? Or do the authors have shares in Ikea?
Or is padding out on this scale just the norm in legal publishing these days? We'd love to hear of any other recent examples: email email@example.com.