It is not anymore only about the Nigerian Prince asking for your bank account to deposit millions of dollars in "inheritance money." There are many more elaborated barely legal scams out there on the Internet.
About a month after I finished my dissertation, I got an e-mail from a Germany-based publishing company requesting to publish "my paper" entitled as the final title I gave to my dissertation. The acquisition editor, named Yedisen Ramasamy, said in his message that he was performing research at my university library repository, and came across my "paper" and they wanted me to publish it with them.
I imagined that nobody wanted to scam newly-minted academics with their theses. I was wrong!
There is not much information coming officially from Universities or academic discussion sites about LAP, although the Chronicle of Higher Education had a discussion about this "publisher." Most of the information I found came from other bloggers, from chat rooms and lists about people who have gotten the same message (many of them have actually responded to this publisher). There is also a wikipedia page about the history of VDM (Verlag Dr Müller) publishers, the same editorial house that created Lambert. This wikipedia entry says that VDM used to publish multiple wikipedia entries on the same topic grouped as "books" and charged for them. Apparently they are no longer doing this, and in the last few years, they have been "harvesting" University libraries for recently published Masters theses and dissertations.
Although some testimonials claim that this is legal, and I have no doubt about this being "barely legal" suspicion should be raised of a company that says they do not have editors to edit the thousands of books they publish "to keep costs low," but they hire multiple "acquisition editors" around the world, and in many languages to craft letters that seem legitimate, and to answer the e-mails of unaware authors eager to see their work published in record times. Their Website is also, mostly directed to authors rather than libraries or potential costumers. This alone should raise doubts.
Due to the high number of people who have actually gotten into this self-publishing scheme, and the possible damage this may cause to unaware authors, I think it is important for more universities and academic advisors to tell students and recent graduates about this. According to some testimonials, they publish dissertations and other works as they come, with no editing, arguing that is is already "peer reviewed by your committee." This kind of publishing will not be respected in academia, and may harm your possibilities of getting your dissertation turned into a book, since they retain rights for a substantial part of it, and your name will be already out there associated with them. While it is true that the publishing industry is in transition, and possibly there will be a new or at least, different model for academic publishing, proofreading, editing, and peer-reviewing a manuscript will likely remain as important components of the academic publishing of the future. Author mills should not be the model for disseminating academic knowledge. If you want to make your work available through self-publishing, you can turn it into a pdf and disseminate it through the web if you desire.