Friday, December 16, 2011

The Decline of Copy-Editing

You have to wonder:
  • China Mieville's novel Kraken uses it's where its is clearly meant, just a few pages in. GROAN.
  • Mary Roach's Packing for Mars apparently never got a full read-through from someone who was paying attention, including the copy editor she thanks in the acknowledgements. There's a person who is introduced 2/3 of the way through the book, then again maybe 50 pages later. I caught it, but no one else did. Perhaps if there had been an index??
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies is written rather breathlessly, works much too hard for dubious analogies (just state the facts, doc!), and in several places seems to repeat itself within a page or two. What?


sfmike said...

And let's not even start on the publishers who somehow think Spellcheck is going to catch all typos, even though all it does is preserve the best/worst ones such as public/pubic, as/at, and so on.

I've actually started working as a freelance copy-editor for writers because I couldn't stand it anymore.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Hell, yes, re the value of spelling checkers.

I hear from friends who have Kindles that ebooks are often in very, very bad shape. (I use Google Books e-reader only and only for free, public domain books, which are often out of print, but by and large I'm still reading print books.)

Joe Barron said...

You're not too far off. Copy-editing is indeed declining, because publishers, esp. the smaller houises, don't want to pay for it anymore.