Considerations That Influence Layout In Academic Work-Books

BMS Editorial, Editing, proofreading

An old and established publisher of educational books lost some school accounts at the beginning of this new school year. I know because my children’s school dropped their English and Mathematics titles, listing a new and untested publisher. It probably costs less than the previous book as school administrators are not immune from the effect of the economic downturn. Unfortunately and probably unknown to the established publisher, both publishers use the same marketer but that is not the thrust of this post.

From my experience working freelance for academic publishers,  the main differences in titles at the Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary school stages are the layout, the unique content presentation, and the creativity in engaging the users, both teachers and students. I looked through these new Basic Two (Key Stage 1) textbooks by Reddot and identified some editing flaws that would have been sorted if a little more thought or know-how had been applied.

This Reddot English and Mathematics textbook has opted for a slightly different layout and presentation of content. I photographed some areas I would have addressed if I had edited the books and will discuss them below.

The first two pictures I took to illustrate why the use of the textbook should inform the layout. Ordinarily, this question section should have lines after each question for the student to input their answers. The other option is for the student to answer the questions inside a separate notebook (which is fast becoming an unusual practice for this education stage). If this is what the author had in mind when he was writing it, there should be a note to teachers saying so. The omission of both answer lines and a note to teachers is an editing fail especially because every other question section provides answer lines. The second picture shows inadequate answer lines. This should have been noticed by whoever did the final stage proofreading. The section above shows the same centimetre length of answer lines as the section below despite the answer requires differing lengths.

The second set of pictures show an avoidable spelling error in the content page that was not repeated in the main page. This means it is not that the author and/or editors do not know the spelling of the word -touchest- but there was an oversight somewhere that a new pair of eyes would have caught. So, yes, you have a capable editor you work with but you need to consider that both of you may have become too familiar with the text to catch the obvious. This is actually important to consider; it is a key reason why writers should never be their own editor.

In all, no matter how these errors got there, what matters is that the publishers need to do an editorial review so that the next set of prints do not feature these avoidable mistakes.

The intuitive and personalised service we offer at BMS ensure your books are flawless and delightful to read and use.


1 Comment
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