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Old 03-05-2005, 10:13 AM   #1
Michael Rowley
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Default Always recto, or as it comes?

I'm a little puzzled by the habit, frequently met with nowadays, of starting chapters only on recto pages. It used to be customary to place chapter headings right or left as they happened to fall, apart from the opening chapter, which was always on a righthand page. When did having every chapter heading on a righthand page become almost the rule? I'm talking about books, of course.

   
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Old 03-07-2005, 12:35 AM   #2
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Well, Judith Butcher seems fairly neutral on whether chapters should start on a recto or follow on. She says 'The main text (introduction or chapter 1) always starts on a right-hand page. Later chapters may start on a fresh page, or may run on, separated from the preceding chapter only by a space. If there are to be offprints of individual chapters (in the case of a contributory volume, for example), the chapters will usually start on a right-hand page.'

Starting chapters on a recto does make it easier in situations where authors are likely to make significant changes at proofreading stage as edits causing regagination are more likley to be contained within the affected chapter. It has been my experience with text books that authors frequently make quite major changes at a late date -- frequenly after the extent has been agreed and catalogue entries have been written and the cover designed.

   
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Old 03-07-2005, 08:19 AM   #3
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Mike:

'where authors are likely to make significant changes at proofreading stage'

How interesting! I thought authors were not allowed to make changes after the copy-editing stage was finished. Changes used to be tolerated until the page proofs were ready; the author generally saw only the galley proofs.

'the cover designed'

When have dust-cover designs ever had much to do with designers' impressions of the books' contents?

   
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
Mike:

'where authors are likely to make significant changes at proofreading stage'
Maybe I've just been unlucky but I've done quite a lot of books for one major publisher who never seemed to say no to author changes after the stuff was set. Sometimes they'd even get me to start setting a book before the author had finished writing it.

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'the cover designed'

When have dust-cover designs ever had much to do with designers' impressions of the books' contents?
I was thinking of paperbacks where adding or subtracting a signature can make sufficient difference to the spine that the artwork has to be changed.

   
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:36 AM   #5
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Mike:

'I've done quite a lot of books for one major publisher who never seemed to say no to author changes'

If that was a university press, it might make a difference, for I think they have an obligation to print the work of the academic staff of the university. You might be lucky that the work of such people was ever 'finished' in their view.

'adding or subtracting a signature can make sufficient difference to the spine'

Ah, I hadn't thought of spines.

   
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
If that was a university press, it might make a difference, for I think they have an obligation to print the work of the academic staff of the university. You might be lucky that the work of such people was ever 'finished' in their view.
Surprisingly, no. I worked at the University of Toronto Press for some years, and the practise is that books published at a Press are from authors from "other" universities. The author wants this, as it leads credence to his work that another Press would select it, and the Press wants it, as it enhances the reputation of the Press.

(This may not apply to smaller University presses, which may actually work under the rules you mention. If so, I suspect that they have very limited reputation and reach).

In terms of AAs, the U of T Press was very strict with authors, and generally sent bills to authors for making changes in the galley or page proof stage (I hope I don't have to explain galley proof to the younger readers).

It is surprising how many "essential" changes to the text were quite unnecessary once the author learned how much it was going to cost "him" to change them.

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Old 03-08-2005, 11:01 AM   #7
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Don:

'This may not apply to smaller University presses'

I was thinking mainly of the university presses of Oxford and Cambridge in particular, though there are Scottish universities about as old. Whether any of those could be categorized as 'small' depends on your standpoint; I suppose that the University of Toronto has grown quite a bit since 1827.

'were quite unnecessary once the author learned how much it was going to cost him to change them'

Quite: some publishers are too lax.

   
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
If that was a university press, it might make a difference,
Nothing quite so erudite. It was McGraw-Hill.

   
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:25 AM   #9
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Mike:

'It was McGraw-Hill'

Oh, an American publisher . . . McGraw-Hill used to publish very good text books, though a bit pricey.

   
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Old 03-11-2005, 12:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
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McGraw-Hill used to publish very good text books, though a bit pricey.
Well, since they publish one that I wrote with a colleague, I have to agree.[g]

   
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