Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Review: The 'Style Manual: for Authors, Editors and Printers'

I have chosen to review the sixth edition of the Style Manual: for Authors, Editors and Printers edited by Snooks & Co, printed by Craft Print International Ltd, Singapore, and published, marketed and distributed by John Wiley and Sons Australia, Ltd. My 2011 paperback edition contains 550 pages and cost $44.95 plus $7.50 shipping and handling via Wiley’s online store.

The Style Manual is an extensive resource for authors, editors and printers as it contains detailed information on preparing publication plans; the role of authors, editors, designers, printers and various other specialists; how to convey information clearly and concisely, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalisation conventions; the importance of thorough copy-editing and proofreading; copyright, privacy and defamation laws; how to obtain quotes from printers; measures to ensure a publication’s quality; and, unique to the sixth edition, publishing on the web and other forms of digital printing.

Since the first edition, published in 1966 by the Commonwealth Government Printing Office, the Style Guide has undergone a number of revisions, keeping it up to date with the ever changing English language and trends in the publishing industry.

Each topic is written by specialists in their field, refereed by a second, or subsequent, source, and includes relevant images set out in an effective manner. For example, the introduction to chapter 25, ‘Paper-based Reproduction’, states that “Arranging for a document to be printed is a significant project management task. It entails contracting and coordinating a range of different suppliers, and checking the quality of the services they provide for the project. Knowledge of the processes and techniques involved enables suitable production decisions to be made.” The following 28 pages describe the process in great detail, including not only the various costs associated with print production (types of paper, printing and binding techniques, and embellishment), but also advice on how to reduce expenses without necessarily degrading the look and feel of the publication.

When you include the long list of further reading resources at the end of each chapter, the Style Manual has to be one of the most thorough and credible resources anyone serious about the publishing industry in Australia can own.

Harvard reference: Snooks & Co (eds.) 2011, Style Manual: for Authors, Editors and Printers, 6th edn, John Wiley and Sons, Singapore.

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