Phil: At the moment I’m reading Anthony McReavy’s book on the life and times of Frank Hornby – “The Toy Story“. Bought from a charity shop, the volume had originally be owned by the Worcestershire County Library service. Despite being published in 2002, this hardback volume in excellent condition has been sold out of service ten years later. Thanks to years of working with people from this service, I know libraries aren’t just about books, but books lasting less than a decade in the stocks despite being just as relevant as when they were published saddens me a little.
Not as much as what I find inside the book.
Someone has taken it upon themselves to “correct” the text in pencil. You can’t go more than half a dozen pages without finding this amateur editors efforts defacing the text.
Why? Who on earth cares? Did they think that somehow if they scribbled in the book, all the copies would magically “correct” themselves?
The problem is that every time I hit an alteration, I find myself required to stop and decide if “correction” is correct. The flow of the text is lost. Each pencil mark is a set of traffic lights along the highway of knowledge.
Have you ever augmented a published book in pencil? I’m really fascinated to know more. If only the “editor” had included their address at the front, perhaps on the page that lists copyright and publisher, I could have gone along and asked them.