Changing Books after Publication: What Happens When Authors Change Their Minds?

This is an interesting look at editions of books and why they get changed. This certainly lends to the idea of making updates to books as necessary today when it’s far easier to accomplish with technology. Reader experience is paramount to consider when considering these changes regardless. Will a new edition make the book better or drastically change the whole story?

Kristen Twardowski

Often books are published in an imperfect state. The first print run may include minor grammar errors or other issues that a publisher fixes in subsequent printings. But what happens when someone decides that larger changes are necessary?

In publishing, the term “edition” can indicate several different types of alterations to the original manuscripts. Translations can count as different editions as can international versions that may have different formatting or cover requirements. But books with extensive textual or plot revisions fall into an altogether different category. Producing this last type of editions often involves large changes in society or in the consciousness of the author.

Because these major alterations occur for vastly different reasons, I’m highlighting a few of the most interesting cases below.

coversRichard Scarry, The Best Word Book Ever

Scarry’s children’s books feature simple stories filled with anthropomorphized animals. Though Scarry first began publishing in 1949, he has continued to update his over…

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