Terry Pacey should have no fear of attack over constructive criticism of a
book. No book is perfect, and readers benefit through being informed of
errors and inaccuracies. This can be critical if, because of errors, it
causes an observer to misidentify a bird, or frustratingly prevents them
from making an identification at all. As well there are problems caused
when a book gives the impression that a bird is typical or ?okay? for an
area when it?s only been recorded once or twice in the area or perhaps
worse, that it may never have been actually verified there at all.
Unfortunately instead of good critical comment we?re often confronted
with pre- and post-publication marketing blurb disguised as a review,
and fear attack if we offer a contrary point of view.
Publishers have a quite a deal of responsibility in ensuring that a book is
accurate and presumably most publishers with a reputation to maintain
will have manuscripts and illustrations reviewed widely by
knowledgeable referees prior to publication. There can be no doubt that
books are improved greatly by this, and so readers, authors and
illustrators benefit greatly as well.
Unfortunately errors, inaccuracies, plagiarised content and other
undesirable material may still get through. It is then up to the post-
publication reviewer, official or unofficial, to point out those faults to the
readers and potential readers of the book. Or more importantly, to users
and potential users of the book, since errors may be of little importance
to a reader but of great importance to a user!
Happy bird booking
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