the road ahead

The Book Oven?
April 16, 2009, 11:06 pm
Filed under: business, ministry


There are some very creative approaches being pioneered in book publishing these days. One idea is the book oven. Take a look at what the Gutenberg project is doing. The idea might catch on in the rest of the publishing world.

The best way to think of this process is to imagine a group of volunteer proofreaders speeding through content and then piecing together the bits into a finished manuscript.

1. Book Oven takes texts with no errors.

2. Book Oven chops the texts into bits.

3. Book Oven asks proofreaders to review the snippets

4. Book Oven says that if 100 proofread one manuscript than 100,00 words can be completed in 10 minutes.

5. When completed the text is sent and compiled by Gutenberg.

What do you think? Is it time for editor’s from various publishers to join forces to develop new resources? I wonder what kind of books will be baked in the Book Oven?


8 Comments so far
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My biggest question would be why? Why would people spend time doing this for free? Call me old fashioned, but I don’t currently see how this could be a long term trend. People will eventually get bored. The first initial internet sites failed because customers were not loyal to one site because there so many options available. Compared to 20 or 30 years ago, we are inundated with at least 500 more tv channels, millions of internet sites, cell phones, and thousands of electronic games all vying for our attention. Time is short. It is a highly valued commodity that only I own, and everyone wants a piece of it. Why should I give it away so freely without first evaluating the potential benefits or consequences? God’s Word tells us to redeem our time wisely. We need to think before we invest.

Comment by Cindy

This approach is fast, but faster isn’t always better. There’s great value in having one person work with an entire project. Consistency, things like that.

Comment by Becky

This looks like it would be helpful for catching typos, but how would it help in larger issues, like if the wrong name is put in for a character or something along those lines?

Comment by Matt Mikalatos

I agree with all of the above comments. I would also add one other potential problem. If mistakes remain, who is held accountable? There’s no guarantee that all the proofreaders will be accurate.

Comment by Glenn McMahan

As a longtime copyeditor and proofreader, I say this is ridiculous. I think the only people who would participate are people who have no proofreading skills–and it does require skills. There is much more to proofreading than catching typos, and it takes a trained eye to catch those. I’ve been hearing that eventually no one will care about grammar and spelling and accuracy in writing. I’m watching it unfold before my eyes. It’s sad.

Comment by Darla Hightower

Interesting approach, but I wonder if the flow, progression of thoughts and overall integrity of the final product would suffer. As a global thinker, I need to grasp the big picture before parts make sense to me. Count me as a skeptic who considers the book oven potentially a half-baked idea. However, if an overall content editor reads for continuity, I think it might work.

Comment by Nancy Meyer

I am just a novice in the publishing industry. And I agree primarily with what was stated. I believe, and know that grammar, punctuation are vital. Also catching typo’s. Moreover, reading for continuity throughout the work.

I believe folks do care about these matters. I would suggest that the issues of education, reading levels, etc, not that people are not concerned. Moreover, the concern should be on heart of the subject written about. It is not fun reading something trying to chase down rabbit tails. Writers have their different styles, just as singers, carpentry workers, designers, etc.

In the writing profession, I am familiar with a three different styles of writing, MLA, APA, and the Chicago. Is each one exactly correct and right? Do they each have relevant standards? Each writint style has their own standards understanding is different, education levels may vary, purpose, scope, etc.

In what we do God calls out for excellence. But excellence can be relative as we do not all look through the same set of lenses. In writing if we are looking for perfection, we have possibly missed out on the meat of the matter. The Hebrew leadership, thought they had it all figured out when they were looking for a King. They thought of perfection, of grandeur, of someone high and mighty. They were looking inside the box, not outside of the box. And low and behold, their King was born in a manger, born among the average person, not among the rich or in a castle.

Skills are great, education is great. Yet there is something that seems amiss, if this all we are looking for, just our own standards (much as the pharisees tried and demanded of their people. Jesus pretty much condemned the pharisees for the burdens they placed on people. Jesus told the pharisees they strain at a insect, and miss the weighter matters of the law, of love. The Hebrews missed the boat on their King Jesus. David of the Old Testament would have missed out on being King if Samuel was not listening to God. Who knows Samuel could have chosen the wrong son of Jesse, if he would have went by his standards.

I have just seen to much of where God takes the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.

Let us use our skills, our talents, our education to the fullest extent to the glory of God. Moreover, let us beware of what God is doing, and where He is leading us.

We all do not have the same education, the same experience, the same skills, the same standards, etc. Let us rather take matters to the heart, and help each other grow in areas. No one is perfect, each of us have our strengths and weaknesses. And we each tend to be more concerned and careful in our skill set areas, and more critical, looking at the outward appearance of things, rather than the heart of the matter, letting someone grow and develop in style and fashion, and later on, hone the skill sets.

The book oven might not be a bad idea, just may need some tweeks. And would need to be cognizant, of grammar, of typo’s, of varying styles, having attainable standards, realizing that most publications are written for the general public, it is our jobs to present the heart of the book as clearly and conceptual as possible. We need to be aware of Who we are doing things for, and to whom we are trying to serve, through various writings.

As a person who has read various materials from all realms, theology, fiction, non-fiction, high tech documents, philosophy, etc. I appreciate good writing, free of typo’s, free of grammar mistakes and miss spelled words. Yet in much of the material I have read, I typically find common grammatical errors, from the simplest reads to the high tech documents.

I have found that looking for the heart of the text, more enduring. If I run across a typo, a punctuation error, I move on. I am not perfect, the publisher is not perfect, proofreaders are not perfect, style are diverse. If the heart of the book is moving, relevant, makes me think, dream, challenges me, causes me to grow and learn, overall is clear, is comprehensible, etc. I can live with mistakes, typo’s. Afterall, I do any way, because in 99% of the things I have read, or am reading, I find errors.

Thanks folks, (by the way, one can probably read this entry and find errors).

Comment by David Brownlee

Whoops, I just read mine and found a miss spelling. Third paragraph down, word should be writing, not writint. Also missed a comma, on the same sentence after standard. Missed a parenthesy after people in the fifth paragraph. Miss spelled weightier. Had a run on in the third to last paragraph. Should be styles in the last paragraph.

Proofreading is important. I wrote the commentary rather quickly, had some distractions, did a cursary review, submitted – apparently missed a few things. However, please take to heart what I was saying please.

Comment by David Brownlee

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