Change of Publishers

Well, the Word Biblical Commentary series has gotten a facelift. Instead of being published by Word Publisher, they are now being published by Zondervan. I just received the first volume of the Zondervan era. And it has everything that I have come to expect of Zondervan books: thoughtful content, lousy binding materials (are the folks at Zondervan completely allergic to Smyth-sewn bindings?). The boards feel wimpy, and the book looks like a knock-off of a better original. The only positive from the change that I can see is the addition of footnotes (the format while under Word Publishing did not have footnotes, and the text was therefore quite cluttered). The added sections in this book (it is a revised edition of a commentary originally published in 1986) are printed on gray-tinted pages, which looks and feels weird, even though the potential positive of it is that you can see at a glance whether the section was added or not. Publishers like Zondervan need to get it into their heads that commentaries are used far more than most other kinds of theological reference works. Thy need to be built like tanks (and most of the WBC is built extremely tough; only a few were glued). This one is so not.

8 Comments

  1. locirari said,

    November 13, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    The cheapness of Zondervan’s books probably stems from them being a subsidiary of Harper. All Harper Collins books look and feel cheap. I wonder too if publishers producing books with long shelf lives will continue to decline as ebooks rise. They’re probably thinking, “Why make a durable book when we have digital copies?”

  2. greenbaggins said,

    November 13, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    True, but I doubt that digital theological books will replace real books, since the awkwardness of taking notes and underlining books in e-versions will always render real books viable in the theological world. At least I hope so (famous last words, and all that!).

  3. roberty bob said,

    November 13, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    So, it’s true . . .

    You can’t tell a book by its cover.

  4. Cris Dickason said,

    November 13, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Can you estimate how much material has revised or added? Is there a difference between additions and revisions, in terms of the shaded pages? Are there inline revisions (in the text), with wholesale additions in the shaded section?

  5. Paul Wichert said,

    November 14, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Thanks for the heads up. Part of the joy of reading a tree-based book is the quality of the paper, typeface, binding, etc. Without those things, I don’t think the price can justify it.

  6. greenbaggins said,

    November 14, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Chris, there are 104 tinted pages. I believe that all the tinted pages are new, since the majority of them are dealing with scholarship after 1986. There are inline revisions, but they are not especially extensive, by Martin’s own admission.

  7. John Bugay said,

    November 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I love real books, but I can see some advantages with sources like Logos — now, I’d never buy one of their “packages”, but I have recently acquired Richard Muller’s “Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics”, and if I can figure out things like highlighting, bookmarking, etc., there are some real benefits to being able to have that information electronically.

  8. roberty bob said,

    November 14, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    The other joy of reading a tree-based book is being able to leaf through it at your leisure.


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