Respect the Work; Republishing Books in the Public Domain

Available at an independent publisher offered an edition of Anne of Green Gables with a poor choice of cover image, it generated a surprising backlash. The publisher had used an image of a sexy blond young woman, ill-suited the beloved character of red-haired, pig-tailed, freckle-faced Anne. The controversy that erupted over it reinforced my conviction that if you’re going to republish someone else’s work, you owe a measure of respect to the author of the original work. I wrote “Respect the Work: Republishing Books in the Public Domain” from that conviction.

This short book describes the process of self-publishing a public domain book and shortcuts that some publishers take in reproducing the work of others. Having taken a great deal of care to painstakingly reproduce The Corner Stoneby Margaret Hill McCarter, I use that publication as an illustration of the process of respectfully republishing the work of someone else. The book includes recommendations for readers who value the creative effort: avoid poor quality publications, and seek out freely available undifferentiated versions or purchase books from publishers who offer quality publications reflecting a degree of respect for the original author.

Let me know your thoughts on the issue, and on the book!

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