UK papers and language

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Aug 24 16:24:41 UTC 2000

On Thu, 24 Aug 2000, Frank Abate wrote:

> This picks up on a tendency that's well known to US publishers.  It is VERY
> hard to get any US paper, or even the widely read reviewing publications, to
> agree to publish a review for a reference book, esp. a general dictionary.
> Even the NYT Book Review will not, except perhaps for a major new edition of
> one of the established dicts.  In the UK, the TLS regularly reviews ref
> books and general dicts, as do the similar reviewing pubs from other papers.

This observation fits with my own experience.  When I published the Oxford
Dictionary of American Legal Quotations, it was reviewed in England by the
Times, the Guardian, the Independent, and TLS (even though it was an
explicitly Americancentric book!), but it was not generally reviewed by
American newspapers.  The New York Times wrote two entire feature stories
about the book, but it was not deemed worthy of coverage by their book

> I have never understood this, but it's true.  Moreover, Publishers Weekly,
> the best known trade publication in the business, completely ignores ref
> books, as if they do not exist.  They feel that reviews of these are to be
> done by their partner mag, Library Journal, which of course is only read by
> librarians and the few publishers who cater to them.

I think this also was true of my book: reviewed in Library Journal, Choice
and Booklist, but not by Publishers Weekly.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at

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