Reading the Preface

Now, over at IVP’s Addenda & Errata Dan Reid, who always reads the preface, wrote a post wagering a copyright page that the vast majority of his readers are also preface readers.

I’ll admit it, I do. Everybook.

But the question is, what other more unusual parts of the book do you read?

Does anyone read the Aknowledgements?

What about the Abbreviation list?

The Index?

Bibliography?

Copyright page?

Cateloguing information?

Okay, so I read all of these a lot of the time…

8 thoughts on “Reading the Preface

  1. I read everything but the index in the back of the book but I skim the acknowledgments. I feel like I need to read everything so I don’t miss out on anything.

    But I think they’ve gone way overboard on these things. There’s the Preface, Introduction, Acknowledgments, Endorsements etc. and it’s gotten a little out of hand in some cases.

    I read a book by Torrey on prayer written in 1900 which I got from a resale shop. Table of Contents then Chapter 1. None of that other stuff except Publisher and Copyright. And the beginning of Chapter 1 has no small talk, personal story, anecdote or anything. He just goes right into it. What a concept.
    Jeff

  2. Mike and Jeff, I’m another of those sad people who feels obliged to read everything. But these days there are so many endorsements in some books, often from people I have never heard of, that I tend to skip them.

  3. I like the abbreviations page, recommended reading, and, if I’m just skimming, especially the bibliography because it gives you a good summary of how the author does research.

    I also like the pages left intentionally blank. (Click on the link of my username.)

  4. Speaking of indices, if you can find a copy of E. P. Sander’s Paul and Palestinian Judaism, all of you would greatly enjoying poking through the subject index under “truth” (page 627).

    Trust me.

  5. Jeff: it actually hasn’t changed too much. The majority of pre-1920 books I have are filled in ads for other books and series in the back.

    Advertising in books was really the only way for people to find out about new books since there wasn’t television or radio just yet.

  6. I read everything except the endorsements. I like to make up my own mind about whether or not a book is good. Usually the index and bibliography are more indicative of a good book than the endorsements anyway, not that I have ever read an endorsement😉

  7. I read everything except the endorsements. I like to make up my own mind about whether or not a book is good. Usually the index and bibliography are more indicative of a good book than the endorsements anyway, not that I have ever read an endorsement😉

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