Review: The Complete Canadian Book Editor

Ooh, I hated this book. I tell you some of why I can still recommend it, in my How To column at Read below to hear even more.Link to my columns on

I was really interested in reading about publishing aspects that I know nothing about, such as royalties and marketing, but when I saw the gaps and errors in the things that I do know about, I wondered how much of the rest was just wrong too. I wrote BS in the margin of this book so often that I knew I could not love it.

Still, I managed to say that this book has value. Just read it with a grain of salt.

Other than the content and organization concerns I mention in the Copyediting post, this volume would do well to have some more copyediting. It’s inconsistent in the styling of terms, for one. Most of the populace wouldn’t know why this might matter, but this is a book about editing, for editors; copyediting matters to editors.

Vermeer mentioned packagers as a sub-set of the industry, but failed to mention the pervasive use of them by publishers who subcontract their work to them (she only mentioning packagers who try to sell ready-made books to imprints). Work is coming to editors through packagers now even more than via publishers.

One interesting inclusion is the 43 pages of proofreading and copyediting exercises and one page of editing-slanted one-liners. The jokes are completely out of context, but that doesn’t matter. Exercises are always valued, but a “comprehensive” book can’t adequately address these skills; I wonder if they should be in there at all. Why not include exercises on making a marketability assessment, or substantive editing; areas that are not covered by several other books, and covered well.

At the cost of this book, you might want to share it with a couple other editors.

The Complete Canadian Book Editor, by Leslie Vermeer
374 pp plus bibliography and index, $49.95 CDN
Brush Education Inc.

The Complete Canadian Book Editor