Not to say I told you so…
[Edit: link fixed]
Be sure to read the post’s comments. They’re informative and even helpful in a constructive kind of way. More than that, they clearly lay out the new normal: a divide between those who consider an academic historian’s book, you know, scholarship, and those who are looking to maximize sales for course adoption and a $21 price point for the Kindle version.
The market says eliminate the bibliography and the historiography. And if you have three pieces of evidence, you only need to mention one. Because, you know, proving a historical claim only requires a single example, and your readers should just take your word for it anyway.
Academic historians used to call things like historiography, bibliography and evidence their ‘scholarly apparatus’, but now the market seems to be dictating our scholarship as well.
But I’m not just a curmudgeon. I’ll make one constructive suggestion of my own: get rid of the excess citation fluff (which I’d thought publishers forced on us). Seriously, why the f**k do we need to know where a book was published?? When was the last time someone had to hop a steamer to London to pick up a copy? At least the publisher information in the citation tells us whether the cited work is a scholarly one or not, if it’s been published by an academic press. Oh, wait…
(I know, I know. I’m over the word count. I suppose I could eliminate the ellipses…)