Dear Academic Publishers: End Endnotes

Dear Academic Publisher,

Please stop using endnotes instead of footnotes.

You are an academic publisher, not a popular publisher. Your authors write books for scholars and it is scholars who buy and read them. This means that your readers not only write footenotes, we read them. Notes are part of how we learn. You are not helping us by burying what we regard as essential information under chapter headings or worse, chapter numbers, in the back of the book. Those notes contain evidence by which we judge the strength or weakness of an argument. They contain leads to sources and to other scholars. Just now I am working with a book stuffed with no fewer than 5 bookmarks as I try to track back and forth from the body of the argument to the endnotes where you, dear publisher, have buried the information I need. It is truly frustrating. They are a crime against readers. They may save you time but they waste ours. Please stop it and give us back our footnotes.

While I have you, when did you stop sewing the bindings on your ever-more expensive volumes? When did you give up on actual cloth covers in favor of tawdry, graphics pasted around academic volumes. Which genius told you that your market wants expensive hardbound volumes to look like cheap, airport lounge paperbacks?


Frustrated Academic Readers Everywhere

© R. Scott Clark 2020. All Rights Reserved.


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  1. Dear Publishers,

    Please stop using end notes when foot notes are easier for the reader to use and does not give an appearance of trying to hide something.

  2. Heh. Ain’t that the truth. It not only seems as though end-notes make the publisher’s job easier (what a surprise!), but they defer the reader to something to which they would not automatically read (at the bottom of a page), but force them to the end of a volume in order to get the proper references and additional comments.

    As far as the bindings and covers are concerned, I’m sure it’s all about minimizing costs. Don’t even think about how nice a hard cover book looks on a library shelf; it’s a waste of book-bindery material nowadays (or is that more appropriately nowadaze?}

  3. I’ve never had any trouble reading end notes, especially when it’s headed “notes to pp. —–“

  4. I pray publishers everywhere see and hear the truth posted on this blog. It’s truly amazing in a sense that this needs saying to the degree it does. I’d piggyback on the comments some more, but I can’t top “They are a crime against readers.” No one in their right mind can possibly want to work through a book with 5 bookmarks. I mean, just let that sink in. 😡

  5. Just curious, what does “Just now I am working with a book stuffed with no fewer than 5 bookmakers as I try to track and forth from the body of the argument to the endnotes…” mean?

  6. Thanks. I assume it also was intended as “try to track back and forth….” I share the frustration with endnotes regardless. The Heidleblog has great content always! Thanks.

  7. I’d ask them to ban merely giving us transliterations of Hebrew and Greek as well, I can live with transliteration as well as original text and lettering, but to be honest most people who will actually benefit from the citation of a Greek or Hebrew word will be able to read the original script anyway.

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