March 13, 2004

Bec

A few weeks ago, I got some examination copies from the publishers (as one often does), in this case of two History of the English Language books, C.M. Millward’s A Biography of the English Language 2nd ed., published by Thomson, and Thomas Pyles and John Algeo’s The Origins and Development of the English Language, 4th ed., published by Harcourt. These are two of the most commonly used HEL textbooks.

Well, more recently I got a copy of John Algeo and Thomas Pyles’s The Origins and Development of the English Language 5th ed., published by Thomson, which raises a few questions.

I’m confused about the publication situation of the Pyles and Algeo (or Algeo and Pyles) book. It seems that Harcourt still has the rights to the 4th edition (which is dated 1993), but Thomson has the rights to the new 5th edition (which is dated 2004). That seems like a rather odd situation. Would there be any market for the older edition? I’ll have to sit down with the two and see how they actually differ.

The other odd thing is why the switch in the order of the names: the 4th edition is Pyles and Algeo, and the 5th edition is Algeo and Pyles. Did Algeo just decide to take top billing in the new edition, or is there some sort of editorial purpose behind this change?

Finally, it occurs to me that Thomson is really cornering the market here with both the new edition of The Origins and Development of the English Language and A Biography of the English Language (not to mention the many other English textbooks they publish).

Posted by Mark at March 13, 2004 11:56 AM
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