Although I have heard about this editorial malpractice for many years, it was only about half a decade ago that I knew that there is a word for it: grangerize.
grangerize: to mutilate books, especially by cutting out their illustrations.
Grangerism is the pernicious vice of cutting plates and title-pages out of many books to illustrate one book.
Although grangerism is not officially condoned in most publishing quarters, however, there had been instances where local ethically challenged editors (who are today disturbingly occupying managerial positions in their respective organizations) probably resorted to this quick-and-dirty technique for one or two of the following reasons:
1. The book from which the picture was cut off was out of print.
2. The copyrights for the illustrations cost exorbitantly.
3. The copyrights holder couldn’t be contacted.
4. The copyrights owner might be in “heaven” (or “hell”).
5. The deadline for the project was just days or hours away.
6. The editor believed she wouldn’t get caught.
7. The project director kept mum about the practice.
8. The budget for illustrations had busted.
9. The available title was a photocopy of photocopies.
10. The editor planned to leave after the submission of the manuscript to the Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) for approval.
11. The editor wanted to get even with her mean publisher.
12. The copyrights process (or clearance) would be delayed until the MOE granted a provisional approval (PA) for the submitted manuscript.
13. The editor’s dog ate the copyrights page.
14. The copyrights owner couldn’t be Googled.
15. The editor scapegoated the Middle East war!
16. The word doctor had little faith in the book being reviewed.
17. The editor anticipated an unavoidable merger prior to any MOE approval.
18. The senior editor crystal-balled that the title would be axed by the MOE.
19. The copyright holder was rude towards the editor.
20. The copyrights officer-in-charge had recently resigned.
21. The grey publisher belittled or offended the green editor.
22. The editor was simply disillusioned about her monotonous editorial life.
23. The copyright owner was spotted with the editor’s lover.
24. The rich editor secretly desired to be fined or jailed.
Let’s not grangerize, unless we don’t mind becoming “editorial gangsters,” not matter how high the temptation, or how low the risk, is.
© Yan Kow Cheong, June 28, 2014.