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Errors in Hammelman and DiMuzio Bread Books

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Mitch550's picture
Mitch550

Errors in Hammelman and DiMuzio Bread Books

Hello to all,


I've read book reviews here, on Amazon, and other places about apparent errors that were noted by readers in Jeffrey Hammelman's and Daniel DiMuzio's otherwise wonderfully rated books. Both of these books are published by Wiley, and I was surprised and bothered that Wiley hadn't posted Errata pages for either of these books.  Dan's book only came out this past February so one can possibly excuse the fact that there isn't an Errata page for that one, but Jeffrey Hammelman's book was published in 2004, so it's hard to find an excuse for that.


I contacted Wiley and after several emails back and forth they essentially told me that there weren't Errata pages because no one had brought any errors to their attention. When I pushed them on this they elaborated somewhat further and this is what they said:


"Thank you for contacting Wiley Technical Support.


When errata is reported by a customer we escalate the issue to the editing department of that title. It is the decision of the editing department to post an errata page, or to update an errata page that is already posted.


We appreciate our customer feedback when an error is identified. If you have any errors to report please use the "Ask a Question" section of our customer service website to report the error."


The Wiley URL for doing this is:


http://wiley.custhelp.com/app/ask/


So, if you want to take the time and trouble to do this, surely it will benefit all of us who are struggling with what we may not realize are errors in these or other bread baking books published by Wiley.


Of course it remains to be seen whether or not Wiley will actually follow up on such information or if they were just paying me lip service.


Best regards,


Mitch


 


 


 

suave's picture
suave

Have you, yourself, found any errors and reported them?  I, personally, only know of one in each book, both obvious typos.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I know Dan is working on an errata page for his book.


How about posting the errors you personally have found in "Bread."  I've not noticed any errors in the formulas, but then, I haven't baked each one.


While we're speaking of errors, it's HAMELMAN - not "Hammelman."

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Mitch,


Might I suggest you spend more time trying to learn the basics of bread making and less time arguing with publishers about minuscule errors that would be lost on all but the most advanced bakers. Attempting to create the aura of poor quality on one of the most important bread authors of our time seems, ---I can't find the word, I'll use "cheap". This is a place where we appreciate the good things we have learned. I'm certain you will get that, in time.


Eric

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Well, I may have to play devil's advocate a bit here ...I wouldn't call the reporting of errors, or admitting that there may be some 'cheap'.  It's only human that books, especially those with numeric formulae in them, will have an error or two in them.  It does the public a good service to point out the mistakes ...and it shouldn't be taken as criticism of the author or the reporter.  I know that if I wrote a book, that I'd be happy to learn of the errors (and there would be some) so that I could correct them.  As an example, noting that I haven't looked for it in my version of 'Bread' yet, I think the Vermont Sourdough recipe has conversion errors in the formula.  Someone here at TFL reported it, along with the corrected numbers, and I've baked from the recipe that I got here rather than the one in the book.  Do I feel less of Jeffery as a result?  Nope.  I'm in awe and will remain so.  I'm glad that a corrected table of conversions was available so I could replicate his work more closely.


As far as publishers go, I'm certain that their reporting or non-reporting of errors has a lot to do with relative importance versus staffing and schedules.  If a well selling book with near zero errors in it doesn't buy time from their scarce human resources, and some other book that sells well and has far more errors in it DOES get their time, then I understand.  Nobody has unlimited time and staff, and lets face it, Wiley is a humongous publisher ...I don't expect errata on all the books that they publish.  I have no complaints about the books OR the authors OR the publisher and am entirely happy with all of them.  ...Which still does not imply that I am against hearing about errors when they occur.  I just don't care where or how, and the fact that they may exist doesn't alter my positive feelings for all involved one iota.


 


Brian


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Please be specific, cite your source, and the exact error you allege exists in the Vermont sourdough formula.  I don't think "hearing about" some error is a valid or fair claim.


What you and the OP seem to overlook with "Bread" is that it is way beyond its original printing, which was five years ago, in 2004.  It may very well be be that no "errata" document exists because any errors were corrected in the subsequent printings.


A prime example of change subsequent to 2004 is Mr. Hamelman's inclusion of his unkneaded, six fold French bread formula at page 249.  It didn't exist in the original printing.


I agree with Eric that it's a cheap shot to make unfounded allegations based on hearsay, or to criticize an author whose book was published just a few months ago and who is the process of gathering a list of corrections to be made.  


Poor editing is the source of most errors.  If anyone wants to take a publisher and author to task for errors in a book on bread, go after Daniel Leader and his publisher, W.W. Norton & Company.  They refused to even acknowledge the mistakes, even after they were pointed out to Mr. Leader (see the thread on that topic in the book review section)


Taking potshots at Jeffrey Hamelman and Dan DiMuzio and their publishers is barking up the wrong tree.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

..."No offense intended" and "It's nice to know of a mistake, regardless of who's it is, so we can enjoy these books to their fullest"


That said, here's the specific reference to the Vermont Sourdough conversion errors that I mentioned, and REALLY, it bugged me not one bit!  It's the best bread ever and I'm very very happy to have the opportunity to reproduce it!


The conversion issues that I mentioned were published here at the TFL on April 2, 2009 in a comment to a thread (link below), and no, I didn't spot any reference to which printing the comment alluded to, nor did I (yet) check my version to see if the error exists ...that's not the point of the whole discussion anyway ...the point is that humans are humans and we help each other out.  We're all friends here.


Here's my reference:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11400/hamelman039s-vermont-sourdough#comment-62790


I'll leave it to the reader to do the rest of the research if they feel the need.  Personally, I'm happy either way and will check my book someday if or when I get the hankerin' ...


Brian


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I've done the research and find that you're attributing an error made by a TFL member to Jeffrey Hamelman.


You never gave Mr. Hamelman the courtesy of checking what you read here against what is published in the book.


If you will go back and carefully read that thread, including this link which was included in that thread, you will discover that it was zolablue's error.


Mr. Hamelman lists the Vermont sourdough ingredients for home bakers in pounds and ounces, not grams.  Zolablue made a mistake in converting from ounces to grams.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

This could very well be true, and probably is.  As I mentioned, I haven't felt concerned enough about the discrepancies to go digging into it much (yet.)  I'm relatively new at this, and am currently working my way through Crust & Crumb, and have only read the Hamelman book up to the first formula.  So ...it wouldn't surprise me if I read the post that I linked to above wrongly.  Either way, the Vermont Sourdough as it came out of my oven looked just like the pictures and is still what I think the best recipe that I've made yet ...so haven't felt much reason to go digging.  I've got the correct version printed and in my folder of recipes that I keep on my book shelf and that's good enough for now.  I guess since I attributed the mistake to Mr. Hamelman, that I owe him the honor of checking his book to make sure, but alas ...I'm pretty busy and it looks like others already have.  Reinhart's mushroom ciabatta this coming weekend...


Brian


 

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

I have been encouraging readers of my book (at least those I've discovered) to forward any errata they find directly to me.  The easiest way to do that at TFL is to just send me a personal message, using the menu under your site username toward the upper left of this page.


The web address for the "student companion web site" with my book is listed on page "xi" of the preface.  Within a couple of months -- at most -- I hope to see an errata page as well as some more detailed explanations of a few processes featured at the site.  Presently, you can download all the formulas and blank formula worksheets there.


Sorry again for the inconvenience of having wrong numbers where the right numbers belong.


--Dan DiMuzio

Cooking202's picture
Cooking202

I wanted to, but was afraid of baking bread for so many years.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I could learn as much as I have from You, Jeff, Peter, Mark, Floyd and many others on thia site.  You are all my heros, you guys are as necessary to  bread baking as the flour, water and yeast. 


Miracle of miracles, I've even learned enough to recognize a typo when I see one.


Thanks for all you do,


Carol


 


 

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

'Zactly...

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Errors happen. I don't think any one was pointing a finger at Daniel DiMuzio or Jeffrey Hamelman and I won't be so forward as to presume I can speak of them on a first name basis.


I think their publishers are responsible for proof reading the product they are selliing.  That's their business, their reputation, isn't it?


Betty

MommaT's picture
MommaT

hi,


 


I use "Bread" frequently and would love to hear about the errors you've discovered.  


Would you consider posting the errors you sent to Wiley to TFL?


Thanks,


MommaT

Mitch550's picture
Mitch550

Oh my God. I thought I was doing a public service and some of you folks literally are attacking me.


Did you not read my very first sentence: "I've read book reviews here, on Amazon, and other places about apparent errors that were noted by readers in Jeffrey Hammelman's [sic] and Daniel DiMuzio's otherwise wonderfully rated books."


I said that these were "WONDERFULLY RATED BOOKS." I didn't say anything to suggest that I was besmirching the excellent reputation of either of these fine authors.  But errors do creep into books so let's not get carried away here. The way some of you are acting you would think I was saying something about your mothers.


And, I didn't say in my posting that I had found errors (even though I had found a few in the Wiley website posting of one of these book's appendices, which I had already conveyed to the author).  I was simply referring to posts that I had read.  My reason for contacting Wiley was simply because I thought that doing so might expedite their posting Errata pages.


I also wasn't aware that there have been subsequent printings of the Hamelman book, in which original typos may have been corrected.  Nevertheless, that doesn't help the owner of a copy that does have the original error/typo.


"it's a cheap shot to make unfounded allegations based on hearsay . . ."  Once again, what kind of harsh words are these?  I wasn't making "unfounded allegations," all I was doing was indicating what I had read. You write as if we were in a court of law and that I was on the witness stand.


"Might I suggest you spend more time trying to learn the basics of bread making and less time arguing with publishers about minuscule errors that would be lost on all but the most advanced bakers. Attempting to create the aura of poor quality on one of the most important bread authors of our time seems, ---I can't find the word, I'll use "cheap". This is a place where we appreciate the good things we have learned. I'm certain you will get that, in time."  I think this was a cheap shot you took at me for no reason whatsoever, given that there was nothing in my posting to suggest that I was "Attempting to create the aura of poor quality on one of the most important bread authors of our time. . . " Why are some of you so up-tight over this for goodness sake, and why are you reading things into what I wrote that weren't there to begin with????????


So, give me a break and please stop being so nasty to me.  From what I've seen so far Jeffrey Hamelman's and Dan DiMazio's books seem to be among the best out there.  I recently ordered Dan's book and can't wait to get into it, and I'm about to order Jeffrey's book. I wouldn't be spending my hard earned money on these if I didn't think they were worth having.


I thought this site had a lot of nice people on it, and I'm sure it does, but I never expected such sarcastic and outright vicious remarks from some of you.


Mitch


 


 


 


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I agree that people should give you a break. You were just expressing your frustration about errata--something that a lot of us, I'm sure, share--not attacking the authors, per se.


--Pamela

suave's picture
suave

You came here alleging that one of the most loved and respected books, the book well known for its consistency and accuracy, the "one" book for many here is riddled with errors and can't be used without major intervention from author/publisher.  You did not ask whether there's any truth to disappointed comments of Amazon users, you took them at the face value, and threw them in the face of people who've been using the book for years and baked many hundreds of breads from it.  So what else you could have expected, except resentment?

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

It's just a book, and this is just a forum.  Life should go on......


Jeff

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

suave on August 3, 2009 - 11:12am. wrote:
So what else you could have expected, except resentment?

Courtesy and respect - usually the hallmark of TFL members but sadly lacking in some of the responses in this thread.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

...Something that I've witnessed in many forums is that the typed word tends to come across a lot more harshly, and more likely to be misunderstood or taken wrong, than it would if 2 or more people were engaged in conversation face to face in person.  It seems to be something about the lack of body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and what not that is missing when communication is via the keyboard.  It's funny how things can turn around though.  I met one of my best friends, of several years now, because I once said that some Alaskans are "fatalistic" ...my bad.  I meant "willing to let fate takes its course" and not "looking for a way to die."  It was a remark about how some folks here have a very easy "go with it" kind of attitude, and that's what works best in harsh arctic regions where you don't have a lot of control over what goes on around you anyway.  This one fellow got rather angry at me as a result of my remark and made many disparaging remarks of his own ...but after sorting things out and talking a bit more, we realized it was all a big mistake and we decided (sans Obama) that a beer meeting was due, so that's what we did.  We've been great friends ever since.


The moral of the story is "We're all friends!  The writer probably did NOT mean it the way it sounded to you... Take a wait and see stance and then ...wait and see."


Since I've freely admitted to committing the most heinous of internet crimes with my own bad grammar and mis-use of english vocabulary, I do try to take my own advice ...yet still don't always succeed.  And for the record, I never intend to offend, no matter how something I say may come across.  It's alright.  The world keeps turning and we're all still breathing, baking, and eating good chow...  I love all of your (collective) advice, knowledge, and comaraderie...


Brian


 

cake diva's picture
cake diva

I myself did not catch any insinuations by Mitch regarding any failings by the authors.  My impression is that he was just trying to raise a flag about errors.  As consumers, we have a right to expect correct recipes in exchange for the money we pay for the books.  It helps the publishers and consumers alike when errors are flagged and duly corrected.


Thanks Mitch for airing your concerns.  I appreciate it.

venkitac's picture
venkitac

 


First off, I'm a newbie baker. I'm still learning a lot, and I am a HUGE fan of these two authors. I would KILL to study with Jeffrey Hamelman or Dan DiMuzio. I would KILL to bake a loaf that either one of them would be proud of, atleast once before I pass into The Big Circus In The Sky. If I were just a little bit more superstitious, I would be worshipping them like gods and sacrificing kid goats or black roosters to them on the San Jose Foothills on new moon nights.

Having said that, here might be one error in Jeffrey Hamelman's book (I have the 2004 edition, the one where page 249 has the unkneaded french bread recipe):

On page 156, the recipe for Vermont Sourdough With Increased Whole Grain, home column, the formula appears to be wrong. (I say appears, please feel free to correct). Home column has:

Overall Formula:
Bread Flour     11.2 oz
Whole Rye       4.8 oz
Water              1lb 4.8 oz
Salt                 0.6 0z
Total Yield       3lb 5.4 oz.

That doesn't add up, and hydration you get is over 100% if you go by the numbers. There are corresponding errors in the Liquid Levain Build and the Final Dough sections for the same recipe for the Home Column, which don't add up and end up with over 100% hydration.


Only the home column is wrong, and it is easy to work it all out from the Metric Column in the same recipe, and it should actually read:

Overall:

Bread Flour     1.7 lb
Whole Rye       0.3 lb
Water              1.3 lb
Salt                 0.6 0z


Levain Build:
Bread Flour      181.6 g
Water               227.0g
Mature Culture 36.0g

Final Dough:
Bread Flour     590.0g
Whole Rye      136.2g
Water              363.2g
Liquid Levain  408.6g
Salt                 17.2g

(I work with grams, so the latter portion is in grams, I did the overall forumla in pounds just to make sure). If the above is indeed an error, it in no way makes Jeffery Hamelman less than a baking god...so everyone should chill..or bake...or teach newbies like me to bake...?

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Looks right to me. The mistake is only in the home column and only in the amount of bread flour listed in the overall formula. Instead of just 11.2 oz., the overall bread flour should have read 1 lb., 11.2 oz. Probably a proofreader error.


Luckily the overall formula is not necessary to make the bread. Of course, it is helpful when you want to scale the formula up or down. Or if you have a problem. Still, good to know. Thanks for pointing it out.

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Unless I'm mistaken - atleast in my edition - the mistake is in the levain and the final dough too, not just the overall formula. Of course, it could be a "1" missing somewhere etc. And yes, only Home column, I worked out the right numbers above using the (correct) Metric column in the same recipe.

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Let's see if I can help. Don't want to confuse things more, but I think the problem is either in how you're reading JH's formula or your understanding of bakers percentage.


Kudos to you! You still figured out that there was an error, so don't feel bad. JH's formulas are set up like no one else's. It's an innovation that really works. At least, it does for me. Taught me so much about bread. But it does take some getting used to, as does bakers percentage.


The hydration of the levain is indeed over 100%. That is, the water in the levain calculated as a percentage of the flour in the levain and the levain only is 125% (8 oz divided by 6.4 x 100).


But to calculate the hydration of the overall formula, you must first add all the water up (8 oz in the levain + 12.8 oz in the final dough). Ansr: 20.8 oz. Then add all the flour up (6.4 oz in the levain, 1 lb. 4.8 oz + 4.8 oz in the final dough). Ansr: 32. Then calculate the water as a percentage of the flour (20.8 divided by 32 x 100 = 65%


Or if you prefer, in metric that's:


Water: 227 in levain + 363 in final dough = 590 grams total


Flour:  182 in levain + 590 and 136 in final dough = 908 grams total


Water as percentage of flour overall = 590/908 x 100 = 65%


Just add the extra pound of bread flour to where it was missing in the home column, overall formula section only, and see if that doesn't bring things in line for you.

venkitac's picture
venkitac

than I do. Not to quibble at all, these are all nits, but anyway, in detail, here's what my edition says:


Overall formula:


Flour 11.2 oz


Rye   4.8oz


Water 1lb 4.8 oz


Salt  0.6 oz.


As you can see, there's an error. Onto the levain:


Flour     3.2 oz


Water    4 0z


Starter  .7 oz


Indeed, 125% hydration. Problem is total quantity of levain, prefermented flour is supposed to be 20% of total flour, now keeping that part in mind, onto final dough:


Flour    8 0z


Rye     4.8 0z


Water  0.8 0z


Levain 7.2 0z


Salt     0.6 0z


As you can see, levain won't add to 20% prefermented flour. Most likely, you have a different printing than mine - it appears that for you, it says 6.4oz flour in levain, mine says 3.2 oz flour in the levain. Also, it seems your formula says 1lb 4.8 oz flour in final build, mine says 8 oz flour in the final build, and water quantity is different too for you vs me..


 

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Wow! Different edition indeed!! Thanks for persevering Venkitac, and sorry that my reply seemed to say the problem could only be your misunderstanding. I almost went back to edit that in -- to acknowledge that, as you said, we might have a different edition -- but was late leaving for an appointment.


How strange that they caught the mistakes in the levain build and final dough in my edition, but not in the overall formula. So for everyone's benefit, I'll give the corrected home baker's version below in its entirety.


At least, this formula works out with the percentages JH wanted. And as you noted in metric in your first post, these figures match his bakery-sized metric formula which is correct. (The baking saints be praised now, if I don't do a typing error and make things worse.)


The only thing left to do now is bake the danged thing! :)


Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain


Overall Formula


Bread flour 1 lb. 11.2 oz


Whole-rye flour  4.8 oz.


Water 1 lb. 4.8 oz.


Salt 0.6 oz.


Total 3 lb. 5.4 oz.


Liquid-Levain Build


Bread flour 6.4 oz.


Water 8 oz. (1 cup)


Mature culture (liquid) 1.3 oz. (3 T)


Total  15.7 oz.


Final Dough


Bread flour l lb. 4.8 oz (4 3/4 cups)


Whole-rye flour 4.8 oz. (1 1/4 cups)


Water 12.8 oz. (1 5/8 cups)


Liquid levain 14.4 oz. (all less 3 T)


Salt 0.6 oz (1 T)


Total 3 lb. 5.4 oz.

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Yeah, that last part - baking - is the hard part and that's what I actually need to learn:)

apprentice's picture
apprentice

attention to detail, you'll do just fine. Lots of generous talented people to learn from here at TFL, and you've got a great book there in JH's Bread. I really do owe much of what I know to keeping company with Hamelman, but don't tell my baking instructor that! :) Lots more on the bookshelves, too. Lucky us, I think we're living in the golden age of bread.

Mitch550's picture
Mitch550

It seems we all were writing at the same time so my prior post came in before the last few.  I just wanted to be sure it didn't get lost in reading as a result.


Thanks.


Mitch

Mitch550's picture
Mitch550

At the risk of getting beat up again I'm still hanging in here.


Something wasn't making sense to me about these different editions and different printings and different versions of this Hamelman book.


I was reasonably sure that there was just one edition of this book, so I contacted Wiley asking if they change the contents of a book when there is just a later printing and not a new edition.


I just received this reply from the Wiley representative (Doborah):


"Thank you for your request. This book has only one edition and many printings. Books are printed as needed. The reprinting of a publication does not change the content of the book; the content is changed when a new edition is published."


So, one has to conclude that either Deborah doesn't know what she's talking about (unlikely?) or we have an unsolved mystery as to how two people can have the same editon of the Hamelman book and are seeing different things in it.


Don't kill the messenger.


Mitch

arzajac's picture
arzajac

This whole thread is about a weakness in the book publishing industry and not about the fault of any authors.


Books are CDs are outdated.  I don't think we need them anymore. 


The internet can reach everyone.  The information we distribute over it can be more current than any book could ever be.  The cost of making the information available to one person over the internet is exactly the same as the cost of making it available to every person.  It's also trivial to improve upon the works of others and pass along the improved work.  The book can't compete with that.


Publishers charge a lot of money for their service.  In most cases, you are paying the publisher for their service when you purchase a book or cd.  The author (or artist) barely gets anything and after a specified period of time, they may no longer get anything at all.  I wonder how much is spent on lawyer fees in comparison to what the author actually gets.


 

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

It is interesting to observe the inconsistency in response to the subject of errata.


It wasn't so long ago  a rather less generous overall sentiment was expressed about Daniel Leader and his book 'Local Breads'. Indeed the book is still mentioned here regularly in a somewhat negative context which is a shame because I think the book has much to offer (and continues to inspire me).


Yet when someone 'dares' to raise an issue with a different book they are met with hostility and accused of impertinence!  Please note, the issue which Mitch raised specifically concerned two books (and their respective publisher) NOT the author(s). The accusation of disrespect (or, at least, lack of respect) for Mr xxx baker is misplaced and uncalled for imho.


Perhaps some bakers and authors are deemed more worthy than others? I will certainly bear this in mind when referencing books in the future.


FP

suave's picture
suave

I don't see any inconsistency at all - Leader thread is teeming with examples of errors and inaccuracies.  And then there're horror stories like recent thread on Auvergne dark rye.  Also, no one denies its value - the recipes like Nury's light rye are popular for a reason.  But appreciation and substantiated criticism are not mutually exclusive.  The OP, on the other hand, offered nothing except vague references to Amazon reviews left by people who in all likelyhood bought Bread as a first book and were overwhelmed by it.  He hasn't even seen the book as far as I can tell.  Two big differences, as my grandfather used to say. 


Are some books and authors are deemed more worthy than others?  How there can be any doubt?  Of course they are.

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

The last line of my previous post was sarcasm which perhaps did not come across clearly enough. Well here it is in spades:


For those not in the know, perhaps you can clarify for us which bakers (and TFL posters for that matter) are 'TFL-worthy'.I was not present when this list was made. You seem to have greater insight than I do in this regard. 


FP


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Folks, Floyd is very busy now and doesn't have time to play moderator and put an end to this thread. Can we all just agree that there has been more than enough bantering about this subject and nothing of value is coming of it. The Fresh Loaf is a great learning site and we get a lot of new bakers that lurk for a time before joining in. In 99% of the threads peace and civility are the norm. I wouldn't want us to be judged by this thread. Please my friends, go back to baking.


Eric

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I second the motion. 


The summary is that the authors are doing a great job, but the publisher is not, and everybody now knows all of this very clearly regardless of how we got there.  Sounds done to me.


Brian


 

monzy's picture
monzy

 


This is a pretty tumultuous thread, yet let me add a comment to consider before shutting it down. 


Mitch's subject line may be of concern to many but the question about Wiley's lip service is good to heed. It's important to advocate 'buyer beware' and communicate it when it needs to be.


In the case of Wiley there seems to be a business strategy of quantity over quality in an effort to freeze out quality publishers. 


Take a look at the number of (bread) book titles at Wiley's site. When you look for errata pages on any book title's site and you don't even see a stub for one, you realize that this could be an effort to capture a market and to freeze out quality publishers not to serve readers.


I have bought scores of cookbooks and a larger number of computer software books. Wiley is a publisher in both areas.


At one time I was smitten with Wiley books however, my experience with Wiley has led me to forever forsake buying software titles from them. And to have serious concern when looking to buy their cookbooks.


At one point in time I could have called them leaders in publishing. There are economies that we may not understand but when it comes to Wiley's customer care or service they are easy to understand: it's to not provide any. They have poor errata pages or none for their software titles, the editing and proof reading is attrocious as well. Their technical support was more avoidance than service. They carry that out with a cumbersome confusing registration system followed by pat replies and dead-end links.


I exchanged messages with a 'Wiley' author about errata I had found. I had to do this after quite some time looking for it on the book's Wiley site. The author communication expressed frustration in the lack of quality and false promises. This was once in a software title and once in a bread book title.


There is a parallel in the history of software emergence to the current baking renaissance that needs highlighting. At one point there was no software industry, then there was. And software publishing expanded like an exploding star. And now it has become a collapsing star.


Until recently the bread baking passion bug afflicted few. There were probably three dozen good bread books up until the last 10 years that I was aware of. The number of people that are taking up baking in the last couple of years is astounding and it is accelerating. 


The parallel in my opinion is, if the quality (and quantity) of book titles is dictated by a publisher such as Wiley then it will skew the economy of knowledge and confuse the book buyer. They will crowd out quality publishers by flooding a subject area which in turn dictates where authors can turn to get published. It is that, that concerns me. We'll end up with an effect similar to empty calories at fast food franchises and few good places to feed our knowledge. Proof is in the reduced price book bins and the reduced shelf allocations at the conglomerate bookstores.


Wiley produces many higher education titles as well and that is a concern to me of damaged potentials.


I came across this thread while investigating the value of "How Baking Works" which covers an important reference area. It is to my dread a Wiley book. 


Wiley has proven itself a sharp industry competitor with disregard to customer service vis-a-vis providing errata pages. I realize now that I need to look for an errata page before buying a book, to be wary and to advocate 'buyer beware'. How Baking Works has no errata page, I won't be buying it. 


Again I think it was right for Mitch to raise this concern in the books forum and I think book buyers would appreciate learning if other people encounter empty calories with certain publishers. I like to buy promising books even if they have errors as long as I know the errors are addressed.

Mitch550's picture
Mitch550

As far as I'm concerned, that says it all.


Thank you for taking the time to post this.


Mitch

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Monzy, I appreciate the frustration you and others have with the publishing industry. But we may be going from bad to worse in this thread with comments that contribute to an "us and them" mentality instead of looking for win-win solutions.


If and when I ever publish a cookbook, I'll follow another Wiley author's lead, Rose Levy Beranbaum, and publish the errata on my webpage or blog. I'm certainly not going to boycott her book, just because she publishes through Wiley. Anyway, if you want to read a journey of both sides (author and publisher) moving heaven and earth to publish a beautiful, error-free book, go to Rose's blog and read just a few of the entries she's written about her publishing journey with her new book, Heavenly Cakes, just out.


Incidentally, How Baking Works is a fine book. I hope you'll reconsider.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Hey, I'm a happy camper ...I just got my copy of How Baking Works and also a copy of the Suas (sp?) book on advanced baking and pastry.  I think I'll write to Wiley and complain about a lack of errata as well ...may as well give them customer feedback (assuming I cannot find errata pages for my books.)


 


Brian


 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Thanks


Betty