Counsels to Writers and Editors


Chapter 20—Duplicating Books, and New Editions

Duplication of Books—In the future there will be manifested the same blindness that is now manifested in regard to the publication of important matters. Men will go over the same ground that is now being gone over. The principles underlying the plans being followed are faulty. When a book comes from the press to fill a certain want in the world, the interests of that book must be guarded by the men who have received pay for publishing it, even if the matter contained in the book is not of sufficient importance to demand a large circulation without delay. CW 149.1

I have been shown some things that will be done in the future. One man will prepare a book for publication, and after it is in circulation, someone else will think that he can publish a book similar in appearance and covering nearly the same ground as the first book placed on the market. The writer of this second book will use different words, but will treat of the same subjects that are treated of in the other book. Thus two different books will be in existence when one would have been all-sufficient. There will be instances when even before the author writes the book that he contemplates publishing, someone else will write on the very same subjects, in order to forestall the one who has expressed his purpose to write on certain subjects. The second book published diminishes the sale of the first one, and he who takes advantage of his neighbor in this way does not treat him fairly. His book largely takes the place and the patronage of the first book in the field. He has worked contrary to the principles of righteousness; for he has robbed his neighbor.—Manuscript 23, 1891. CW 149.2

An Unfair Work—Both authors and publishers should have foresight, and carefully weigh the results upon other books and other enterprises, before bringing out new works. These things are not regarded as they should be. Greater discretion is required in the management of these matters, if our work shall redound to the glory of God. Those appointed to responsible positions in the publishing work must now give careful consideration to these important matters. They must carefully discriminate between right and wrong, justice and injustice, that they may discern what is equality and fair dealing.... CW 150.1

There is danger of a recklessness coming into the publishing work, which will place it where it requires readjustment. The rule should be followed that a second book on any subject is not to be crowded into the market till the one preceding it has had a fair chance. I now leave with you these words of admonition and caution.—Letter 225, 1899. CW 150.2

Equity in Publishing New Editions—When several parties have on hand large stock of certain books, nothing should be done in bringing out of new editions by one office, without consulting with those who already have quantities of the old edition on hand. In every action care must be exercised not to take a course that will bring loss upon our institutions. We must deal in all things with equity and with sanctified judgment.—Letter 229, 1903. CW 150.3

Revision of Standard Books—The work that the Lord has given us at this time is to present to the people the true light in regard to the testing questions of obedience and salvation,—the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. CW 151.1

In some of our important books that have been in print for years, and which have brought many to a knowledge of the truth, there may be found matters of minor importance that call for careful study and correction. Let such matters be considered by those regularly appointed to have the oversight of our publications. Let not these brethren, nor our canvassers, nor our ministers, magnify these matters in such a way as to lessen the influence of these good soul-saving books. Should we take up the work of discrediting our literature, we would place weapons in the hands of those who have departed from the faith, and confuse the minds of those who have newly embraced the message. The less that is done unnecessarily to change our publications, the better it will be.—Preach the Word, p. 7 (1910). CW 151.2