Reply To: Suggestion for formatting the book

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OK, to be completely honest, the reason I used “9 inches” for the nails was thinking about NIN–Nine Inch Nails the band.

However, to proportionalize things, when standing normally on his digitigrade hooves he’s about 11.5 to 12 feet tall, if he were to really stretch his legs out then from hoof to horn tip he’s 13 feet tall.

I am short and have short stubby hands. I’m 5’6″ standing as straight as I can or 5.5 feet, and my middle finger is 3″ long. So Tom is 2.36x as tall as me and has proportionally even larger hands. So, his middle finger should be at least 7″ long, if the are as stubby as mine. Given that his hands are giant sized I would be willing to guess, and was guessing that his middle finger is close to 9″ long. So his nails are about as long as his fingers…roughly.

so if he closes his fist as best he can, the tips of his fingers resting on the palm of his hand, his nails would probably extend about 30% the length of his forearm.

In hindsight, definitely something that SHOULD have been mentioned/brought up, that really does require remarking on….but…it doesn’t keep him from punching things.

So this is one of those things that brings up a serious question about new book technology.

In the old days, books were like movies, once “published” they were fixed in stone. Today, they don’t need to be. An e-book can be changed at any time. Depending on the platform, propagating the changes to people that have the book can be tricky (or not)…but it’s easy to change the book.

I can even change the paperback, it’s printed on demand, so any new copies would have changes corrections.

I have in fact uploaded newer versions of the book that fix formatting issues, particularly for the “Articles of Evil” that improve formatting of tables and fonts/colors for different readers. But I have never changed the content.

Should authors, in general, change their work over time?

One big problem with this is that if the ebook is truly living, the context that someone gets from reading the original book and someone reading the same book 20 years later that the author has been improving/making changes to, may have a fundamentally different experience.

You’ve lost a historical perspective in some ways.

Now, clearly fixing things like the nails etc in this book don’t have that profound an effect. Clearly fixing spelling and grammatical mistakes shouldn’t be that big a deal…but at some point there becomes a fine line, where I am thinking you lose more than you gain.

The question is, where is that point.

Again, I’m not so much talking about this particular set of “oops” mistakes, but more philosophically. Just because the ebook format allows us to “correct the record” should an author be able to go back and undo their mistakes after publication?