Little, Brown’s letter to The New York Times

In this morning’s review of John Crewdson’s book, Science Fictions, reviewer Ed Regis states that the publisher has ‘glibly’ placed the book’s notes on a website, rather then including them in the book, for reasons of profit.

This is false and I’m shocked that the review’s editor did not catch such an obvious error. The book contains 78 pages of extremely detailed, single-spaced endnotes that provide all the documentation most readers will want. The author wanted to provide still more documentation, and so created a website where curious readers could find even more notes and copies of documents cited. The website contains far more data than would usually be included in a book intended for a general audience. But in his desire for accuracy – and knowing the importance of documentation, particularly to fellow journalists familiar with this controversial subject – the author undertook to make these extensive sources available. Regis also ignored the fact that the website allows any reader the option to get a printed version of the supplementary materials.

The goal here is to give readers more, not less, information. This is an excellent use of Internet technology, and I expect the Times to be applauding it instead of lazily and falsely maligning both author and publisher. For Ed Regis to write, and for you to publish, that Science Fictions lacks ‘a documentation of its claims’ is false and damaging to this important book.

Michael Pietsch
Little, Brown and Company