Barnes & Noble needed an editor! Geeky editing post.

Geeky-editing-post-about-commas alert!

I just came across these two sentences on the B&N website, ironically on one of its “here’s-how-you-put-your-books-in-our-stores pages.”

The annual, “The Writer’s Market”, is also stocked by most bookstores and libraries and it includes brief snapshots of many publishing companies and agents.  The current edition of “Literary Market Place”, published by Bookmart Press, and found in most libraries is another valuable resource.

Wow! Multiple mistakes! So, by dint of a little research, I was able to contact a very sharp guy on the B&N team who listened to what I had to say about the comma and quotation mark mistakes in these two sentences. Hooray for people who like to learn and strive for excellence! Even though I didn’t try to convert him to the italics-for-book-titles rule that I hold dearly, we did have a good conversation about commas! Here’s what I recommended:

The annual “The Writer’s Market” is also stocked by most bookstores and libraries, and it includes brief snapshots of many publishing companies and agents.  The current edition of “Literary Market Place,” published by Bookmart Press and found in most libraries, is another valuable resource.

Here’s the breakdown:

The annual, [no comma; the title isn’t parenthetical information] “The Writer’s Market”, [no comma; you should try not to separate the subject from the verb; PLUS, commas always are placed INSIDE quotation marks; and, looking at it clean, let’s go further and remove the “it”] is also stocked by most bookstores and libraries [without a comma here, you’ve got a run-on sentence] and it includes brief snapshots of many publishing companies and agents.  The current edition of “Literary Market Place”, [commas are always placed INSIDE quotes, so move it and we’ll keep it because it sets off the parenthetical information that follows] published by Bookmart Press, [I took this comma out; you have a two-part bit of parenthetical information here] and found in most libraries [comma HERE] is another valuable resource.

FINAL VERSION in B&N Style:

The annual “The Writer’s Market” is also stocked by most bookstores and libraries, and includes brief snapshots of many publishing companies and agents.  The current edition of “Literary Market Place,” published by Bookmart Press and found in most libraries, is another valuable resource.

FINAL VERSION in MY STYLE:

The annual The Writer’s Market is also stocked by most bookstores and libraries, and includes brief snapshots of many publishing companies and agents.  The current edition of Literary Market Place, published by Bookmart Press and found in most libraries, is another valuable resource.

(And, yes, “market place” is two words for those people; of course I looked it up!)

And, looking at it further, I’m not keen on the use of “most” (so wimpy) in subsequent sentences. Humph.