a modest proposal

So the Kirkus Review is shutting down and everyone is, once again, hailing the death of print. In this time of great belt-tightening, INTERN has been brainstorming ways print publishers can save precious $ and stay in business through the recession and beyond.

Not so many years ago, New Zealand was debating the best way to standardize the spelling of Te Reo, the Māori language. One of the issues discussed was whether to use a macron (Māori) or double vowel (Maaori) to indicate a long vowel. They chose the macron and, INTERN has been told by her New Zealand friends, have since saved millions of dollars in printing costs for documents in that official language.

This morning, INTERN was working on a manuscript critique. The manuscript in question is 408 pages long. Quite a whack of ink and paper! Closing her eyes and thinking of New Zealand, INTERN opened the find/replace tool and replaced all instances of the word "the" with an asterisk: *. Bam! 7,895 replacements. Now we're down to 402 pages. Pennies saved!

Encouraged by her success, INTERN replaced all the "ands" with ampersands. 398 pages, and now the manuscript looks like it was written by Jack Kerouac on a benzedrine binge. Cool.

Scanning through the pages, INTERN noticed that a lot of the characters in this manuscript had long (ahem, *expensive*) names. People, can we really afford to name our characters things like "Jonathan" and "Alexandra" in this economy? No! But if we place a three-letter limit on character names (Dan, Bob, Dre, Ali, Mel, Lee), we can take another entire page out of the printing cost.

Last but not least, INTERN chose a letter to sacrifice. H. A few seconds later, we're down to 389 pages: roughly a 5% savings off our original 408. Plus, now everyone in the novel has a delightful cockney accent: "I didn't like ow e was looking at me & Bob."

The biggest problem facing print publishers is *obviously* print itself, e.g. ink and paper. So really, if everyone could just cut down on production costs using these simple techniques, this whole print crisis shenanigan would blow over in, like, a day. Rolls eyes.

Goodnight Kirkus.

Comments

  1. Back in the '90s, when mainframe programming manuals were rows of binders updated on a regular basis, IBM came up with the clever idea of spelling "employee" with one less "e" to save space, pages, cost. So the manual was full of employes.

    It doesn't seem to have stuck.

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  2. T'at is * greatest idea ever. I am in 'uge awe of your ingenuity & daring. I am not being * slig'test bit sarcastic.

    Yours,
    Car

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  3. Wouldn't "W" be a better choice? That letter takes up too much room.

    I didn't like ho he as looking at me & Bob.
    I didn't like ow e was looking at me & Bob.

    There's an entire period's worth of space there at the end!

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  4. Great experiment! I'm sure it was really interesting to look at! Oh, the poor letter 'H'!

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  5. Intern,
    I am totally going to nominate you for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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  6. LOL. I marvel at your wisdom, INTERN. Really, I do. Even more so, I adore your sarcastic wit, ESPECIALLY the (*) cockney accent idea. BRILLIANT, not to mention fabulously hilarious. ...I mean, ilarious. :-)

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  7. Tat's * way to go. You've sown ow * future works & * rest is now istory.

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  8. I just gave INTERN an award over at my blog. INTERN should check it out when she is free. :)

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  9. a-a-a ...

    which is a laug wit'out dreaded "aych"

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  10. I live in New Zealand.

    I like your suggestions better :)

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  11. Xcising adverbs and adjectives and interjections, whoa! and discourse markers, you know, like, would cut out a quarter of most manuscripts real estate and not markedly change the content.

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  12. When I first read the title of this post I was like "Uh oh. Eating authors??"

    This is a MUCH better idea! :D

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  13. What * ell are you talking about?

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  14. Ben Franklin kept "H" in his phonetic alphabet, but "C" was a goner. http://www.omniglot.com/writing/franklin.htm

    I like the idea of & & *. Makes * text prettier anyhow!

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  15. DeadlyAccurate: you. are. so. right. But INTERN still digs the cockney effect...

    VoidWalker: thanks!

    Andy: that is fabulous. and so very techie of them.

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  16. A wonderful idea, & I look forward to reading * exploits of Bob & is cockney cums.

    * obvious solution, of course, is to keep * wole ting electronic & ten no-one need spend a penny on expensive paper at any stage of * process.

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  17. IBM could’ve saved a lot more if they’d simply referred to employees as BMs.

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  18. I am giggling so much right now, I can't tell you. & it has nothing to do with the wine.

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  19. I'm sitting in the living room by myself, reading your post and cracking up!
    :-)

    I was very sad about Kirkus. Their (hopefully positive!) review was one of the things I looked forward to if I ever became published...

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  20. You might be the funniest person I've ever encountered.

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  21. I am now feeling mortified that I named my MC Zeraphina. All the trees and money wasted for my own indulgence *weeps*

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  22. Any of ya speak Arkansas English? If so, how do you pronounce this... Blytheville? Or Gamaliel? or Geep?

    Take a guess, I'll tell ya tomorrow

    Haste yee back ;-)

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  23. Tis made me laug out loud. Tanks for tat!

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  24. I recommend the removal of the apostrophe as well...not only will you save space, but you'll automatically correct the spelling of half the plural words in some manuscripts.

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  25. * ideas you come up wit! You ave me lauging so ard tat I hink I ave to sit.

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  26. Hey, I just found your blog this morning :) I am going to independently publish a book this year. I will definitely be following your posts.

    Have a great day missy!

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  27. You are so funny!! But...I think you just might have something there...

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  28. Tanks for tis.

    I need a new keyboard now! Dang latte.

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  29. What a fantsatic idea! Why on earth hasn't anyone thought of this before?! ;)

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