Of course, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened in the ferociously competitive, tooth-and-claw world of textbook publishing. On February 1st, W. W. Norton and Company released, with great fanfare, the 8th edition of Psychology: The Science of You, only to discover that the 7th edition of this perennial best-seller was not due to be published until August 2019.
How in the name of ISBN did this fiasco take place?
To find out, University Life sat down with Chad Kwarkel, Senior Psychology Editor at Norton. His comments:
“Heh-heh, this is what you get when you have multiple production teams working with a single author and you take two weeks off to go on a sweat-lodge vacation in Tibet. (Look at my pores, by the way. Have you ever seen anything like it? Here, wipe my forearm with this tissue. Absolutely no oily residue, and I haven’t showered in a week. You could run me through a full-body MRI scan and not find a single blackhead. Amazing!)
“In any event, the two teams got out of sync when they failed to communicate with one another while I was gone. Sure, it’s embarrassing, but it’s only a big deal if you’re a slave to linear thinking. They’re only numbers, right? Who’s to say that 7 should always precede 8? That may be your truth, but it’s not necessarily mine!
“As long as you’re here, let me tell you how the 8th edition differs in important ways from the 6th edition, which came out in 2017. First off, there’s the price. The 8th edition retails for $189, while the 6th was $155. And we’ve added a new Research Highlight box on page 224, examining the impact of sexual orientation on one’s preference for tomato-based vs. mustard-based BBQ sauce in pulled-pork sandwiches. Spoiler alert: There is none!
“On page 431, in the chapter on group dynamics, we replaced a photo with 6 smiling young professionals sitting around a conference table with a photo of 7 smiling young professionals sitting around a conference table. That way, we could include someone from Portugal in native dress. We’re all about diversity at Norton. And in the physiological chapter featuring the five senses, we’ve added a scratch-and-sniff panel that smells like wet dog fur.
“The 8th edition no longer discusses the work of Freud or B. F. Skinner, because they’ve been dead since, like, forever. Also, you’ll find that all key psychological terms are printed in BOLD CAPS and defined along the side margin of the page, as well as in the top and bottom margins of the same page. So, a student now has three chances to learn what the word means, even if they skip the paragraph in the text in which the word appears.
“A Q-tip in a plastic pouch is attached inside the book’s back cover. It can be used to take a saliva sample that the student can submit to Ancestry.com to obtain his or her psychological profile. Ancestry.com is now one of our corporate partners.
“Finally, the cover of the book is composed of textured rubber, which allows for easier gripping if you’re reading a chapter while eating buffalo wings — a suggestion offered by one of our student focus groups.
“Guys, this is just the beginning. Wait until you see what we’re putting together for the 9th edition in 2020.”
Wow. Bring on the blue cheese dip!