Footnotes vs. endnotes: A Scandalous take

Yes, I mean real footnotes, not just endnotes—so readers will actually read them.

The Solomon Scandals contains two endnotes, and one of them involves a dog, Harry S. Truman, and the New York Times. Read the novel for the full lowdown here. I disagreed with the Times about the Truman-related details. But in many if not most cases, I’ll emphatically side with Alexandra Horowitz (photo), the Times columnist who argued on October 7 for footnotes.

The International Digital Publishing Forum, the standards body responsible for the ePub e-book format, needs to address this issue if it hasn’t already. Same for Amazon, especially if it can also gracefully switch from its proprietary Kindle format.

As for the printed edition of The Solomon Scandals, I would empathize with my small publisher, Twilight Times Books, which had to keep costs down. Still, a footnote enthusiast can always dream.

Caveat (my honorary footnote here): Actually I think this varies from book to book. In some cases where the majority of details are  of little interest to most readers, endnotes are in fact the way to go.

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David Rothman

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