Book review – What Editors Do (Spoiler Free)

 “Being an editor is a lifelong apprenticeship: the books you read, the jobs you have, influence your approach to any given text. Yet in a sense I’m the same editor I was at the beginning of my career, an idealistic former literature student who took pleasure in books whose form and content I understood to be symbiotic, indivisible.”


  • Title: What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing
  • Editor: Peter Ginna
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publication date: October 6, 2017
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press

What Editors Do is an interesting book I was given to read. It goes through all different types of professional editing.

One of the book’s most intriguing concepts is that every chapter is written by a different editor. It shows various perspectives of the editing field. Eventually, a theme comes together and some of the same concepts repeat, leading to a truth.

My major critique is that some chapters repeat themselves. For example, they summarize a topic in the beginning, but then go into detail for the next five pages. I rather just have the summary or just have the explanation, but not both. Reading the summary makes me want to skim the explanation at times because I already know what is going to be said.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It described the editing world well for people who have just dipped their toes into the water. I wouldn’t say it’s a quick read, because I just wanted to take my time with the book and soak all the information in. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend to prospective editors, new editors, and writers who are interested in what happens to their creative works.

Score: 8.3/10
Average rating on Goodreads: 4.18/5

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