Out with the old? Nope!

Editors know that well-known style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style and APA, are revised every several years and a new edition is released.

An editor should, of course, make every effort to obtain the latest edition of every style guide they use. But what to do with the previous edition they were using before?

Should they toss it into the recycling bin? Sell it on eBay? Donate it to a library?


If you are an editor, you should keep the previous edition of your style guides for “the time being” (I’ll explain what that means in a minute). Why?

Some authors or publishers may require that an older edition be used.

I found this out (almost the hard way) last week, when I edited a scientific review that was to be published in a certain journal. When I looked up the journal publisher’s style guide, I found that the publisher required APA 6th edition style.

APA is up to the 7th edition at the time that I type this. I ordered the 7th edition of the APA almost as soon as I heard that it had come out. I had already possessed the 6th edition for a few years…and thank Heaven I still had it, or I would have been in big trouble.

You know what? I almost didn’t have the 6th edition last week.

A year ago, I wondered what the 6th edition could do for me now that I had the 7th edition. So I asked my husband to sell it on eBay.

Less than a week later, I almost took a gig where the 6th edition was required, and I asked my husband to take the listing off eBay, which he promptly did.

Thus, I kept my APA 6th edition…and I am incredibly glad that I did!

I believe that if, for example, you have the 1st edition of a style guide and the 2nd edition comes out, you should obtain the 2nd edition but keep the 1st edition until the 3rd edition is released. Then, and only then, is it safe to get rid of the 1st edition.

Do you believe differently? If so, please comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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