A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:14 am

Let me share something with you. I discovered a new type of frustration. As you all know, I am not too good at shutting up. Writing a review of your own book or even replying to comments made with somebody else's review is "not done"; letting it go is hard... ;) :oops:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2EULO2 ... hisHelpful

To channel my (not too serious) frustration, I will abuse this forum to write a fictional reply. Perhaps someone ends up here looking for an answer to the the Arnold vs. Speybroeck question too some day... ;) :P :mrgreen:

---
Both books deal with (more or less) the same area and fauna, but they have different text, drawings, maps, ... The newer one is not just an edited version of the older one; they were developed 100% independently. About 35 species that were not (yet) considered by Arnold have been added. The new distribution maps fixed many of Arnold’s flaws. The taxonomy has had a serious facelift, as Arnold’s was already fairly conservative upon its release in 2002. The presentation of the species accounts is very different - text, drawings and maps are grouped into three units in the old book, whereas the new one groups all info into a single species account, plus has a lot of photographs. So, “broadly similar in content”? Not really.

Adding the Canaries and Madeira means adding ca. another 15 species with clear African biogeographical origin and restricted to places of limited attraction to people interested in herpetofauna (in contrast e.g. to the eastern Greek islands). Yes, all sorts of nature lovers visit these places and it is of course always nice to include more areas, species, ... but as hinted by the reviewer himself, it comes at the cost of ending up with a less practical product, and in the end, it is usually the publisher (and not the author) who draws that line... Cyprus is also ‘linked elsewhere’ in terms of biogeography and would add yet another 10 species (because it would be odd to include it while not adding the Canaries, right?). Turkey earns a book by itself.
Whether it is important to include the Canaries or not, is a subjective matter. I would rather have something that’s gorgeous and up-to-date, than something that includes just a few more lizards :P .
---

If any of you feels the urge to write a more accurate review (if, of course, you agree with what I've written above), don't hesitate. But even that's "not done" :oops: .

BTW, besides Amazon the book is also in the top four bestselling books of the biggest natural history book store in UK - NHBS :)

At n° 2 now - amazing! :mrgreen:
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Ilian Velikov » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:37 am

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:BTW, besides Amazon the book is also in the top four bestselling books of the biggest natural history book store in UK - NHBS

At n° 2 now - amazing!


Great! :D

As for the Amazon reviews I was (slightly annoyed) too. (e.g. "along with some excellent illustrations that are comparable with, but probably have the edge over, the Collins" :roll: ). However, I'm not sure if it's worth going into debates with such "reviewers". Everything is as you said subjective. Inevitably there would be people saying all kinds of stuff and even some (insane) people that would like Arnold's guide more. Don't waste your time explaining stuff to every single one of them. Besides I'm tired of random people calling themselves "book reviewers" because they wrote a couple of lines on Amazon...After all we saw what people here as well as the real professional book reviewers that read tones of books and actually do this for a living had to say about our guide ;)

As for the geographical coverage of the guide - I've always agreed with Jeroen that we should look at it from a bio geographical and not political point of view. Furthermore this guy's reasoning that a few African islands are a popular tourist destination for Europeans is simply ridiculous! Madagascar is also a very popular tourist destination for Europeans and they also speak French there... Should we make the book 1500 pages and include all the Malagasy species in the second edition?
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:44 am

Well... I don't care about that guy's opinion. I do care about the idea people get from reading such review. After all, I also read that stuff when I am checking out books to buy. So, it's more a matter of providing proper info. But, yes, everyone's an expert today. :lol:
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Alexandre Roux » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:34 pm

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Isn't a fieldguide made to become damaged? ;)
Just kidding!


Exactly why I first didn't want the hardcover version !
Maybe I should by some more just in case :lol:
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:27 pm

I got my (hardcover) copy from NHBS, without any problem. They also proved extremely cooperative
- they were ready to send it by the end of July, but I kindly asked them to postpone the delivery till
the beginning of September, which they did. So I got it two days ago. Totally unharmed/undamaged.

I'm not in the least troubled with comparisons with the Collins guide. This is a new book. And no, it's
not really a "pocket book", but it's superb.

When I'll have gone through it more thorougly, I'll send a list of comments/suggestions to the first author,
in a private e-mail message. So far, I'm really positively surprised by the diligence and pedantry to collect
and include some "scattered" bits of data, from e-mail messages, or postings in this forum, and alike, like
e.g. that H. (viridiflavus) carbonarius extends as far to the southeast as Karlobag, not only Senj. A minor
detail, indeed, but someone had stored this tiny bit of information for the future, and remembered it when
the time came. Congrats. (BTW, it's true. Probably not yet published "properly", but true.)
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:34 am

Berislav Horvatic wrote:I'm really positively surprised by the diligence and pedantry to collect and include some "scattered" bits of data, from e-mail messages, or postings in this forum, and alike, like e.g. that H. (viridiflavus) carbonarius extends as far to the southeast as Karlobag, not only Senj. A minor detail, indeed, but someone had stored this tiny bit of information for the future, and remembered it when the time came.

Aha! While the visual appeal of our baby (in my less than humble opinion) is obvious straightaway, I'm hoping this type of pleasant surprises will continue to pop up for those who dig deeper. By their own, these tidbits may be fairly insignificant details, but their collective value is one of the elements we used trying to raise the bar.

Well, OK, that was less than humble, indeed. ;) :oops:
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:57 pm

Well, OK, that was less than humble, indeed. ;) :oops:

In this case you have no reason to be too humble... if the "titbits" like that were one of the elements
you used trying to raise the bar. Well, you did raise the bar. With that, too. Congrats again. Or should
I rather just say "thank you", in the name of the "users" (what an ugly term!)... whether they recognize
it or not. (Some will, some won't, but everyone will profit from that, for sure.)
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:37 am

Yesterday i got my exemplar. Why did not you map introduced populations of I. alperstis?
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:11 am

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:Yesterday i got my exemplar. Why did not you map introduced populations of I. alperstis?


Glad you liked the book. :roll:

You are making a habit of "asking before reading", I see? On p. 10, we explain how we dealt with mapping of alien species/populations. If you map every single alien population, you end up with a map that clouds the representation of the natural range of a species. You could solve that by using colours or shading to distinguish between natural and alien range parts, but then we would have to have accurate data on all alien populations. This data is lacking. Collecting it and presenting it in a fieldguide falls imho outside of the scope of such a book.
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Re: A&R guide Speybroeck et al. - review it!

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:33 am

Maybe this fitted better in the first thread about our book, but let's throw all in here now...

A Spanish coedition of our book has been sold. It will be published by Ediciones Omega and should be out in May 2017.

Yeah!
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