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A textbook editor is responsible for copy editing and reviewing books that will be used as teaching tools in schools. Textbooks are used on the elementary, middle school, high school, college and graduate levels. The books are assembled to provide information on specific subjects being taught, and it is essential that the books contain accurate and timely information so a student will not learn false information.
The job functions of a textbook editor differ depending on his role in the editorial process. Many companies will employ an expert in the field to edit the textbook for content first. This means the editor will read the work that the writer has completed to determine if there are any factual errors throughout the book. This may include extensive fact checking, such as cross-referencing the information contained within the book with other data sources. It is imperative that no factual errors are in textbooks, as those could interfere with a student's understanding of a concept.
A textbook editor may also edit the textbook for grammar and structure. Just as a textbook shouldn't contain factual errors, it should also not contain grammatical problems or misspellings. Spell check programs cannot catch certain typos, so the textbook editor who performs the grammatical and structural check should also be on the lookout for misspelled words. This part of the editing process may be referred to as line editing, since the editor will go line by line through the work, ensuring that it is all correct.
The textbook editor responsible for editing the style and grammatical structure will apply specific grammatical rules to the book to determine if the book is properly written. For example, the Associated Press, or AP, Style Guide is widely used as setting the standard for writing format. The AP guide contains information on numerous subjects, ranging from the correctness of serial commas to the proper way to format and write dates and numbers or abbreviations.
A publishing company that produces textbooks may thus employee multiple editors, or an editorial team, responsible for the review of the textbooks before each book is published. These editors often interface with each other, and with the original authors of the book, to produce a more finished and polished final product. The editors, for example, may send a query back to the writer, who will correct and change his written product. Working together, the team of editors and writers should ideally create a flawless textbook to help students learn.