The Communicative Aspects of Textbooks’ Prefaces: A Descriptive Analysis

By Shahnil Asmar Saaid and Zaiha Ahmad.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A preface is the author's attempt to introduce the text and explain why the book was written and to what audience it was written for. It helps to determine how the text is organized and the limitations, if any. It also informs some of the references that the author used and explains the main emphasis of the text. In some cases, aids for learning may also be included in this section. The preface thus serves as part of the author’s introduction to the book and not part of the content of the book. It is the part where authors inform the reader about the text itself and express their attitudes and beliefs about the content of the text. Here, the authors do not add propositional material but help their readers organize, classify, interpret, evaluate and react to such material. Given the importance of textbooks’ prefaces, this study aims to examine the communicative aspects that authors used. Using a descriptive analysis, this study will look at six undergraduate introductory textbooks for six disciplines (management, communication, accounting and finance, psychology, biology and chemistry). The analysis will reveal the differences and similarities of each author in a textbook’s preface and how their communicative aspects help readers to use and understand the organization of the book.

Keywords: Textbook Authors, Textbook Genres, Textbook Preface, Textbook Organization, Undergraduates

International Journal of the Book, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.5-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 524.961KB).

Shahnil Asmar Saaid

Lecturer, Publishing Program, MARA University of Technology (UiTM), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Shahnil Asmar Binti Saaid is a lecturer of Publishing Program at MARA University of Technology (UiTM). She has served as Head of Publishing Program in 1999-2002 and has been teaching publishing studies for almost a decade. She received her Masters degree in Publishing and Book Production from the University of Plymouth, UK and currently is doing her Ph.D research in book typography. She has written several books (fiction and non fiction) and presented paper in the area of book publishing. She is also a member of Standard Malaysia Technical Experts in Publishing. Her major interests include the area of typography, book design, book production process, and media studies.

Zaiha Ahmad

Lecturer, Publishing Program, MARA University of Technology (UiTM), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Zaiha bt Ahmad is lecturer of Publishing Program at MARA University of Technology (UiTM). She has served as a publishing lecturer since 2001. She has received her Masters degree in Publishing from University of Stirling, UK and has presented papers at the international conference. She participates the Malaysian Board on Books for Young People (MBBY) and Standard Malaysia Technical Experts in Publishing, and teaches in the areas of publishing, book design and graphic and layout.

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