Friday, May 14, 2010

What’s the difference between these two “What’s the Difference?” books?, part 2 of 2

First read part 1.

They were the brand and I was the solo act. But I felt I had an advantage mental_floss didn’t…timing. You think would have survived had gone online first?

It turned out that mental_floss's book had the same name (no surprise)…but also the same size…and even the same color treatment on the cover (light blue and brown, though theirs also had a red View-Master):

However, again, these similarities were (appropriately enough) trivial. The proof is in the content. (And I knew going in that there’d be overlap; as mental_floss's magazine and previous book had already proved, it’s inevitable with this topic.)

Their book contained 9 comparisons that mine did and multiple others on my extensive list for future What's the Difference? projects. The overlaps:

  • preface/introduction/foreword (I think using this comparison as the preface was our mutually cleverest move)
  • geek/nerd/dork (I also included dweeb and dork)
  • alligator/crocodile (they used it as a sidebar to the main entry IZOD/Lacoste)
  • murder/manslaughter (I also included homicide)
  • state/commonwealth
  • frog/toad
  • meteor/meteorite/meteoroid (both of us addressed asteroid in a sidebar, and I also included comet)
  • mountain lion/cougar (I didn’t have this as a main comparison but rather part of the "Related Terms")
  • Holland/Netherlands

One I wished I’d had:

  • Hasidic Jew/Orthodox Jew

Comparisons aside from the entries:

  • Page count: 176 (mine) vs. 190.
  • Mine had blue and brown scheme inside but no illustration; theirs had no color inside but cartoons opening each section.
  • Mine was divided into 14 categories from "Animals" to "Hard Surfaces"; theirs, six categories named for school subjects ("English," "Social Studies," etc.).
  • Mine had an index and theirs didn’t.

I don’t know the latest on mental_floss’s book, but mine has had at least three printings and there are more on the way. I expect to have other What's the Difference? news, though I don’t know when.

And that is the difference between
"The End" and "The End?"

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