QUESTION: When should one use an addendum?



The front and back matter of a book contain important information about the author, publisher, and subject matter. These elements make a book appear more professional. They also provide readers and industry professionals with useful material while giving authors a space for helpful aids or marketing copy. 

One type of back matter is an addendum, which is added after the first edition or initial publication of a book. An addendum is a convenient way for an author to correct something in the original edition, refresh old information, or provide clarification on a point.


How and When to Use an Addendum

Once you’ve put your book out into the world it’s considered a finished product; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t release a subsequent edition and make changes or updates to the already released version. It’s very common for authors to want to make corrections or revisions to a book after they’ve published.

Authors use an addendum when they want to provide a major update to their book.Addenda are most often used by nonfiction authors, but fiction authors can use them too. Here are some examples of when an addendum might be used in a second edition of a book:

1.  The supporting data and/or statistics about your topic are now outdated.
2.  One or more of your viewpoints on a topic has shifted.
3.  There have been major changes in your topic’s industry.
4.  Readers question your story’s ending and you want to clarify it or explain your reasoning behind it.

An addendum may not make sense if you want to correct spelling/grammar errors or minor inconsistencies in the body of your text. You can simply make these changes to the text and release a new edition.

Other Back Matter Elements

There are several different back matter elements authors can use to supplement or enhance the body of the book, or offer more information about the author and his or her portfolio of work. Some of the more common types of back matter include:

About the Author – your biography
Acknowledgements – recognition of your support team
Author’s Note/Thank-You – a personal note and thank you to your readers
Bibliography/Sources – any citations or references
Colophon – publisher and production information
Glossary – definitions of terms
Index – topic listing with corresponding page numbers
Newsletter Sign-Up – where readers can sign up for your email list
Other Books by the Author – a chance to promote the rest of the series or other books

Less common types, but still appropriate when relevant:

•  Back of Book Ad
•  Dedication
•  Maps
•  Photos
•  Preview of Next Book (if a series)
•  Reading Group Discussion Questions
•  Suggested Resources
•  Tables and Charts
•  Timeline


Your final, published book will contain much more than just your written work – it will also contain several pages of helpful material at the front and back. This information will make sure your overall presentation adheres to industry standards while providing you with additional opportunities to inform and connect with readers.