The ninth edition of Rook's Textbook of Dermatology, or ‘Rook book’ as it is known affectionately, marks a significant change from its traditional structure and format. The editorial team has changed: due to the retirements of Tony Burns and Stephen Breathnach and the untimely, early death of Neil Cox, only Chris Griffiths remains from the previous team. The current editors wish to pay tribute to these three, all of whom dedicated significant energy and knowledge to the success of previous editions. Four editors were deemed to be insufficient for a textbook of the complexity and size of Rook and thus a team of five editors supported by 12 associate editors was established for the ninth edition. The content has been reorganized into 14 sections with a total of 160 chapters, more than double the number in the previous edition although the overall size of the book is little changed. The new opening section, Foundations of Dermatology, provides a comprehensive introduction to the subject and there is an expanded section on Aesthetic Dermatology. The authorship has also enlarged with a mixture of authors from previous editions and newcomers, many of whom are from outside the UK and have thus added an important international dimension to the essential ‘Britishness’ of Rook.
The major change and the one which has catalysed the aforementioned restructuring is the requirement to bring the book into the twenty‐first‐century publishing world by designing it as much for online use as for a traditional print book. The hierarchical templating required for this has necessitated a complete rewrite and reformatting. The hard copy textbook mirrors the online version, the main difference being that only selected key references are printed in the former, the full reference list being available online. This has enabled us to increase the number of figures and images, all of which are downloadable as PowerPoint slides. We also listened to comments about the inconvenience of the index being printed in only one of the four volumes of the eighth edition and have ensured that it is available in each volume of the ninth.
We view our editorship of Rook as a privilege and are cognizant of our responsibilities as the current custodians of an institution of British dermatology. Thus, the changes we have wrought on the book have been undertaken with a sense of trepidation. Dermatology is at an important and exciting point in its evolution as a subject. The promise of translational research, whereby advances in the understanding of basic pathomechanisms of skin disease have resulted in higher quality patient care, is being realized, much as Arthur Rook, Darrell Wilkinson and John Ebling envisaged in their preface to the first edition of Rook in 1968. We have tried to encapsulate this approach in the ninth edition.
Our thanks go to the wonderful team of Jenny Seward, Catriona Cooper, Nick Morgan, Charlie Hamlyn, Oliver Walter and Martin Sugden at Wiley who have worked tirelessly to help us realize our vision for the new Rook, and to our outstanding project manager Lindsey Williams, and her indefatigable team of copy editors (Jane Andrew and Karen Stephenson), indexer (Jill Halliday) and artist (David Gardner).