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I just want to put to rest some of the previous concerns about this being an outdated issue. I'm a doctoral student, so having the latest version of this manual is paramount to the success of my program. That being said, I researched whether or not I should purchase this manual from Amazon, and almost didn't given some of the past negative reviews. I went with my instincts, however, trusting that a major retailer like Amazon would always offer the latest printing of a given text.
Needless to say, I was right in doing so.
I ordered this book February 27, 2012, and according to the inside of my copy, this is the fifth printing (January 2011) of this book. Rest assured that if you order from Amazon, you're getting the latest copy of a terrific resource and at the best price available.
Book: five stars...a terrific resource for anyone writing in the APA style. Amazon experience: five stars...don't worry guys, you're getting the most recent version.
I hope I have helped alleviate some of the concerns posted here. While getting the proper version of this book might've been a problem in the past, it is no longer an issue.
I just received my copy. As a psychology professor, this text is required for my bookshelf--the same is true for students in this field. However, I was upset to learn that APA has already issued 7 typewritten pages of corrections to this manual, and they will not exchange the first printing for a newer print. This is a resource that you will use for years! Wait to purchase until the kinks have been ironed out and they are on a second or third printing of the manual! I am also disappointed that they do not clearly delineate the changes from the 5th edition. It looks to me that there are few important changes (2 spaces between sentences, etc.). Save your money for at least a few more months!
I was very irritated to find that many errors existed in the 6th edition. I also contacted APA regarding the errors. They are not going to exchange the book for a corrected edition. They made several lame excuses for the errors and for not replacing it. My second email to APA pointedly expressed my displeasure with their stance - copied below...
To have grammar and writing errors in a book about grammar and writing is shameful. How much does your organization really care about the reputation it is presenting? Do you have editors reviewing your works before publication? Are your editors paying attention to their work? If you cannot hold yourself to the standards you have set out in your own publication, then your publications should not exist!
If you need this book, demand a corrected reprinting! If you are a university, you also demand a corrected reprint. This organization should not set standards they are not going to comply with. I give them an "F"
Update: 3 months after submitting my complaint to APA I received a letter stating that a reprint was in the works and that anyone who bought the edition with all the mistakes would have a short time span to return it, without charge and postage covered, for the corrected addition. My faith was somewhat restored in the power of honest critical reviews.
Update 2: received the corrected version and all the mistakes I found in the 6th ed. have been corrected. their book now gets a "B" but the organization still gets a "C" for the "holier than thou attitude".
Do not buy the first printing of the APA manual, 6th edition under any circumstances. There are errors on eighty (80) of its pages. How outrageous for a manual on writing style! As of 10/20/09, APA refused to exchange their error full copies with corrected second printings. Despite the fact that the list of errors goes on for 7 pages, the Editorial Director of APA books stated "there are no errors that impede using the manual with full confidence." Many of the errors are in the sample papers -- a part of the manual so many of us use as an important reference. The abuse of power that APA is wielding over students required to purchase this book for classes, along with graduate students and professors who must write in this style for journals is alarming. APA goes on to state that with its 80 pages of errors in this edition that "it is within my control, as a true expert who has been intimately involved with each stage of this project, to verify for you without hesitation that the first printing is correct, accurate, and fully functional." As a Professor, when I grade papers, I say to my students that 3 APA errors will get them docked 1/2 a letter grade. If I were to grade this APA manual, it would not only get an F, there aren't enough letters in the alphabet to go low enough for the number of errors it contains. Meanwhile, APA is happy to take everyone's money for the book they know we all have to purchase in so many fields of study.
A formal boycott of this edition successfully led to a second printing in which the errors were corrected. As long as you order a new copy, not a used one, you should be safe. If you buy a used copy, make sure that you do not get a first edition -- it is a complete waste of money.