Idea: Release Version Numbers of Books

version-nunber_summary1This post introduces my idea for version number system of books, inspired by software version number. It would be useful for writing by prototyping and iterative updating online.



Version Numbers for Software:

Version numbers let developers and users to keep track of update of software by unique numbers.

There are some varieties in scheme of version numbers: Software versioning – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
But in common, version numbers represent significant in changes of software at every updating. The numbers are separated by dot. Usually more important changes are put on more left side.

Major and Minor release:

There are two group to categorize the numbers.

  • Major release represent big changes in code and it doesn’t guarantee compatibility to previous versions.
  • Minor release represents adding new functionalities or fixing bugs.

See “1.3.2”, for example.
“1” is major release number that represents backward incompatible changes.
“3” and “2” are minor release numbers. For instance, “3” is adding functionality and “2” is bug fixing.


Version Numbers for Books:


It is embodiment of analogy for version control for books.


There are platform websites for writing with prototyping and recursive updating, such as Gitbook.
A book on Gitbook is usually updated frequently, even after finishing basic writing.
In fact, Gitbook is well integrated with Github which is the most renown version control system in software developing.

Version numbers are good identifier for such writing method.

Three-Number System:


The image above describes a version number system for book.

The number on the left represents changing in main subject or story. It is major release because it’s incompatible with previous versions.

The number at the center represents adding or deleting chapter/sub-chapter. It shows structural big changes in book.
It could be minor release because changing structure not always means big changes of book.

The number on the right represents changing minor parts, such as type/style/sentences. It is parallel to minor release of software, such as bug fixing or code refining.

Another Possible Form:

In some cases, four-number system maybe better than the three-number system.
In writing, changing sentence and typo is very frequent. In three-number system, the third number can be huge.

So separating number between changes in type and sentences would be good for managing such situation.

  • Idea: Release Version Numbers of Books

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