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Byline: David L. Beck
What's black and yellow and read all over?
A) Cliffs Notes
B) Cliffs Complete
D) All of the above
The correct answer, of course, is D, but if you've been anywhere near a high school or college in the past 40 years, you probably knew that. The inexpensive paperback study guides to Shakespeare and other lit-class staples may not be as popular as Harry Potter or as ubiquitous as Danielle Steel, but their yellow-and-black diagonal stripes have become as iconic as a stop sign, and their very name has entered the language as shorthand for the quick-and-easy version.
In fact, when a Houston journalist named Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje wrote about Cliffs Notes last year, her 3,710-word story ran side by side with a Condensed Version, only two paragraphs and 188 words long. "If you don't have time to wade through the main story," counseled an editor's note, "read this short version." (They did, too: "It was much more well read than my original story," says Stoeltje.)
That's the sort of thing that drives Greg Tubach nuts. "The Note is not meant to replace the original text," he says, reciting with passion and conviction the phrases that have long been a mantra at Cliffs Notes. "It is a supplement to the original …