8

This is found on the copyright page of any book published by The Floating Press:

While every effort has been used to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in The Floating Press edition of this book, The Floating Press does not assume liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in this book. The Floating Press does not accept responsibility for loss suffered as a result of reliance upon the accuracy or currency of information contained in this book. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Many suitcases look alike.

I'm curious what "many suitcases look alike" is intended to mean at the end.

Is it to be interpreted literally or figuratively? What exactly does it mean?

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    Which book? At least the title please, or better a link. – James K Jul 15 '18 at 9:27
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    Curious that you did not find this curious: Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 15 '18 at 9:42
  • I thought it could be humorously implying the book is too boring and has a soporific effect. – Apollyon Jul 15 '18 at 9:53
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    That stock disclaimer has no business being there. This is is a book, not some medicine that makes you drowsy. Someone thought it was funny to poke fun at the fact that the legal department insists on certain disclaimers; they have added a couple of disclaimers that have absolutely no relevance to a book. It might as well have been Don't try this at home. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 15 '18 at 10:26
  • A German book might contain the notice of origin "Made in Eile". – Peter - Reinstate Monica Jul 16 '18 at 4:36
23

It is a joke.

Sometimes books contain disclaimers. For example a book about a dangerous sport might contain a disclaimer saying "If you do this sport and get hurt, you can't sue the publisher." A book about financial advice may contain a disclaimer "the publisher does not accept responsibility for loss suffered as a result of reliance upon the accuracy or currency of information contained in this book" So if you lose money, you can't sue us.

My guess is that the whole disclaimer is a joke. The Floating Press do e-book versions of public domain texts. They put this on the copyright page as a joke. They are a pretty small outfit (probably just a few individuals).

Similar disclaimers appear on medicines that can make you sleepy. They say "Don't drive or operate machinery after taking this medicine". There is no need to put such a warning in the book, so this is just a joke.

There is another sign that you see at airports. When you collect your baggage you are warned "Many bags look alike" So check carefully that you are taking your bag, and not someone else's.

There is no need to put such a warning in the book, so this is a joke.

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  • "Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment" arguably has a humorous effect, as it could imply the book is too boring and induces sleep. But I don't see the humor of "many suitcases look alike." – Apollyon Jul 15 '18 at 10:00
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    @Apollyon I find it pretty funny. There is some humour in the fact that the list of warnings is getting sillier and sillier as it steers away from actually being relevant. But to each their own :) – Baptiste Candellier Jul 15 '18 at 10:36
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    @BaptisteCandellier It had me laughing too. It reminds me of Monty Python and my hovercraft is full of eels. US prescription drug commercials also have me laughing, but not for anything intentional: "Do not take X if you are allergic to X." It makes me wonder why you need to say something (in this case) so obvious. – Jason Bassford Jul 15 '18 at 12:41
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    Don't forget "or to any of its ingredients". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 15 '18 at 13:04
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    Don't blame us if this book bores you to sleep, and don't blame us if this simply isn't the book for you. The entire disclaimer is a descent into madness, starting with things that almost seem relevant and ending with things that seem bizarrely obscure. It's all humor. Your mileage may vary. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. – Gary Botnovcan Jul 15 '18 at 14:11
9

You don't tell us anything about the book, so it's hard to know for sure. If I found this in a book about worldwide travel, then I suppose it might be said with a grain of literal truth. My guess though, in the absence of such knowledge, is that it's being used figuratively, as is the sentence before it.

Standard disclaimers that are very familiar to native ears are often used to humorously in different contexts. This closing disclaimer in your book uses two:

  • Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment.
  • Many suitcases look alike.

The first of these is found on the labels of many medications, particularly when drowsiness is a known side effect. The second is often heard at airport luggage claims, exhorting travelers to do a quick double-check and make sure they didn't grab the wrong suitcase in error. A few others I've seen used similarly:

  • You mileage may vary.
  • Some assembly required.
  • Batteries not included.

I think these are supposed to be humorous just because they sound so familiar yet are unexpected in the context of a warning that has nothing to do with travel, or putting something together, although "Your mileage may vary" is often more pertinent to the discussion at hand; it's become a metaphor meaning, "You may not see this quite the way I do, and that's okay."

Back to your book, I think the first three sentences are likely said in earnest:

While every effort has been used to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in The Floating Press edition of this book, The Floating Press does not assume liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in this book. The Floating Press does not accept responsibility for loss suffered as a result of reliance upon the accuracy or currency of information contained in this book.

and the last two are tacked on for humorous effect, because many times lawyers suggest a whole bunch of "legalese" be tacked onto the end of a book or advertisement.


RE: "Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment" arguably has a humorous effect, as it could imply the book is too boring and induces sleep. But I don't see the humor of "many suitcases look alike."

Remember what this disclaimer is saying: "This is a work of fiction. If it seems like a book about you, it isn't." With that backdrop, many suitcases look alike could mean: we wouldn't be surprised if the life of the character(s) in this book look much like the lives of some of the book's readers. But that's just a coincidence."

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  • "Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment" arguably has a humorous effect, as it could imply the book is too boring and induces sleep. But I don't see the humor of "many suitcases look alike." – Apollyon Jul 15 '18 at 9:55
  • Arguably, yes. But as I said, I think the main humor here is simply that it's random legalese tacked onto the end of other legal mumbo-jumbo. But I think you're onto something. I'm editing my answer now. – J.R. Jul 15 '18 at 10:07
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    Another example: objects in mirror are closer than they appear – dave_thompson_085 Jul 15 '18 at 11:35

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