For the Sharp-eyed Reader

Some people are natural proof readers. They are the ones who read with a pen in their hand and correct the typos and missing words that they find in books. At small gatherings, these people always have some horror story about a printed book which was missing something.

I know the publishers attempt to be as careful as possible in the creation process. The majority of publishers have a series of checks and balances in this part of the process with the attempt to catch every error before the book is printed. Yet still mistakes slip through the process. Maybe the words are spelled correctly but something is missing in the context.

What action do you take (if any) when you spot such an error in a printed book?

Most authors and publishers are keeping track of such errors. When the book comes up for reprint. You can write the author or the publisher with a helpful tone saying, “Next time you reprint your book, you might want to fix…” During the rare times that I receive such a suggestion, I appreciate it and always thank the individual.

This morning I’m thinking about this element because I noticed an error in a printed book. It’s not necessary to tell you the book but it’s a beautiful hardcover which will hopefully go through many printings. It is a shame when it happens but the good news is that if you let someone know about it, it can be fixed. The choice is yours. Are you going to continue grumbling about the state of book publishing or be a part of the solution? For the error I spotted, I chose to do something proactive about it and write a kind and concerned note to someone in the publishing house who can get it fixed on the next reprint.

3 Responses to “For the Sharp-eyed Reader”

  1. Cindy Thomson Says:

    I have a published baseball biography that was published with a university press. These academic presses are known for tough editorial processes and I can tell you it’s true. They employed several editing passes. However, my editor was fond of saying, “Rare is the book that has no errors.” And so it was with mine. It was readers on Amazon that pointed them out and I sent them to the editor who is keeping a list. The book will be issued in paperback some time late this year, so it was important to note the errors. I hate it when it happens, but the truth is there will always be something that is missed (especially when your book includes stats.) Thank goodness for readers who are willing to point them out.

  2. Bonnie Calhoun Says:

    A lot of the time I am reading ARC’s instead of the printed version, so I am getting increasingly oblivious to mistakes.

    Although I do know a very noteworthy author whose latest thriller has her main character named incorrectly on the back cover blurb!

  3. Tanya Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! I have noticed a number of errors in the book I am currently reading, but had not considered notifying the publisher. I figure someone else will notice, too – right? Maybe. But perhaps they are waiting for another someone else to tell the people who need to know.

    By the way, we missed you at Blue Ridge last week! Hope all is well.

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