Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Non-Professional Copy-Editing

Example of Sad ProofreadingDear Bloomsbury USA,

I’m just writing to tell you how disappointed I am in your copyediting and cover-design departments. I picked up a copy of your “How I Learned to Cook” by Kimberly Witherspoon and Peter Meehan at the bookstore the other day. The book itself looks interesting, though I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

However, the title on the spine? The word “learned” is misspelled as L-E-A-N-R-E-D.

Now, the occasional typographical error can slip past the best editors on occasion. This is understood. But in the actual title of the book on the COVER?

So, so sad.

Yours,

Deb Boyken

Edited to add, in case you didn’t see the comment below, here’s the response I got:

Deb, you are right, it was a grievous error that we all regret. We have replaced every copy that any bookseller decided to return, and have corrected the mistake on future reprints.

To err is human….

Annik La Farge
Publishing Director, Bloomsbury USA

11 Comments on “Non-Professional Copy-Editing”

  1. Gillian

    You’re so right. I remember a course I took with an Ed prof who was an excellent lecturer. Assignments included reviewing his books which were full of grammatical errors that any editor should have caught. And I said so in my reviews. I still got good marks, but it was tough to write.

  2. Annik La Farge

    Deb, you are right, it was a grievous error that we all regret. We have replaced every copy that any bookseller decided to return, and have corrected the mistake on future reprints.

    To err is human….

    Annik La Farge
    Publishing Director, Bloomsbury USA


  3. [...] may or may not have seen my post at Punctuality Rules Tuesday, about a book I recently bought that had the actual TITLE misspelled on the spine of the book. A [...]


  4. [...] You may or may not have seen my post at Punctuality Rules, Tuesday, about a book I recently bought that had the actual TITLE [...]


  5. [...] week’s meme: You may or may not have seen my post at Punctuality Rules Tuesday, about a book I recently bought that had the actual TITLE misspelled on the spine of the book. A [...]

  6. Suzy

    In defense of copy editors: I work for a major publisher and, at least in my department, the copy editor never sees the cover. Therefore, catching errors on the cover is the sole responsibility of the development editor and the proofreader/QC tech. :)


  7. Oh, that’s so awful! It makes me shudder. How could anyone let that get past? Good grief.


  8. I’ve seen copies of L. Sprague de Camp’s _Rogue Queen_ that had “_Rouge Queen_” on the spine. Now *that* is a typo for you..!

  9. judy newman

    bought one yesterday at barnes and noble


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