Costly Proofing Oversights

Our symphonies to Penguin Australia, who have had to pulp a cookbook because of a proofing oversight let a racially offensive term make it into print. The pulping of 7000 unsold copies of The Pasta Bible will cost the company about $20,000, according to the company’s head of publishing, Robert Sessions, who was quoted as being mystified that anyone could take offense to what was obviously an error. The mistake, which substitutes the word ‘people’ for ‘pepper’, occurred in a receipt for tagliatelle.

Recently, the first print-run of the British edition of Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom was pulped when its publisher printed the novel’s penultimate draft. And in the late 90s, travel guide publisher Lonely Planet was dismayed to notice that the spine of its massive guidebook to Western Europe bore the title, Westen Europe. Rather than pulping the many thousands of books already printed, the company chose instead to print a bookmark that it inserted into the books, alerting readers to the error. Westen Europe has since become a collectible.

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