Oboy, fears of suffering stuff like this makes me awaken in a cold sweat, screaming like a banshee. Penguin Group Australia has to eat and reprint 7,000 units of a cookbook that has a very regrettable typo; a recipe that calls for “salt and freshly ground black people” – instead of pepper – to be added to the tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto.
Oh. Dear. God. Good thing they can afford it.
But what surprises me is head of publishing Bob Sessions’ attitude. Not only is he not recalling the bad books, but he’s scratching his head over why some people are offended by the slip-up. Um. Hello?
Were that me, and I thank The Cosmic Muffin that it’s not, I couldn’t recall those books fast enough. And any normal thinking publisher would feel the same way. So not only has Spellcheck sabotaged his editor’s best efforts, forcing him to spend oodles of money, but he’s created a nice PR nightmare.
Dude. Way to go.
EDITED TO ADD:
Penguin has issued an apology. Finally. Given Bob Sessions’ earlier remarks, I have a sneaky feeling he was wrestled to the ground by his PR folks. Or his wife. Either way, they have explained the situation and have pulped the remaining books in their warehouse. Still, it would have been nice if they’d grabbed the ones still out on the marketplace. Yes, it’s achingly hard to do and a royal PITA, but it’s also the right thing to do.
The article does explain something that plagues all publishers, and that is the invariable typo(s) that sneak through the editing process. I’ve seen many people rip publishers apart for their lack of catching them before going to print. I cringe just like everyone else if I catch a missed typo in any of our books as well. But the facts are this: we’re human. Even though we read through the finished product numerous times, shit happens. And it happens to every single publisher on the planet.
How one handles that HUGE typo is, to me, a show of character. Or lack thereof.