In the Weekly Book News this week was the following announcement:
PENGUIN CONFIRMS COOKBOOK PULPED
‘Penguin pulped 7000 copies of the Pasta Bible (ISBN 9780143011071) earlier this month due to a typo that could be considered offensive. New stock will be available from mid-May. Bateman said this ‘was a proofreading error, and we’ll be making every effort to ensure this doesn’t happen again’.’ Stock has not been recalled – so presumably bookstores still have stock of the book with the typo in it.
We know someone who knows someone who knows an anonymous someone that tells us that the pulped edition included the words: Freshly ground black people.
15 Apr 10 at 12:13
It does! I have it in my hands now. Soooo funny
15 Apr 10 at 14:31
Did you hear Captain Bob on the radio?
http://www.fox.com.au/shows/mattandjo/listen/podcasts It’s the Monday program: unfortunately you have to listen to material that’s a whole lot more offensive before you get to the segment about the ground black people …
16 Apr 10 at 11:54
Will someone PLEASE send me a screenshot of this so I can blog about it. I have a lot to say about the sad state of publishing and this will be a great visual to that end.
16 Apr 10 at 15:59
Ms. Kennedy, shouldn’t you be twitter stalking Kelly Oxford? Back to work!! Lol! Love the blog!
17 Apr 10 at 0:06
Yes, I know it’s funny; I have a chuckle too. But I do feel sorry for the proof-reader or copy editor or whoever is taking responsibility and blame. Now that it’s all over the web, that person(s)* must be embarrassed beyond measure, and will never hear the end of this. Are they in serious trouble? Are they still working for Penguin?
Erica, I don’t know if this is indicative of anything of Australian publishing, except people make mistakes.
My editing lecturer told us a similar story: Copies of an encyclopaedia had to be pulped because the photo caption of a poisonous mushroom was swapped with the one of a harmless mushroom.
- I know people who work for Penguin, but I haven’ talked to them about this incident, and I don’t know who’s responsible.
17 Apr 10 at 8:28
Do you think an actual breathing editor was tasked to scrutinize that cookbook? Give it a final read at the end, just before publication? I see so many errors of this type in publications that were formerly edited quite closely that I suspect a spell-check substitution that was not caught. Because so many actual editors have been fired, laid off, bought out. Maybe this will give the money types pause in the future? I’ve never known a copy editor who lived much above the poverty level, if that. I know, wishful, magical thinking…
17 Apr 10 at 10:13
I know this is getting off the original topic, but Cece brought up a great point about editor’s salary. Why are editors in general poorly paid? I often wonder if it has anything to do with women are, in general, less well paid than men and more women than men work in publishing. And why are so many top positions in publishing occupied by men? And I can only assume those men are not poorly paid (relative to similar positions in other industries). I know I have made assumptions (baseless?) and generalisations; I look forward to being corrected if I was wrong.
17 Apr 10 at 20:10
Cece, i think it was find and replace for sure – but there should have been a person to pick up the error. i have to say that when i was an editor things likethat slipped through all the time and sometimes i was responsible. so i didn’t mean to blame the person when i posted it. errors are easily made – though this is a very unfortunate one. my worse was ‘her heart moved like a penis inside her’ (it was meant to read ‘her heart moved like a peony inside her). however i caught it on final proofs so was saved the humiliation.
simon- because it’s women. because there isn’t proper union representation. because it’s an old-fashioned industry. because alot of people want to be editors which means the ones who have actually got jobs put up with too much shit.
18 Apr 10 at 21:53
It’s a bit strange that it’s made international news – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8627335.stm
19 Apr 10 at 10:23
Publishers are churning out so much material with such tight deadlines that this happens all the time. A lot of these errors are only just picked up in time. It’s the problem of having so many books going through and not enough time for people to thoroughly check despite having a complex checking system in place, and yes, mostly these are young, underpaid and overworked women.
01 Jul 10 at 0:06
The Pasta Bible with the misprint is on eBay already.
01 Jul 10 at 9:20
I wonder what it’s selling for!
19 Oct 10 at 11:22
Simon, if you’re still around and interested in editor salaries, I posted about the idea of editor royalties recently – an remuneration model I’m not quite convinced of yet, but it was interesting to think anew about the subject.
Otherwise, I think Sophie nailed it: too many editors, not enough work – same reason writers earn bugger all … plain and simple oversupply of skills, and lots of scab labour.
Anyway, here’s the link about editor royalties: http://ryan-paine.com/2010/10/06/lunchtime-thoughts-on-editor-royalties/