Thursday, October 18, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Typography

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 glaring typographical error that really (really!) should have been caught. So, using that as a springboard, today’s question: What’s the worst typographical error you’ve ever found in (or on) a book?

Most of the time I notice typographical errors, move on and forget about them. I sometimes moan, chuckle or point them out to my husband if he is handy and if the error is particularly egregious. I may not even notice if the book is really good, and I am deeply involved in the story. Whereas, if I am not enjoying a book, the errors get on my nerves more. If I am reading an ARE Advanced Reader's Edition), I especially wave any minor errors off and hope they get corrected for the final printing.

Just this year I encountered an ARE of Fan Wu's book, February Flowers, which was flawed in a major way. By major, I mean that the typographical errors were so bad that it impacted my enjoyment of the book. It was not the author's fault in any way, shape or form as I doubt it was something she had any control over. Because of the font used for the ARE copy, all of the italicized words were missing, which included book titles and Chinese words. Both of which were meant to make many appearances throughout the novel. I did my best to overlook the missing words, but something that blatant is hard to ignore.


  1. I had the same experience. How funny that we talked about the same thing. I just can't remember the book.

  2. Like you I usually notice typographical errors but move on. However sometimes the errors will be something that stops me up and really drags me out of the story. That's always disappointing when that happens. I can understand how frustrating the missing words must've been.

  3. Usually I don't really take real notice of typo errors unless they are real bad... I'm currently reading this book where they had typed in a character's name wrongly... instead of reading 'Ella' it read 'Emma', so it was like there was an additional of a character.

  4. Duane Swierczynski's name was misspelled on the spine of all of the copies of his book THE WHEELMAN. Now, with that name, I guess it's not a surprise, but it's sad that no one checked.

  5. Whenever I review an advanced copy of a book I always mention in my review that because of this I can't address typos or lack thereof (in case that matters to the reader). There's just no way to know what the final copy will look like. Having missing words in an advanced copy, though, would make it rather hard to review, I'd think!

  6. BookGal - I am glad to say that hasn't happened all that often. :-)

    Tanabata - I guess for me the degree of the mistakes makes a big difference. The more major the mistakes, the more distracting. I can forgive the minor ones that appear here and there and sometimes don't even notice them.

    Melody - I've run into that too! Or the character's name will be mixed up with another characters. That always makes me have to do a double take to make sure I'm not the one confused. :-)

    Karen - Swierczynksi is a complicated name to spell, but I imagine the author wasn't too thrilled when he first discovered the mistake.

    Heather - I don't generally mention typos when reviewing any book. It's not something I think about by the time I sit down to jot down my thoughts after finishing a book. It would have to be a very big typo that distracts me from my enjoyment of a book to cause me to care to mention it. And only in that one instance have I had it distract me so much that i think it hurt my enjoyment of the book.

  7. I can more or less ignore typos, but there are certain errors that drive me crazy - misplaced commas, for example, as in "She went, for a walk" or "John, had some cake". I seem to find those quite often, sadly.

  8. Nymeth - I can see why misplaced commas would catch your attention, especially when they are so obviously misused like the examples you gave.

  9. Typos drive me to distraction. They seem to be becoming more frequent too. I think publishing companies are relying too much on the computer to do the checking when it really needs a human eye!
    Badly printed books annoy me too. A lady brought back a book she'd bought from me just recently. She read up to page 49 then it skipped to page 478 and kept going from there for 50 pages or so and then took up again at about page 100. The book is just unreadable.
    I've seen that sort of thing in a few books now. It's just not good enough.
    And then there are the books that fall apart as soon as you open them.
    Hahaha, I could go on...

  10. Julie - I wouldn't be surprised if computers are the culprit.

    Tess Gerritsen recently mentioned on her blog that some of her books were missing pages and in their place were pages from another author's book. I imagine that would be quite a pain the reader. I know Tess wasn't pleased either. She's offered to replace the books as a result, which is very nice of her to do. It wasn't her fault at all, of course.

  11. I notice and move on too. Sometimes it really bothers me when I have to puzzle out what was supposed to said but that's thankfully only happened a few times.


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