I wanted to start my column off with a topic that is very familiar to me and to other writers, editors and publishers. It’s the dreaded typo. I never could have guessed a typo would cause such a problem for one publisher.
Due to a typo that caused outrage, a publisher had to reprint 7,000 copies of a cookbook called The Pasta Bible. The pasta recipe called for ‘salt and freshly ground black pepper,’ but instead, due to a typo, it was printed as ‘salt and freshly ground black people.’
Wow, I didn’t know that cannibals ate pasta.
The article did not reveal the identity of the enraged party.
This story really got to me because I know how difficult it is to find every typo or grammatical error in a manuscript even after reading it over and over again. A great editor will find most errors, but editors are human and can miss something. And spell check would not have caught this type of error because ‘people’ is an accepted word and spelled correctly. Sure, this is an embarrassment for the editor and the publishing company, but to make it more than that is ludicrous to me.
Mistakes happen. Live with it. The typo in The Pasta Bible is a silly, unintentional error, and I don’t understand why someone would become upset over it. I doubt that a group of cannibals are trying to push their recipes on unsuspecting individuals. As a society, are we really so sensitive that we cannot just laugh this off? Whatever happened to the days when we just brushed off a negative comment? Now, we cause a stink over every little thing that happens, suing people over trivial matters like this.
The reprint cost the publisher $18,500. What a waste of time and money. The good side to this situation for the publisher is that due to the typo, this book is sure to be a best seller. The books that were already shipped out with the typo will probably be a collector’s item someday. I am sure there will also be some people that will demand a replacement book because the typo bothers them.
Do you think people are just too sensitive these days and are too quick to get angry, especially over something so ridiculous as a typo? Are there any cannibals out there offended by this?
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