Sunday, April 18, 2010


A Costly Typographical Error

"Cook-book misprint costs Australian publishers dear" (BBC News, April 17, 2010):
An Australian publisher has had to pulp and reprint a cook-book after one recipe listed "salt and freshly ground black people" instead of black pepper.

Penguin Group Australia had to reprint 7,000 copies of Pasta Bible last week, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported.

The reprint cost A$20,000 ($18,000; £12,000), but stock in bookshops will not be recalled as it is "extremely hard" to do so, Penguin said.

The recipe was for spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto.

"We're mortified that this has become an issue of any kind, and why anyone would be offended, we don't know," head of publishing Bob Sessions is quoted as saying by the Sydney newspaper.

Penguin said almost every one of the more than 150 recipes in the book listed salt and freshly ground black pepper, but a misprint occurred on just one page.

"When it comes to the proofreader, of course they should have picked it up, but proofreading a cook-book is an extremely difficult task. I find that quite forgivable," Mr Sessions said.

If anyone complains about the "silly mistake", they will be given the new version, Penguin said.
Another "silly mistake" (although acceptable to some): plural pronoun they with singular antecedent proofreader (quotation of Sessions in penultimate paragraph).

I don't see why proofreading a cook-book should be "extremely difficult" — tedious and time-consuming, yes, but difficult, no.

Hat tip: Jim K.


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