Nov 8 2009
There has been some talk of publishers moving to a digital workflow based on xml markup language. The benefit of this is that it cuts down on the errors as a book moves through production. Currently books are typeset for a printer using a desktop publishing software program. When these books are converted to digital, the resulting file can have errors.
In reading the Audacity to Win, the errors started in the warning stage:
Throughout the book, I found several errors, the most egregious of which I screenshot for this post. However, there were frequent missing periods or quotation marks, usually at the beginning of a sentence. I waver between laughter and frustration. To some extent, I’m becoming inured to these errors. They are present from small independent epublishers like Belgrave House to the largest publishing houses like Penguin and Harlequin.
I am of the opinion that a book should be error free, but I don’t think that the casual reader really cares about this. In taking a quick poll of my family, only my mother, a former teacher, really cared that a book was perfect in its proofing. The three others, all big readers, shrugged.
I know that some authors are very conscious of errors in their books and will agonize over not just the right word, but whether the word should be italicized. Seeing spelling errors in their books drive them crazy. Oftentimes there are edits that take place after the author has seen it and before it gets to the printer.
I have been thinking that proofing or copy editing for ebooks perhaps don’t take place. Certainly a spell check would have caught “authons”, “authoris”, ”FUnfortunately” and “oany”.
Perhaps, though, errors are actually commonplace and in a book with 90,000+ words, should we really be so concerned about a few proofing errors here or there? Maybe proofing errors are merely funfortunate, a wry type of fun. What do you think?