Monday, July 18, 2011

The Rise Of The Typo

Errors in published book has been discussed at listservs for a few years now. The Price of Typos in The New York Times explains why copy editing ain't what it used to be.

I would like to suggest that librarians shelving Advanced Readers' Copies helps promote acceptance of typos and incomplete copy editing. Errors are supposed to exist in Advanced Readers' Copies. They're bound early galleys sent out prior to publicaton for review and inspection by groups making purchasing decision. When librarians add them to their collections because they got them for free at some conference (as I know happens), they are intentionally treating incomplete books as the real thing.

It's only a small point in a larger issue, but it does create a tolerance for error among readers.


Roger Sutton said...

Do you think this happens often, Gail? You would think that a librarian savvy enough to get herself ARCs would also be smart enough not to treat them like real books.

Gail Gauthier said...

I discussed this at an on-line writers' community I used to belong to a number of years ago and was told that others were aware that it was happening. So my knowledge is anecdotal and personal.

I've run into it, personally, in a couple of libraries. One of them is a repeat offender. I knew the librarian and brought the subject up in a civil way. She said she was justified in doing it because of her budget restrictions, that publishers know it's being done and expect it, and she doesn't get that many ARCs so it's okay to do it if she's not doing it that often. She's really quite blatant. I have seen at least one ARC on the new bookshelf in her library since our discussion, but I can't say they're there all the time.

It wouldn't be a lot of work for publishers to add "Or library use" to the notification on the front of ARCs that says "Not for sale." It wouldn't stop the practice, but you'd think patrons would start asking questions if librarians shelved ARCs with that on the cover.