Having gone through the book publishing process twice, I can say nearly impossible to produce a book free of typos. Even with several editors and proofreaders in the mix, there are always one or two things that will get overlooked and make it into a book’s first edition. I’ve even found typos and other mistakes in novels from big name authors and publishing houses.
It’s not that writers, editors, and proofreaders or aren’t competent or don’t know what they’re doing. They’re usually word and grammar kings and queens. But they’re also human. (I've made my share of mistakes too.) As a result, there are always one or two errors like a typo or a comma splice that’s going to make it through the first edition. Generally the errors are small, don’t raise any eyebrows, and are quickly corrected in the next printing. That’s why I was surprised to read this weekend that a typo in a book actually made the news until, that is, I read what slipped past one proofreader.
An Australian publisher is reprinting 7,000 cookbooks over a recipe for pasta with "salt and freshly ground black people."
Penguin Group Australia's head of publishing, Bob Sessions, acknowledged the proofreader for the
Pasta Bible should have picked up the error, but called it nothing more than a "silly mistake."
The "Pasta Bible" recipe for spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto was supposed to call for black pepper.
"We're mortified that this has become an issue of any kind and why anyone would be offended, we don't know," he told The Sydney Morning Herald for a story printed Saturday.
I agree that the typo was unintentional, but were I the book’s proofreader, I’d be embarrassed beyond belief that I didn’t catch that one.