As publishers there are so many things that can go wrong in publishing a book. Some of those mistakes are printer’s mistakes, designer’s mistakes, proofreader’s and editor’s mistakes, but as the publisher the buck stops with us. We have to take responsibility. We have to check at every single stage. In most jobs if you make a mistake it is between you and your boss or a client, but in publishing all your mistakes are mostly all very public. Some of these mistakes can be very expensive, as you have to withdraw the books from the stores, pulp and reprint. In the case of number 28, you might have to pay expensive legal fees.
Do you have any mistakes to add to the list?
- Allocate a previously allocated ISBN to a new title
- Allocate two ISBNS to the same title
- Allocate the right ISBN but the book is printed with the incorrect barcode/ISBN so that the ISBN on the imprint page and the back of the book aren’t the same
- Random blank pages in the book
- Spell the author’s name incorrectly on the cover
- Have the book bound so that the pages fall out
- Book can have sections wrongly bound together so page numbers are out of sequence
- Printing not good enough, too light, pixellating happens
- Book is bound so text is upside down to cover (see illustration above)
- Badly bound so it looks like a cat has eaten the book inside out
- When printed the books are wavy, to do with glue not being dry before being packaged? Possibly.
- Incorrect printer in imprint page
- Don’t notice that in printing all the lower case letter ds in italics are turned into a dot, because the software font used by the designer doesn’t speak to the fonts that the printing software recognises. (see illustration below).
- Forget to acknowledge a donor
- Not have wide enough inside margins (gutters) so you can’t easily read the book
- Spine incorrectly aligned
- Spine not wide enough, so spine lettering bleeds over onto cover (see illustration above)
- Spine too wide
- Spelling error on spine (see illustration above)
- Spelling error in blurb
- Incorrect no of pages in catalogue or in BookData database
- Publish a book that sales reps don’t want to sub to bookstores (we had this with Whiplash by Tracey Farren in 2008, later changed the name to Tess, as it was made into a movie, with this name, long story)
- Print too many copies of a book, way too many
- Budget according to an old specification that has now changed to a more expensive one
- Think that if you go with a cheaper printer, the whole job will cost less
- Think that if you go with a big, established printer that you will definitely get excellent service
- Have to source an illustration for a picture book at the last minute because permission was denied or way too expensive for the image you intended to use.
- Forget to ask for permission to use a quote, song lyric, image …
“We’ve had a character die and then come back to life a few pages later. Whoops.” (Jane Morris, AmaBooks, Zimbabwe).
“Reprint a title, but reprint the first edition, instead of the second edition – hah! Fortunately, thanks to digital printing, only 50 copies and not a huge print run.” (Colleen Higgs)