Thursday, September 10, 2015

News Flash: Typos are not confined to indies and self pubbers

I just finished re-reading Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation trilogy. I like to re-read old favourites. It's rather like putting on an old, worn jumper. It fits where it's supposed, you know what to expect, and it's nice to revisit. I've read the series many times, but not since I published a book of my own. And that, I suspect, has made all the difference.

For the record, the books comprise a set of slim paperbacks, published in 1986. The eight stories making up the trilogy were published in the magazine Astounding Stories between 1942 and January 1950. So the latest of those stories predate my arrival on this planet by about ten months.

The edition I read was published thirty-six years after the the stories first saw the light of day. Make no mistake, there have been a series of editions and reprints, starting in 1951. And yet I was astonished at the number of typos I encountered. Left off letters, many instances of mistakes such as 'his' where it should have been 'him', and in one section a blatant repeat of three lines of text. Another three sentences repeated the word “that” four times. The text is littered with adverbs. This by Collins, one of the big names of publishing. Had it been an Indie publication I would have been (at best) rolling my eyes, and I can just imagine the righteous indignation of the reviewer scoring the books at 1 star for lack of editing.

So (for the benefit of readers, bloggers and the Big Five) not editing books has a long and illustrious history, quite unrelated to small press and self-publishing.

I don't know about you, but before I release a new edition of one of my books, I check (again) for typos and fix them. 


  1. I remember a moment of joy at finding an instance of head hopping in a Terry Pratchett novel. That thing of 'yes, even the big authors can slip up'. Didn't make me love his books any less, but made me feel a little better that no book is ever perfect.

  2. The new editions can introduce new errors. I notice those mistakes with a sense of relief.

    1. New editions may introduce new errors if you change the text. But I would have thought a little bit of copy editing would have knocked off the Asimov spelling errors, at least. I simply think they didn't care. The books would sell, anyway.


Comments set on moderation - all spammers will be exterminated!

About Spacefreighters Lounge

Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.