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May 10, 2021

Some Famous Typos in Books

It always amazes publishers, authors, editors and proof readers alike …. How can there be an entire team of people involved in polishing a manuscript and yet errors still happen.

A quote that authors love to share on social media is:

‘Shout-out to the typos that make it through three rounds of content edits, copy edits, and two rounds of proofreading. I am inspired by your dedication and tenacity.’

So how do these typos still happen? 

The truth is, its unintentional. Your brain has an amazing ability to assume it’s seeing something that isn’t there. So sometimes people who are reading these manuscripts don’t see the errors. This is particularly true for the author as they have written and re-written each line several times, and their brain assumes it’s saying what they want it to say.

What’s important to note is that the author isn’t to blame for typos. In fact, they are responsible for the storyline and character development but editing and proof reading for typos and grammatical errors, remains with the editor. It takes a team to publish a book, and each person working on it has their own role to play. 

Its sad to see authors slated on social media for errors that were beyond their control or not their responsibility to check. So next time you see an error, pop the publisher an email, they would appreciate your keen eye in spotting the error, and they could try to fix it on the next print run. 

What are some famous errors that have happened in books?

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ by J.K. Rowling

In the very first edition of the first Harry Potter book, the list of school supplies for Hogwarts lists “1 wand” twice.

‘The Bible’

The so-called “Wicked Bible,” published in 1631, had just one small typo. It omitted the “not” from one of the Ten Commandments, so that the commandment read, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

Moonraker by Ian Fleming

The 3rd Bond novel’s first edition.

 On page 10 the letter t is missing, making shoot, shoo

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The first edition was written very quickly, so, quite unsurprisingly, was jam-packed full of typos! Most are the wrong plural or simple mistakes. But the most infamous of the bunch was saying: dust moats rather than dust motes.

Remember that errors make a book unique and can prove what print edition it was.

So next time you have a famous book with an error in it, keep it safe, it could be worth a lot of money someday.

Love, The Kingsley Publishers Team