How bad is shipping a book with errors?
February 5, 2010 6:57 AM Subscribe
A book I edited shipped with significant errors because of my negligence. How bad is it?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Some colleagues of mine authored a (niche, academic) reference work. I was tasked with updating it for the new edition. I believe most of it was properly updated. Now that it has gone to press and is on shelves, it has come out that a (major) section that I assumed did not need revision actually did and that a (minor) section that I assumed was correct in the prior version was actually in error.
There's a web page for the book where the errata will be posted, but the hard copies are, of course, all wrong. I have already accepted responsibility for the errors and assured my colleagues that I will prepare corrected versions immediately. This is my first experience with commercial publishing, so I don't have a good sense for how common or bad this is.
Here are my questions: How much shit am I in, apart from the obvious damage to my colleagues' reputations? What's the worst case? That the publisher refunds everyone's money? How likely is that? How much of a loss are we talking about, supposing the book would ordinarily sell (I'm guessing) a few thousand copies? Is this the sort of thing that ends academic jobs? Ends academic careers?