c. 1523 He toke kyng Dampeter by the legge and turned hym vpsedowne
February 12, 2018 2:50 PM   Subscribe

Why is the cover and spine on one volume of my compact Oxford English Dictionary upside down?

I have a 1971 four-up (four pages reproduced on one page) compact edition of the OED. There are two volumes; the second, P-Z, was bound upside down when it was printed. In other words, if the cover is facing you in the correct orientation, when you open the book the printing on the inside pages is flipped.

Is this intentional or a mistake? I've found only a few mentions online from other people with the same binding, but nothing about why it would have been done. I know that this edition was sold through book clubs so the overall quality isn't great, which makes me think it might just be misbound.
posted by not_the_water to Writing & Language (5 answers total)
My copy of the same edition doesn't have anything upside down.

Please explain the title of your question.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:58 PM on February 12, 2018

Bet it's a mistake. I recently co-authored a book, and I hear there were a couple dozen that were mis-bound like this. I bet whoever got your dictionary new, got it for free.
posted by aniola at 3:03 PM on February 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

It's definitely a mistake, but my mother's copy is the same way. I find it extremely charming.
posted by dizziest at 7:44 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Please explain the title of your question.

It's one of the usage quotations from the OED entry for upside down.
1523 Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Cronycles I. 356 He toke kyng Dampeter by the legge and turned hym vpsedowne.
posted by zamboni at 7:02 AM on February 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I worked in a couple of binderies when I was young. This is a mistake. It happens sometimes. With most books, the mistake won't be apparent unless someone opens the book, so it can slip by.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:10 AM on February 13, 2018

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