Can you spot the typo in the following excerpt from page 243 of Where the Water Goes (2017) by David Owen?
“The company ended up not drilling, because that area wasn’t terribly attractive,” Holsinger told me. “Now my parents have a little next egg, and they paid off debt, and the ranch is still in the family.”
Right. It’s nest egg, not next egg. Simple mistake—after all, the S and X keys are adjacent to each other. And no spell-check software is gonna pick up on it, on accounta next is a real word.
“But wait a minute, Mister Smarty-Pants,” you’re thinking right now, “maybe Holsinger actually said ‘next egg,’ and the author is simply quoting him accurately.” If that were the case, the insertion of [sic] after next would indicate precisely that: that it’s been transcribed exactly as quoted, warts and all.
So what’s the point?
Simply that the publisher of Where the Water Goes is Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, which is in turn owned by a German media conglomerate and a British multinational publishing company. Penguin Random House has nearly 250 imprints and brands on five continents. It sells more than 15,000 new titles and 800 million print, audio, and e-books every year. Its revenue in 2015 was 3.7 billion EUR, up 11.8 percent from 2014—while operating EBIDTA rose 23.2 percent to 557 million EUR.
It’s safe to say, then, that PRH has at its disposal some of the best proofreaders money can buy. And they still missed one.
So. We’re all human. Stuff happens. Perfection is unattainable. And that’s okay.