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Mistakes Were Made

“People who have not published books are often appalled at typos,” writes Alan Jacobs, “because they think their presence means that the book has been proofread carelessly or not at all.” Far from it, he explains. Everyone from the author to the proofreader to the copyeditor has a look. Many times. (Here at helveticka, we make anyone even tangentially connected to a project take a gander at least once.)

And yet typos remain. Jacobs illustrates the problem thus:

On the first page of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude the gypsy Melquiades comes to Macondo carrying powerful magnets, which pull all sorts of metal things along behind them, and “even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most.” Typos are like that: they appear from where they had been searched for most. At times you’re tempted to attribute them to poltergeists. When you see them you make a note to correct them in future editions (should you be so fortunate as to have a future edition), shrug, and move on with your life.

“Move on with your life.” Yeah, right.



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