The Sorry State of Book Publishing

I read this book review in The Economist of August 11, 2012, page 75.

It’s a non-fiction book, titled The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future, by Victor Cha. I was excited about the book and I got ready to download it, even though $29.99 seems steep. Then I read the underlined section:

Despite a profusion of grammatical errors and the occasional malapropism…..


I am not paying $29.99 for a book that hasn’t benefited from minimal services of a qualified editor. There is no excuse for a single malapropism or for a profusion of grammatical errors in any book that customers pay money for.

I will let some typos and grammar error pass online, in blogs like this one, where the only editor is the writer, and the content is free for the world to read – or ignore. But if I buy a product that is shoddy, I want the right to return it. This is more difficult with a book.

I have returned badly edited Kindle books and got all my money back. Amazon is setting a good example. But I have never taken a bad hardcopy book back to the store.

I should try that sometimes. Go to the cashier and show them the typo on page 321, and ask for my money back.

I need to bring 60 Minutes  with camera crew and with me to record the look on the face of the clerk and then the manager.

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