Dispatches | October 07, 2010

Buried in the bottom corner of Sunday’s “Week in Review” section of The New York Times is a picture of Jonathan Franzen, dirty blond hair neatly tousled, black hipster glasses firmly in place, lips drawn in a tight semi-smile. The title of the six sentence news story reads, “Franzen’s Message to Fans: That Is a Rough Draft.” Apparently Harper Collins UK published and distributed 80,000 copies of a draft version of his new novel Freedom by mistake. So sorry old boy.

Some news groups are reporting that the misprint will be pulped and that the 8,000 copies already sold can be exchanged. While others are saying that for “logistical reasons” the books will not be tossed in the shredder. What is not clear in the second version of the story is whether the publisher intends to sell the misprint.

In the meantime, Victoria Barnsley, Harper Collins UK CEO, is blaming the typesetter, a small Scottish outfit called Palimpsest, though no one is saying who sent them the wrong version and who failed to read the final proof. These are the real questions that need answering. But for now, damn those blimey Scots.

So if you find a typo in this blog, don’t blame me. The Scottish typesetter did it.