Attention: This Book Is Full of Typos
A review of Jim F. Kukral’s “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money: How to Use Attention-Getting Online Marketing to Increase Your Revenue”.
I have a thing for business books. I also have an absolute hatred for typos. Which is why this book pissed me off so much.
This book is all about getting attention.
I like the format. It’s split up enough that it makes it easy to jump in and out if you’re strapped for time. It’s also full of good tips and stories, that make it interesting to read.
But it is absolutely littered with typos.
Though I am using this book as a starting point because I just finished it, this epidemic of typos is by no means unique to this book.
Is there any respect left in the publishing industry for the printed book? Seriously.
Perhaps I’m an idealist, but I thought that the printed book was supposed to be something of value. I mean, this isn’t some document on the internet that can easily be corrected and “republished”. They do a print run of a book that has a bunch of typos and those books are now forever tarnished and can’t be fixed. That’s it. Game over. Can’t they see the finality in that?
how I classify typos
- the things that spell checkers would catch (e.g. “teh”)
- the thing that anyone who’s paying attention should be able to catch (e.g. subbing “the” when you meant “they”)
- word confusion (e.g. using “further” when you meant “farther”)
- the factual errors
“Attention! This Book Will Make You Money” has every kind of typo except for the first group which sadly could indicate that a computer was the lone proofreader of this book.
- p21 - “Craiglist’s appeal is that is has remained free…” - should be “is that it”
- p77 - “If you are the a lawyer from Ohio…” - probably meant “a lawyer”, “the lawyer” could work too, but definitely not both
- p78 - “You can’t beat Suzi Orman in Google for the search results for “personal finance expert”” - if you want to get technical, yes, you absolutely can beat her. Manisha Thakor just did and so did some generic yahoo finance page. She’s #3 for that google search and furthermore, she only appears once on the first page of results. But the real reason this is on the list? Her name is spelled Suze.
- p82 - If we are to believe this book, Tim Carter of askthebuilder.com did something pretty insane. In 1993, he closed down his construction business to work on his web site full time, yet it would take him 2 years (1995) before he would actually see the internet for the first time. Either we’ve got someone who took a huge leap of faith, then sat on his butt for 2 years doing nothing about it, or we’ve got a typo.
- p139 - “If you’ve ever see late-night television informercials…” - “seen”
- p144 - “Chances are your server is Hypertext Preprocessor [PHP] enabled, most are.” A double nitpick for this one. 1) No one says (or at least no one I know says) that a server is Hypertext Preprocessor enabled. You’d hear terms like “server-side” instead or simply “hey, we’ve got PHP installed”. Also, “Hypertext Preprocessor” is not the shortened form of PHP. PHP is a recursive acronym (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor). 2) There’s no connecting words between “enabled” and “most are”, so it should be a semicolon that separates the two clauses, not a comma.
- p169 - Twice the viral hit “Where the Hell is Matt” is referred to as “where in the hell is Matt”. Now granted, there weren’t quotes around either example, so it could be argued that Kukral was never implying that that was the actual title. But the extra “in” doesn’t add anything of value so this just comes off as another example of lack of proofreading.
- p177 - “[a] guide to help other get started…” - “others”
- p181 - “What George found was the Tom Dickson, the CEO of BlendTec…” - No really. The Tom Dickson. Or is this just an extraneous “the”?
- p184/185/186 - 4 examples that are from a transcription of an interview, so maybe these words really were said in the interview, but I bet they’re all transcription errors. 1) “Did anyone ever tell you can’t do that?” - based on context, it’s definitely missing an extra “you” 2) “What was tipping point?” - missing “the” 3) “All of sudden I started…” - missing “a” 4) “But we spent […] lots of time to creating content” - “to” doesn’t fit
- p193 - “Pixability is another service the helps create a video for you.” - “the” where “that” was intended.
- p193 - “take your video marketing an entire step farther…” - should be “further” because the step taken is not literal, ergo, it can’t be farther which measures distance.
- p199 - 2 more interview transcription errors. 1) “cost you nowadays on major network?” - missing “a” 2) “Talk about that?” - It’s a command not a question, so it needs a period.
- p209 - “only a half mile further down the road…” - here, it’s a physical distance, so it’s “farther”.
- p231 - “Learn from you competitor’s mistakes…” - “your”
- p242/243 - Page 242 claims that the table on page 243 has some “extra space left over” so that you can fill in your own examples. Whoever made the table apparently didn’t read the book and/or forgot to put in that extra space.
- p243 - “Vincent James is singer/songwriter who writes…” - sure seems like there’s an “a” missing
- p249 - “The media wants a story. The want something juicy…” - presumably the flow of having said “the media” led to using “The” in the next sentence when “They” was intended.
- p258 - “How many people have flown to Area 51 in Roswell, Nevada, to see for themselves if aliens do in fact exist?” - apparently, Kukral is mixing his alien folklore locations. Area 51 is in Nevada. Roswell is in New Mexico. I know, I know. It’s easy to get the two mixed up considering that they’re only a mere 900 miles apart from one another.
not as much as I thought
When I originally started going back through the book to find all of the typos I had notated, I felt sort of bad. The book wasn’t “littered” with typos at all. I wasn’t finding as many as I remembered seeing.
But that was the first 100 pages.
Which leads me to this theory that I’ve had because it seems like I’ve run into this a lot: the first part of a book will be fairly clean, but then there’s this huge increase in typos towards later parts of the book.
I have to figure that one of two things (or both) are happening in these circumstances.
- The first part of the book represents the time when the book writing was idyllic. The book was written joyfully and carefully crafted. Each word was important. But then the deadline neared and suddenly it was crunch time so the rest of the book just got kinda hammered out.
- There are proofreaders for these books but the more they read the book, the less focused they become, and the fewer typos they catch. Or maybe they have deadlines too and were procrastinating on finishing the book.
Dear John Wiley & Sons
You suck. I actually liked this book. But because of all of the typos, I will forever remember it as the book littered with typos, rather than the book that had some really great information and idea generators on how to get attention.
Somewhat paradoxically, the fact that I liked the book so much is why it’s left such a bad taste in my mouth.
See, had I not liked it, I would’ve quit reading it long ago. Which means I wouldn’t have encountered so many blatant typos. And then this book wouldn’t have become my perfect example of the downfall of the printed book.
I just don’t get it. Are publishers even utilizing proofreaders anymore? Or is a computer program the only thing giving the text a once-over before it’s sent off?
Yes, I’m over generalizing, because I do still read a fair amount of books that are nearly perfect (of the books I read, it’s quite rare to find one with zero typos).
Of course, maybe those books didn’t have proofreaders either. Maybe they were just lucky enough to have authors that were good at doing their own proofreading.
And if the lack of proofreaders is a money thing, I have two things to say to publishers.
- You expect me to place monetary value on something that you obviously didn’t value yourselves?
- I’ll bet you could find plenty of proofreaders who would be willing to work for just the cost of an advanced copy of the book. All you’re out at that point is the cost of the book/shipping and the cost of having lost a potential sale.
I should point out that, to the author’s credit, if you ignore all the typos, it was actually pretty well written. I don’t remember running into any klutzy or confusing sentences, and if I were a different person, it would’ve been an absolute pleasure to read because I could’ve overlooked or completely missed all of the errors in the book.
But typos stick out to me. They greatly impact my ability to enjoy a book. Like how breaking the fourth wall in a TV show or movie can take you out of the story, typos constantly remind me that I’m reading a flawed book. If it’s fiction, errors take me out of the story. If it’s non-fiction, those errors make me start to seriously question what else is completely wrong that I’m not catching. In short, it ruins a book’s credibility for me.
So if you ask me about this book a year from now, I won’t remember the good bits.
I’ll remember that this book is full of typos.