January 20, 2014
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Behind the Scenes

Back Cover of Color of Water book

(The black streaks across the top of this back cover are an actual misprint!  How did this happen to this volume of Kim Dong Hwa’s The Color of Earth trilogy?  We’re not entirely sure. . . .)

What’s a misprint?

A misprint is when we publish a book and something crazy happens to it between the point when it leaves our hands and when we get back the finished copies from the printer.

So it’s not so much, ‘we made this mistake!’ as ‘what happened here?’

Classic examples of things that are misprints include: pages printing upside-down; signatures left out of the book; ink in the book smeared, spotted, or splotched; the four colors and the black printed in the four-color printing process not lining up exactly; blank pages in the book instead of the printed pages that are supposed to be there; pages missing one or more of the four colors and black of ink that are supposed to be there; text printing in the wrong place.

A misprint is not: a mis-spelling or a mistake in the artwork.  That sort of thing is all our responsibility — stuff we should’ve caught in the copy-editing process and didn’t.

Most of the time, when we hear about misprints, it’s from our readers.  Because we do so much proof-reading of our book, we generally catch a lot of the things that could go drastically wrong with a book.  We’ve never, for example, had a book with pages printed upside-down.  But if you’re reading one of our books and catch a misprint, we always like to hear about it.


Sometimes when a printer is printing a book, they’ll misprint just one.  But sometimes, they’ll misprint the whole print run.  As soon as someone e-mails us about a book being misprinted, we’ll ask them to send us the book, or send a picture of what’s wrong with it.  Then we’ll check that misprinted copy against all the books we have in the office.

Then we’ll call up our warehouse and have them do a spot check of all the books that they’ve got in stock.  We want to make sure that it’s just that one copy that’s a problem, not the whole print run.

If it is the whole print run, then we have to get on the phone with the printer and figure out what went wrong.  Was this really our fault — was there something that we didn’t catch in the proofing process?  Or was it an error on the printer’s end?  If it was the printer’s error, we want to figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future so this doesn’t happen to us again.  And if it’s a serious error, something on the order of an upside-down signature instead of a small splotch — then the printer may have to reprint the entire print run for us.  (We try to avoid having that happen.  Luckily, printers also try to avoid having that happen, so it works out all around!)

So if you’re reading one of our books and you see a smear or something upside-down that’s not supposed to be or the colors aren’t lining up — we want to know about it!  Send pictures our way.

One Comment on “ Misprints ”

  • kyle gordon | July 28th, 2014 2:08 pm

    Hunger games hardback, all pages are in backwards and all pages are upside down.

Your Comments are Welcome!