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Typos In Books: 7 Things You Need To Know! (For Beginners)

Jamey Muller
Updated: July 6, 2022
6 min read

Do you know the difference between a typo and a spelling mistake? What about when it's okay to use “your” instead of “you're”? When is it appropriate to capitalize certain words in a sentence?  These are all questions that any person who writes in English has struggled with at one point or another.

That's why I’ve compiled this list of 7 things you need to know about typos, from how they happen to what you can do when you find them! I hope these tips will help make your writing more accurate and professional-looking!

Before I get to the details, let's first understand what exactly a typo is.

What Is a Typo?

The most important thing you should know about typos is that they're a matter of human error, and no one can ever get them all. A typo is a mistake in a piece of writing that manages to find its way past the proofreader and the publishing team from start to finish.

Come on now, don’t pretend like you’ve never made a mistake or two in the past when writing an assignment or submitting a project. It happens to everyone!

Typos can happen in any form of written communication, from books to blog posts to short emails. In fact, it's estimated that more than 80% of all pieces of written work contain at least one typo or grammatical error – so don't be too hard on yourself if you're an avid autocorrecter!

Why Are There Typos in Books?

There are several reasons why typos can end up in books. Sometimes the author makes a mistake, sometimes the editor misses something, and sometimes the printer messes up. However, there are some common causes of typos that you should be aware of:

  1. Typing Mistakes: This is probably the most common type of typo. Sometimes it's easy to get one letter turned around or forget which direction you should be pressing the keys.
  2. Misreading/Mishearing: You might try to type something but read over a different word by mistake. Or maybe someone is dictating what they want to be written on the page, and you hear “red” when they actually say “read.”
  3. Omissions: Sometimes, you might forget to add a letter or two when typing or leave out a space between words.
  4. Duplicate Letters: This can happen when you type too fast and hit the same key twice or when there's a smudge on the screen that makes it look like two letters are next to each other.
  5. Incorrect Word Choice: There are times when you might use the wrong word in your sentence, such as accidentally using “their” instead of “there” or “its” instead of “it's.”

Do Most Books Have Typos (And How Common Are They)?

Typos differ from author to author and book to book. Typos may be common for one writer and not so common for another.

Typos don't occur as often in properly edited books, but it's possible they could slip past editors and proofreaders even if the text has gone through a thorough editing process. Book-writing services looking to make money can often cut corners on proofreading, which means errors might not be caught before publication.

Some research suggests that 9 out of 10 people will encounter typos at least once while reading a digital book – such as an ebook downloaded from Amazon or Kobo – as opposed to just 2 out of 10 people finding typos when reading print copies.

How Many Typos Are Acceptable in a Book?

It's hard to say exactly how many typos are acceptable in a book, as it can vary from one reader to the next. Some people might not even notice a few typos here and there, while others may become frustrated and distracted if they come across too many mistakes.

Generally speaking, the fewer typos in a book, the better. However, it's essential to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes a typo or two is simply unavoidable. If the majority of your book is free of errors, then most readers will likely be forgiving of a few minor mistakes.

What Should I Do if I Find a Typo in a Book?

What should you do if you come across a typo in a book? Some say it's best to simply ignore the typo and continue reading as though nothing happened. However, it's also nice to acknowledge the mistake and let the author or publisher know about it.

Here are some suggestions if you encounter a typo:

●  If the mistake is small and doesn't change the meaning of what was written, feel free to look past it and continue your reading experience.

●  If there's a typo near where you found another error, such as an incorrect word or misplaced comma, use this opportunity to improve other aspects of your writing by fixing multiple mistakes at once.

●  Try not to assume all other copies of this book have the same typo. It's possible that the book you're reading is an uncorrected proof or an early reader's copy.

●  If you're really bothered by the typo, consider contacting the author or publisher to let them know about it. You can either do this through email, social media, or even a letter or phone call.

●  Sometimes publishers will release “fixed” versions of books that have been updated with typos corrected. If you find a mistake after the book has already been published, it might be worth checking to see if there's a newer edition that you can download.

What Are Some of the Most Famous Typos in Books?

There are a few famous typos that have made headlines over the years. One of the most infamous examples is a typo on the cover of Dan Brown's novel, “The Da Vinci Code.” The original UK release featured the tagline, “The New York Times Bestseller,” but it was later revealed that the word “New” was misspelled as “Nwe.”

In 2009, an Australian printing company made headlines when they released a batch of children's books with mistakes such as “carrying” being spelled as “karring” and “there” being spelled as “their.”

In 2012, author JK Rowling was publicly criticized after it was discovered that she had made a typo in her new book, “The Casual Vacancy.” The typo appeared on the first page of the book and caused the word “council” to be spelled as “cannual.”

A more recent example is the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey, which was famously released with numerous typos throughout the text.

Are Books With Typos Valuable?

Without a doubt, many people would say that books containing typos are not worth much. There may be some rare book collectors who do not care if there is a typo or two to be found in their prized copies of novels, but for the vast majority of people, one or two errors here and there will significantly diminish the value of the said book.

Many aspiring writers who hope to publish their novels find this troubling since it means all their hard work has been rendered worthless due to issues such as missed letters or incorrect spellings throughout the text. Others see this as an opportunity to buy these books at bargain prices and fix them up before they try re-selling them for whatever price they like!

Who Checks Books for Typos Before Publishing?

The editing process of a book spans many months or even years. Inputting, plotting, outlining the work—it's not something that happens quickly. There’s an entire process that takes place before a book gets published.

Each revision cycle starts with an editor who scrutinizes the manuscript for errors in grammar and typos. They'll flag any mistakes they find along the way so they can be corrected before publishing or during revisions. More experienced editors might also offer feedback about content, character motivations, scene setups, etc.

After the manuscript has been edited multiple times over by different people—the author included—it will then go to the layout/design stage where it will be prepared for printing or creating an E-book version on Kindle, iPad app version on iBooks store, or other e-reader formats. So, there's a good chance that most, if not all, typos will be caught and corrected before the book ever reaches your hands.

In the end, it's important to remember that books are never perfect. We all make mistakes, and publishers are no exception. If you do come across a typo in your reading experience, try to take it in stride and enjoy the story for what it is. After all, it's the author's words that matter the most, not the occasional mistake.

Written by
Jamey Muller
I'm the head-writer @ Knowledge Eager (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing the majority of the content here). Addicted to the stock market, football, sushi and tacos.
Have any questions? Write us a message.
Jamey Muller
I'm the head-writer @ Knowledge Eager (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing the majority of the content here). Addicted to the stock market, football, sushi and tacos.