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Who The #$*% Approved This?!: When A Recipe Called For 'Freshly Ground Black People'

Posted by Kiefer Uuksulainen on November 20, 2015
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TyPOs, miSSpelligns and GRAmmatical gaffes are inevitable when organizations are producing increasingly more assets under tighter timelines. It may be a simple misplaced comma or an honest spelling mistake, but rarely do these mistakes go unnoticed. The resultant backlash causes legal nightmares, PR disasters, severe financial consequences and even firings.

The Guardian recently covered the unfortunate misprint in the contents of the cookbook, 'The Pasta Bible'. The dish in question sparked outrage after a misprint suggested that individuals season with "salt and freshly ground black people", instead of “pepper”.

The mistake resulted in the destruction of over 7,000 books in Penguin Australia's warehouse, at a loss of $20,000. Additionally, the publisher issued a public apology on its website "for any offence this error may have caused readers", and offered to "replace [the] copy of The Pasta Bible owned by anyone who feels uncomfortable about having a copy of the book in their possession."

The publishing industry is one with a high volume of content-heavy assets being produced; this leads to a greater likelihood of erros. Thankfully for Penguin Australia the damage was relatively small, but still significant. 

What could've been done?

If the Penguin Australia could go back in time (which we're sure they'd very much like to), an easy-implementable fix would look to online proofing solutions. A more organized production process helps to manage feedback and automates the review and approval of assets. Proofing software reroutes reviews to ensure input from all key reviewers is received and prevents the premature publishing of assets without approval. The implication of this means this needless printing mistake would have been caught much earlier in the production pipeline.

Online proofing software like ConceptShare could have helped Penguin Australia deliver an approved and error-free asset, but it's not too late for you, help stop errors before they happen! Contact us.

Topics: Review and Approval

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