Print-on-demand is different from regular publishing. For one thing, it means that I can correct typos as soon as they’re spotted.

If you’ve found a typo in the book, please email it to me and I’ll correct it right away, and add your name to the bottom of the page in a footnote (and yes, I am indeed hoping you’ll buy a(nother) copy to get one with your name it it!). I’ll also give you a credit here — your name in lights!

Andrew Crocker: “understandingthe”, The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away, P31, Nov 1, 2010.

180 Responses to “Report typos”

  1. Mike McConnell

    In Epoch; PEBKAC is introduced as PEBKAC. Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair but is later referred to as PEBCAK twice.

  2. Ryan Bernacki

    Paragraph 387 in Weak and Strange in the ePub is

    “There was a bottle of alcohol in it and a lot gauze pads.”

    Should be “a lot of gauze pads

  3. Ryan Bernacki

    Paragraph 415 in weak and strange in ePub is

    “It’s very good to hear your voice,” he said. He meant it. He wondered if she knew about the Securitat’s campus snitches. He wondered if she was one. But it was good to hear her voice. His pan let him know what whatever he was doing was making him feel great. He didn’t need his pan to tell him that, though.

    Should be

    His pan let him know that whatever

  4. OldMiser

    On the final page of the pdf, the “Filetype” entry (under the “Version Information” heading)contains only a series of “no such file or directory” errors.

  5. OldMiser

    In the story “Epoch” (page 222 of pdf), “peoples'” should be “people’s” (at “…important service updates for peoples’ toothbrushes…”).

  6. Johan

    On page 47 it says Greta, where I’m assuming it should be Gerta.

  7. Haakon Nilsen

    In “Other People’s Money”, I found this:

    “They were like stories, those scratches, each one a momento mori for some long-dead instant in some stranger’s life.”

    The correct term is “memento mori” (“remember your mortality).

  8. OldMiser

    Yes, near the end of Things That Make Me Weak: “He called Greta.” (page 39 of pdf)

  9. bowerbird

    so, cory, all these bug reports make a person
    really appreciate the value of copyeditors, eh?

    and “beta-readers” are tremendously important!
    as you’ve surely realized, a pre-release for them,
    before solidifying the print-on-demand version,
    would eliminate the constant re-upload dance…


    i’ve updated the version in my z.m.l. format:
    > http://z-m-l.com/walha/walha.zml

    in addition, i’ve auto-generated a .pdf:
    > http://z-m-l.com/walha/walha,odf

    and an .html version too:
    > http://z-m-l.com/walha/walha,html

    these output conversions are a button-click
    operation, which makes it easy for an author.

    the .pdf i created is for a book with 320 pages.
    as i say in notes in the .pdf (pages 3 and 316),
    i believe an author with a pre-existing fan-base,
    like you, cory, should take advance-orders and
    do a regular print-run, to lower the book’s cost.

    and of course, when doing a print-run, one must
    attend to the page-count, so i aimed at a number
    — 320 — which is amenable to print-signatures.
    (basically, you want a number divisible by 16, and
    one divisible by 32 is even better for some printers.)
    i used georgia as the font, setting it up at 11/12.5.

    as might be clear from this, the .pdf that’s generated
    automatically from the z.m.l. “master file” is one that
    is designed to go to a printer. it aims at high quality.
    the object is to _replace_ indesign for self-publishers.

    i’ll be releasing many of these cost-free tools soon…

    if anyone wants to e-mail, i’m bowerbird at aol dot com…


  10. Cory Doctorow

    I hope you don’t think I ever doubted the value of copyeditors and proofers. But for the record, the number of typos found in this book are about par for the course for a book right after publication — not substantially more per page than were fixed between the first and second printings of Little Brother, say.

    As to arranging for an advance print-run at lower costs; I think you’re making unwarranted assumptions about the price of the book. The net cost of the book from Lulu is $11 and change; the $18 pricetag arose after I added ISBNs to the book, which triggered Lulu adding it to its Amazon catalog; once that happened, they automatically raise the minimum price to leave room for a discount to the retail channel. I’m working with Lulu to undo this right now, and plan on bringing the price back down to $15 and to try experiments with lower prices still.

    The pre-orders I’d have to take in order to have someone else produce a perfect-bound book at a cost substantially below $11 would be substantial — about 5,000, based on my work in prepress (which is admittedly far behind me).

    And it would have to be someone else. There is no percentage at all in being my own fulfilment house — I’m certainly not situated to be a mail room for 5,000 books; the opportunity cost represented by that much packing and shipping is a lot more than I would earn from such an order.

  11. OldMiser

    This typo is still present in the current (12/14/2010) sst and pdf files.

  12. bowerbird

    cory said:
    > I hope you don’t think I ever doubted
    > the value of copyeditors and proofers.

    of course not. but when you’ve had a publisher,
    meaning you didn’t have to do the job yourself,
    it can be hard to know how difficult the task is…
    that’s why many self-publishers underestimate it.

    part of my mission is providing tools that can be
    used to help authors perform this important job.


    as for book printing prices, here’s some info:
    > http://z-m-l.com/misc/printerpricing.html

    that pricing script — which is on another site —
    was produced in 2004, and i cannot say whether
    the prices are still accurate, but my guess is that
    they are as likely to have dropped as gone up…

    so, with a run of 2000-3000, you’re looking at
    a cost of $2-$4 per book, which leaves a lot of
    wiggle room to hire out a fulfillment process and
    still give a break to fans willing to pay in advance.
    again, i’m not talking about maintaining a stock,
    but merely printing and immediately shipping…

    and just tossing it out as some information that
    might be considered by future self-publishers…


    what i really care about is any reaction that you
    might have to the z.m.l. system and its output,
    especially since you’re now using a similar tool.

    we met briefly when you lived in los angeles —
    i’m a performance poet who invited you to come
    out to a local venue — and i told you about my
    system then, and you said you’d like to see it, so
    here it is. so if you have a chance to look at it
    — i fully realize you’re a very busy individual —
    and you have some reaction, i’d love to hear it…

    have a good day, eh?


  13. Sam M-B

    On the MP3-CD metadata (at least as read by my player software), Power Punctuation! is missing its exclamation!

  14. Sam M-B

    A typo/nit-pick on the table of contents, both on the MP3-CD booklet and printed on the CD itself, and in the MP3 metadata. Compare:

    1. Introduction by Jonathan Couton (Hm… I notice now that this should be Coulton, not Couton — it’s wrong on both the booklet and printed on the CD, fine in the metadata)
    14. I’m Only In It For the Money, by Russell Galen

    The nit-picker in me wonders why the comma in one but not the other.

  15. Sam M-B

    For the MP3-CD metadata, when read by Apple iTunes (Windows) the comments (which I assume should be the narrator information?) show up as hexadecimal line noise:

    00000BC8 00000B11 0000CDA6 0000A439 000499F8 0007F8A8 00007DEB 00007DEB 00085158 0000D7E8

  16. Cory Doctorow

    Thanks for the Coulton misspelling!

    As to the comma, no, that’s deliberate: the title of Russ’s afterword is, “I’m Only In it For the Money.” The word “Introduction,” on the other hand, isn’t a title, it’s a description.

  17. bowerbird

    no more changes to the text since the 14th,
    except the 3 from chris pepper on the 17th?

    are you all caught up on error-reports?

    i’m getting ready to go final with a version,
    and would like to know i have got them all.


  18. Donald M. Wallace

    Hey — I got MAKERS for my new Kindle, and every mention of the word ‘budget’ is rendered as ‘but get’.

  19. Donald M. Wallace

    Ooops! That was a funny mistake to make, but I meant ‘bud get’.

  20. Ryan Bernacki

    In para 3 of Liberation Spectrum, “astrong” should be “a strong”

    He flipped the windows to transparent and let the sun shine in, provoking groans from the company. MacDiarmid, the angel investor who’d been in since the multinational had been able to fit in a sedan, threw astrong arm around Lee-Daniel’s shoulders.

  21. manx

    In “Echo” found the following:

    “That hasn’t stopped them from finding it, has it?” He sounded smug. I ulped.”

    should this be “I gulped” ?

  22. steve

    Just wanted to echo comment #22, which was:

    In Human Readable there is…

    “She looked back and Rainer and saw that he was staring where she had.”

    Unless you’re trying to fundamentally change the syntax of the English language, something seems to be wrong there. Probably one of the ands should be something else or eliminated entirely.

  23. Cory Doctorow

    You know, you’re absolutely right; I misread that typo-report. Thanks for having me take another look at it. I’ve fixed and uploaded (and thanks again, Mike!)

  24. bowerbird


    i’ve posted a list of possible changes here:
    > http://z-m-l.com/walha/walh-copy-editing

    some of these you will accept immediately without question.
    others you might well reject out of hand. that’s perfectly ok.
    (some of them are not “errors” per se, but they facilitate the
    convenient re-use and re-mix of the text, as best practice.)

    i found these glitches almost entirely using software tools
    which i have programmed, which i will make freely available
    to people at a website where i’ll offer my publishing system.

    so i’d like it if you’d credit that system for my corrections:
    > bowerbird — jaguarps.com

    if you want to discuss any of the changes, just e-mail me:
    bowerbird at aol dot com.

    here’s wishing you a happy and back-pain-free new year…


  25. Eunah Choi

    I am a totally blind gril, so I usually listen to an audio version of a book while simultaneously following the text using my Braille display device.
    Today, I listened to the audio version of WALH while reading the txt version of that book and found a missing sentence in “The Introduction” and a typo in “The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange gets Engineered away”.
    Missing Sentence:
    “The Pester Power” tells us how the Internet has been watching us and learning, and how will finally, one day, wake up.”
    The above sentence should be inserted immediately after the following one:
    “And so his stories are especially compelling because they are so relevant to our immediate future.”
    Typo in “The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Gets Engineered Away:
    “the Order worked in autonomous little units with rotating leadership, all coordinated by some groupware that let them keep the heirarchy nice and flat, the way that they all liked it. Authority sucked.”
    “Heirarchy” should be fixed as “Hierarchy”.
    The txt and HTML versions both have those typos.

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