For the book worms among us, there is nothing more satisfying than finding an amusing typo in a best selling book. Publishing company misprints can be embarrassing and costly to the bottom line and companies can lose their credibility and pay the big bucks when they fail to reclaim all the offending materials. Most publishing mistakes are corrected quickly and sometimes fixed during printing so very few misprints get onto the market. This makes them a goldmine for collectors of rare books. Book collectors love first editions, and the presence of a misprint or typo is evidence of a very early copy. Not all misprints in books are worth money, so before checking your bookshelves, it's worth knowing your goodies are only worth money as long as people are willing to pay for them. Books with misprints are only valuable in books that are already rare to start. So don't get too excited the next time you find a typo in a bestseller, however gratifying it may be.
Costly misprints and typos aren't limited to just the book world. Hyphens aren't usually critical pieces of punctuation but a missing dash in the coding led to a failed mission in 1962. The simple typo cost NASA $80 million when Mariner 1 sped off on the wrong trajectory and exploded only minutes after it launched. Typos can have a costly affect for marketing as well. A missing 'P' in the name of a rare beer being auctioned on e-bay cost one unlucky seller over a half a million dollars. Allsopp's Article Ale, minus one P went unnoticed by buyers except for one eagle eyed opportunists who purchased the beer for $304 and promptly sold it for $503,300.
Spelling is important for more than just publishers and writers, and can have devastating consequences if the wrong thing slips past the proofreading phase at a major publishing house. Here are the most damaging and costly misprints and typos.
10 Macy's Mailer: $450
9 British Harry Potter Misprint: $10,000
8 In a Narrow Grave: $17,500
7 Huckleberry Finn Misprint: $18,600
6 The Pasta Bible: $20,000
5 5. The Sun Also Rises: $60,000
4 Wicked Bible: $100,000
3 Lottery misprint: $250,000
2 NYC Department of Education Typo: $1.4 Million
1 Banner Travel Services: $10 Million
Banner Travel Services, a California based travel agency now closed for business placed an ad in the Yellow Pages of the phone book. On printing the advertisement which was meant to highlight a specialization in exotic destinations was written as a forte in erotic destinations. The ad generated interest but it wasn't the type of customers Banner hoped to target. The printer offered to waive the $230 monthly listing fee but the travel agency sued for $10 million anyway.
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