So, like the big baby that I am, I have avoided the Minotaur imprint pretty much since then, with the exception of Ken Bruen paperbacks, which are printed in the US through VHPS. (I did come across an error in the last novel, "Ammunition", but I can't remember where it was right now - you'll have to trust me on it for the moment.) So today, I'm doing my job, shelving books, being a jerk, when I pick up five copies of "How I Learned to Cook: Culinary Educations from the World's Greatest Chefs" edited (and I use this term nearly in jest) by Kimberly Witherspoon and Peter Meehan and published by Bloomsbury Press, a division of our friends at VHPS. As I picked these up in one hand to bring them out to the rickety old ghetto-spinner out front, I must have turned them so that the spines faced me. When my eyes fell across the spines, I thought I was having a stroke or a seizure at first. It had been a long day, I had been shelving books and rearranging things all over the store for most of the afternoon, it was hot in the receiving room - maybe I was hallucinating or, well, stroking out. This is what I saw:
Don't feel bad if it takes a minute to notice the error - even though it's HORRIBLE and INEXCUSABLE, your mind does try to rearrange the letters so that they appear in the correct order. (If you can't see the problem, please visit the Holtzbrink website for career opportunities.) This joke would be funnier if Bloomsbury did not have the following solemn, soulless message in their Careers section: Proofreaders/Freelancers: Please note that due to having an established list of freelance help and proofreaders that we use on a regular basis, we do not accept speculative applications for the above. Thank you though for your interest in our Company.
How does this happen? Is there no one at home in the VHPS offices? Is this what passes for acceptable in the world of books in the 21st century? Have they bitten off more than they can handle by having (unless I have miscounted) 84 imprints under the VHPS umbrella? (By contrast, Random House's US division has, I believe, 165 imprints and Perseus, fresh from acquiring 150 PGW imprints has at least 200, and I have never noticed anything like this on any of their books.) I find this embarrassing, actually. I am embarrassed for everyone at Bloomsbury who had finished copies of this book in their hands and failed to notice that the longest word in the title was spelled wrong on the spines of most likely 40,000 copies (the reported initial print run for the paperback). Actually, scratch that - I don't feel embarrassed for the "freelance proofreaders" that missed this egregious error, among countless others. They are incompetent fools, whose sole job, I would presume, is to make sure that there are no fucking spelling mistakes on the covers of any books!
I will build the most enormous Book Catapult yet, in order to launch the entire Von Holtzbrink Empire into the blazing, unforgiving sun! Spellcheck that, suckas.