In light of the news that He Who Must Be Obeid by Kate McClymont and Linton Besser has been withdrawn from sale and recalled by the publisher due to legal reasons we though we would list our top 5 publishing mistakes. Let us know ones we have missed!
5. Goodbye Jerusalem by Bob Ellis
Bob Ellis was sued for defamation by Tony Abbott and Peter Costello over his book Goodbye Jerusalem. His previous book Goodbye Babylon was also withdrawn and pulped. ( Bob Ellis later sued another author for defamation over a biography they had written about him!)
“The first edition of Goodbye Jerusalem was pulped following a successful defamation case brought by two Liberal cabinet ministers, Tony Abbott and Peter Costello, and their wives. The publisher, Random House, accepted that the disputed content was a falsehood and the book was removed from sale. ACT Supreme Court Justice Higgins awarded the two politicians and their wives a total of $277,000 damages. A new edition of the book was published three months later which omitted the defamatory passage.”
4. Jonestown by Chris Masters
ABC Books wouldn’t publish Chris Masters’ Alan Jones biography Jonestown. Allen & Unwin picked it up and it was a huge bestseller.
3. The Hand Signed The Paper by Helen Demidenko (Darville)
Helen Darville not only duped her publisher and readers but also the judges of the Miles Franklin Award. The novel was purported to be based on a relative but all was revelaed to be a fake including Helen Demidenko herself.
2. Forbidden Love by Norma Khouri
Another case of an author pretending to be someone they were not. Published to great fanfare and an author tour featuring large security it later emerged all was not as it seemed.
“On July 24, 2004 Malcolm Knox, literary editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, revealed that Khouri was not in fact living in Jordan during 1993-1995 (the timeframe of Forbidden Love), but was living in Chicago with her husband, John Toliopoulos, and her two children. She had not lived in Jordan since her early childhood, except for a three week stay during which she apparently researched the background for her book. Knox further revealed accusations that Khouri had left the United States while being investigated for the fraud of an elderly neighbor.”
1. The Penguin Pasta Bible
The case of the very bad and very expensive typo. Instead of asking for “ground black pepper” to be added to a recipe it asked for “ground black people“.
“PENGUIN GROUP AUSTRALIA turns over $120 million a year from printing words but a one-word misprint has cost it dearly. The publishing company was forced to pulp and reprint 7000 copies of Pasta Bible last week after a recipe called for “salt and freshly ground black people” – instead of pepper – to be added to the spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto. The exercise will cost Penguin $20,000, the head of publishing, Bob Sessions, said. At $3300 a letter, it’s a pricey typo.”