When Publishers Go Wrong

by limebirdwriters

Many people that know me will know that I have recently well and truly become addicted to ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins. It was first brought to my attention a while ago, I heard a few people talking about the books, but they seem to have slipped under my radar somehow. Anyway, I was over in the Limebird forums and a discussion popped up again about ‘The Hunger Games’ and it piqued my interest enough for me to head on over to Amazon and order the books. They were only £11 ($17) for all three books (which I thought was a complete bargain) and a few days later the books arrived. Now if you’re not aware of ‘The Hunger Games’, then seriously, go and get them. They are amazing. I read A LOT of books, and this is the first set of books in a long while that have completely captivated me.

Basically, the story is told from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen who lives in Panem (which is the post-apocalyptic version of the USA). Years ago, rebels tried to take over The Capitol (where the Government are) and failed and as punishment, every year they hold something called the Hunger Games. These are a huge televised event where one boy and one girl from each district in Panem (there are 12) are selected and  must kill or be killed in the area. Only one can survive. When Kantiss’ sister Prim gets called for the games, Katniss’ volunteers herself. *insert dramatic music*

Once I started the first book, I knew I was hooked. I soaked up the deliciousness of Collins’ descriptions, I envisioned every word she said and hooked on to the tension she had created, meaning that I was unable to put the book down. I completed book one in 24 hours and hungrily chugged my way through the second book ‘Catching Fire’ the next day. Taking a breather from reading and milling around yesterday evening, attempting to eat some food (I had been ill that day), I snuggled in to bed to read the third book ‘Mockingjay’. Again, I eagerly flicked through the pages… until I reached page 59 that is.

My eyes darted over to page 60 and something wasn’t right. I had skipped from one place to another and the words seemed strangely familiar. Characters that weren’t in the third book were suddenly in my mind again and I was utterly confused. Thoroughly convinced that my mind was playing tricks on me (as I had been ill that day as I mentioned before), I thought that maybe I was simply tired and needed to put the book down and go to sleep. I rubbed my eyes, picked the book back up and read a bit more…no I’ve definitely read this before. Then it hit me… I was back in the first book again. Like a mad woman I flicked through ahead, hoping that it was maybe only one page… but no, from page 59 all the way up to 394 was the first book again. Then it went back to book three for the last 20 pages or so.

I couldn’t believe it. I had never had something like this happen before. I was exasperated, I wanted so badly to know what happened in the rest of the book, but there I sat, in disbelief. The publisher of these books Scholastic, is a well known, extremely successful publishers, no doubt with thousands of employees helping to print their books every day. So, how does something like this happen? How does it get overlooked that around 300 pages of a book has been replaced with another? As you can imagine, I was not impressed at all. Talk about great quality control.

Has anyone had any experience of this at all and what do you think that I should do? I’m very tempted to write a letter to the publishers to let them know and I will be sending the books back to Amazon. *puts on grumpy customer face*

For now, anyone want to lend me a copy of Mockingjay?

UPDATE: I would like to announce that the lovely Claire from Scholastic has got in touch with us via the blog (see comments below) regarding the book. They are also sending me another copy! Here is her response:

Hi Limebird Beth

Many apologies for the fault in your copy of Mockingjay, we at Scholastic do appreciate how disappointing it must have been to not to be able to find out how the story ends for Katniss and Peeta – especially when you were unwell at the time.

The Production team (there are 5 of us) became aware of the error last week and since then have investigated and finally isolated the rogue printing, which was ordered on 8th December and delivered into shops between 15th and 24th December. It was a printing error on the copies used to make up a few of the boxed sets.

We work really hard to ensure all of our books our produced to a high standard and are always grateful when people take the time to point out any faults or let us know when things have gone wrong. This is the first time we or the printer have experienced this kind of fault and we are working to find ways to make sure it never happens again.

In the meantime, please do send your faulty copy back to Amazon, who will send a replacement copy to you. Apologies again for interrupting your back-to-back reading of the trilogy, and I hope you enjoy reading Mockingjay when it gets to you, they really are brilliant books!

Claire: Production & Distribution Director

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55 Responses to “When Publishers Go Wrong”

  1. Wow, I’m speechless, and to think how much stick Indies get for not editing properly and trying to sell shoddy work. This is an epic fail. I think you should at least get a message to the author, and get a replacement (correct) copy from the publisher.

    Firstly, thanks for publicising this, and secondly, well done for staying so cool about it. In the midst of reading the concluding part of a three-parter, I think most of us would have been spitting blood!

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your comment! Exactly, I can’t believe it, especially from such a massive publisher. It shows that it can even happen to the very best of us!

      No problem, I’m sure most companies will try and sweep things like this under the carpet, but I shall not be silenced! Haha. Oh.. I didn’t remain cool whatsoever, I just don’t think the language that I used was appropriate for the blog! 😉

  2. Wow. You definitely should write a letter to the publishers, imagine everyone else who has bought this book from this print who has experienced the same thing. Way to totally balls up someones reading experience! I haven’t had anything like that happen to me before, I just notice spelling mistakes and whatnot. Nothing too major.

    • Hi Pete,

      I know, I’m thinking I might do. I’m still not 100% after being ill and I want my full brain on before I send in a complaint letter! 🙂

      I did see one review on Amazon that said the same thing, which isn’t good. I just don’t know how it possibly happened?! Ah yes, I noticed a few of those in the text too. Did you do anything about the minor mistakes? Thanks for your comment!

  3. I bought all mine on kindle and they were fine, but I have experienced things like this before where some pages have been printed twice or the one time where they reprinted 10 pages from the first chapter in the last chapter but all the pages were still there they had just been added in. I also have encountered a book where the middle section was upside down! If you want to log into my kindle account on the pc you can read the book from there :). That’s probably against amazon’s rule but I don’t mind if you don’t.

    • I’m seriously thinking about getting a kindle, would be so much easier! Oh gosh, that’s crazy, how can things like that happen?!

      Aww thanks chicken, I think that someone is going to lend me the book soon.. but I might send you an email soon.. *cough*yespleasethatwouldbeawesomeuntilIgetthebook*cough*

  4. Bought one paper book last year – a medieval history textbook, serious university press publisher – a ~30 page block repeated in the middle and missing the same amount following. Seems to be more common in the dying paper book trade…

    • Hi Acedusa,

      Thanks for your comment! Oh gosh, that sounds horrendous. Did you complain to the publishers or anything? I know, things like this aren’t going to encourage people to keep on buying the paper book.

  5. Will definitely get a kindle copy and I agree that you should write a letter. Something similar happened with a book I had to read about verb tenses. The pages were mixed up so it made for some confusing reading. It never occurred to me that it was the publisher…hm…

    • Hi K!

      Yes, you definitely should get a kindle copy, it’s awesome! Oh yes, that definitely sounds like it was probably the publisher. The author has minimal control when it gets to that stage, which is unfortunate. Maybe you should do a late complain too! 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

  6. Letting the publisher know, gives them a heads up about problems in their editing and production processes (most likely production). I’d definitely contact Scholastic. Be prepared for them to ask for the rare, possibly valuable in the future because of the error, books back. They will have to destroy all evidence. 🙂 Hopefully, the replacements won’t have the same problem.

    Glad you’re feeling better.

    • Hi Leila,

      Thanks for commenting! Yes, I think I will, just need to get it all put together. Ohh, maybe I’ll keep it if it might be worth extra money! Probably not much though I would imagine! 😛 I just don’t want it to happen to anyone else either, as it was so frustrating!

      Thank you, I am! 🙂

  7. I purchased a history book (from a university press) through Amazon for my husband one Christmas. I promptly wrapped it, and it sat for a couple of weeks after he unwrapped it (he was finishing another book). When he finally started reading it, he wondered why it was about economics.

    It turns out the press had two authors with the same name who published at roughly the same time. They had bound the economics text into the history cover. Amazon was wonderful about the return. I’ve often wondered if the history text ended up under the economics cover or was this a glitch during one part of a production run.

    No one’s perfect!

    • Hello!

      Oh no, that’s terrible! Especially as I can imagine him sitting down to read it and being disappointed! That’s crazy that no one bothered to check that the right texts were in the right covers!

      Yes, you’re completely right, still doesn’t make it any less annoying when you’re in the middle of a third book in a trilogy though! Haha.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  8. It can’t hurt to let the publisher know.

    This is going to sound stupid and petty (in my defense, I was pregnant), but I called a manufacturer about a pizza-gone-wrong once. It was a frozen pizza but it had thawed and refrozen – while upright – before I got it. When I opened the box it was one BIG lump at the bottom. I called the number on the box. They asked for a bunch of codes from the box and the place of purchase. They seemed REALLY happy to hear about it (I must have been thanked about 20 times, and I had called to yell at them). They sent me coupons for 2 free pizzas, I think.

    Since that incident, I’ve done similar with all sorts of products (usually food items). Every time but once I’ve gotten thanks and/or coupons. Once I got about 20 vouchers for products in the company’s line. Each time it was the same thing – they didn’t know about the problem, so they didn’t know to fix it.

    Please post back if you contact them. I’d love to know their response.

    • Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂 Yes, I think I am going to, just not really sure what I’m going to say yet… No, that doesn’t sound stupid and petty at all, that sounds so annoying!

      We had that before with the cinema. We hardly ever complain, but we went to go and see X-Men and the film was freezing and the sound was out, it was horrendous. We complained about it and got free tickets! Well worth it.

      Yes, of course, I will do! 🙂

  9. LIke you I just recently became aware of The Hunger Games and that author as my grandaughter is reading those. I’ll check to see if she had that same experience in any of her copies. I can’t be too judgemental about my first publisher, ….. well I could … and my contract is up …but, it was a POD version and printed by Lightspeed here in “States.” It was printed very nicely.

    • Hi Tim,

      Have you got round to reading them yet? You definitely should, I can’t recommend them enough. I think it’s Scholastic UK version, so I’m not sure about the US print. I’m glad you had a good printing experience! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  10. I’ve seen it before once, many, many years ago. I think it’s one of those things that just sometimes happens when the machines break down and it’s a one in a million thing that you just can’t control. At least, I hope that’s all it is. I know it’s very rare.

    With newspapers, it’s a lot more frequent, because those machines break down far more often. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to wait for the press to be fixed before we could deliver! Anyhow, kind of off topic, but that is my frame of reference for the situation.

    I hope you get the book soon, because I remember how enthralled those books had me. I didn’t sleep at all the week I read the trilogy!

    • Hi Raven,

      Ah yes, it’s very annoying. I would expect it more from a smaller publisher though, not a massive multi-million one with expensive machines!

      Yes, I’ve seen that before, it’s much more difficult! I didn’t know you worked with newspapers! Learn a new thing every day!

      Thank you, hopefully I’m getting one tonight! My friend’s husband has a copy and I’m going to pop over after work! Woop!

      • My (soon-to-be-ex) husband and I (mostly him) have delivered newspapers for the past 8 yrs or so. When he left a year and a half ago, I took over his route. I actually did my last route on 12/31/11 and I’m happy to be rid of it. Sleep is GOOOOOD!!

        Did you get the book?

      • Oh I seee, glad you’re happy not to be doing it anymore! 🙂

        Yes I did! I picked it up last night, however I haven’t had a chance to read any yet. I’m itching to though!

  11. I would have had a complete meltdown! As it so happens – my “Hunger Games” experience is mirroring your own, in the sense that I’ve been hearing about them for forever, but for whatever reason, didn’t start them until now. I downloaded the 1st to the Kindle – and like you – gobbled up its awesomeness, and hit “Buy now with 1 click” at 2 in the morning to get “Catching Fire”. I have not gotten Mockingjay yet – I’m having to wait a WHOLE WEEK (those of you that have been enraptured by the series will understand) to get it, as I spent my allotted book budget already ;-(
    In short Beth – I feel your pain. I would definitley complain! Grrrrr!

    • Hi Wren,

      I pretty much did if I’m honest. It didn’t help that I was poorly as well as I honestly thought I was losing the plot! Ohh you have to get Mockingjay, I liked what little bit I read of it. Ohh gosh, I hope you can get it soon! Thanks for your comment!

  12. That is just terrible, you’d think if if it did happen to be printed that way that SOMEONE along the lines would have caught it before it hit the stores.

  13. This kind of screw-up never happens when you are reading some dull, uninteresting book full of “facts.” I encourage you to write to Amazon, and to the publisher, and maybe even to the author, as well. Tell her how much you enjoyed Books 1 and 2, and what happened with 3. I bet millions of this same version of 3 have been sold. She should be reminded to kick her publisher’s butt herself!

    • Hi Judith,

      Thanks for commenting! Haha, yes you’ve probably got a point there. It would be my luck that it would be right in the middle of an exciting trilogy! I think you might be right about writing to the author! However, I did get a response from the publishers, which was great!

  14. I have a Slovenian dictionary that just has about 20 blank pages in the “S” section. Wouldn’t you know it, every time I need to look up a word, it’s in that section.

  15. Hi Limebird Beth

    Many apologies for the fault in your copy of Mockingjay, we at Scholastic do appreciate how disappointing it must have been to not to be able to find out how the story ends for Katniss and Peeta – especially when you were unwell at the time.

    The Production team (there are 5 of us) became aware of the error last week and since then have investigated and finally isolated the rogue printing, which was ordered on 8th December and delivered into shops between 15th and 24th December. It was a printing error on the copies used to make up a few of the boxed sets.

    We work really hard to ensure all of our books our produced to a high standard and are always grateful when people take the time to point out any faults or let us know when things have gone wrong. This is the first time we or the printer have experienced this kind of fault and we are working to find ways to make sure it never happens again.

    In the meantime, please do send your faulty copy back to Amazon, who will send a replacement copy to you. Apologies again for interrupting your back-to-back reading of the trilogy, and I hope you enjoy reading Mockingjay when it gets to you, they really are brilliant books!

    Claire: Production & Distribution Director

    • Hi Claire,

      Wow, what a lovely surprise to appear in my inbox. Thank you so much for taking the time out to reply to me, it’s very much appreciated.
      Firstly, apologies for any grumpiness reflected in my post as it was more a case of frustration at not being able to find out the ending! I understand that we are all human and it’s inevitable that errors can happen. Mainly I’m glad that you are aware of the situation and there won’t be any more jumbled versions of Mockingjay hanging around!

      Yes, I agree, they are excellent books! I will hopefully be borrowing a copy tonight, as I don’t think I can wait for a copy to be sent back to me! I have updated my post now with your response, which is great. I was planning on writing you a letter soon to make sure you knew about it, but you have saved me a job. 🙂

      As far as I’m aware, the particular box set is still for sale on Amazon, so you might want to get in touch with them to get it taken down. Please do let me know if you require any more information as I would be more than happy to help.

      Thanks again,

      Beth

    • Hi Claire, I have exactly the same problem as Limebird Beth. Amazon wants me to send back all trilogy box set with the refund, but they do not offer me the replacement which made me sad since I would like to keep first 2 books and get replaced only the Mockingjay copy. Could you please help me with that?

  16. I would keep the one you got, and fuss at them until they replace it. If the books make it mega big, you will really have a collectors item!

    • I am keeping it I think! The publishers are sending me a new one which is pretty cool! 🙂

      • That’s awesome Beth, Scholastic contacted you and offered to replace them. That’s what business *should* be like and it would definitely make me look for their name in the future. You know you’re safe making a purchase with and recommending a company that stands behind their products.

      • Hi Neeks!

        Exactly, they replied to me really quickly which is great. It also wasn’t a generic reply which I really appreciated. They took the time out to actually read my post! 🙂

  17. It’s amazing that they contacted you ._.

    I hope you get a good ending to your series! I got the first for Christmas from a friend, and will begin reading it soon, I hope!

  18. That’s downright traumatic! I’d be like a cat on crazy-mode (y’know, running up and down walls, hissing for no good reason). I was reminded of Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveller. If you don’t know it, it’s a novel about a reader who experiences a problem similar to yours. As he hunts for a true copy of the book he’s eager to read, the novel turns into a story-within-a-story tale, a form of literary thriller, with meta-narrative twists at almost every turned page (and a bit of romance). To top it all, it’s told in the second person, singular, which at first feels really weird. I’ve stopped and started it a number of times, but keep on coming back – it’s playful and curious, as if the writer, too, can’t wait to see what will happen next. I think it captures really well that impatient eagerness of us readers – hope you get your copy soon!

    • Hi Stumbleword,

      Haha, that’s pretty much what I was like! What a great accurate description! Ohh I haven’t heard of that before, sounds quite cool though. I’ll have to have a better look into it. Thank you, me too! I have borrowed one for now, but it will be nice to have the set!

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  19. Hello Limebidbeth, I ordered Hunger games Trilogy box set from Amazon too and I received the same defected Mockingjay copy. Amazon does not want to replace my copy, just want me to send whole box set back to them with the refund. How can I get in touch with Scholastic so I can get only Mockingay copy to replace like you get? Thank you for the answer

    • Hi Calwen,

      If you pop the name of Claire above, with her job title into Google you should be able to find her email address. I can’t access it on my phone!

      Good luck and I hope you can get another (proper) copy of Mockingjay!

      Beth

      • Thanks for the answer. I have already tried to google it but with no success. I will try reply to her comment her, maybe it helps

    • Hi Calwen, I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t happy with the response you received from Amazon, we find that they are normally very good at working with customers to replace faulty or missing books? If you are still not having any luck in getting your copy replaced do email me at scbenquiries@scholastic.co.uk together with your postal address and I will arrange to send out a single copy of Mockingjay to you? All best wishes

  20. Beth : “I’m seriously thinking about getting a kindle, would be so much easier!”

    Definitely! I still buy books, but often they are second-hand from flea markets. Most new books I get via Kindle.

    The only exception to this is graphic novels and the Chung Kuo series (have bought the first 2 of 20 in beautiful hardback!)

    • Hi Dennis,

      Yes, I am tempted, but I still love the feel of a real book. Not sure I’m quite ready to make the transition yet…

      Thanks for commenting!

      • I recently acquired a Kindle. You know why I wanted it? Probably not — I’ll tell you. I wanted to read indie books.

        I think that’s the best perk to e-readers, and I’m partial to the Kindle.

        Nothing could ever replace a ‘real’ book in my heart, but I think you should think about that angle to it.

  21. The power of being a Limebird!! 😀

  22. THIS HAPPENED TO ME! I am SO PISSED ! NOW I HAVE TO BUY ANOTHER MOCKINGJAY!!!!

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