This month in book destruction

It’s been a big month for destroying books. First, the Pentagon attempted to buy and destroy all 10,000 copies of an Afghan war memoir, claiming the book includes intelligence secrets. They were too late — the book had already been sent to reviewers.

Then, an Irish poet was forced to pulp 900 copies of her latest book after her brother and mother objected to passages about themselves. Family. What can you do?

Now, the entire print run of the UK edition of Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Freedom is going to be pulped. Because the wrong draft of the book was printed.

Jonathan Franzen’s ‘book of the century’ pulped over error.

Speaking in London last night, the author said the British printers had mistakenly published an old draft of his text, and he urged fans not to read the novel until the correct version is released on Monday.

However, this morning the printing company contacted the Guardian to say that while there had been an error in the book, it did not originate with them.

Franzen told the audience at a reading of the book at London’s Southbank Centre that the printers had opened and copied the wrong computer file, rather than one containing the final proof. This version of events is disputed by the printers.


5 responses to “This month in book destruction

  1. Wait, I’m a third of the way through. Do you think I can get my money back!?!

  2. Publishers Lunch reports: “Franzen also said the erroneous copies–with a reported 80,000-copy hardcover first printing–would be eligible for exchange or refund.”

  3. Jeez… and you have to feel a little for those trees, too. Yar?

  4. My local bookshop is openly advertising their copies as “Uncorrected” – thereby guaranteeing a frenzy of queueing and sharp elbows. Oh, wait…this is Ledbury…scratch the frenzy bit.

    • And if Franzen’s previous novel is shelved beside the botched version of Freedom, I foresee even more problems. On the left, the uncorrected edition. On the right: The Corrections.

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