“Freshly Ground Black People” Typo Boosts Sales of Cookbook

You probably heard about the worst proofreading FAIL ever last month when an Australian cookbook called for “freshly ground black people” instead of pepper. The latest news is that Penguin has seen sales of Pasta Bible jump 275%. According to The Bookseller.com:

Sales of Pasta Bible, the book that erroneously instructed readers cooking tagliatelle to add “salt and freshly ground black people”, have jumped almost four-fold in Australia following the mis-print revelations.??

According to Nielsen BookScan data, sales over the two weeks to 24th April were up 275% on the previous fortnight, from just 48 copies sold to 180. The book has been reprinted at a cost of A$20,000 (£12,000) to the publisher, according to reports.??

Although Pasta Bible (Penguin Group Australia) is admittedly still some way off the Australian bestseller lists, it is nonetheless further proof that many books can benefit from bad news.

So I guess it’s true that any publicity is good publicity. You’d think the suggestion of cannibalism would have the opposite effect on a cookbook, but I guess not.

Just to be clear, the copies with the typo have been destroyed and the book has been reprinted to read “freshly ground black pepper.” I’m guessing the typo copies that are still floating around out there will become something of a collector’s item. Look for them to show up on eBay eventually.

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