A truck with the words "Book Launch" on the side being driven off the side of a cliff.

Avoid a Bible Publishing Disaster

Do apples, cinnamon, and Parmesan go together? Well, that’s a matter of personal taste. But chances are, you don’t expect to see that mix of flavors in your Bible.

It’s a fact of life and business. Equipment breaks down. Software gets glitchy. Employees get distracted or weary or sloppy. If a business doesn’t have trustworthy quality control systems in place, it could be headed for a worst-case scenario—a costly problem.

Unfortunately, Bible publishing isn’t exempt from these grim realities. Over the years we’ve heard all sorts of horror stories of expensive mistakes not caught before a new Bible project went to press. Check out these actual Bible publishing nightmares. (Note: We’ve withheld publishers’ names and allowed years to go by to avoid causing embarrassment.)

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We know one Bible that featured the latin text printed on the last page of Hosea. An inadvertent shortcut key pasted the text just before the Bible went to the printer. Ten thousand Bibles were recalled. You don’t need a calculator to figure out the bottom-line there: no revenue and an immense expense.

Let Go a Month Too Late
Then there was the disgruntled employee who was being fired by his publishing company. As his parting act, the man intentionally deleted a verse from the book of Revelation. No one noticed before the Bible was printed.

We Knew We Forgot Something!
How about the small publishing house that was banking its entire future on a big, ambitious new Bible project—a brand-new translation. The translation carried a big price tag and a monumental flaw. The beautiful page design did not include running heads. Without these summary headers at the top of each page, the Bible was impossible to use, especially for new believers and pre-believers. This costly project never got word-of-mouth traction. As a result, it’s a translation you’ve never heard of.

“You proofread Bibles, right?”
Those were the words one of our team members heard as someone ran up to him after church. The person caught up to him and said, “Look what I found in my Bible.” He opened to the Gospel of Luke and displayed a page with an inconsistent use of fonts. While we hadn’t been asked to proofread that Bible, we were still sad for the reader.

He had opened God’s Word that morning hoping to find a word of comfort. Instead, he found a distracting mess and completely missed the message.

A Cat on the Keyboard?
While we never asked for an explanation, here is a snapshot of a Bible that came to us for proofreading. While working from home has its perks for typesetters, sometimes it also comes with working with pets. What else would cause random key strokes like this?

KJV Paragraph Markers
And then there was the influx of customer complaints that a new Bible publisher experienced. The publisher was criticized for manipulating the beloved King James Bible. The specific complaint? The correct words were not italicized and some of the paragraph indicators were missing.

“Want a little Parmesan with that psalm?”
Where is your go-to place for saving a favorite recipe? What about the cross-reference column of your Bible? That’s what one typesetter did, albeit accidentally. It seems the typesetter unknowingly pasted portions of a recipe that had been copied during a lunch break right into the cross-reference section of a project. Our team found the mistake in our normal proofing process and a crisis was averted.

While the above examples may be considered sensational, they are not atypical. They are, in fact, variants on a theme. Even the best and most careful typesetters and publishing partners are staffed by people.

And each of us, no matter how careful, are susceptible to introducing an unexpected error that makes Bible proofreading absolutely necessary.

When it pertains to the Word of God and new Bible projects, quality control systems are especially important. And to avoid embarrassing and costly mistakes, have your Bible proofread. Proofreading can help make sure all those Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted—and not sprinkled with cinnamon.

Cutting costs by skipping a Bible’s proofreading phase can be expensive;
Let’s invest in the Word together. Contact us.