Why Typos?

As I’ve been reading through my own book (yes, I actually use it on a daily basis as reference), I’ve been finding typos here and there. I’ve also gotten a couple of e-mails pointing out other typos, and it really bums me out. Logically, writing over 600 pages without a mistake is probably not possible the first time around. But it still bothers me.

My initial reaction is: why didn’t the editors pick it up? Sure I wrote it, but there is a length review process before everything goes to print. The plain and simple fact is that proofreading a technical book is not so simple. You can’t accurately rely on Microsoft Word’s spell and grammar checking because of all the code that’s intermixed with regular text. The alternative is to have someone read it line by line and fix mistakes, but who has time for that?

I know a lot of the typos are related to either code examples or descriptions of code examples, but thankfully all of the sample code still works. All I can hope is that the book sells enough to warrant a second edition where I can fix these mistakes.

Update: Jim (my editor) takes some of the blame on his blog for the technical editing mistakes. Like I said, I don’t feel like there’s any one person to blame, but it’s nice to know I’m not standing in front of the firing squad by myself. Thanks Jim. :)