Recently I read a couple of books with some of the following mistakes:

  • Spelling
  • Phrasing
  • Scientific errors in equations
  • Word duplications
  • Other typography errors: formatting, missing colors, etc.

Should I bother reporting this to the authors? I do not want to be unpolite but some errors are severe and make the reading hard to understand. Would it matter anyway? Some books are in 3rd/4th edition and still contain these kind of mistakes.

  • 1
    If anything you would probably want to notify the publisher as the error may have been on their end, especially when you get into typography errors.
    – Skooba
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 14:12

2 Answers 2


It's impossible to say how the author or the publisher will respond to the reported errors. There are publishers that maintain a list of errata online, including errata reported by readers. See for example the list of errata for Introduction to Machine Learning with Python, published by O'Reilly Media.

As an anecdote, I can tell you the story of a colleague's brother, who worked through a textbook, listing all the errors, including suggestions for improvement, and sent that list to the publisher. As a reward, the publisher later sent him the next edition of the book free of charge.

I don't know to what extent this also applies to publishers of literary works.

  • It's actually a textbook in the field of Computer Science.
    – stephanmg
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 14:06
  • 2
    If it's a textbook and the author is a professor, you may be able to contact them directly. In other cases, you need to contact the publisher, which is not always easy. (Some publishers don't make that easy.) I added the comment about literary works because this is, after all, a site that focuses on literature.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 14:08
  • yes I know. Didn't find a better place to ask this question. It will be tedious to list now the errors as I forgot the pages of course but there have been tremendous number of issues.
    – stephanmg
    Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 14:10

Most authors who I have contacted to report errors have been grateful that someone cared enough to read their book closely enough to note the errors, although some have declined to issue a correction.

One thing to note is that if this is an electronic book on Kindle, and you have any care for the author, do not report the book on Amazon. That triggers an automatic process which can lock a book away for sales for weeks, and according to some authors, leaves a black mark on their record which impacts their ability to sell other books, even if they immediately make and submit a correction.

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