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Recently I read a couple of books with either 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.

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    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
    Dec 19 '20 at 14:12
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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.

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  • It's actually a textbook in the field of Computer Science.
    – stephanmg
    Dec 19 '20 at 14:06
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    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
    Dec 19 '20 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
    Dec 19 '20 at 14:10

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