I was reading an ebook on my phone (soon I’ll give in and just say, “I was reading a book”) and got to a part that included a recipe. I wasn’t about the actually try to prepare it, not least because I was on the train at the time, so I wasn’t too concerned when I got to the line, “whisk in H cup grapeseed or sunflower oil.”

npoundI’ve since read a great deal more of this book, A Pig in Provence, by Georgeanne Brennan, and it appears that nearly every recipe is afflicted with this kind of error. I’m guessing that the N or H that tends to come with measurements is a scanning error on a fraction expressed as ¼ or ½ or similar, and I don’t think I’ve seen those kinds of fractions anywhere in the text.

Perhaps fortunately, I have not seen that other, more alarming, ebook scanning error reported by Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Here’s what’s got me up in arms: Brennan’s book was published in 2012, why was it even necessary to scan it? Was there no electronic version of the text available? Lousy (more likely non-existent) QA is a bad thing, but wouldn’t it be better to use an ebook production method that minimized such errors in the first place? What I don’t know about ebook production could fill at least N barrels, but certainly readers deserve better.