Readers complain missing sentences and paragraphs tainted enjoyment of Harper Lee’s novel, as publisher says replacement copies are being printed
A number of the first 25,000 copies of Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set a Watchman are missing paragraphs and sentences from the final pages – with many readers complaining it has tainted their reading of the book. It is unknown how many of the books purchased are missing the pieces of text.
The novel, a sequel to Lee’s 1960 debut, To Kill a Mockingbird, sold more than 105,000 copies in the UK on its first day of release. According to publisher Penguin Random House, the misprint occurred after an error at the printers resulted in six pages towards the end of the UK edition having missing lines.
In a statement the publisher added: “Due to an error in the printing process a limited number of copies of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchmanare faulty. Replacement copies are currently being printed and the situation will be resolved swiftly.”
Many of the misprinted books were sold through Amazon, which sent an email on Wednesday to all customers who had purchased Go Set a Watchman and offered to replace all books with missing text free of charge.
“It was just incredibly frustrating,” said Mike Bell, who pre-ordered the book so it would arrive on the day of its release. “It seems a shame to mess up the printing on such a historic book. There were several sentences that were incomplete or missing entirely and it just really bothers you and disrupts your reading. I’ve got a new copy coming so I’m going to go back and reread those pages but it’s a bit late now.”
Other disgruntled readers who had rushed out to buy Lee’s long-awaited sequel also tweeted to express their anger that their enjoyment of the book had been hampered.
“Loved reading Go Set A Watchman but experience definitely tainted by missing lines of text at the ends of pages,” wrote Jennie Richmond, a student from Wigan. Ryan Bodell tweeted: “the copy i got sent of go set a watchman is missing the last few lines on quite a few pages! Got very frustrating in the end!”
Ciara McEllin wrote that she was “incredibly disappointed” by the error, while another reader posted pictures of the missing text, complaining that it had ruined her experience of the novel.
She tweeted: “V. annoyed & unimpressed that my copy of Go Set a Watchman has sections of text missing on several pages!!”
The book has been the talk of the literary world since its release at midnight on Monday, with the revelation that the adored civil rights hero Atticus Finch had become a racist. It was written by Lee in the 1950s but lay forgotten and unpublished for more than half a century until its existence was revealed only recently.
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the 20th century’s best loved novels. It has sold more than 40m copies worldwide, and has been translated into more than 40 languages.
This article was written by Hannah Ellis-Petersen, for theguardian.com on Thursday 16th July 2015 16.12 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010