Just days after the British release of Freedom, Jonathan Franzen was giving a book reading for the BBC2′s review show, the Herald Scotland reported yesterday. The radio show was recorded last Friday, and it was aired live. In the middle of one of the paragraphs the author stopped reading and delivered a little aside to his radio listeners: “I’m realising to my horror that there is a mistake here that was corrected early in the galleys and is still in the f-ing hardcover of the book.”
Indeed, Franzen was only the most recent reader to discover first-hand the litany of errors that plagued the first British printing of the year’s most celebrated American book. HarperCollins acknowledged the mishap Friday, and announced it would recall the 80,000 copies already on shelves and offer refunds to the 8,000 who already purchased a copy. According to some reports, the remaining un-proofed copies will be pulped.
But this morning brings good news for deprived Freedom readers. The AP reports today that HarperCollins imprint 4th Estate has sent copies of the mistake-free text to books to sellers, and that anyone who has an old version in their possession may exchange it for a new one.
The real Freedom fan, however, should hold on to a few copies of the recalled edition. A Jonathan Franzen novel with substantial errors may someday be worth real money.