Last week, I wrote about how a source for the bestselling book Last Train from Hiroshima lied. The publisher was going to issue a corrected text in upcoming editions, but leave the book on the stands.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the book has several other major problems:
Nicole Dewey, a Holt spokeswoman, said it questioned whether the Rev. John MacQuitty, a priest quoted in the book, and another priest, a Father Mattias, named by Mr. Pellegrino, actually existed. Ms. Dewey said the publisher also had questions about Mr. Pellegrino’s doctorate.
Holt is now halting upcoming printings of the book, and offering refunds to retailers and wholesalers. The James Cameron-led film adaptation of the book looks doubtful, too.
And Teleread has questions about what this all means for ebooks:
But if the book is available as an ebook, the ebook is its own quandary. It is easy to replace the digital file and to even let purchasers redownload the incorrect copy. But at what point does Henry Holt and the author stop making changes? Or should we expect the book to be continuously correct and updated until such time as it is so perfect that no changes can be made? Or should we leave it as is and wait for a “second” edition to be released; that is, should the ebook be considered a mirror image of the released print version or a book in its own right?
I have some other questions, too. Hiroshima apparently wasn't available in ebook format, but if it was, what would happen to it? If you owned a copy on a Kindle, would your Kindle version of the book be automatically corrected? Would you be able to keep the original, untrue version of the book if you wanted, or would Amazon take that choice away from you? If the publisher recalls a book, does Amazon wipe the book from your Kindle? I'm sure we'll find out eventually.