A Snarkling wails:
I recently had a book published by a small press and when I received my books, I was shocked to find numerous errors -errors that weren't in my manuscript, but I believe were caused by the typesetter/editor/ etc. What makes me so darn mad is I paid good money to have my manuscript professionally edited before submitting it the publisher. Now everyone will read and think it was me, won't they? I am only glad for one thing right now and that is that the galleys I sent out were clean and have received rave reviews! What's a snarkling to do? And no, I don't or didn't have an agent when the contract was negotiated.
First, I'm puzzled you have perfect galleys and imperfect books. Generally, galleys are the first run of the book wherein you make last minute and expensive changes if you find errors. And if you find errors that were not in your manuscript, you don't have to pay to get them fixed. All this should be in your contract. It's not? I guess I'll add that to my list of reasons I think people should have agents even for small press contracts with zero money.
You can kick up a huge fuss with the publisher. I've known authors who insisted books be recalled when colors weren't right in a children's picture book, or when there were serious misprints in non fiction.
Most small presses don't have the money to do much other than live with it.
Is there any chance they are using POD technology? If so, you're in luck cause you can fix that really easily. DEMAND that it be fixed if that's the case, and that the publisher pay for it.
Otherwise, yup, you've got a book with errors and it's humiliating as hell. Does it help to know it's happened to me? It has. I wept when I saw the book. I screamed and yelled to the publisher to absolutely no avail. I'll NEVER work with that publisher again but oh man, that did little to assuage my anguish at the time. My author was more kind and gracious about it than I was...but then, Miss Snark is not paid big bucks to be kind and gracious.
Now, off to file my teeth for a new day chewing nitwits.