I was recently browsing through books in a shop while I was on a layover at the Atlanta airport. One book I was looking at was the paperback edition of a hardback best-seller -- one of the more popular nonfiction books in recent years. And right there in front of me was a glaring typographical error on one of the pages I perused.

I'm not usually particularly good at noticing those types of errors. I don't have the copy editor gene, so to speak. But I don't think anyone can argue that in these days of massive upheaval in the publishing world that copy editing hasn't suffered greatly.

Most publishers I know of have far fewer copy editors than they did even half a decade ago. And while I don't think it's an epidemic, there's no question more small mistakes make it into The Star than they did in recent history. One reader catch today, from a story in the Sunday paper:

"I had to laugh at the caption error: 'Twenty-three-year-old composter Chris Rogerson......' I wonder how he feels about vegetable scraps and organic gardening."

That's a classic example of why computer spell-checkers aren't copy editors. (And that very reason is why some copy editors I know have disabled automatic spell-check on their computers, believing it gives them a false sense of security.)

Readers tell me almost every day they expect The Star to uphold the standards of language. And of course I'll always pass those catches along.