View Full Version : So I'm an anal retentive boring old fart, BUT


alecE
01-24-2010, 10:53 AM
Whatever happened to the ideas of quality and imagination in publishing ebooks?
Today I logged on to Transworld who publish the Discworld series in the UK. At last, the full set of titles is there. So I downloaded #1, 'The Colour of Magic'. And find:
Table of contents reads ..."Thek Sending of Eight - Prologue"; and the same typo is present in the actual chapter heading as well. What really annoys me is that the paper version does not have this error!

And the packaging is sooooo boring! Which would you prefer as the cover image for your book - the ever-so-exciting bog-standard Random House symphony in grey or the slightly more interesting version which went on the UK paperbacks?

So I've emailed Transworld mentioning these two points; I'm sure they'll express infinite gratitude for letting them know :rolleyes:

But I feel this highlights the wider point, that e-publishing requires the same attention to detail that (quality) paper publishing does. And I still see too many instances of poor quality epubs. (Thankfully, I can correct most of these by doing a little criminal removal of DRM and editing in Sigil. But I shouldn't have to do this sort of thing to overcome shoddy publishing.)

Rant over.:D

HarryT
01-24-2010, 10:58 AM
Cover art is a problem with eBooks. Generally, it's licensed separately from the book contents, and very often (as has probably occurred in this case) the publisher does not have the electronic distribution rights to the artwork used in the printed book, so they use some "generic" cover in its place.

All the same, you'd think they could do a bit better than that, wouldn't you?

pdurrant
01-24-2010, 01:05 PM
Whatever happened to the ideas of quality and imagination in publishing ebooks?
Today I logged on to Transworld who publish the Discworld series in the UK. At last, the full set of titles is there. So I downloaded #1, 'The Colour of Magic'. And find:
Table of contents reads ..."Thek Sending of Eight - Prologue"; and the same typo is present in the actual chapter heading as well. What really annoys me is that the paper version does not have this error!



I bought them all from Fictionwise, back when they were $5.77 each (after member discount). They're now $10.19 at Fictionwise (http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b51870/?), which makes the 7.34 that Random House (http://www.rbooks.co.uk/product.aspx?id=1407034375) are asking only look a bit ridiculous, rather than totally ridiculous.

Of course, both prices are really silly compared to the $7.99 for a new paperback at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0061020710/), or the 4.96 at Amazon.co.uk (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0552152927/).

But I suppose pricing is a separate issue, which I probably shouldn't have brought up.

I'm almost curious enough to buy the UK version, to see how much of the text Harper Collins changed for the US version - whether it was just spelling, or, as with the Harry Potter books, they changed any of the actual words as well.

I can confirm that they managed to get "The Sending of Eight" right.

Pardoz
01-24-2010, 01:05 PM
Whatever happened to the ideas of quality and imagination in publishing ebooks?

'Whatever happened to' implies these ideas were ever prevalent in commercial epublishing...

brewt
01-24-2010, 01:41 PM
So I'm an anal retentive boring old fart, BUT

Hey - isn't that MY line? ;)

You're right - typos etc can be overlooked on the freebies, but if people are gettin' PAID to do it, well, how do I get me a one-a-them jobs?

-bjc

alecE
01-24-2010, 04:24 PM
...which makes the 7.34 that Random House (http://www.rbooks.co.uk/product.aspx?id=1407034375) are asking only look a bit ridiculous, rather than totally ridiculous....But I suppose pricing is a separate issue, which I probably shouldn't have brought up.

Yeah, the pricing is ridiculous, but I was trying to avoid getting too heated about that

alecE
01-24-2010, 04:28 PM
'Whatever happened to' implies these ideas were ever prevalent in commercial epublishing...

Well, I don't have any hard statistical data, but my subjective impression is that there are more typos and elementary layout errors to be found in books (both paper and digital) now than there were during the 1970's and 1980's - during that time I was working as a library cataloguer and handled many hundreds of new titles.

Sparrow
01-24-2010, 04:37 PM
Yeah, the pricing is ridiculous, but I was trying to avoid getting too heated about that

You may be anally retentive; but it seems the same can't be said for the publishers - they seem to be producing considerable quantities of expensive sewage. :angry:

rmm200
01-24-2010, 05:26 PM
Publishers think they have found a gold mine. Scan their existing book in, run it through an automated conversion process, and sell what comes out. No point proof reading it - the source book they used was proof read already.

Forgot the best part - pay off enough elected officials to pass the DMCA which keeps us, the readers, from having any right to fix the errors in the books we buy.

Robert

HarryT
01-24-2010, 07:29 PM
Publishers think they have found a gold mine. Scan their existing book in, run it through an automated conversion process, and sell what comes out. No point proof reading it - the source book they used was proof read already.

Forgot the best part - pay off enough elected officials to pass the DMCA which keeps us, the readers, from having any right to fix the errors in the books we buy.

Robert

I'm not sure that I see what relevance the DMCA - an American law - has to British books, sold in Britain, by a British publisher. Could you elaborate?

rmm200
01-24-2010, 07:43 PM
I apologize - insert whatever is appropriate in your country in place of DMCA - bad laws seem to propagate themselves around the world.

If I can think of something more generic to use in place of an Americanism I will in the future...

Since I know little of British law - what is the law that keeps you from fixing defective EBooks under the guise of DRM?

Thanks!

Robert

Pardoz
01-24-2010, 08:04 PM
Well, I don't have any hard statistical data, but my subjective impression is that there are more typos and elementary layout errors to be found in books (both paper and digital) now than there were during the 1970's and 1980's - during that time I was working as a library cataloguer and handled many hundreds of new titles.

My gut feeling agrees, as far as paper publishing goes. It's rather difficult to compare the state of digital publishing today to that in the 1970s, though...;)

The difference is, with paper publishing one can point and say 'It used to be better.' Electronic publishing has always been this bad (well, the commercial stuff, anyway. Hell of a note when I turn to the darknet to fix problems in the commercial books I've bought.)

drplokta
01-25-2010, 02:52 AM
Since I know little of British law - what is the law that keeps you from fixing defective EBooks under the guise of DRM?

It's the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003, passed in response to the European Union Copyright Directive.

HarryT
01-25-2010, 03:03 AM
It's the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003, passed in response to the European Union Copyright Directive.

There is, however, a fundamental difference between that and the DMCA.

The DMCA is criminal law - you could be prosecuted merely if it should become known that you've edited your book by removing DRM (in theory - I know that nobody ever has been, and that it's a matter of debate whether or not removing DRM actually violates the law or not).

The relevant part of the UK's copyright act is civil law. The copyright holder would have to bring a civil action against you in court and, given that editing a book that you've legitimately bought, for your own personal use, is not an act which causes any loss or damage to the copyright holder, it's difficult to think of any reason why they would wish to do so. Again, nobody has ever been so prosecuted.

rmm200
01-25-2010, 10:44 AM
Not for the first time I like the British model better than our own. This gives me something else to flog my elected officials with; we are out of step with Britain and the EU.

From the land of the sort-of-free.

Robert

alecE
01-25-2010, 04:35 PM
...The relevant part of the UK's copyright act is civil law. The copyright holder would have to bring a civil action against you in court and, given that editing a book that you've legitimately bought, for your own personal use, is not an act which causes any loss or damage to the copyright holder, it's difficult to think of any reason why they would wish to do so. Again, nobody has ever been so prosecuted.

Nice to know that there's little danger of prosecution if one were, hypothetically, to engage in DRM removal, typo correction and front cover replacement before loading one's purchased item in to Calibre.

:D

mores
01-25-2010, 04:46 PM
You said "anal", and then you said "fart"

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=44277&stc=1&d=1264455962

But yes, I agree with you. A nice cover makes the whole experience so much more rewarding.
I don't use Calibre's coverflow view, and I think whoever invented coverflow should be whacked (how useless is this thing?), but every time I open a book on my iPhone (Stanza) I get a nice cover. Sort of like french fries at a fast food restaurant. They sort of ease you into the main course :) Ever tried eating just the burger with no entree?

JSWolf
01-25-2010, 10:18 PM
I have converted some of the Mobipocket Discworld books into LRF & ePub. They seem quite good as far as errors go. I have read of errors in the ePub UK versions.

HarryT
01-26-2010, 03:00 AM
I have converted some of the Mobipocket Discworld books into LRF & ePub. They seem quite good as far as errors go. I have read of errors in the ePub UK versions.

I've not read the e-book versions of this particular series (I have the paperbacks), but personally I find it annoying to read "Americanised" editions of British books; the spelling differences detract from the reading experience, for me personally. I'm pleased to hear that UK eBook editions are now available.

Jellby
01-26-2010, 06:07 AM
Ever tried eating just the burger with no entree?

I always eat the fries (when I do) last :D

JSWolf
01-26-2010, 01:59 PM
I've not read the e-book versions of this particular series (I have the paperbacks), but personally I find it annoying to read "Americanised" editions of British books; the spelling differences detract from the reading experience, for me personally. I'm pleased to hear that UK eBook editions are now available.

I still find a lot of British things in Discworld even though I am reading the US editions. Some of the Britishisms won't make much sense unless you know them which I so far do and I can ask my wife if the need ever arises.

alecE
01-27-2010, 06:12 PM
Cover art is a problem with eBooks. Generally, it's licensed separately from the book contents, and very often (as has probably occurred in this case) the publisher does not have the electronic distribution rights to the artwork used in the printed book, so they use some "generic" cover in its place.

All the same, you'd think they could do a bit better than that, wouldn't you?

Got an email back from customer service confirming that "...we don't have the rights to the cover..." which I still find slightly puzzling as the title page verso for the paper version reads "...Corgi Books are published by Transworld Publishers...a division of the Random House Group Ltd" - who are also the publishers of the electronic version :blink:

Elfwreck
01-27-2010, 06:27 PM
I'm not sure that I see what relevance the DMCA - an American law - has to British books, sold in Britain, by a British publisher. Could you elaborate?

Dmitri Skylarov was arrested for violation of the DMCA (http://news.cnet.com/Russian-crypto-expert-arrested-at-Def-Con/2100-1002_3-270082.html), despite being a Russian citizen and accused of no crimes on US soil.

I suppose that people in Britain who never visit the US have nothing to worry about.

pdurrant
01-28-2010, 05:03 AM
Got an email back from customer service confirming that "...we don't have the rights to the cover..." which I still find slightly puzzling as the title page verso for the paper version reads "...Corgi Books are published by Transworld Publishers...a division of the Random House Group Ltd" - who are also the publishers of the electronic version :blink:

They mean that they didn't pay the cover artist for ebook rights, only for print rights.