Originally Posted by Fluribus
Older books will have been digitized via OCR. (Even books that are new enough that one would have assumed that the author used a word processor.) Unless edited, they will contain many more errors than the paper version. Many publishers have been guilty of releasing these without proper editing. Tossing a bunch of additional errors into the mix drops the value significantly.
I am sure you are right in respect to certain publishers and also the date the ebook was published may be significant.
The original publication date of the book does not in my experience have much to do with the quality of the ebook edition.
Hard Case Crime publishes very well proofed books many originally published 50+years ago.
Sure there were a lot of OCR-ed poorly proofed books published 2-5 years ago and some are still being produced today, but the majority of ebooks I have read in the last 2 1/2 years have been adequately or excellently proofed. (I average 4-5 books a week)
Backlist books (which were written 1 year or even 50+ years ago) , but still being carried new in stores) have already been digitized for modern printing presses. They may contain the same errors as the printed copy but no more.
I have read ebooks by Rex Stout, Robert B. Parker, Agatha Christie and many more obscure authors and the majority are very well done. A friend was just showing me his latest Louis L'amour book and comparing it to his 40 year old paper copy and exclaiming how much nicer it looked.
Assuming a book is actually readable, I would rather read a book I want to read, based on content, author, subject, genre......, than any book because it is newly written and may or may not be error free. An older bestseller can be sometimes better than a newer one.
I've even noticed more than the occasional missing apostrophe in paper books, without feeling I've been totally ripped off.