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Old 10-12-2012, 02:40 AM   #1
derangedhermit
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Is it known how publishers will update e-books and how retailers will then act?

Like printed books, most e-books have typos and other errors. Unlike printed books, it costs relatively little to produce a new "edition" (or version, or revision, or whatever they choose to call it).

Is it known how various publishers will address this - especially the major ones?

Is it known how retailers will handle updated e-books?

Do any major publishers visibly support the equivalent of "bug reports", where errors in an e-book could be reported by readers?

I'm mainly wondering how aggressively publishers will remove errors (in either content or formatting), and if retailers will deliver an updated e-book to purchasers of earlier versions. For example, if publishers tended to never fix things (say 5+ years is "never'), then I would remove the errors that bothered me myself - a time-consuming job. If they fix things more promptly, then maybe I can be patient.

In the Nook forum, there is one statement that B&N does provide the latest edition available at the time of any download.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:09 AM   #2
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Amazon frequently update books due to errors. They send you an email advising you when an updated version is available.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:42 AM   #3
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Amazon frequently update books due to errors. They send you an email advising you when an updated version is available.
Amazon are updating the books, not the publisher? They need permission from the copyright owner to do that (and may well have, but it surprises me).

Do you notice what changes in the book, in the way of edition/revision/ISBN/whatever, when they come out with an updated version?
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:55 AM   #4
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I don't think HarryT meant that Amazon is doing the revision, but as a retailer they will inform you that an updated version of a book you have purchased is available. The actual revision is done by the copyright holder. It has happened to me twice, both were KDP issued.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Amazon frequently update books due to errors. They send you an email advising you when an updated version is available.
I think I've only ever seen this for self-published books though. Or at least the majority of the updates I've seen have been for them.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:32 AM   #6
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I think I've only ever seen this for self-published books though. Or at least the majority of the updates I've seen have been for them.
Major publishers as well. They clearly don't make use of the ability to update their content nearly as much/often as self-pubbers might, but it does happen.

You don't even have to wait on an email anymore... if users go to their "Manage your Kindle" section in their Amazon account, books with updates available will have a visual indication to that effect in "Your Kindle Library." I'm not sure how long that functionality has been available, but I noticed it fairly recently, anyway.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:16 AM   #7
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I think I had an automatic update to one of my Kobo books last time I synced. It downloaded it again for some reason, anyway.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:08 AM   #8
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You can update your book for any reason at Amazon, and they'll note in the Manage Your Kindle section that an updated version is available.

If the update is to correct some grievous problem, such as formatting errors, they'll send out an email to everyone who's bought it, announcing the updated version.

I can't properly express how outstanding I think their practices are in this regard!

It's possible that traditional publishers (vs. self-publishers) have fewer formatting errors and therefore less need to update, but I've seen some pretty horrible formatting come out of trad publishers. I think they probably don't obsess over any individual book the way a self-publisher does, and they have the added consideration of keeping an ebook in sync with the printed version.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:24 PM   #9
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In general I suspect updates for typos will be more common than format updates. An exception might be Amazon since AFAIK the only ebooks it sells are for the Kindle. The issue with format updates, of course, is the variety of different displays to which the format needs to adapt. Maybe some day they'll develop an 'intelligent' format, but not even ePub is quite there yet. It's the closest I've found but still distinctly different on, for example, my Palm Treo vs my Android tablet. Haven't tried it on my wife's Android phone yet but it looks about the same on my tablet as on my PC so I think it should do well with 'modern' devices.
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Old 10-13-2012, 02:41 PM   #10
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In my experience, publishers aren't interested in fixing mistakes and will just ignore you. You would be better off sending them to the writer instead, but if they are owned by a corporation they won't be in a position to fix them.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calvin-c View Post
In general I suspect updates for typos will be more common than format updates. An exception might be Amazon since AFAIK the only ebooks it sells are for the Kindle. The issue with format updates, of course, is the variety of different displays to which the format needs to adapt. Maybe some day they'll develop an 'intelligent' format, but not even ePub is quite there yet. It's the closest I've found but still distinctly different on, for example, my Palm Treo vs my Android tablet. Haven't tried it on my wife's Android phone yet but it looks about the same on my tablet as on my PC so I think it should do well with 'modern' devices.
Actually, iBooks would be the one with only "known device" display control. Kindle books are read on anything there's a Kindle app for in addition to the actual Kindle hardware.

In my opinion, we don't need an intelligent format as badly as we need intelligent formatters - most layout issues are due to lack of understanding how ebooks work by the people creating them. With few exceptions (House of leaves, for one) most books don't need complicated formatting in order to look good. I don't need books to look the same across devices, I need them to be equally readable.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:53 PM   #12
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Some of the errors are, I think, format (and probably platform revision) specific - a character code not used by version x.zy of ADE, or Amazon's software, or css/html not supported (or incorrectly supported) in that version, or whatever. I don't think the author can fix these. Some look to be OCR errors, and would be present in all formats; again, the author can but pass that info on the the publisher. Some are probably the author's fault.

I, for one, would appreciate efforts by a publisher to correct errors and get updates distributed; but I don't think it would make me buy differently, since I buy by author.
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:28 PM   #13
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How do you know by looking at the book that you have a fixed version? Do they change the printing number? The ISBN number?

I think it is important to know which version you are reading especially from the standpoint of referencing the book.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:45 PM   #14
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How do you know by looking at the book that you have a fixed version? Do they change the printing number? The ISBN number?

I think it is important to know which version you are reading especially from the standpoint of referencing the book.
Yes, it would be helpful if ebooks had version numbers the same way software does.
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Old 10-14-2012, 11:39 PM   #15
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Amazon frequently update books due to errors. They send you an email advising you when an updated version is available.
I just got an email saying that one of my book purchases has been updated.
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