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Old 05-14-2011, 02:16 AM   #1
Sylver
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Can you return an Amazon ebook if too many typos

Hi, I already preordered the hardcover of the fourth volume of David Roy's English translation of the sixteenth century Chinese classic The Plum in the Golden Vase, and just saw Amazon now has kindle version of the same title for pre-order (for just a couple of dollars less). I bought hard cover copies of the first three volumes and am totally blown away not only by the precision (many a time word-for-word) of the translation but also by the unbelievable thoroughness of the annotations, the 200+ page rich notes at the end of each book is an invaluable treasure mine, so is the 2000 character cast list - many of the characters are real historical figures. I initially wanted to collect all volumes in hard copies, but my environmentally conscientious wife kept on pushing me to get an ebook instead (I now have an iPad that has the Kindle app). My concern is most of these annotations are bilingual, and I am not yet convinced current ebook format that Amazon supports is sufficient for that; the limited number of ebooks I purchased so far from Sony, B&N and Amazon, are all in English and yet all have noticeable typos. This book I am interested in is from Princeton University Press and I am not sure how experienced they are in ebook publishing. My question is, if I purchase the ebook version and it turned out that these notes have too many errors/typos, can I still return that to Amazon? Anyone has previous experience that can share? I believe all the new books published nowadays have digital templates of some sort first, so a precise soft copy should have already existed before the hard copy even goes to print, so I really cannot understand why and how ebook version of these new books can ever get so many typos and errors-how hard is it to just reformat the original digital text into epub or whatever format? If I understand correctly, ebooks are like software or music media, once bought, you cannot return it, right? Thanks.
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Old 05-14-2011, 02:32 AM   #2
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Yes, you can return an ebook within 7 days of purchase.
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:06 AM   #3
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Thanks, that is good to know.
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Old 05-14-2011, 03:34 AM   #4
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I had 1 for over a month they took back do to typos!
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylver View Post
... I believe all the new books published nowadays have digital templates of some sort first, so a precise soft copy should have already existed before the hard copy even goes to print, so I really cannot understand why and how ebook version of these new books can ever get so many typos and errors...
This is a bit off your main topic but...

What you are missing is that the print edition goes through several different electronic formats during its migration to the end of the line production software. The last software to handle the books is the layout software and it is in that form that the last corrections are made.

The last layout software is not necessarily something that can output files for ebook production. In such cases the ebook source files must be forked off at some earlier point where the text is in software that can generate files that can be migrated to ebook production tools. As a result, the last corrections aren't included and must be recreated manually. A step that is all too often omitted or done poorly.

There is also the likelyhood that some of the typos seen in ebooks also exist in the print version. I'm currently re-reading Joanna Russ' "We Who Are About To...", serialized in the January and February issues of Galaxy Science Fiction, and have been somewhat surprised by the number of errors (typos, missing words or parts of words, ...). I'm reading the original printed edition and not a re-print, neither electronic nor paper.

Last edited by dwig; 05-14-2011 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 05-14-2011, 02:29 PM   #6
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Sylver,

If you buy the Kindle version, would you mind reporting the quality/accuracy here? I'd love to buy that, but only if the text is clean. Thanks.
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Old 05-14-2011, 06:30 PM   #7
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Sylver,

If you buy the Kindle version, would you mind reporting the quality/accuracy here? I'd love to buy that, but only if the text is clean. Thanks.
aha, I was actually hoping someone else can do that for me first
Still struggling with which format to go, I already spent 150+ dollars on the first three volumes, so it might make more sense to just purchase the rest two volumes in hard copy to make it complete. I have never seen any other Asian classic translation project by one man to be even close to this one in terms of thoroughness and accuracy. I almost feel guilty that quite often I have to turn to the English translation to really understand the original Chinese text (Chinese is my first language and I consider myself much better versed in that language than most Chinese people of my generation). The translator started to teach this novel back in 1967 and the first volume was published almost 20 years ago. There are serious doubts among the readers that Mr. Roy can ever finish this project given his age and the pace of the work he is used to, I just keep my fingers crossed and god bless the old man (his father died just several years ago at age 101 so hopefully he still have plenty of time ahead of him).
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:05 PM   #8
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For a book such as you describe, I think personally there are many benefits to a good old-fashioned hardback, rather than an ebook.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dwig View Post
The last software to handle the books is the layout software and it is in that form that the last corrections are made.

...the ebook source files must be forked off at some earlier point where the text is in software that can generate files that can be migrated to ebook production tools.
Thanks for the informative explanation. I always thought the last phase of handling the layout is where most errors (not corrections) would occur - just imagine to change the first letter of the first paragraph of each chapter to some giant size Gothic style monogram - but I have never worked in the publishing industry and would still like to imagine by now they must have some smart applications that can retrofit a typo in an ealier-forked text version (given so many modern xml, markup text languages available). Well, maybe I tend to oversimplify the workflow.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:20 PM   #10
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For a book such as you describe, I think personally there are many benefits to a good old-fashioned hardback, rather than an ebook.
Yeah, I think so too - just need a couple of benefits that I can convince the wife with. On the other hand, aside from environmental argument, my wife pointed out searchable text, indexing, hyperlink, and of course portability and etc as advantages of the e-version. In comparison, my attachment to the sensation of real book look and feel, really seem so lame. I need a couple of more benefits for the hardback :-)
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:51 AM   #11
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I had 1 for over a month they took back do to typos!
*Snicker*
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:29 PM   #12
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No doubt there are a lot of typos in ebooks, but I'm finding more and more typos and errors in print books, as well. I'm blaming lazy proofreaders and spell-check.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:03 PM   #13
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No doubt there are a lot of typos in ebooks, but I'm finding more and more typos and errors in print books, as well. I'm blaming lazy proofreaders and spell-check.
WRONG. Blame cheap publishers who won't spend for a quality proofread or edit. Proofreaders aren't lazy (no one lazy would ever go into that field, trust me!) But they are overworked, on short schedules, and getting paid a whole lot less (in real dollars) than ever, putting additional pressure on them to work faster (since it's mostly a piecework job.)
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:04 PM   #14
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I kinda depends what kind of person you are. If you are the type that collects books, I think if you truly explain to your wife that this is an important series for you to get that she should understand. Especially for the difference in price. Promise her that the next book you buy will be an e-book.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:45 PM   #15
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Yes, you can return ebook on Amazon for sure. I don't know if you need a reason. I assume people don't return without a reason.
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