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Old 07-18-2011, 03:06 AM   #1
Algiedi
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Ebooks filled with typos and bad formatting, is it unavoidable?

Hello everyone!

I bought by first ebook only a few days ago.

The ebook in question being Dance with Dragons by GRRM, I was very surprised to see that the quality was terrible: formatting errors, typos all over the place...
I knew that this kind of stuff happened in some French publishing houses with little to no interest in (or respect for) ebooks, but I would never have expected Amazon of all people releasing such a shitty product, and for such a big author.

So tell me, knowledgeable people from MR, does this happen a lot? Has bad formatting and general bad quality already become a tradition in ebooks (cause frankly, when the very first character of the first page has an obvious formatting error, how do you even miss that)?
Or was it just a one-time thing, an unlucky pick for a first buy?
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:39 AM   #2
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I've seen quite a few badly formated e-books I'm afraid.
Was it the US or UK version ? So I get the other.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:52 AM   #3
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Is that a backlist / out-of-print book, or a new release? The former are sometimes simply OCR'ed from an existing copy, and without careful proof-reading you'll get exactly the results you are seeing.

Last edited by rogue_librarian; 07-18-2011 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Algiedi View Post
So tell me, knowledgeable people from MR, does this happen a lot? Has bad formatting and general bad quality already become a tradition in ebooks (cause frankly, when the very first character of the first page has an obvious formatting error, how do you even miss that)?
Or was it just a one-time thing, an unlucky pick for a first buy?
Welcome to MobileRead forums, ebooks, though I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your very first ebook.

Yes, I'm afraid poorly formatted ebooks with multiple typos are common. Every few months there is an eruption of postings about this, and then it settles.

I started a thread entitled Hall of Shame - see
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sea...archid=5254433
and you will see that other people have complained also.

Even more irritating, most publishers totally ignore any feedback, though Fictionwise did give me a credit for a dreadful book they put out. I reviewed an Amazon book and gave it a minus 10 rating because of its lousy formatting; Amazon promised to fix it but haven't done so yet. At least they did publish the review.

They only way I know of to change the publishers shoddy behaviour is to repeatedly challenge them by doing a bad review and perhaps letting them know that you have posted the review here.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:11 AM   #5
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Some are worse than others, but I have never read a ebook that didn't have at least some errors in it. Proof readers were one of the first casualties when publishers started looking for efficiency savings.
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:50 AM   #6
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Amazon are not responsible for the errors, the publisher is... Amazon isn't a publisher, it's a retailer and just sells what the publisher supplies to it... if it's really bad then you might be able to demand a refund but I am surprised with this book... I have a copy and don't feel that it's bad... I've been too involved in reading it to notice anything else although I did notice the original "Te" at the start of the Prologue... and the hardcover has it printed correctly.

Mr Ploppy is partially correct about proofreaders being an early casualty of making savings but this dates back decades to when spellcheckers were though to be a good replacement... and weren't resulting in errors in pbooks long before the main ebook revolution...

Last edited by elcreative; 07-18-2011 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 07-18-2011, 10:17 AM   #7
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I used to not think much of it, since I could free my books and then edit them to make them fit my standard. But if things keep on going the way they are, at least according to this thread Mobileread-Is Fair Use Coming To An End?, then we are at the mercy of the publisher. Not cool, not cool at all.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:14 AM   #8
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Amazon isn't the source of the problem, lazy publishers are. Any conversion is subject to errors, though with current list books there are far fewer excuses.

In Amazon's defense, they will refund your money. Their official policy is 30-days, but that isn't strictly enforced. I bought a book (an Alexander Kent Bolitho novel) from them that was so full of errors I found it difficult to read. I complained and they refunded my purchase even though I had bought the book several months earlier. (I have a large "ToBeRead" queue, and it got lost in it.)
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:18 AM   #9
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In Amazon's defense, they will refund your money. Their official policy is 30-days, but that isn't strictly enforced.
Unless something's changed recently their policy is 7 days, not 30 (although as you say they're pretty good about making exceptions for real problem books).
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:31 AM   #10
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Is that a backlist / out-of-print book, or a new release?
It's a brand new release. To add insult to injury the Kindle version is rather pricey at $14.99.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:37 AM   #11
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My guess, the french publisher released an OCR'ed copy. When they scan and OCR a book, expect lots of issues.
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:05 PM   #12
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Amazon are not responsible for the errors, the publisher is... Amazon isn't a publisher, it's a retailer and jsut sells what the publisher supplies to it... if it's really bad then you might be able to demand a refund but I am surprised with this book... I have a copy and don't feel that it's bad... I've been too involved in reading it to notice anything else although I did notice the original "Te" at the start of the Prologue... and the hardcover has it printed correctly.

Mr Ploppy is partially correct about proofreaders being an early casualty of making savings but this dates back decades to when spellcheckers were though to be a good replacement... and weren't resulting in errors in pbooks long before the main ebook revolution...
Even when they are converted from an original digital source they will still need proof reading. Even more so when they are converted from a paper source. In the hardcover, do they use some sort of embelishment on the first word that would explain why that one went wrong?
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:13 PM   #13
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I bought some really poorly done paperbacks of Flemming's Bond books in the late seventies. Publishers have never needed computers to put out shoddy products.

As an added bonus, they had several shiny near cardstock cigarette adds throughout to which the book would fall open, instead of my bookmark.
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:37 PM   #14
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I'm new to the ebook world but in my experience, I have found the formatting to be average.

Some books I don't even think about formatting (obviously a good sign), others I just grin and bear it.

One of the quirks of the modern world, I suppose.
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:17 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mr ploppy View Post
Even when they are converted from an original digital source they will still need proof reading. Even more so when they are converted from a paper source. In the hardcover, do they use some sort of embelishment on the first word that would explain why that one went wrong?
You've got it... the pbook has a dropcap and it got screwed in the transfer... no excuse for it other than being a lazy cheapskate...
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