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Old 12-16-2012, 03:02 PM   #1
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Does Kobo care?

Does anyone know if Kobo or the makers of other e-readers check for formatting problems when they receive a book from the publisher?

Many books I read have problems such as the following:

- Italicized words which lack trailing spaces, so that they run into the following word: "Americanmagazine" rather than "American magazine"

- Block quotes, which on the printed page are usually in a different font or font size, or are indented, in ebooks look just like the regular text.

- Chapter headings which don't display properly: "B ound toS ucceed" instead of "Bound to Succeed"

I know other posters have noted these errors. But Kobo seems to ignore the complaints and just passes on the books to purchasers without making sure that the books do indeed display properly on Kobo's e-readers.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:19 PM   #2
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I agree that these types of problems are annoying, but the problem is with the publisher, not Kobo.

Best Buy doesn't and can't open every box and test every product, they rely on the manufacturer to ensure the quality of the product.

Other than giving you a credit for your purchase and alerting the publisher, what else can they do?
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:39 PM   #3
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I do not expect Kobo to check and fix every book in their library. It is a problem for the publisher - and isn't this why we pay so much for eBooks? In the past, Kobo has credited me for books with errors. I expect no more and no less than that.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by david_e View Post
I agree that these types of problems are annoying, but the problem is with the publisher, not Kobo.

Best Buy doesn't and can't open every box and test every product, they rely on the manufacturer to ensure the quality of the product.

Other than giving you a credit for your purchase and alerting the publisher, what else can they do?
True, Best Buy doesn't test every single product. But every single product is a distinct physical entity, and there are probably millions of them in a Best Buy store. With an ebook, we're talking about a single file to be checked and fixed.

And from my point of view the problem IS with Kobo, to whom I give my money and from whom I expect a product that displays properly on the reader I bought from them.

What can they do? How about this as a start:

- Determine specifications for a book to display properly on their reader; inform publishers of these specifications; and ensure that publishers certify each book file as meeting these specifications.

- Do at least spot-checks to make sure that books do display properly on their reader.

- From the customer service point of view, be more proactive than just telling a customer that it's a publisher problem and they will inform the publisher of the complaint. That, in my experience, is a black hole from which nothing further is heard.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:15 PM   #5
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Does Chapters spot check every physical book they get to make sure the formatting is good and that the books are spelling error free?

It's the same thing, as errors are pointed out to the publisher they are fixed for the next printing (one hope's they are anyway).

Personally I would love to see the clerks face as you went back to Chapters or any other book store and tell them you want a refund because the paperback you bought last week has a spelling mistake in chapter 4.

Now I understand where some ebooks just seem to be thrown together just for the sake of the publisher having an ebook version and it looks like someone who failed english helped put it together. Then I can see asking for a refund.

If it bothers me enough... I just use Sigil and edit the book myself. Less hassel than asking for a refund.

Last edited by Danger; 12-16-2012 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkavan View Post
True, Best Buy doesn't test every single product. But every single product is a distinct physical entity, and there are probably millions of them in a Best Buy store. With an ebook, we're talking about a single file to be checked and fixed.

And from my point of view the problem IS with Kobo, to whom I give my money and from whom I expect a product that displays properly on the reader I bought from them.

What can they do? How about this as a start:

- Determine specifications for a book to display properly on their reader; inform publishers of these specifications; and ensure that publishers certify each book file as meeting these specifications.

- Do at least spot-checks to make sure that books do display properly on their reader.

- From the customer service point of view, be more proactive than just telling a customer that it's a publisher problem and they will inform the publisher of the complaint. That, in my experience, is a black hole from which nothing further is heard.
The same book is sold to multiple resellers such as Books on Board, Diesel, Sony, Kobo. The same errors will show up in the epub wherever you got it (public library too) and whatever reader you're using. It is a PUBLISHER issue not a Kobo issue. What the resellers are doing is reasonable and it is unreasonable to expect them to do the work of the publisher. You have the choice in the future of not buying books from a publisher that does shoddy work. Expecting resellers to become editors and do the publishers' corrections for them is a non-starter.

Last edited by Cdesja5; 12-16-2012 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdesja5 View Post
The same book is sold to multiple resellers such as Books on Board, Diesel, Sony, Kobo. The same errors will show up in the epub wherever you got it (public library too) and whatever reader you're using. It is a PUBLISHER issue not a Kobo issue. What the resellers are doing is reasonable and it is unreasonable to expect them to do the work of the publisher. You have the choice in the future of not buying books from a publisher that does shoddy work. Expecting resellers to become editors and do the publishers' corrections for them is a non-starter.
Thanks for confirming that the same errors show up on all readers. This should make a solution easier than if each reader manufacturer had its own idiosyncrasies that had to be dealt with separately.

E-reading is a (relatively) new way of reading books, and a way that depends not only on the words penned by the author and formatted on a page by the publisher, but also on the way those words are displayed on the electronic page of an e-reader. Given this, is it unreasonable to expect the publishers and e-book companies to work together to ensure that the reader gets what everybody (author, publisher, retailer) wants them to get?

And given that the e-book companies are the experts in how their e-readers work, is it unreasonable to suggest that they draw up specifications that publishers should follow in order to present the best possible experience to the ultimate reader? I don't regard this as doing the work of the publisher, but as being proactive in working with the publisher for the benefit of the final customer, the reader.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:42 PM   #8
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I think you will find that excepting Kindle, all the readers are using epub, which is an industry standard. Further, I will bet that most are using the same rendering engine.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nogle View Post
I think you will find that excepting Kindle, all the readers are using epub, which is an industry standard. Further, I will bet that most are using the same rendering engine.
An obvious exception are kepubs. They are not exactly epubs and are read with a different engine. But, yes, I am sure that any device that says it reads "Adobe DRM" is using a version of ADE.
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Old 12-17-2012, 12:21 AM   #10
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tkaven,

I think if you look into this a little farther the sellers of ebooks probably don't even store an actual copy of the ebooks on their own servers unless they have a particular implementation of DRM specific to their own format like a kepub. Likely, due to DRM they can only inform the publishers and wait for them to do something.
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Old 12-17-2012, 12:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkavan View Post
- Italicized words which lack trailing spaces, so that they run into the following word: "Americanmagazine" rather than "American magazine"

- Block quotes, which on the printed page are usually in a different font or font size, or are indented, in ebooks look just like the regular text.

- Chapter headings which don't display properly: "B ound toS ucceed" instead of "Bound to Succeed"

Are these problems with the kePub version or the ePub version? The ePub is provided by the publisher, the kePub is converted by Kobo. If it's the kePub have you checked the ePub version to see if it has the same errors? That would at least rule out it being an error introduced when Kobo converted the publisher provided ePub into kePub.



I've found Kobo to generally be of zero help when I end up with a book that has errors. I've had some luck getting them fixed by contacting the publisher myself if I can find the email for someone other than general customer service.

What really needs to happen is the book needs to be pulled from sale while being reported by the vendor to the publisher, instead we usually see the vendors keep selling the books even after they have confirmed that there are errors. The only one I've ever seen temporarily pull a book is Amazon, not sure if Kobo's ever done it, but I know they haven't with the dozen or so I've worked on getting fixed.


Of course there are a lot of people who don't seem to care about errors too and can just read around them. I tend to get pulled from the story most of the time when I run across one especially if there are a lot of them in a book.
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:24 AM   #12
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I realize that it is the publisher's doing and not Kobo, at one point they welcomed me to report the errors and I did so on the next error that was a pain to read because the size of the font decreased to tiny in random spots and I'd reported that as well.

Small situations such as lack of spaces, Chapter titles misformating as the example shown has done nothing to bother me so much as having to alter my font size back and forth or live with the tiny font for the paragraph or two before it goes back to the size I want to read it at.

So for small errors I don't blame them for not fixing, but as for the one above it really should be checked for. I realize the amount they get to shove through to their site for purchase, but errors that don't just bother the reading pallate of 'grammar' type errors but something that disturbs the reading experience might be good to keep an eye out for.

Or at least their customer service over situations such as this. A year back they had encouraged me to report a formatting error that caused drop caps to actually drop down half the page at each chapter beginning. So I reported this error to them and after giving me a list of steps I'd already tried they'd up and removed the book from my account and credited me the amount I paid for it - without telling me before hand that was what they'd be doing.

So after an annoyed email in return I got my book back formatting errors and all, but the situation could have been dealt with much better than just deleting the book without a "you can live with it or we can refund the purchase" email.
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by nogle View Post
I think you will find that excepting Kindle, all the readers are using epub, which is an industry standard. Further, I will bet that most are using the same rendering engine.
AFAIK essentially all books on the Kindle store started as ePubs that were simply run through Amazon's conversion tool. That is to say everything ultimately comes from the same publisher-provided ePub document, even if it's subsequently been tweaked or converted a la mobi and kepub.

As for rendering engines, Kobo uses WebKit across the board. As does Apple. Not sure what others are using. The browser on the Kobos seems essentially identical in what it's capable of and in how it renders to the ePub app, aside from pageation.
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:04 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jesslynne View Post
Small situations such as lack of spaces, Chapter titles misformating as the example shown has done nothing to bother me so much as having to alter my font size back and forth or live with the tiny font for the paragraph or two before it goes back to the size I want to read it at.

So for small errors I don't blame them for not fixing, but as for the one above it really should be checked for.
One person's small situation may be another person's major annoyance!
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:19 AM   #15
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Are these problems with the kePub version or the ePub version? The ePub is provided by the publisher, the kePub is converted by Kobo. If it's the kePub have you checked the ePub version to see if it has the same errors? That would at least rule out it being an error introduced when Kobo converted the publisher provided ePub into kePub.
The book in question is a Kobo Epub, and I don't know where the errors were introduced. If they're in the original publisher Epub, why doesn't the publisher format them properly? And if they're introduced when Kobo converts the file to Kobo Epub, then it really is Kobo's problem.

Quote:
Of course there are a lot of people who don't seem to care about errors too and can just read around them. I tend to get pulled from the story most of the time when I run across one especially if there are a lot of them in a book.
I too care about errors, and find them very annoying. A book I recently read about round-the-world ocean racing had boat names on almost every page... the names were in italics, without trailing spaces.
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