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Old 06-11-2013, 11:39 AM   #31
BearMountainBooks
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Originally Posted by GeoffR View Post
Almost all of the ebooks I buy from the big publishers have far more errors than the paper versions, including many spelling errors that would have been caught by even the most basic of spell checkers.

I wonder how much money those publishers are losing because of this? Would you pay extra, and if so how much, for an ebook that had some form of error-free guarantee?

The guarantee might not be absolute, perhaps just that there is no more than one error per 10,000 words. I would gladly pay an extra 20% for a book that came with such a guarantee.
No, I expect the book to be done right as part of the bargain. If it's in really bad shape, I'll return it.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:41 AM   #32
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No way would I pay more for ebook publishers to do what they should be doing anyway.

I honestly don't see why there are often more errors in ebooks at all. Why aren't the publishers using the same source text for both ebooks and printed books?
For older books, there is no electronic source. The books have to be scanned in. That causes errors because they don't seem to spend money on copyediting after the scan.

In some cases, there is an electronic version, but in rights disputes, the author may not have the copyedited version (electronic copy) so it may be nearly the final, but not the final.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:48 AM   #33
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I swear I must read the wrong (or the right) books. Or I'm just ridiculously lucky. People keep talking about all these errors in ebooks from big publishing houses and I just don't see them. No more so than I always would have in the physical book, anyway.
Some of the backlist books published by "Gateway SF" have been pretty dire in terms of OCR errors, poor formatting, words run together, etc, although in fairness to them their more recent releases have been a lot better.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:37 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Some of the backlist books published by "Gateway SF" have been pretty dire in terms of OCR errors, poor formatting, words run together, etc, although in fairness to them their more recent releases have been a lot better.
That would explain it. I'm not much of a backlist ebook buyer.

Backlist stuff is tricky. I'd probably be upset if every backlist title I bought was subpar too, but at the same time... I'm willing to accept the fact that "reruns" just aren't going to get "New Book" treatment (resources, time, attention, money). Nature of the beast. The only hope the backlist really has--in terms of increasing quality--is if the technology gets a lot better, and/or some sort of crowd-sourced proofing system gets adopted.

Cheap/perfect isn't going to happen, and expensive/perfect (but old) isn't going to sell.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:00 PM   #35
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Agreed. I'd rather have a sub-par backlist ebook than no ebook at all, but personally I'd be happy to pay a little more to have the publisher properly proof the book.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:07 PM   #36
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I've found that if you read enough marginally OCR'd books, your brain will start to automatically translate them

But I have read many better than acceptable backlist books, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe, seem pretty darn good, as are the Hard Case crime I think that many publishers are making the effort to improve back list books as many are not stocked by bookstores any more so it is extra revenue. (I should say older books instead of backlist, as backlist is by definition still carried in stores)

Three years ago even library ebooks could be pretty ugly, they seem to me much better now regardless of when they were written.

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Old 06-11-2013, 01:18 PM   #37
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I think it's less a question of would you pay extra for an (essentially) error-free copy and more would you pay a premium for a publisher's works that you knew were a good, well-edited product? In other words, how much value do you place on that factor?

Admittedly, I find few errors in the books I buy, a professionally published ebook should be free of most obvious errors, and it's tough to single out the well-edited factor in isolation from other purchasing factors (author, genre, title, etc.)

So look it like this: You could get most PD works for free. Say, Tale of Two Cities, for example. What would you pay for a not-free copy of that to a publisher you knew did a good clean edit on that and (maybe) threw in some explanatory notes and other material?

If I'm willing to pay a few dollars for that, does it not then make sense that for a non-PD backlist title I might be willing to pay slightly more for a publisher to do a better copyediting job on it?

Wanting older books super cheap (and, yes, I consider anything less than $5 "super cheap") is fine, but it means that publishers have to look at the economies of doing so. That often means poor OCR and outsourced copyediting that is (sometimes) of lower quality. But if it means paying $7.99 - $9.99 for a back list title that is well edited, I don't have many problems with that.

I question backlist titles that are $12.99 or more (I'm looking at you, Dune), but that seems more like a greedy publisher taking advantage of fans.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:43 PM   #38
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I would not pay extra. eBooks should be error-free to begin with.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:48 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m00min View Post
No way would I pay more for ebook publishers to do what they should be doing anyway.

I honestly don't see why there are often more errors in ebooks at all. Why aren't the publishers using the same source text for both ebooks and printed books?
If these are backlist eBooks, there is no source other then maybe a PDF file or just a printed copy. So all that can be done is PDF > ePub or scan/OCR. And they don't bother to check their work.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:54 PM   #40
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No way would I pay more. That would be a new gimmick for the publishers to get more money: "Let's post this rubbish eBook for cheap...then a perfect (or near perfect) eBook we can charge twice as much for!"

Most of the eBooks I have read look pretty good. No more errors than a printed book. I have had printed books missing the chapter heading, have duplicate chapter numbers, and one that repeated 3 chapters and was missing 3 chapters (Publisher replaced it for me!).

The main problem I have with some eBooks is the publisher setting a font size which I cannot increase on my reader.
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:46 PM   #41
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I'm not sure. I don't know about errors in a book until I read it. If I get a book from Project Gutenberg, I don't know how many errors it contains. Assuming there was a guaranteed error-free book available, it is hard to know in advance just how many errors there will be in the free version, and without knowing that, it is hard to calculate.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:44 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by speakingtohe View Post
I will revise my opinion slightly (Post 2)

OCR or other errors do not bother me unduly unless really really common in a particular book.

But as with hamburgers, or furniture etc. I will tend to do business with a company providing a quality product at a good price.

If I know that company A makes good furniture and Company B, the chair legs tend to come off, well we know where I will shop.

But if there is only a slight quality difference and Company B's chairs are half of the price of company A's chairs, I will be seduced by the price difference.

So far I have only come across intolerable errors in PD books, which were free and was able to replace them with better OCR'd and formatted ones for the same price

Helen
In most cases you can not shop for the best version of the book. For most modern authors only one publisher is selling it. You are locked in. You do not get to compare products. This is a case of one publisher offering the book at a lower quality and the same book, at a higher cost, for better quality. in effect you are paying the publisher more for a product that should have been produced correctly the first time.
I own a jewelry store and am a bench jeweler. That would be the same as me offering to size your ring and doing a crappy job, or offering to do it correctly for a higher price. To me that is price gouging your customers.
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:14 AM   #43
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I think getting a refund for errors amounts to the same thing as paying extra for no errors. So how much of a refund would you expect to get for a book that had many errors?

If you were offered say a 20% refund if a book you buy contains errors, but you find that the book in fact has no errors, then you have in effect paid 25% extra for an error-free book.


I have had a complete refund from booksonboard I think it was, when I complained that one book was too full of errors. Just like you'd take a pbook back to a shop for a refund if some pages were blank printed (does happen).
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:15 AM   #44
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So, would I have to pay more money for them to make well their job? I don't think so.
That's my thinking as well. A publisher is supposed to ensure that books they publish are as error free as possible, so why should I have to pay extra for them to do just that? The media may be different (ebook as opposed to paper) but the product they are selling is the same so they should do the best that they can when doing their jobs.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:20 PM   #45
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If these are backlist eBooks, there is no source other then maybe a PDF file or just a printed copy. So all that can be done is PDF > ePub or scan/OCR. And they don't bother to check their work.
If you have Acrobat Pro (and most publishers should have it) you can save a pdf as an RTF document, and then do your editing in that rather than going directly from PDF to EPub.
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