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Old 07-06-2013, 05:03 PM   #1
GeoffR
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Sharing ebook corrections

Many of the ebooks I buy, mainly from the large publishing houses, have a significant number of spelling mistakes and/or formatting errors. Not enough to make the book unreadable, but enough to be annoying. Some of the books I wouldn't bother correcting. But others, especially those by my favourite authors which I expect to read again and again, I might.

(I'm currently reading Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, UK ePub edition published by HarperCollins. It is missing half or more of the scene breaks. If it was a crap book I would just complain to the retailer and get my money back, but it is actually a great book, so I want to read it despite the formatting problems.)

Of course it would be illegal for me to share a corrected copy of the book, but would there be some way I could legally share the information needed for someone else to easily make the same corrections to their own copy of the ebook?

For example, if I used the unix diff program to make a patch file of changes between the original ebook and my own corrected version, would it be legal for me to distribute the diff file? Could I post it here on MobileRead?

If it was legal, do you think it would be worthwhile? Or would I be better just to write to the retailer/publisher/author with a list of corrections and hope they fix the original ebook?

Last edited by GeoffR; 07-06-2013 at 05:04 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-06-2013, 05:15 PM   #2
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If it bothers you that much, contact the publisher and/or author, as well as the retailer that sold the ebook.

I wouldn't do anything beyond that.
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Old 07-06-2013, 06:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffR View Post
Of course it would be illegal for me to share a corrected copy of the book, but would there be some way I could legally share the information needed for someone else to easily make the same corrections to their own copy of the ebook?

For example, if I used the unix diff program to make a patch file of changes between the original ebook and my own corrected version, would it be legal for me to distribute the diff file? Could I post it here on MobileRead?
I don't know about a diff file (I supposed it'd depend on what's in it), but you could start a thread like the one we had for Lord of the Rings...
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=129885


Quote:
Or would I be better just to write to the retailer/publisher/author with a list of corrections and hope they fix the original ebook?
The retailer can't make changes, although they can make the publisher aware of problems if they choose. Authors I've talked to are often willing to make their editor aware of errors, but have no real control when it comes to getting things done. I've never had any luck using the CS address on a big publishers website to get things actually fixed, but have with some smaller publishers. The only time I had success with a big publisher I did some Google detective work and managed to track down the email address for the Executive Editor for a particular imprint.
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Old 07-06-2013, 06:46 PM   #4
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I'm going to cynical and say that you're crazy to *post* corrections.

You've just provided free editing information to a publisher who wasn't willing to spend money to do the job correctly in the first place.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:03 AM   #5
HarryT
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It's not "crazy" to want to help other readers. It's very generous.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:09 AM   #6
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I'd write a polite letter to the shop and claim the money back because of numerous errors.

I think this is the only way things will change.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:28 AM   #7
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Jon had something similar in mind when he started this thread:

Errors in eBooks—find them here
(http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=183713)
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:31 AM   #8
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"SF Gateway" specifically encourage readers to send them any errors they find in their books, and they correct them.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:42 AM   #9
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I've just finished reading a debut novel which was so full of errors that I almost gave up reading it after the first couple of chapters. There are spelling errors, punctuation errors, grammatical errors, and incorrect use of homonyms on virtually every page. Some of them make for unintentional humour. The author has published his email address in the book, so I will be writing to him with suggestions for improvements. I know he has tried to have some corrections published, but don't know if the copy I have is pre or post correction. I certainly hope it is pre-correction. Otherwise I'd hate to think what the original was like.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:44 AM   #10
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If I find more than two or more errors untill page 30 I won't read the ebook file. That's a small rule I made for myself.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:04 AM   #11
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There was a thread here for that purpose a while ago, but nobody else seemed to be interested in it.

As for telling corporation publishers about their mistakes, it's a waste of time. They just don't care. You could send them to the writer, but chances are they won't be able to get the publisher to fix them either.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by mr ploppy View Post
As for telling corporation publishers about their mistakes, it's a waste of time. They just don't care. You could send them to the writer, but chances are they won't be able to get the publisher to fix them either.
As I said a few posts back, that's not the case. "SF Gateway", which is owned by Hachette, encourage submission of errors and issue revised versions of books as a result. I have personal experience of this.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:45 PM   #13
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Recently Amazon pointed out a few mistakes in one of my books. I corrected them and uploaded a fresh copy. Maybe someone will develop a site specifically dedicated to ebooks with spelling and grammar errors. As reports accumulate, authors or publishers could be notified that one of their books is high on the report list.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billi View Post
Jon had something similar in mind when he started this thread:

Errors in eBooks—find them here
(http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=183713)
Thanks, so from that thread it seems there is some interest at least in the idea of sharing ebook corrections, but a bit of a practical problem about how to actually go about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
As I said a few posts back, that's not the case. "SF Gateway", which is owned by Hachette, encourage submission of errors and issue revised versions of books as a result. I have personal experience of this.
That is good to know. It could be this sort of information, about which publishers are willing to make corrections, might be more useful than details of the errors themselves.


I think I will try making a note of all the errors I come across in at least one book by each publisher, then sending them an email, with copies to the retailer and author, and see what their response is.
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Old 07-07-2013, 07:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
As I said a few posts back, that's not the case. "SF Gateway", which is owned by Hachette, encourage submission of errors and issue revised versions of books as a result. I have personal experience of this.
I could name a self publisher who isn't interested in knowing about their mistakes, but that doesn't change the behaviour of the majority. The fact remains, self published mistakes get fixed, corporation published mistakes don't.
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