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Old 08-07-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
TadW
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Spoiled Kindle experience: too much sloppy content

Stephen Curry @ The Guardian writes:

Quote:
I have been repeatedly disappointed at the low quality of the texts that I have bought from Amazon's Kindle store. The frequency of typographical errors, sloppy layout and poor image quality, even on my relatively small sample of around twenty titles, has made me wonder if the 'e' in ebook stands for easy money. This seems strange given the care publishers normally take over printed versions — I have only very rarely come across typos or pagination errors — but the evidence from my online purchases is mounting.
My experience has been similar, unfortunately. Who do you think is responsible? If it is the publishers, as the article suggests, then why do they care less about typographical and formatting errors than they did before?

[image by liz west via Flickr]

Last edited by Alexander Turcic; 08-08-2013 at 05:48 AM. Reason: moved to frontpage
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TadW View Post
Stephen Curry @ The Guardian writes:

My experience has been similar, unfortunately. Who do you think is responsible? If it is the publishers, as the article suggests, then why do they care less about typographical and formatting errors than they did before?
One reason: Because they don't *want* ebooks to succeed. They don't want ebook readers to think of ebooks as being just as good as paper books, especially hardcovers. They want readers to associate ebooks with lower quality, sloppy writing, and annoying errors. They believe that readers will decide to buy hardcovers instead of ebooks--instead of deciding that there's no notable difference in quality between mainstream publisher ebooks and indie/self-pub $1.99 ebooks.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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I've purchased hundreds of Kindle ebooks, and I haven't come across a lot of issues. Yes, there is the occasional typo, and I would agree that it happens more than in paper versions.

I've only had one ebook that was formatted so poorly I had to return it.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:22 PM   #4
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I had this experience several times.

Especially the Springer (the publisher with the horse icon on it) and the Duden Verlag are horrible examples. It seems they just converted the paperback book. The delimiters were on the wrong place (don't need them for e-books anyway) and the picture weren't usable for small Kindle e-book readers. The prices were almost the same to the paper books.

They still haven't made any difference.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
One reason: Because they don't *want* ebooks to succeed. They don't want ebook readers to think of ebooks as being just as good as paper books, especially hardcovers. They want readers to associate ebooks with lower quality, sloppy writing, and annoying errors. They believe that readers will decide to buy hardcovers instead of ebooks--instead of deciding that there's no notable difference in quality between mainstream publisher ebooks and indie/self-pub $1.99 ebooks.
^ This.

All they are doing is pushing people to flock to cheaper books, where even if it is poorly formatted, since it didn't cost 7-8 dollars to be poorly formatted it is worth the price.

And if they enjoyed the book, there are millions more out there to buy and at these prices you can buy a lot more books for that 7-8 dollars.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
One reason: Because they don't *want* ebooks to succeed. They don't want ebook readers to think of ebooks as being just as good as paper books, especially hardcovers. They want readers to associate ebooks with lower quality, sloppy writing, and annoying errors. They believe that readers will decide to buy hardcovers instead of ebooks--instead of deciding that there's no notable difference in quality between mainstream publisher ebooks and indie/self-pub $1.99 ebooks.
Agreed. I have purchased about 200 books from Amazon and so far only 1 has been bad. Lots of errors, formatting was awful, etc.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by pidgeon92 View Post
I've only had one ebook that was formatted so poorly I had to return it.
And how many dead-tree versions have you had to return? Probably none...that is the point.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:45 AM   #8
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I've actually returned eight or ten paper books, I think, over the years. This due to missing pages, blank or partly blank pages, double-printed pages and such. Very few spelling and typographical problems though and three or so faulty books per decade really isn't that bad.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:49 AM   #9
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There are some books with a lot of typographical errors. I just deal with them. Am I this kind not to return them? hahahaha
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:49 AM   #10
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I've bought a lot of books (in excess of 400) and I rarely come across problems. Its usually in the cheaper books that I find typos. I've never had a book that was so bad it distracted me from reading.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:05 AM   #11
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On the whole, the quality of the hundreds of ebooks I've purchased have been on par with the quality of the physical books I used to buy. I guess I'm just lucky that way.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:49 AM   #12
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I've never had a problem with paper books, but then again I probably haven't bought as many as the rest of you. I've bought many ebooks with spelling and punctuation errors. I just fix them myself.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
They believe that readers will decide to buy hardcovers instead of ebooks--instead of deciding that there's no notable difference in quality between mainstream publisher ebooks and indie/self-pub $1.99 ebooks.
There is a difference, though. I buy quite a few indie and self-published e-books, and the lack of professional editing is noticeable and notable. I don't know if it should be generalized , and the lower prices do make up for it to a degree, but if I buy a book (in whatever format) from an established publishing house, I'm likely to get a properly content-edited book that meets certain literacy standards.

The downside is that it's usually same-y, dependent on what editors and agents believe currently sells. With self-published books you may or may not get something of equal quality. It's far more uncertain, in my experience. The advantage is, and that is why I enjoy self-published works, that indie books are frequently fresh and more daring.

I don't disagree with your point and I would add DRM issues to the list of reasons why publishers might prefer paper books. I'm not saying self-published stuff is always worse, but with "publisher-published" books you get professionally edited books more often.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:39 AM   #14
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For the two bad books I've come across, one was indie, the other was an older but still in copyright trad-pub.

The publishers are the ones responsible for the errors. Amazon's policy is that they legally cannot change anything that the rightsholder did, so if you report errors to amazon, they will report those errors to the rightsholder. They have made it quite easy to report the occasional issue -- you can just select it and choose "report error", directly from the kindle.

I do wish the publishers were more careful, but recently I haven't seen errors very often.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:59 AM   #15
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I can't understand why companies like Amazon and B&N allow poorly executed self-published e-books to be sold on their sites. Many titles are public domain works offered for free. I don't see how anyone makes any money off those, and if they are giving the company a reputation for selling poor quality products that's bad news for the vendor. The whole thing seems like it's completely out of control.
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