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Old 03-26-2014, 11:57 AM   #31
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That's why we have copyright deposit libraries. But seriously, there are more important things to worry about in the world than people editing your ebooks behind your back.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:22 PM   #32
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That's why we have copyright deposit libraries. But seriously, there are more important things to worry about in the world than people editing your ebooks behind your back.
I think preserving our literary heritage is worth worrying about.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:06 PM   #33
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I think preserving our literary heritage is worth worrying about.
But like Harry said, copyright deposit libraries exist for that exact reason. I see no reason to believe they're not doing their job.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:07 PM   #34
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What evidence do you have to suggest that there is cause for worry? Can you give an example of an ebook which has been tampered with following its purchase?
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:43 PM   #35
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What evidence do you have to suggest that there is cause for worry? Can you give an example of an ebook which has been tampered with following its purchase?
I know of public domain books that have been changed on homeschooling sites.
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:22 PM   #36
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You can compare your digital copies to what is shown by looking up the book in Google books.

On any subject you should be reading more than one author. Even honest people see things from a different point of view. MacArthur was a great general, but those who worked him saw him differently than President Truman did when he fired him.

Broad reading by different authors particularly those who do not share your point of view is a guarantee you will see things in the clearest perspective possible.
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:46 PM   #37
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I know of public domain books that have been changed on homeschooling sites.
"Bowdlerised" versions of books are nothing new, and certainly aren't unique to eBooks. Look on PG and you'll find innumerable examples of them. Do they seriously worry you?
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:27 PM   #38
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"Bowdlerised" versions of books are nothing new, and certainly aren't unique to eBooks. Look on PG and you'll find innumerable examples of them. Do they seriously worry you?
Yes, they do.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:12 PM   #39
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I think there is a very legitimate problem behind this arising out of the fact that it is very much easier to alter the content of an ebook than of a paper book.
If the book has intact DRM then the issue become that of trusting the source, e.g. Amazon, and although they may have shown themselves less than perfect at times, at least you know what you are dealing with.

Without DRM it is a jungle and you have no way of tracing through whose hands the file has passed before reaching you. Files which have had DRM removed have by that very fact been handled by dishonest agents. Opening an epub in Sigil can give you some clues as to an audit trail, but not much detail on possible edits.

If there is a paper copy available at a library or bookstore you can check any doubtful passages against it. For many older books you can also check the scans at archive.org Here I am thinking of text which has been innocently altered or garbled due to the conversion process. The kinds of scenarios envisioned by the OP verge on paranoia and probably would do better with psychotherapy.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:13 PM   #40
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What do you mean when you say "the correct version" when you're talking about a translated book like "The Three Musketeers"?
The eBook should state exactly what paper edition it reproduces. It is correct if it matches that paper edition.

Last edited by tompe; 03-26-2014 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:27 PM   #41
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Without DRM it is a jungle and you have no way of tracing through whose hands the file has passed before reaching you. Files which have had DRM removed have by that very fact been handled by dishonest agents. Opening an epub in Sigil can give you some clues as to an audit trail, but not much detail on possible edits.
DRM is no indication, other than the incidental fact that most major publishers insist on it, and I would trust Penguin Classics over "Random Dude Selling a Book on Amazon". Anyone who sells a book on Amazon can put DRM on their book - it's irrelevant to this because the concern some have is that those individuals might change the contents.

There are also legitimate ebooks for sale at major retailers with NO DRM. It is by no means an indication of handling by "dishonest agents".

It is DRM that makes it possible for those individuals to swap out the version, provided you allow the update. (Speaking specifically to Amazon's practices here, where they notify you of an update, they don't automatically send it.) If I were to take the DRM off of my purchased books, I could stop an edited version from replacing it. I could even have them both and compare them.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:29 AM   #42
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This search for certainty in the written word is a longstanding issue - not something newly introduced with ebooks.

For example, look at the history of the Christian bible: no originals from the Hebrew bible - just translations of translations; transcription errors crept in through hand-copying over the centuries; disagreement over critical word choices in modern translations due to differing theological and political perspectives of the scholars; the 1&2 century had a different understanding of 'author' from today, so that works were attributed to Paul and others, though written after their deaths, etc.

Social media / 'global village' now allows readers to brush elbows with authors. JK Rowling says she made a mistake with Ron and Hermione - too much information! What are we supposed to do with revelations from authors, rewrite the books in our head?

I think the OP is correct that ebooks introduce another avenue for change creeping into the written word. It would be very easy for an author to slip in a word change here and there to address criticisms in reviews, when correcting 'typos' and misspellings. Figuring out what is 'canon' is important, but it's not new, and it there will always be some degree of uncertainty.

Last edited by Victoria; 03-27-2014 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:37 AM   #43
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I think the OP is correct that ebooks introduce another avenue for change creeping into the written word. It would be very easy for an author to slip in a word change here and there to address criticisms in reviews, when correcting 'typos' and misspellings. Figuring out what is 'canon' is important, but it's not new, and it there will always be some degree of uncertainty.
While I agree with this to a certain point, doesn't the vastness of the internet and the multitude of people, make it more likely that any significant changes would be spotted.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:45 AM   #44
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While I agree with this to a certain point, doesn't the vastness of the internet and the multitude of people, make it more likely that any significant changes would be spotted.
If it's a best-seller, maybe. If it's not a best-seller, it's significantly less likely. The internet doesn't mean that more people will read a given book, it just makes it easier for them to tell each other about it.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:03 AM   #45
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While I agree with this to a certain point, doesn't the vastness of the internet and the multitude of people, make it more likely that any significant changes would be spotted.
Yes absolutely, I agree it's far harder for changes to go unnoticed and reported.

But if someone is searching for certainty - the canon - in some situations it is substituting one problem for another. What if it's the author that makes the change from one version to the next? What weight should be given to that?

Another example is via movie and tv 'tie in' books that are popular now. I've started reading Star Trek books, and I feel a bit uncertain when the author goes in a different direction than the tv series, or kills off a main character - do I accept that?

Should I give it more weight to the books, if the author worked on the original tv series? Or should I just treat the earlier tv shows as the official canon?

I know Star Trek is trivial compared to Karl Marx - but what if someone dedicates their lives to his vision, and then Marx's diary is found, and his thinking evolved in a different direction? Or he wrote a revision, but was he killed and it was suppressed before he could publish it?

It's very important to try to nail down the canon, but there is often level of uncertainty.
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