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Old 07-06-2009, 02:15 AM   #1
texasnightowl
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How can publishers really suck so bad in formatting?

Brand new book. HarperCollins. Mobi format from Fictionwise. Pretty popular author (at least in the romance side of things).

The first line of every single chapter is this way. (See pic below)

"O
livia"

"W
here"

This lazy $#!^ drives me nuts.

I've sent a note through the webpage to Fictionwise. What are the odds anything will get done about it?

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Old 07-06-2009, 03:43 AM   #2
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Classic example. It almost certainly started out in some other format with "drop-caps". Mobi doesn't support the method they're using to do it, so the drop-cap ends up on its own line.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:35 AM   #3
Terisa de morgan
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I totally agree. I hate it. Sorry, it costs the same than a paper book, at least you should do it well.

Ciao

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Old 07-06-2009, 04:52 AM   #4
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That really sucks.

It shows that no-one at Harper Collins ever opened the Mobipocket file, let alone actually proof-read the whole file. They just dumped their source format in Mobipocket Creator and assumed it would be OK.
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Old 07-06-2009, 05:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
That really sucks.

It shows that no-one at Harper Collins ever opened the Mobipocket file, let alone actually proof-read the whole file. They just dumped their source format in Mobipocket Creator and assumed it would be OK.
I emailed HarperCollins about the multiple errors in 'The Hobbit' and at least got a reply.

Could I suggest that you email HarperCollins?

Also, I emailed Fictionwise about another ebook with multiple typos, and (if I remember correctly) got a credit for the price of the book.

Regards, Alex
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:29 AM   #6
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And did HarperCollins ever respond that they've fixed the errors in The Hobbit yet?
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:17 AM   #7
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I've got another annoying formatting problem in the recently released Kingdom by Tom Martin published by Pan that I bought from WH Smiths.
It seems that during the creation of the epub version they didn't use a unicode font but a standard ascii font so whenever an international character is printed such as in resumè or façade it prints two standard characters such as resum@© which is very annoying.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:23 AM   #8
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That's not a font problem but an encoding problem. They probably used utf8, but failed to properly set the encoding in the headers, so the readers intrepret is as ascii and display what you see.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:09 AM   #9
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I think people should just return books with these kind of problems and ask them to send an email when they release books with better quality.

Last edited by tompe; 07-06-2009 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tompe View Post
I think people should just return books with these kind of problems and ask them to send and email when they release books with better quality.
Absolutely agreed. From the sounds of things, a lot of the online ebooksellers will refund your money if you aren't satisfied with things (one of the nice things about being such a niche market). Let them know very clearly that the reason you are returning the book is due to the poor formatting from the publisher. Individually, we don't have enough clout to get publishers to change their behavior. But the booksellers do, and if they start notifying the publishers of high return rates due to poor formatting, then maybe (just maybe) the publishers will pay a little more attention to what they're doing.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:30 AM   #11
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Thanks folks. I've emailed Fictionwise and HarperCollins. I downloaded the Kindle sample which has the same problem. I also posted a note on the author's message board.
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:51 PM   #12
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Don't count on Harper Collins cleaning it up any time soon. I've been waiting for about 3 months now for Harper Collins to fix the footnotes on Grossman's translation of Don Quixiote, because all the footnote links for the all chapters link to the footnotes for the preface. Fictionwise has offered to refund my purchase, but I'd really like Harper Collins to fix it.
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Old 07-06-2009, 04:43 PM   #13
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Well, my response from the "HarperCollins eBook Support team" is as follows:

***************************
Hello,

We are sorry for the trouble that you have encountered. Please contact
Fictionwise Support for assistance on this issue. Please let us know if
we can provide further assistance or information. Thank you.

Sincerely,
The HarperCollins eBook Support Team
******************************************

I mean seriously? You can provide further assistance by coding your books right!
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tech_au View Post
I've got another annoying formatting problem in the recently released Kingdom by Tom Martin published by Pan that I bought from WH Smiths.
It seems that during the creation of the epub version they didn't use a unicode font but a standard ascii font so whenever an international character is printed such as in resumè or façade it prints two standard characters such as resum@© which is very annoying.
I had the same problem with a Pan Macmillan book bought from Waterstones, and I got an updated version in about 5 hours by contacting the publisher.

Never got a satisfactory response from Waterstones, who told me to update Adobe Digital Editions.

Macmillan's response was great, so with any ebook formatting problems I would definitely suggest contacting the publisher. The other place to try to contact is the author or their agent, as if they are aware of issues that may affect sale they may be able to raise the issue with the publisher.

I should add that according to Macmillan they didn't have any problems with the file, and it seemed that the problems arose at the "formatting for sale" point. The version direct from the publisher didn't seem to have drm on it.

Last edited by ruth1304; 07-06-2009 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:27 AM   #15
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And did HarperCollins ever respond that they've fixed the errors in The Hobbit yet?
I'm pretty sure Bilbo still doesn't skewer Smeagol.
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