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Old 01-09-2010, 02:28 PM   #1
random50
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How are publishers getting their older titles into ebook form?

Is it an Amazon service, or done independently by each publisher?

I ask because I'm starting to get really fed up with the appalling quality. From the number and nature of the typos, it's clear there's an automated process at work with zero human intervention. For example, the last book I read had "R d" instead of "I'd" on numerous occasions, and stopped without warning about 20 pages from the end! This problem appears to be publisher independent.

Also, do they ever update versions? Can I hope to one day have properly proofread versions of these books?
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Old 01-09-2010, 02:46 PM   #2
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I believe they have lots to put online, they don't have enough staff, and they want to make available as much as they can, as soon as they can, so it starts paying for itself.

I only hope they'll go over all those titles again and fix the problems.

Or maybe they'll set up some kind of largely automated system with minimal editor intervention, where they'll allow users themselves to submit proofreading for books, and then an editor from the company will just look it over, press submit, and the book would be regenerated in fixed form on servers? That's what I would aim for, if I was involved in making such a system, and I know many people would freely submit such fixes and be happy when they appear in a book.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by random50 View Post
Is it an Amazon service, or done independently by each publisher?
As I understand the TOPAZ process, it is done by Amazon and it is designed to be "good enough" with much less manual intervention than a typical conversion that starts from a paper version (i.e. with a scan). I agree that TOPAZ usually isn't worth buying, except that the TOPAZ is usually the only legal ebook alternative. I don't think TOPAZ versions get improved due to reader complaints, although missing 20 pages might be a exception. All you can really do is return the ebook for a refund.

By the way, returns for conventional ebooks are very low. Munsey's is seeing about 1% returns, and these are apparently conventional conversions from paper scans to MOBI. I assume TOPAZ returns are much higher, but even if they were 25% (say) Amazon still makes money because returns have no cost except the lost sale.

A couple of TOPAZ ebooks I own are no longer for sale, and this is because there is now a AZW version. If I wanted the AZW I would need to buy the ebook again. The reason a publisher might produce there own version is that it isn't Kindle-only. However, given the Kindle's market strength I don't see this is likely to become common.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:14 PM   #4
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Thanks wallcraft.

I did ask Amazon about the process when I complained about the missing ending, but since the customer service rep didn't have a cut and paste answer for that part of the query, they simply ignored its existence! (This seems to be customary at Amazon)

I've been refunded and the title removed from sale. I was told it wouldn't be reposted unless it was corrected, but wasn't told *if* it ever would be. I hope so, since it's one of my favourite books.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by random50 View Post
Is it an Amazon service, or done independently by each publisher?

I ask because I'm starting to get really fed up with the appalling quality. From the number and nature of the typos, it's clear there's an automated process at work with zero human intervention. For example, the last book I read had "R d" instead of "I'd" on numerous occasions, and stopped without warning about 20 pages from the end! This problem appears to be publisher independent.

Also, do they ever update versions? Can I hope to one day have properly proofread versions of these books?
You've heard the joke about a roomful of chimps at typewriters, the complete works of Shakespeare and 'sufficient time'?

Well, most publishers aren't that efficient.

Derek
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