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Old 02-01-2010, 12:21 PM   #1
jgsmith
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eBook vs pBook

I'm relatively new to eBooks, but I'm noticing that they are not the same quality as printed books. I'm NOT referring to formatting, although there is huge room for improvement there as well. I am referring to spelling and grammar mistakes that I have not noticed in paper books. Words repeated...missing punctuation...spelling mistakes. I would have thought the "final" edited version of a book that is sent off to be printed would be the same version that is formatted for electronic delivery. It may not look as nice as we would like, but the content should be identical. Do I have this wrong? Have paper books come way down in quality as well or is a different version being used for eBooks? And if so, is there a reason? For the record, I am only referring to new eBook purchases, not scanned materials.

Jim
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:22 PM   #2
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I have also noticed this and I have no idea why it happens. and it happens with big name people. Take a look at Under the Dome...
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Old 02-01-2010, 01:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgsmith View Post
I'm relatively new to eBooks, but I'm noticing that they are not the same quality as printed books. I'm NOT referring to formatting, although there is huge room for improvement there as well. I am referring to spelling and grammar mistakes that I have not noticed in paper books. Words repeated...missing punctuation...spelling mistakes. I would have thought the "final" edited version of a book that is sent off to be printed would be the same version that is formatted for electronic delivery. It may not look as nice as we would like, but the content should be identical. Do I have this wrong? Have paper books come way down in quality as well or is a different version being used for eBooks? And if so, is there a reason? For the record, I am only referring to new eBook purchases, not scanned materials.

Jim
Yeah it's a bit of mystery, and suggests either really incompetent conversion methodology, underhanded internal practices such as using early drafts to avoid having to pay proofreaders and typesetters for their contributions, or some nefarious plan to pollute ebooks and dissuade consumers. OK, the third one was a little too far, but it's fun to imagine.
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Old 02-01-2010, 01:05 PM   #4
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Generally it happens because the e-book process is still not fully integrated into major publishing systems.

In most big publishers, e-books are either created from the original (computer-set) text, or scanned and OCR'd after the print run. But in either case, the digital text must be checked and proofed, just as the press material was proofed... and in most cases, it is not. Publishers are still putting more effort into proofing printed material than digital material, and in many cases, doing no digital proofing at all.

Most of them probably see the step as unimportant, since they see so little inherent value in e-books (or cannot yet figure out their profit from them) that they assume them to be little more than a loss-leader, and therefore choose to spend as little money and attention as possible on them.

When digital material is better-integrated into the publishers' standard procedures, we should expect better proofing of all material, on a par with printed material. For a lot of publishers, this will likely not happen until e-book business models are better-established, and they can begin to work out reasonable budgets and cost-effectiveness for their production needs.
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