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Old 07-06-2011, 06:46 AM   #1
G J Lau
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Revisions to Existing E-Books

I have published a couple of non-fiction e-books, and I would like to make some minor to moderate revisions to them, polishing existing text and adding more material.

At what point would it be okay to label it as a Second Edition? How will that make prior purchaser's feel if they see that? Should I even worry about it?

How do people feel in general about revising existing e-books? I have republished to correct typos, but this is the first time I will actually be modifying the content in a significant way.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:07 AM   #2
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Yeah I think it would be ok to call it a second edition, however you need to be able to explain why you did not get it right in the first edition. This action presents an image problem so you need to weigh which is more damaging having copies of your work in circulation with errors in them or correcting them and being precieved as having inadequate editing. If you decide to go with the later then the simplest thing to do is to claim on your web site and/or public that you have made changes to your editing process to ensure that this sort of thing does not happen again. You will most likely need to describe the changes that you have made to the editing process such as hiering an editior. In politics we call this damage control and most every industry out there needs to lean to do this. For the future I would seek out other book authors and learn how they acomplish damage control and how they have structured their editing process.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:14 AM   #3
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As a customer, it would make me feel very angry if it was presented as a 'second edition' because that would mean I would have to pay again in order to have the corrected version. I would not care, from an 'image' standpoint, about the author making changes and I could redownload the book. But if the author did so in a way that I was suck with an inferior version and had to pay twice in order to get something up to date and error-free? Unforgivable, and unacceptable.

Think of it like an app store purchase for an iPhone or Android app. Minor cosmetic changes, error fixes, upgrades and improvements? These are made all the time, and customers simply re-download the app. Major changes so that it's pretty much a whole different app than it was when you started? That's when you can get away with calling it 'Version 2' and selling it as something different. But I guarantee you, if you released an app with bugs or errors, and charged people again to download the corrected version, they would ream you in the reviews and imho be justified.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:35 AM   #4
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Unless you're adding a lot of new content I wouldn't label it at all I would just do it quietly. Unless you were doing it to address problems mentioned in the reviews, then it might be worth an extra line in the description.

If there is a lot of new content you should also make that extra content available either free or at a vastly reduced cost to people who bought the original. Doing anything else is just asking for trouble.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:00 AM   #5
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I've been reading electronically for a decade now. I read a lot of first-time authors from presses that no longer exist. When I find those authors again and decide to buy their latest I often find it is one of their old stories with a new name and a new chapter stuck on the back and feel ripped off. I'm finding this happening to me a lot lately and don't like feeling like I paid to be the test subject of their writing class.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
As a customer, it would make me feel very angry if it was presented as a 'second edition' because that would mean I would have to pay again in order to have the corrected version. I would not care, from an 'image' standpoint, about the author making changes and I could redownload the book. But if the author did so in a way that I was suck with an inferior version and had to pay twice in order to get something up to date and error-free? Unforgivable, and unacceptable.
Not a problem with Smashwords. Once purchased, a reader is entitled to any and all future updates for free.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ASparrow View Post
Not a problem with Smashwords. Once purchased, a reader is entitled to any and all future updates for free.
It could be a major problem with Smashwords. If I've bothered to go to all the trouble of fixing up the code in the ePub and the author then comes out with a new version, that means that in order to get the new version to look like I want, I have to go through the hassle of cleaning up the crud that Smashwords generates from Word. That is totally unacceptable.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:06 AM   #8
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I agree with the others. I wouldn't label it as Second Edition unless you've made substantive changes.

If you're uploading through Kindle Direct, be aware that Amazon won't automatically make the new version available to customers who purchased the previous version. Even if they return the book and repurchase it, they'll still end up with the version they originally bought. (Weird? Yes.) They can get the updated version if they contact Amazon customer support, though.
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Old 07-06-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
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Interesting. Very glad I asked. The changes I am contemplating are 99 percent content related. (I've worked pretty hard to catch the typos in all my e-books, although I realize that perfection remains elusive. My first outing taught me a valuable lesson in that regard.) One option might be to add a new introduction or preface which would be included as part of any sample. Lots of food for thought.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:07 PM   #10
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I have published typo type corrections via Smashwords so that everyone could get them free, but I did not advertise it. However, I even if I thought there were some content things I would like to go back and change... I wont. Typos, are one thing, content is another. It is what it is at this point. IMO
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