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Old 12-14-2007, 08:09 AM   #1
bob315
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Where do ebooks come from?

In reading a Kindle ebook purchased from Amazon, I'm noticing a few typos, including some that look like the kind created when scanning a paper book and doing a less than perfect proof job. Are all ebooks scanned? I would have guessed that legal copies of modern books would involve a digital transfer direct from the publisher. What am I overlooking?
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:45 AM   #2
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Most publishers have to scan their books: they simply don't have them in an electronic format.
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:05 AM   #3
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I just assumed they had entered the digital age. I'm slightly amazed.
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:33 AM   #4
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Surely the point is why not get a typist to just retype it? scanning and then checking cant be much quicker and involves infiniteley more expensive equipment.

EDIT
or for most books ask the author for his digital copy.. They must have a back up of their own work!!!
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:43 AM   #5
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or for most books ask the author for his digital copy.. They must have a back up of their own work!!!
Most likely, they do. But it would be the pre-edited version they originally submitted, and the whole process would have to start over. The publishers just need to start extracting and archiving the text from the final pre-press files.
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Old 12-14-2007, 12:10 PM   #6
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I just assumed they had entered the digital age. I'm slightly amazed.
It is digital but the fixing process is broken. All input needs to be edited before it is published and the editing is an independent effort based on what needs to be fixed. It is like software where the programmers never used a common checkin or built from a single source. What the publishers end up with is an assortment of all the fixes that are then spliced together to make the final book. The have digital copies but probably many of them from different machines and they are never merged back together.

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Old 12-14-2007, 12:26 PM   #7
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It is digital but the fixing process is broken. All input needs to be edited before it is published and the editing is an independent effort based on what needs to be fixed. It is like software where the programmers never used a common checkin or built from a single source. What the publishers end up with is an assortment of all the fixes that are then spliced together to make the final book. The have digital copies but probably many of them from different machines and they are never merged back together.

Dale
C'mon Dale,

Everyone here at MobileRead is an adult! We can *handle* the truth! It's a well-researched - but highly-guarded - secret that ebooks are the result of inter-format mating between hardcovers and paperbacks! Yes, late at night, when the guards roaming the fulfillment and distribution stacks have become tired and distracted, the HCs and MMPBs sneak out of their bins/cells to have wild orgies of ebook procreation! (How else does one rationally explain the formation of the Wheel of Time series??? )

Derek
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Old 12-14-2007, 12:28 PM   #8
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It's a well-researched - but highly-guarded - secret that ebooks are the result of inter-format mating between hardcovers and paperbacks!
You mean it's not the e-stork after all?
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:57 PM   #9
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:14 PM   #10
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But since the book is in electronic form when it goes to press, why not use that version to actually make the book?
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:16 PM   #11
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Apparently, it often gets lost once films/plates are made (those can be reused for reprints). And even if it's not lost it's most likely a PDF or Quark or PostScript file which are not exactly text extraction friendly.
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Old 12-14-2007, 08:26 PM   #12
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Apparently, it often gets lost once films/plates are made (those can be reused for reprints). And even if it's not lost it's most likely a PDF or Quark or PostScript file which are not exactly text extraction friendly.

That's... bizarre. It's so much cheaper to keep around a complete digital version of something than a hardcopy version. Not to mention easier and safer.

No wonder most publishers aren't into ebooks, though, if they can't even deal with digitization internally.

DaleDe mentioned source control - that seems like it would actually be a really interesting system for ebook publishers. As long as you kept your book in a text-based markup system, not binary-based, you could actually use something like Perforce or SourceSafe, do merges, revision tracking, rollbacks, tell who modified what file when... Genius!
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:26 PM   #13
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That's... bizarre. It's so much cheaper to keep around a complete digital version of something than a hardcopy version. Not to mention easier and safer.
Is it really easier? A physical object you probably only have one of and you can store it in a specific place. With the digital copy you have the problem of how to know which copy is the latest. And you have the problem of transfering the knowledge about how things are stored to new people. And problem when people quit their jobs. Storing a paper copy can be much easier than storing an electronic version.
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Old 12-15-2007, 12:38 AM   #14
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That's... bizarre. It's so much cheaper to keep around a complete digital version of something than a hardcopy version. Not to mention easier and safer.

No wonder most publishers aren't into ebooks, though, if they can't even deal with digitization internally.

DaleDe mentioned source control - that seems like it would actually be a really interesting system for ebook publishers. As long as you kept your book in a text-based markup system, not binary-based, you could actually use something like Perforce or SourceSafe, do merges, revision tracking, rollbacks, tell who modified what file when... Genius!
Actually in industry we do keep manuals under source control However I do not believe any publishers do this or even know how or why they would want to.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:19 AM   #15
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That's... bizarre. It's so much cheaper to keep around a complete digital version of something than a hardcopy version.
It's mostly inertia, I expect: think about how they used to do it (and did for many long decades) before computers entered the scene. They'd have it typeset, then printed, and because they needed the typesetting letters for the next project, they'd disassemble the typesetting. If they needed another edition, they'd re-typeset it.

I think that as a collective, the pubs are just used to tossing the print source once they make the final product.

As for storing the digital file, that doesn't have to be difficult, there are a fair number of version control schemes for such files that are already in existence that would work just fine -- if anyone in the industry got off the merry-go-round long enough to investigate it.
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