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Old 05-09-2009, 02:15 PM   #1
GJN
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Suggestion for Better-Edited Kindle eBooks

Like other Kindle users I've often been irritated by small and occasionally large editing problems in ebooks I've purchased from Amazon.

I suggest that Amazon provide a feedback capability so readers can report formatting or spelling errors for Kindle ebooks. These could then be passed on to the publisher for correction. The error reporting capability could be integrated into the Kindle software and sent back via Whispernet; this way the book ID and the error location could be automatically determined.

In return the publishers (or Amazon) could credit the user with points that could eventually be applied to other ebook purchases.

While the system may sound cumbersome, it really isn't and could be readily automated. And the payoff would be in better formatted and better edited ebooks for all of us.
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:19 PM   #2
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Are these errors in the Kindle editions only or are they throughout all editions?
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:32 PM   #3
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I report typos to Kindle Support and/or the publisher all the time. Highlight the phrase or paragraph, delete the highlight, and you have a handy copy in "My Clippings" for emailing to people. I even have a program to strip out unnecessary bits of the "My Clippings" framework text (like the date, etc.).

I also email Fictionwise the same way.
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:14 PM   #4
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Are these errors in the Kindle editions only or are they throughout all editions?
I don't know, Jon. I suspect they're in all editions. Most are pretty minor. Some are clearly OCR errors (e.g. tram instead of train), one at least (I know for certain) is carried over from the hardcopy), others probably are too (spelling errors such as principal for principle), and another has HTML or something similar displayed in the text. Quite a few ebooks have bad line spacing; this has already been discussed elsewhere in the forums.

Nothing I've encountered is bad enough to spoil the reading experience or even consider returning it to Amazon. Still, it would be nice to clean up even minor problems when possible. I've encountered Web databases where with cooperative efforts data are collected and corrected. And given Whispernet for the Kindle (and I expect similar features soon on other readers) it'd be nice to make the process as automatic as possible.
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by susan_cassidy View Post
I report typos to Kindle Support and/or the publisher all the time. Highlight the phrase or paragraph, delete the highlight, and you have a handy copy in "My Clippings" for emailing to people. I even have a program to strip out unnecessary bits of the "My Clippings" framework text (like the date, etc.).

I also email Fictionwise the same way.
Good way to do it; I'll have to try it. Have you gotten any feedback or any indication that corrections were made?
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:08 PM   #6
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I've gotten emails back from Amazon saying they will give the information to publishers to fix. About all that could be expected, at this point. I do wish they'd have version numbers, so that we could tell if they do update a book.

A couple of books that had errors, I reported to the author, and he fixed them, and when I re-downloaded the books, the errors were corrected.
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:00 PM   #7
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Hello to all---
Both my lady and myself do editing work for a book publisher, and I also do research and development editing. Thus can speak to editing of manuscripts from a professional standpoint.

When we edit manuscripts jointly we will each perform at least two complete edit passes. Even after doing so, we will occasionally miss errors of one type or another.
Editing is also, at times, complicated by the author being unwilling to change a manuscript, even though they are incorrect in usage or structure in their work. The fact that some here have reported and seen changes by authors is indeed encouraging for me.

Errors pointed out to a publisher does not insure a correction will be forth coming. The author may not approve the change, and prevent change.

As to formatting manuscripts via computer - although am a computer analyst/programmer do not know what parsing methodology may be in use nor if the
methods used by various conversion programs are identical and uniform coding. This technology is relatively young so let us be patient. Is it not good to carry a library in your hand and excuse shortcomings of the present? For this one, it is.
Peace and be well....poppa
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:12 PM   #8
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I have noticed that there is clearly a difference between the quality of the editing of ebooks vs print books. I read a lot, about 2 books every 3 days, and the difference is obvious. I am basing this on a few ebooks purchased from Amazon, several free ebooks from Amazon, around three hundred ebooks from Baen Publishing, several free ebooks from various authors, and a hefty selection of free ebooks from here and other free sites. These are compared to the hundreds of thousands of print books I've read.

Most errors are things like "my" printed as "me" or "it is" printed as "itis". Some errors are much worse such as the 50 plus books combined in the E. R. Burrough's mega bundle ebook where some characters are replaced with symbols throughout at least one book.

With most of the ebooks I do not find this to be any more than a minor problem but if I start spending money equal to what I'd be paying for the paperback or hard cover I will be highly irritated.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:13 AM   #9
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One minor problem that's irritating is the frequent use of hard hyphens when soft hyphens are called for. (Yes, I know that a preposition shouldn't be used to end a sentence with). It seems that such hard hyphens could easily be converted to soft ones with a simple find and replace command. Why won't the publisher bother to do this?
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:22 AM   #10
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I only get irritated if the text is mangled, unreadable text (topaz), or the book includes charts and such and the publishers couldn't bother to turn them into something that would be readable on the Kindle (this is particularly odious when it's something that COULD be fixed easily, or when half the chart is fixed, and the other half is an image.)
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:37 AM   #11
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The most egregious errors are easily found with spell check. Those are the ones the I find intolerable. Some of the hyphenation problems are caused by improperly converting PDFs. Other problems are caused by OCR. I do a lot of PDF conversions for my personal use and find it takes too much time.
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GJN View Post
One minor problem that's irritating is the frequent use of hard hyphens when soft hyphens are called for. (Yes, I know that a preposition shouldn't be used to end a sentence with). It seems that such hard hyphens could easily be converted to soft ones with a simple find and replace command. Why won't the publisher bother to do this?
First, the original typesetter of the book may have improperly used hard hyphens to break words at the end of a line.

Second, even if the source file is properly constructed, most extraction programs don't distinguish between regular hyphens and discretionary hyphens. So you usually can't do a simple search-and-replace.

Third, it's unclear if most eBook reading systems would treat discretionary hyphens properly. I should do some tests...

Dave
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TallMomof2 View Post
The most egregious errors are easily found with spell check. Those are the ones the I find intolerable. Some of the hyphenation problems are caused by improperly converting PDFs. Other problems are caused by OCR. I do a lot of PDF conversions for my personal use and find it takes too much time.
In my explorations of creating my own ebooks I've found one easy trap. It seems as though if you are using MS Word and its spell checker and it is set for ENGLISH (American) it will make an unholy mess of ENGLISH (the rest of the English speaking world (including Canada)). I am still scratching my head trying to figure out how to switch back and fourth easily.
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