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Topic: Poor Ebook Formatting

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Subject: Poor Ebook Formatting
Date Posted: 2/23/2011 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
Posts: 2,553
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Since getting my eReader I've noticed a lot of the ebooks I get off Fictionwise and some other epublishers have format issues. Sometimes question marks are stuck in where dashes should be, for example, and will be throughout the entire book. Or weird paragraph spacing, or line breaks in strange places. Has anyone else noticed this? I use epub files mainly and I curious if it's an epub thing or if kindle users get this too. And I also wonder if I should let the publisher know their file is messed up. I know that even print published books have their share of typos and stuff, but that's not really what I'm talking about since these things (the weird puncuation, etc...) occur consistantly throughout the entire ebook. 

Date Posted: 2/23/2011 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I don't think it hurts to let the publisher know. One publisher sent me a cleaned up version of their book, saying the ebook store converted it and posted it without checking the conversion. They were very sorry and attached a clean copy to my email.

Sometimes it happens when the publisher/author takes a printed copy, scans it and runs OCR on it. (Optical Character Recognition). I think some publishers have gone the cheap route and have their older books scanned but then don't pay people to proof the file. Typos and artifacts (leftovers) of scanning get left in.

Other times it's because they've converted the file from one format to another, and some formats are harder to convert without mistakes than others. PDF files can have a lot of problems. So if the publisher had one electronic file, they've once again gone the cheap route and converted it without then paying anyone to check it for mistakes. I think they just post it ASAP.

And some authors new to ebooks don't realize they need to recheck each conversion, so you'll see this on indie books as well.

Weird things happen, and I believe it comes down to doing conversions too quickly and on the cheap. They should always have *someone* read a book and check a conversion before posting. Hopefully, they get enough complaints, someone down the line will learn it's better for your reputation to check the file than to post it blind. Better to do it right the first time.

Date Posted: 2/24/2011 1:40 AM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2007
Posts: 7,751
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IF your getting them thru Amazon REPORT it!  They will correct the book & email you when the new copy it avalible! 

Date Posted: 3/2/2011 12:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,313
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Sarah, I've used ePub and PDF for numerous books without a problem.  Definitely notify the publisher!  Maybe you could offer to become a proof-reader and get free books!  lol