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Topic: Why Don't All E-Books Include Descriptions? (e.g., back covers)

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Subject: Why Don't All E-Books Include Descriptions? (e.g., back covers)
Date Posted: 11/10/2013 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
Posts: 1,103
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I have an ever-enlarging library of e-books, now well over 500.  I find it so frustrating that many books - ESPECIALLY "box sets" - include no story synopsis within the digital book.  Why?  This just seems so odd to me. A back cover, or inside page, with a synoposis is routine for print books.  Why drop such an important feature just because it's digital? The box sets are the most annoying. With anywhere from 4-9 stories, why not provide a recap. 

Anyone else find this irritating?

Last Edited on: 11/10/13 6:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/10/2013 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Yeah, I think it's basically that the big publishers don't take ebooks seriously, and it's just one less thing they want to mess with. They also think people just buy then one at a time, so that there's little time between buying and reading. They don't think about, or probalby care, about big TBR stashes.

It's one of the reasons I like to use Calibre, because I can eaily put a syopsis in the Comments section of the file. IIRC, you don't have to break DRM to have the info in Calibre.

And when converting to epub I check "Insert metadata as page at start of book". Then anything in the metadata, including the comments, are put as the first page of the book. 

It's really, really handy for fanfic, where they don't even come with cover art to remind me what the story was about. That way when I open a Fanfic story I can read the synopsis and see if it's anything I'm in the mood for.


Date Posted: 11/10/2013 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
Posts: 1,103
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I'm a Calibre fan also. That does help, when I'm at home, connected to my network and in the mood to open it and look at my entire library.  But - for instance - when I have my tablet with me and I'm just browsing what's already loaded, it's a pain. Especially box sets.  I have one with 8 or 9 stories that make for easy reads. But I hate going in blind and I'm terrible about remembering titles so may have already read some.  If I'm connected to wireless I can cross-check on Amazon or something, but that takes extra effort.

It just seems like such an effortless piece to overlook. A short description of the story has to be prepared for whereever the book is listed for sale. If it was published in print, then there's the back cover or inside page.  It's not like they have stop and write something.  Oh well, thanks for the commiseration!

Date Posted: 11/10/2013 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 12,776
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Well, I have an idea....If the book is in Calibre, and the description is in the comments metadata, then using Calibre Companion, send the book to the tablet. When you tap on a book on your tablet that was loaded this way, the description is right there! Very easy to browse your books with CC.

To get the description in Calibre, click Edit metadata, then at the bottom of that screen, click "download metadata." Usually you will get good results, and you can edit the results (I always delete the reviews that are often tacked on there). If you don't get a good description, you can copy and paste from PBS or goodreads and save it.

You can do that with box sets, too, just look up each individual story or book, and paste them into the "comments" field, in the order you want, with titles, etc.

Date Posted: 11/10/2013 9:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,594
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Yes, I too use Calibre and always put a description in there.  I didn't at first but, as my ebook collection's grown, I took the time to go back and add descriptions to those that didn't have it.  Also covers.  Much happier since I did all that.

Date Posted: 11/11/2013 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 12,776
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I should mention that on Kobo readers (at least my Glo and my Mini) you can tap on view book details and they will appear, without having to open the book. Another thing I love about Kobo!

Date Posted: 11/12/2013 3:06 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,805
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cool, that's a nifty feature on Kobo.

me, i also find it incredibly frustrating most publishers don't include the back cover copy as part of the ebook, and add it in via Calibre if i'm converting a file myself.  [and on Kindle books from amazon i'll often use Kindle for PC to add the description in a comment near the beginning for reference if i start reading a book.]

Harlequin does add it most of the time, at least from what i've seen in the teen, LUNA, and Carina books.  Baen has started adding it to some of the newer books, and Sourcebooks includes the picture of the back cover (in the back) same as the front cover is in the front which is awesome.

Date Posted: 11/13/2013 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,506
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I miss the back page description, the inner flap bio, and all that other stuff.  I used to play with my paper books before reading them (reading through all these blurbs).