Bad Formatting = Bad Book Reviews

02 Sep

Readers are losing patience with e-books that are

  • full of typos
  • lost “Italics” 
  • use redundant words
  • have no paragraph breaks or indents
  • page numbers that end up in the middle of the page (note: e-books are page-less)
  • page numbers are all over the site on content pages (that should be linked to the chapters) … and the list goes on and on. 
Sony E-Book Library

Sony E-Book Library

These sloppily formatted e-books compromise the reading experience and customers will give them a bad review. Authors may be finding out about it too late themselves – the hard way. Failure to deliver a quality e-book format is adversely affecting reviews. If you are selling me a sub standard product you won’t get a 5 star rating from me, no matter how exceptional the story is!

Many publishers, even those claiming they are specialists in the self-publishing world, just upload the PDF file, which they previously used to have the book printed.  The problem is not just limited to little-known authors. Many of the e-books released today that were written by author super stars suffer these same indignities. Unless the user is reading with a PDF reader, PDF files do NOT make good e-book files.  Reading a PDF on a screen is usually annoying – unless formatted for that purpose. You can’t fit the traditional page at the traditional font size on a computer screen and expect it to be easily readable.

How to prevent these potential disasters?
Your book needs to be properly formatted and available in as many media types, to have it read by the broadest audience. One of the first steps in self-publishing is getting your manuscript ready for upload to the publishing channels that you have selected – hopefully all of them, if you want your e-book to be a real success.

For maximum exposure, it needs to be available in perfect form in all of the e-book platforms, including the Kindle, the Nook, the Sony e-book reader and the iPad. Sounds easy? After all, it’s just text and the upload must be simple. Sorry, there are no standards and there are no common word processing file types.  Instead there is ePub, Sony Reader LRF, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kindle .mobi, Apple iPad…

Spend the $200 or so and get it properly formatted for a variety of e-Readers. Just google for “e-book formatting”, “e-book developers”, “e-book designer” or “e-book conversions”.  But BEFORE let it proof-read and edit by a professional. Do everything to present your customers a great e-book reading experience and they will write 5-star reviews.


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