Tag Archives: physical books

This is Not Your Book? Or is it?


Misspelling, formatting errors, grammar flaws – are self-publishers AND the big traditional publishing houses not editing anymore?

Joel Friedlander wrote a great blog about the the whole editing process.

Read what readers / customers say on the Kindle Forum about these issues:

Carol H. writes:
“I, too, have discovered numerous misspelled words, punctuation, hyphenation, special character errors, and missing text in many Kindle books. And I’m not talking the little self-published books, either — I’m talking professionally published books from the major book houses!  I have no idea why this is happening, but I’ve left feedback on some books’ pages about the errors. There’s no excuse for it in this electronic age. What I hope is that when these errors are fixed, if they ever are, will Amazon automatically download the revised version since our purchase is on record?”

jh writes:
“I’ve bought a couple of books that had particularly frequent and glaring errors, hinting at poor OCR* rather than human error. Things like “1″ turning up in the middle of a word instead of “l” or “I”, which a human wouldn’t accidentally type.  But yes, plenty of poorly proof-read copy in titles that aren’t by big-name authors. Though you do see that in physical books too, especially early editions. Misspellings, funky punctuation, even the old “there/their/they’re” issue…
*OCR = optical character recognition, in case anyone’s not sure what that meant. Basically a computer scanning the page of a physical book/manuscript, recognizing the letters as best it can, and digitizing it. I have downloaded several “free” books, unfortunately, they were not free of misspellings , missing words, and other errors. I just overlook them since they didn’t cost me anything. I haven’t had that problem with the books I’ve paid for. Guess the old saying is true, ” You get what you pay for”!”

Santo de Vaca writes:
“@Carol Hannon: I bought a book with some really terrible formatting issues. In the physical book the first letter of each chapter was elaborately drawn and this didn’t transfer well to the electronic version. They fixed it a few weeks after publication and I had the option of downloading a fixed version of the book, which I did. I’m not sure if this is the norm or not for corrections.”

Granny Daisy says:
“As an avid reader, I often find errors in print and kindle books. Even in established authors you find misspelled or miss used words, or incomplete sentences. I am beginning to think publishers are saving money by not paying proof readers.”

J. Robertson writes:
“I have found spelling and grammar errors in many paper books as well. So I think its all about the proof reading being done.”

Publish your book the professional way. Well, if you want to be recognized as an author and if you want to publish a professional book, worth the years you worked on it and to be proud of – let it edit. And no, you can’t do this yourself!


Hyper Smash



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Why e-Books often Look so Ugly

Many e-books I downloaded are riddled with typographical and formatting errors, the result of the process that translates the files publishers use to print physical books. Another reason is that authors are trying to DIY their e-book formatting instead of using a professional formatting company – who charge often only between a hundred or two-hundred dollars for a fiction book.

The problems range from strange gaps in the middle of a sentence to hyphens that are inserted in inappropriate places and the odd period is missing, not to mention all the typs that are a result of not using a professional editing service. E-books today are where the web was in its early years.  These mistakes, both distract and detract from the reading experience, and readers get the impression that no one is paying attention to the quality of e-books. Try a Google search for “Kindle typos”, it will yield more than a million hits.

Part of the problem is that some formats do not have a way to ensure that blocks of computer code remains intact and properly formatted.The better ePub format is based on the XML and CSS standards and is used in millions of web pages and allows for far more control over layouts than is currently possible with the .mobi file format.

The best course, if you want a nicely formatted Kindle book that provides a pleasant reading experience, is to create an HTML file with CSS and then carefully manipulate that code to get the display you want. Or hire an e-book formatter or conversion company.

Hopefully, as e-book readers get more popular, they will become more sophisticated, bringing in e-book designers that understand a changing world of digital publishing and creating beautiful books with layout design and fonts that are so important in publishing as we know it from paper books. Your readers may very well notice the difference.


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