Errors and Omissions Excepted – Or Accepted In Ebooks?

Errors and Omissions ExceptedEbook Errors and Typos

Having read many, many comments and reviews about errors in ebooks, and of course, many directed at self-published books, it is worthwhile noting that large and well-known publishers are not immune from publishing ebooks riddled with errors and omissions.

It is hardly surprising, as the number of traditionally published books that are being re-published in ebook formats from publisher’s back lists must amount to a staggering number.

There is also the rush to get titles available in ebook format to take advantage of trends in the market. Fifty shades of absolutely anything, of course, being a good example of the new market rush.

After having had my Kindle for years now, I have probably read about the same number of self-published titles as those from mainstream publishers and I have to say that I can’t recall a single book that was error, typo or omission-free.

Formatting errors, weird line breaks and font problems in particular in ebooks from large publishers lead me to think that manuscripts that were originally prepared for print were quickly converted for ebook distribution, without the painstaking and necessary process of cleaning formatting errors.

Typos, grammar errors and punctuation problems, while probably more prevalent in self-published titles, still occur all too frequently in mainstream titles by large publishers.

However, self-published titles suffer far more often from bad grammar usage and poor spelling, which is a sure sign of a lack of competent proofreading and editing.

One of the problems with ebooks is that there are firstly so many different formats, which upon conversion can create nasty formatting errors in one format but perhaps not in another.

Word processors are another source of errors. Style formats, auto text and spell checkers often working away automatically, happily riddling a manuscript with unnoticed errors.

Then, of course, there is the human eye, which we all know is often unreliable when it comes to processing large amounts of text.

As with any new technology, it will take time to find its way, but I am not sure ebooks will ever be perfect.

There are simply too many variables along the way from a word processor to an ebook reader that are extremely difficult to control and monitor. It’s also worth considering that the traditional publishing process of a book to print takes about one year.

I doubt that anything close to this amount of time is spent by traditional publishers in them preparing an ebook version.

So will we just have to accept that ebooks will always come with imperfections?

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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