Why does Amazon still use Topaz file format?
April 30, 2014 | 2:25 pm
By Joanna Cabot
Why does Amazon still sell books in the Topaz file format? I have, in my several years occasional patronage with Amazon, encountered a few Topaz books. And they were all terrible: the font cannot be adjusted, there are typos and PCR artifacts aplenty, and the format does not seem to offer any advantage over Mobi or AZ3. I would have thought they’d have phased this out by now and converted everything into the usual Amazon file type.
Last night, I forgot my ‘always check the sample first’ rule and downloaded a $1.99 deal from the Kindle big sale page. As soon as I saw the typeface—-which was not my selected one—I had that sinking feeling. The book had all the usual Topaz glitchiness—random spaces in the middle of words, extraneous punctuation such as random dashes and quotation marks, spelling and capitalization errors and so on. I got three pages in, bookmarked 17 errors and then gave up on the book altogether.
I have heard horror stories about people being locked out of their Amazon accounts for requesting too many refunds, so I hesitated to ask for one in this case. But the errors were so obvious and I feel I can back up my request for a refund if questioned. And, lesson learned—check the sample first next time. But at the same time, I have to wonder: why does Amazon still do this to me? There does not seem to be any benefit to the Topaz format, only flaws. So why are they still selling this trash? Why are they allowing publishers to take money for books which in my experience have been universally unreadable? I think Amazon should force all publishers to sell in the standard Amazon format. If that means they have to convert them and do the extra work of correcting the OCR errors first, so be it. Don’t we deserve to be assured that are money is going only toward books we can read?