Sloppy formatting in ebooks: Liza Daly speaks out at Digital Book World

image Liza Daly, ThreePress Consulting, discussed problems often found with current ebook production.

Typical problems with current ebooks: plain text cover as opposed to photo; often have to step through blank pages, irrelevant copyright info, wrong ISBNs, table of contents with chapter numbers that are irrelevant content and readers hate this (if use samples then up to half of sample is often irrelevant pages), misspellings, bad line breaks (in some cases the pirated version is actually better than the professionally better one).

3 Comments on Sloppy formatting in ebooks: Liza Daly speaks out at Digital Book World

  1. That is definitely *my* prime pet peeve with publishers. And not just for ebooks.

    When a best-selling book features a character walking into a bar at night for a brief conversation and walking out in the afternoon (and its not a time-travel story!) it’s a disgrace. To say nothing of mis-spellings and (unintentional) bad grammar.
    Plenty of money for glass towers but not enough money for a proofing intern? Much less a professional editor…
    As for ebooks, what? don’t these multi-billionaire organizations use 1980’s-vintage (at least) document management systems? Clearly they have yet to integrate ebook-formatting into their workflow, but come on! There is no excuse for publishers sending out “commercial” ebooks that are clearly ocr’ed scans of the paperback edition.

    We’ve had PC’s and pre-press workstation technology for over a generation, now!

  2. This is why authors and publishers need professional editors and why professional editors, as opposed to your next-door neighbor, should be hired. Although not covered here at Teleread, that was the subject of my blog on Monday and Tuesday. Today I wrote about how poor editing caused the climate change debate to shift from climate change to report credibility. My posts can be read at http://www.americaneditor.wordpress.com.

  3. I just read Stephen King’s UNDER THE DOME on my Kindle. It’s a long book– over 1,000 pages in hardback– and most of the formatting was OK, but I did find at least 8 instances of words being hyphen-ated when they didn’t need to be– almost certainly a relict of using a PDF or other file that was created to generate the print pages to create the ebook. There was also at least one sentence with a word missing, which was probably also a problem in the print copy. For an ebook, this wasn’t nearly the worst I have seen; the worst problem is when the paragraphs don’t indent or when special characters like accent marks appear as gibberish.

    I work for a legal publisher. We worked these problems out a decade ago. Fiction publishers need to adjust their workflows to something like an XML repository that can use the same file to create the print and the electronic versions– edit once, correct once, output as many times as needed.

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