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Posts tagged typos

The 5 Steps of Intelligent Proofreading
December 21, 2012 | 10:07 pm

Over the years I’ve scanned and OCR’ed many printed books into electronic form for Gutenberg Australia—most of the Edgar Wallace collection there is my work, for instance—and during that time it’s become clear that not all typos are equal. After awhile, in fact, it became possible for me to divide typos into categories, as follows: Category 1: Typos due to English orthography Some letter sequences in English serif text happen to resemble others. The sequence ‘of her’, for instance, looks very much like ‘other’, and ‘thing’ looks very much like ‘tiling’. Every second or third book I scanned had these mistakes in it...

Breaking News: E-Books Rife with Typos … Film at Eleven
October 31, 2012 | 2:00 pm

On The Verge, new e-book reader Laura June comes to the same realization as quite a few of her forebears (including me) over the last few years: in emphasized orange all-capital header-sized letters: “e-books are apparently lousy with typos.” She brings up the example of Umberto Eco’s Foucalt’s Pendulum, a still-in-print book by a living author translated from Italian at great trouble and expense, which features a number of c-for-e OCR errors: I’ve found other typos in other books too, but statistics on this are hard to come by, and since I’ve only been using an e-reader for a few weeks,...

Traditional publishers should learn from self-publishers
February 10, 2012 | 11:49 pm

Does self-publishing represent a threat to traditional publishers, or perhaps an opportunity? A number of people in the publishing industry seem dismissive of self-publishing writers or their numbers. But Philip Jones of FutureBook thinks that this is a mistake. He notes that readers who buy cheap self-published books will be spending time reading them that they might otherwise have spent reading more expensive works from traditional publishers. What strikes me most about indie writers, however, is not what they write, but how they publish it. Konrath may be a 'downmarket' writer for some, but he is...

Apple issues corrected version of Steve Jobs biography iBook
October 26, 2011 | 12:15 pm

jobs_biographyI’m not sure whether you can really call this “ironic”, as misused as that word often is, but it’s certainly amusing. Apple has notified some purchasers of the Steve Jobs biography e-book on iBooks that they should delete the current version and download a new version at no charge, Macworld UK reports. Apple confirmed to Macworld that the emails were genuine and the instructions were to fix formatting problems suffered by a small number of customers who had downloaded the iBook. No changes have been made to the content. Of course, this sort of...

Corrected version of Pratchett’s “Snuff” issued by Amazon
October 18, 2011 | 5:58 pm

61Hni+fRMZL SL500 AA278 PIkin4BottomRight 4722 AA300 SH20 OU01 We had previously reported about HarperCollins shameful release of this ebook, which they clearly had not bothered to proofread.  This afternoon I received the following email from Amazon about its replacement.  I don't know if other formats have been replaced as well. Hello, We are happy to announce that an updated version of your past Kindle purchase of Snuff by Terry Pratchett is now available. The version you received had typos that have been corrected. You can receive the new version by replying to this email with the word "Yes" in the first line of your...

Amazon retroactively replaces Reamde, repelled readers revolt
September 30, 2011 | 1:29 pm

reamdeAmazon remade its Kindle edition of Neal Stephenson’s new novel Reamde, and is now getting reamed by disgruntled readers, GalleyCat and CNet report. The e-book had been pulled from the Kindle store on Tuesday, and today customers who had bought it received a cryptic (and ungrammatical) email from Amazon advising them that “the version you received had Missing Content that have (sic) been corrected.” The manner in which this correction was applied has upset customers such as Cynthia Ewer, who was 400 pages into the over-1,000-page novel, or cdale77 who was 500 pages in. They were not upset at...

Embarrassing e-book typo proves ‘shift’ happens
September 13, 2011 | 5:15 am

im-yours_276I had thought that I wouldn’t find an e-book typo more hilarious than “the next Jew chapters” or “arroz con polio” from the Young Wizards series. But The Guardian Books blog has found what may very well be one of the greatest typos of all time, in Susan Andersen’s novel Baby, I’m Yours. The passage in question in the e-book was supposed to read, “He stiffened for a moment but then she felt his muscles loosen as he shifted on the ground.” [emphasis mine] However, the accidental change of a “f” to a “t” (presumably in the OCR process;...

Typos endemic to the e-book publishing process
August 23, 2011 | 12:15 pm

Publishing Perspectives has a brief piece on the error-ridden nature of many e-books, especially those of older pre-digital-publication titles. It explains why and how these errors manage to creep in—the different number of digital formats that all need to be corrected, and the age of the source material are often prime factors—as is the rush to get pre-digital works into electronic print as soon as possible so as to sell more copies. I found amusing this passage, from a spokesman for a publishing company that produced a book so riddled with errors the author of the article got a...

The changing face of editing
August 1, 2011 | 10:56 am

At one time in my career as an editor my function was crystal clear: everyone understood and agreed on the role a copyeditor played in the publishing business. But as the years have passed and the traditional publishing industry has consolidated into six megacorporations whose decisions are made based on bean counting, what was once clearcut has become fogged. (For an overview of the various editorial roles, see Editor, Editor, Everywhere an Editor.) This was brought to mind the other day when I was contacted by a client to copyedit a new medical book. The client's inquiry included these points: has recommended...

E-books: Quantity over quality?
July 31, 2011 | 10:15 pm

On The Next Great Generation, Julia Dawidowicz discusses her experience with e-book reading. She starts with her relationship with paper books, both as reading material and as physical artifacts. (It seems quite a few people can’t seem to divorce the word from the material it’s written on, and those tend to be the ones with the hardest time adopting to e-books.) But to be fair, Dawidowicz did decide to give e-books a chance—but when she did, she ran into the same problem about which both Joanna and I have ranted at length: the tyranny of the typo. ...

Ebook error problem: just how bad is it?
July 28, 2011 | 11:06 am

I posted earlier about some problems I have been having recently with error-filled ebooks---I am not talking about major editing-process errors, rather, I am talking about typos and formatting glitches resulting from unproofed conversions. People used to complain about these at times before ebooks 'hit it big,' but now that we e-reading customers are a more mainstream group, the complaints are getting increasingly vociferous and this has been the first year where I have really noticed a widespread problem myself. But just how widespread is this problem? Is my feeling that these days, I am becoming more of a copy-editor...

Why ebooks are riddled with typos
July 18, 2011 | 10:01 am

The short (somewhat obvious) answer, aside from errors introduced by OCR: because publishers cut corners by laying off proofreaders and copy editors, then rush the manuscripts out too quickly for their skeleton crews to catch gaffes. At least that's what one editor confessed to Virginia Heffernan at the New York Times. Another editor, however, says in the era of word processors authors have gotten lazier and stupider: "It is amazing how little review seems to have occurred before the text is sent to the editor. Seriously, you have no idea how sloppy some of these things are." Still, if you've...

Diane Duane discusses revisions to early Young Wizards novels
May 30, 2011 | 12:35 pm

SYW_Millennium_Cover_Rough_SmallI mentioned earlier that Diane Duane in the process of rewriting her earlier Young Wizards novels to take into effect advances in technology that have occurred since they were first written. Duane has made a post to her blog going into more detail about the process, and the reasoning behind it. Naturally, when you're talking about a series as well-loved as Young Wizards, the idea of having it be revised and updated can give some fans a sinking sensation. There's a certain mentality of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," and I think anybody can understand that. But...

Is desktop publishing eroding grammar and spelling?
May 7, 2011 | 5:48 pm

img_0888English teachers and other grammarians have long complained about the prevalence of texting abbreviations causing a corruption in the grammar of our youth. But I think there may be a more pressing new-media threat to proper grammar: desktop publishing. Think about it. In the old days, when you wanted to put a “No admittance” or “Authorized personnel only” sign up, you had to pay a fairly large sum of money to have it fabricated. When you were paying that much money, and getting a permanent artifact in return, you (and the artifact makers) would make damned sure that everything...

Zappos uses Mechanical Turk to proofread five million product reviews
April 28, 2011 | 12:51 am

zappos-logoI’ve talked about scan-induced typo problems in e-books before. For whatever reason, a lot of publishers don’t seem to have the manpower to devote to making sure their scanned e-books properly mirror the quality of their printed books. But they could take a lesson from on-line retailer Zappos, who determined that having higher-quality reviews of products on their site led to more sales of those products. So Zappos used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk system of distributed low-cost labor to examine and edit five million reviews on their site, having the Turk workers correct spelling and grammar errors they found while...

Young Wizards e-book errors to be fixed by publisher, thanks to reader feedback
March 30, 2011 | 12:26 pm

Diane Duane has posted an update to her blog on the error correction issue with Young Wizards e-books. She contacted her editor, who contacted the digital editions department at her publisher, and she’s received a response from them that they have developed a new error-correction process that looks specifically for commonly-occurring OCR errors and eliminates them at the XML level (so that corrected e-books can be generated in multiple formats from the new source material.). They would like to run the books through this process. Then, Diane can go back through and look to see what errors still exist, which...

Publishers in danger of losing hearts and minds of readers
March 20, 2011 | 8:27 pm

seenoevilI’ve posted a number of stories over the last few days about increasing consumer disillusionment (including my own) with publishers and their e-book strategies. On the Booku blog “The Smell of Books”, writer/editor Joel Blacklock has been noticing some of the same things, and is wondering if they mean that publishers are losing the hearts and minds of readers. Blacklock excerpts a couple of not-terribly-well-thought-out blog posts accusing publishers of profiteering and of intentionally incorporating errors into e-book editions “because they don’t like them.” He also brings up Amanda Hocking’s comment (which I mentioned the other day) that a...

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