The always-fun folks at Book Riot have done another great poll—this time on book ‘dealbreakers.’ As the article explains:

“Let’s say you’re reading a book. It’s pretty good. You’re basking in that glowy feeling that comes when you find something new to read that you think you might be able to love. Then something happens. It might happen all of a sudden or gradually, but at some point you realize that the book has done something you don’t like.”

They go on to list the top dealbreakers submitted by their poll respondents, which include casual treatment of sex and rape, stereotyped depcitions of LGBTQ relationships, factual errors, overly fancy words and other authorial faux-pas.

But what they don’t list is my number one ‘dealbreaker’—lack of proper proofreading! It drives me crazy to see random line breaks, no spaces between words, typos and OCR errors. One or two, and I can live with it. But if I hit five errors before I am 10 percent into the book, I bail.

I re-read books I particularly enjoy, and I also save the good ones because I have  romanticized ideas that someday my future children might want to read them. And I would want to make sure that all the books I give them are error-free and provide a good experience. I have had decent luck during my all-indie year for books I purchase (although the Delphi Classics people don’t always proof as well as they could!) and have found that at least with indie authors, you can get a reply, and often a fix, if you email them and report a problem.

Not so with Big Pub though! Just for fun, I spot-checked a few books just now that I had returned. In one case, I even spoke with the author about it and she basically shrugged and said, ‘Oh well.’ That was last October—I know for sure because I wrote about it for TeleRead. Guess what? The book is still listing on the Kindle store for $17.93, and the sample is still showing the typos.

This is why I only read releases from the big publishers in library book form now. Nothing takes me out of a good story more than feeling like I’m suddenly working in an unpaid copy-editing job. At least with a library book, I didn’t pay for it. So it’s easy to just delete and move onto something better.

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. @Andy. Haven’t you ever heard a narrator flub a word? That’s an audiobook “typo” and I’d quit the book if there were too many.

    My dealbreakers:

    Bad or non-standard formatting. Project Gutenburg’s plain vanilla text.

    Too much action and too little development or detail. I prefer building up to something big rather than a lot quick incidents one after the other.

    Flying people. Humans aren’t aerodynamic and internal engery sources that give people flight aren’t believable. Too a lessor extent; magic or other events that defy plausibility.

    Religious proselytizing. It is ok for books to be about religions or have religious people, but I won’t take an author preaching religion to readers.

  2. @Greg. True, there are mistakes in any medium. The audiobooks I’ve listened to haven’t had many flubs other than inconsistencies in pronouncing names. When I give up on an audiobook, it’s usually because I don’t like the reading style.

    About flying, Ian Creasey’s “The Prize Beyond Gold” has an interesting and more-realistic treatment of it. Flying is a part of a vast body modification trend that has its detractors, which is a major theme of the story, and people who’ve been well-modified for flying cease to look human. A free audio version of it is on the podcast Escape Pod here:

    I stop reading when the dialogue feels completely unrealistic to me.

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