Friday, July 15, 2011

Ask Mrs. Wizard - More on Formatting

Special Note:
This is a follow up to an email inspired entry from several days ago. Enjoy!
And very special thanks to Tim for these wonderful questions and for letting me know how it all turned out. 
Hi Cindy!
It all took a bit of time but I did get my refund on Ingoldsby Legends in the end! Many thanks for your stimulating advice. I include below the correspondence with Amazon.

I'm sorry to hear about the formatting issue you found with the book "The Ingoldsby Legends" purchased in Order #D01-9392920-6127519.

I've submitted a report to our technical team about this problem and they are looking into the issue.

If you're not able to use the item because of this problem, please let us know if you would like a refund by visiting the link mentioned above. If we refund the item, you will no longer have access to it.

This formatting issue worries me a bit (that’s British understatement for you)  because I have bought several e-books from Amazon which contain an astonishing number of obvious errors, what might be called ‘typing errors’. (E.g. ‘I must have to go to the dentist’ – where the writer obviously couldn’t choose between alternative expressions. Or sometimes words are simply missing, e.g. ‘Suddenly burst into the room!’ Who or what did???) So either the original was not decently edited or the copying was poor. Should one blame the author or the bloke who copied it into e-book format????

Thanks so much for your inspiring questions Tim...

Don't be too hard on the occasional word missing or typo in a Kindle book. I have seen things like that in paper copies too. If you are reading a lot of books from independent authors or even some of the classics that have been reformatted by God only knows who, expect to see even more. They don't have the huge publishing houses with redundant editing and proofreading folks available. I'm sure they do the best they can, but some are certainly going to be better than others. The books in the public domain, like classics and really old books can be reformatted and resold by anyone. This is why you will see several different copies or publications of the same books. I have gotten several that weren't bad, but later found other copies that were much better for one reason or another. The ones with gross formatting errors should be brought to the attention of Amazon, like the one you had. You could also have avoided the issue altogether if you had gotten a sample first. You would have seen the problem right away on your regular Kindle, and that would have determined your purchase (or not). But samples can be a pain too.

Don't let Amazon be your only source, especially for public domain books. Google searches are a great way to turn up other copies, and one of my personal favorites for Kindle friendly files is There is always a "better" copy out there... somewhere.

And I certainly appreciate this world library we have at our fingertips, thanks to Google. is amazing! I'm glad you are enjoying it too. What did we do before our Kindles!

Warmest Regards,

And of course... shameless promotion below.
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