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Sigrid Peterson
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There is another distinction to be made in the age of ebooks. That is the kind of errors made by the electronic encoding of existing copy -- photographic process -- for translation of published books to the Amazon Kindle electronic format (Mobi). An existing book, that has been copy edited and proofread, is photographed by a camera. The images are then "understood" by a computer as text, using OCR, Optical Character Recognition. There are many errors that stem from the inability of the computer-linked camera to understand the language of the text. The process produces ludicrous and fairly frequent errors. It is apparently not very familiar to readers, who blame the author or the publisher of the original print book, judging from reviews of these botched books. It is sad, when a good author goes unread because the Kindle text is unreadable electronically, thought the Dead Tree Book was nicely produced. I wind up buying the book twice, once in Kindle format, and once in its published version. As long as the published version is still in print, that is. Some of the errors of the eye are difficult for humans to pick up unless they are alert to the kind of mistakes made by the machine reader -- for example, "stlll" for "still," or, even easier for the machine to do, "fiill, from "full." Often this latter misreading becomes "fill" instead of "full." I got two or three books like this in my first batch of Kindle reading, and compulsively went through them, using the tool for marking errors in the text "Report Content Error" which allows for the error to be called "Typo", "Formatting", "Image", or "Other." I used "Other" to indicate OCR mistakes. I gradually, for self-protection, checked the negative reviews for comments on "proofreading," and when in doubt downloaded only a sample. Unfortunately, sometimes only the samples are properly proofread against the printed versions. Amazon is now issuing "updated editions" of some of these, as free replacements for those who bought the books with uncorrected OCR text. And a month ago they were advertising for copy editors/proofreaders. I doubt that there were errors on the same scale in the production of Nook pdb books, as I read many well-produced pdb editions obtained through Fictionwise. Yes, there a good Kindle editions, as well. Some top publishers have good Kindle editions; a few do not. Books that have gone from publisher to publisher to Amazon's Kindle Division are most likely to be flawed in this way. At a guess, the typesetting was done once, and discarded. Any insights here would be appreciated.
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Jul 28, 2013