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Should Amazon implement a community based book update mechanism

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 10.5%
  • No

    Votes: 17 89.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The purpose of this would be to correct spelling and grammar errors. Changes would be uploaded to Amazon via the sync process, moderated by Amazon and implemented in revised versions made available to all.
 

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I don't think this would work. Authors are constantly changing their files to add new book blurbs at the end to cross promote to their other books, or tweaking stuff to improve customer/reader experience. Well, I know I am anyway.

Perhaps readers could submit such suggestions for Amazon to process and inform the author, leaving them to choose to fix it or not. I don't go around fixing big name authors books that I find editing / grammar / word errors in (believe me, no author, no matter how big they are, is immune to the odd error or editing glitch here and there. I've read some books with serious issues that have been produced by big print houses). It would be a bit rude of the readers / amazon to change an author's work without consent.

Also, it isn't the readers place to edit or proof our books. The author should be handling that and doing a good job of it, not leaving it to the reader to wade through errors and poorly written prose.

I could just imagine the pandemonium this would cause. A reader or author in competition with the book's author could easily abuse this system and wreck a book that the book's author has spent countless hours working on.

I do agree that amazon need some sort of vetting system for books though, before readers are put off by the amount of unedited or poorly written offerings out there. I just don't think this is that solution.

Felicity Heaton
 

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felicityheaton said:
I do agree that amazon need some sort of vetting system for books though, before readers are put off by the amount of unedited or poorly written offerings out there.
I disagree that Amazon needs to do this. It's the responsibility of the publisher or, in the case of self-published authors, the author to do the quality control on the books. I can say that based on three years or reading ebooks that many of them are doing a darned poor job of it so far.

Mike
 

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As discussed in a separate thread, under copyright law, Amazon doesn't have the right to make any such changes.  And already has mechanisms in place for customers to report problems:  they can note formatting or editing problems in reviews; they can provide feedback to Amazon about problems with the e-book.  They can request a refund of the purchase price within 7 days.  

Noting problems in reviews alerts potential buyers.

Requesting a refund means you're not out any money for the book -- and you also now don't have the book.

Providing feedback to Amazon means they can collect the reports and provide them to the publisher.  The publisher can elect to pull the book for fixing or, in some cases, I believe Amazon has the right to decide not to sell the book.

Honestly, I think this is more than any other e-book retailer does.

I will note that the vast majority of ebooks I've read have been just fine. I have only very rarely read a book that was so bad in the formatting/editing/proofing department that I felt it necessary to request a refund.  But I have done so. And also reported it to Amazon. 
 

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I'd just like a simple spot to click to report errors, that went someplace "official".

I don't believe Amazon, Apple, BN or anyone else should be responsible for gathering and passing it along - unless they are acting as the books publisher.

One of the most horrid set of poorly formatted and spelled (OCR errors?) books was the harlequin app about a couple of years ago. It wasn't just an issue with font size on the screen either (there was no iPad yet). I left a review, I contacted them and when i got a notice of an update to the app... The errors were still there. Those books are still free I think standalone, and I'm afraid to even look at them to see if they ever got fixed.

Gee, people, at least open the book and look at the blasted first page.

But give me a link or something to submit a simple "click here to report an error". I read at a larger font than standard on my iPad and what drives me nuts are the apparently hardcoded... The word has left my brain totally, ye gads - but you know, the split the word on two lines term! LOL!!

Because, reading "the man walked to the road-side to...." or "the letter was addressed to Beau-worth" is annoying.....

Anyway, I might stink at the writing side of things, but I'm lean and mean with a red pen! I keep trying to get the Florida Wing of Civil Air Patrol to let me be their proofreader.....
 

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One thing Amazon does need to implement, IMHO, is a system for notifying previous purchasers if an author has made a significant update.  Buyers should have the option to download a newer version if they want it.  I don't think readers would want to hear about it every time two words are changed, but if there is a major revision, the readers deserve to have it.  Granted, in the paper book world, they'd have to pay for the new version, but free updates is one of the advantages of the digital age.

--Maria
 

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TraceyC/FL said:
I'd just like a simple spot to click to report errors, that went someplace "official".
Actually Tracey, there is such a button. Scroll all the way to the bottom of any Amazon book page, and you'll see a blue box that shows this:
___________________________________________________________
Feedback
If you need help or have a question for Customer Service, contact us.
Would you like to report poor quality or formatting in this book? Click here <== this is the place to click
Would you like to report this content as inappropriate? Click here
Do you believe that this item violates a copyright? Click here
Is there any other feedback you would like to provide? Click here
___________________________________________________________

Using this method actually does have an impact. Authors on this board have discussed getting messages from Amazon with regard to reported errors, so Amazon does take it seriously. Of course, that doesn't guarantee the publisher/author will do anything about it <sigh>.

--Maria
 

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meromana said:
Actually Tracey, there is such a button. Scroll all the way to the bottom of any Amazon book page, and you'll see a blue box that shows this:
___________________________________________________________
Feedback
If you need help or have a question for Customer Service, contact us.
Would you like to report poor quality or formatting in this book? Click here <== this is the place to click
Would you like to report this content as inappropriate? Click here
Do you believe that this item violates a copyright? Click here
Is there any other feedback you would like to provide? Click here
___________________________________________________________

Using this method actually does have an impact. Authors on this board have discussed getting messages from Amazon with regard to reported errors, so Amazon does take it seriously. Of course, that doesn't guarantee the publisher/author will do anything about it <sigh>.

--Maria
Thanks, I rarely scroll down that far - I will have to remember it.

I want something in the book though, I don't want to have to go hunt down the page wherever i bought it and do it. Which I get for some that wouldn't work at all, or what about a special type of highlight or markup? Highlight the spelling or formatting errors and transmit them. The biggest issue I think is the font variables and the hardcoding of certain things within the text, which makes certain issues not show up for some. Which is why there does need to be a place to report it - but I'm not going to take the time to say, "while reading XYZ, on the iPad Kindle App vX.Y, at font setting X, on page 35 there is a formatting issue on the 10th sentence."

Which is how it should be reported......

I overall don't like feeling like a piece of monetary meat, "hey, they want ebooks, give them this one I just finished". The pride of having a book published should carry to the ebook side as well as the print side.

I will say that overall, I think it has improved recently. But what is funny is that the books I bought 10+ years ago from Peanut Press to read on my Palm devices didn't have these issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's it exactly - this is not about Amazon's returns policy, copyright matters

It's about providing a straightforward, effective, immediate and easy means of reporting errors

Highlight/fix and send

It's then up to Amazon to check and implement. Thus, in time, we all benefit - there are reputed to be between 3 and 3.3 Million Kindles out there - all of whom can benefit - that's a big incentive
 

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meromana said:
One thing Amazon does need to implement, IMHO, is a system for notifying previous purchasers if an author has made a significant update.

--Maria
They will do this. I have several times received email from Amazon indicating that a book I'd previously purchased has been updated. They ask if I want the newer version or to keep the old one -- noting that if you keep the old one you can retain any notes you've made.

I'm not sure it's an automatic thing -- I think the publisher has to request Amazon to send the email -- and I can't figure out why they wouldn't ask if they've got a cleaner version uploaded. I guess it's not completely automatic because they can't tie the notes to the new version -- and I don't know enough about the programming involved to know why that might be -- but I would expect that, at some point, they'll be able to figure that out and that will make it pretty transparent -- much the way you'll periodically get updates to your smartphone/tablet apps if you set them to automatically update.
 

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With respect to all posters, there appears to be some confusion regarding the "separation between church and state."  ;)

The OP's statements comprise an interesting POV: that because one reads an ebook on one's Kindle, the ebook is irrevocably associated with the Kindle. On one hand, Amazon would have it that way by using a proprietary format. On the other hand, Amazon is distributing intellectual property products, the rights for which are controlled by the creators, not the distributor.

Ann's comments (and those of others) pointing out where lies the responsibility to fix errors are legally and conventionally accurate. Anyone who's made it their business to understand publishing (whether traditional/corporate or indie/self- ) "gets it."

However, Martin does make a good point. If customers are associating their ebooks with the Kindle and Amazon, there is some commercial business motivation for Amazon, as a business, to stand behind them -- which they do, as posters have pointed out.

Amazon is relentlessly focused on customer satisfaction. If there's one way I could see the conventional publishing relationships -- by that I mean legally and in terms of business practices -- changing at the instigation of readers, as opposed to writers and publishers, this is it.

 

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Ann in Arlington said:
They will do this. I have several times received email from Amazon indicating that a book I'd previously purchased has been updated. They ask if I want the newer version or to keep the old one -- noting that if you keep the old one you can retain any notes you've made.

I'm not sure it's an automatic thing -- I think the publisher has to request Amazon to send the email -- and I can't figure out why they wouldn't ask if they've got a cleaner version uploaded. I guess it's not completely automatic because they can't tie the notes to the new version -- and I don't know enough about the programming involved to know why that might be -- but I would expect that, at some point, they'll be able to figure that out and that will make it pretty transparent -- much the way you'll periodically get updates to your smartphone/tablet apps if you set them to automatically update.
Ah, I didn't realize this! Thanks, Ann. I'm going to ask them to notify folks on my calorie book, because I just made some major enhancements to it, and I felt bad for the "early adopters" :). I put something in the product description about requesting an update, but how many people go back and look at that, after they've purchased a book? Not many, I think.

--Maria
 

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TraceyC/FL said:
I want something in the book though, I don't want to have to go hunt down the page wherever i bought it and do it. Which I get for some that wouldn't work at all, or what about a special type of highlight or markup? Highlight the spelling or formatting errors and transmit them.
Wow--excellent idea! That would help the authors/publishers know where the errors are and get things fixed quickly. There was one author on here recently who was talking about how she'd received an email from Amazon saying she'd had complaints, but they couldn't tell her anything useful about the specific problem. She's quite conscientious and very much wanted to fix the problem, but had no idea where/what it was!
 

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TraceyC/FL said:
I want something in the book though, I don't want to have to go hunt down the page wherever i bought it and do it. Which I get for some that wouldn't work at all, or what about a special type of highlight or markup? Highlight the spelling or formatting errors and transmit them.
Call me cynical, but that might cause the publishers to do even less copy-editing, they would just rely on the readers to catch al the mistakes.

My idea goes along the lines of a public flogging for CEOs of publishing companies that produce a book with more than a certain number of errors. ;D

Mike
 

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jmiked said:
Call me cynical, but that might cause the publishers to do even less copy-editing, they would just rely on the readers to catch al the mistakes.

My idea goes along the lines of a public flogging for CEOs of publishing companies that produce a book with more than a certain number of errors. ;D

Mike
Hmmm, interesting thought. Maybe Amazon could post on the product page something like: "XX errors caught and corrected by our readers", as if that was a good thing, but would serve to shame publishers who did a lousy job. Ok, just kidding, but it's a cool idea, huh?
 

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meromana said:
Hmmm, interesting thought. Maybe Amazon could post on the product page something like: "XX errors caught and corrected by our readers", as if that was a good thing, but would serve to shame publishers who did a lousy job. Ok, just kidding, but it's a cool idea, huh?
What about Amazon ratings for "Amazon Proofreaders"? :p
 
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