Did You Likc that e-B00k?

Why do e-Books have so many typos? Typos mkae it harder for a preson to udnerstand waht  he or she just read. Ever hear the claim that it does not matter how a word is spelled, as long as the first and last letters are in place? Martin Turner of the Dyslexia Institute says this is not completely accurate.

Depending on how letters are scrambled, affects how well a person could decipher the word.  Plural words with the letter “s” can make decoding especially difficult. When a person fails to unscramble words he or she has a high chance of getting aggravated. Turner says, “What you have done is put yourself in the position of a dyslexic or poor reader, who loses interest jolly quickly. Motivation slumps and it is quite an aversive experience.” Rarely people will fight their frustrations and continue with the reading.[1]

The Verge, founded in 2011 in partnership with Vox Media, is a website that provides valid articles and information on technology, art, and popular culture. In October 2012, an article was posted about E-books and their high number of typos.

Laura June from The Verge writes, “Though I’ve only had the Kindle for three weeks, I’ve noticed that the [e-]book I’ve been reading, Foucault’s Pendulum, has many typos. Foucault’s Pendulum is a major work by a living author, released by a major publisher. The publisher also undertook the lengthy and expensive process of having the book translated from Italian. And yet the e-book is riddled with issues: in the 90 or so pages since I started marking typos with notes, I’ve found 16; a cursory search for the word ‘arc’ (instead of ‘are’) turns up 18 examples.” That is approximately one mistake every 3 pages.

Forbes explains the issue in two parts. First reason that a large portion of e-books are plagued with so many errors is that they are self-produced and published. Many of these self-publishers do not have their work looked over by an editor or a “sub” to make the necessary corrections and enhancements. “So this is the first reason that many ebooks are filled with mistakes and typos. Many are being written by those who don’t know about the vital function of the sub and wouldn’t afford one even if they did. And given that it is incredibly difficult to sub your own work this might well be a problem that doesn’t have a solution.”[2]

The second part of the issue is that the text has been OCR’d.[3] “OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a process of scanning a book and using software which recognizes the scanned words as words, rather than merely as images, converting the images into text files. Anyone who has ever used OCR software knows that the process is far from perfect and always demands a serious attention to detail in the copy editing phase, once scanning is done, because the software doesn’t “read” the text perfectly.”[4]

Julie Ortolon, published author explains a little further, “To turn a print book into an e-book, the first step is cutting the spine off a physical book and feeding the pages through a scanner. OCR (optical character recognition) software is not human. It produces a word file based on what its computer brain “thinks” it sees. So words like ‘lips’ may come out as ‘hps.’”[5]

June goes on to say, “Now, I can tell you that typos in most mainstream printed books are fairly rare. Occasionally, I’ll see one, but rarely two: it’s just not that common.”[6] So why risk frustrating yourself? Reading should not be as complicated as having to figure out what the author truly intended to write. E-readers offer too many opportunities of unscrambling words for their users. Reading should be fun and enjoyable; follow The P.A. Hutchison Company and choose print to avoid these common e-book issues.


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