Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Editorial Slippage

The collection of books I’m reading this summer are all digital. I’ve grown to really enjoy my iPad in this way, as it allows me to adjust the print size, the background light, and lets me even look up words in the built-in dictionary. Sweet.

However, ebooks are nascent. And that means there are some minor bugs that pop up even in main stream releases.

Examples found in my copy of Don DiLillo’s Underworld were:

1. “Pd” instead of “I’d”

2. misplaced hyphenization, like “move-ment” in the middle of a sentence

3. misplaced line breaks, truncating a sentence before the edge of the paragraph

These mistakes are found more in older books, like pre-2000. The reason why is that each page is scanned from an original paper-printed copy. The scanned text is then converted to a digital file, which can be formatted for ereaders. However, as good as this text scanning has become, it’s not perfect. Thus, whatever formatting the original book had, it is kept. And sometimes, certain words are misrecognized.

I don’t like it. Yeah, it doesn’t really affect the novel, per se. But it’s sloppy. It's hard to ignore. It shows a laziness. A lack of quality. All so these older novels can be converted. It rips you out of the story. And frankly, it’s unprofessional.

[Note: an abbreviated version of this post was used by myself as a review posted in iBooks.]

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