Friday, July 13, 2012

Amazon formatting, part 2: Why the form of the words matters

For those who stumbled here without knowing what happened, here's the technical background on what Amazon's Kindle program appears to be doing to at least some of the books that are published via the KDP program.

Now, the next part of the discussion is, why does it matter?

Presentation of a digital book is important.  It's important for the reader, because the proper presentation makes the reading experience far more pleasant.  In fact, a poorly presented book can be virtually unreadable.  Readers notice.  Reviewers notice.

As I've already documented, I got negative reviews on Firefly for formatting errrors.  I learned subsequently that there may have been nothing I could have done.  Certainly I now know that neither the KDP preview nor the "Look Inside" may have provided an accurate picture of what the final product would look like.  And as I documented with the Smashwords edition, the various programs produce very different results from the same original document!

Many, many, many authors have received bad reviews because of the bad formatting of their products on Amazon.  How many of them, however, had no way of knowing what their product would look like?  How many of them were ultimately victims of an Amazon product that did not faithfully reproduce what the authors believed was a clean document?

Many readers have been turned off independent, small-press, and self-published authors because their products just don't look as good as a traditionally published book does when it is converted to digital.  And while the problems with competent writing and proofreading still have to be resolved by the authors, Amazon should not be contributing to a problem that may ultimately be costing them sales.

More later.  Yes, I'm publishing this blog serially, because I don't want to wait until I "get around to it."

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