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Avoid the Kindle version of this title
on 9 March 2012
This is not a comment on Scott's Journals, but a warning to avoid the Kindle version of this title published by Oxford University Press. It's necessary to make this clear, since Amazon has a habit of lumping together reviews of the same title, even when they clearly refer to very different editions.
Signs that Kindle readers are being shabbily treated are evident from the outset when, presumably as a result of a botched search-and-replace, one encounters the following formulations in the introduction: `introductionspective', `introductionduced' and `introductionducing', as well as one instance of `scott' and one of `printduring'.
Thankfully, the main text is relatively error-free, but there are a couple of instances of missing text: one in the narrative itself, which runs, `found to have quite a lot of fat on him and the' (the sentence stops there), and one in the notes that attributes `Slough of Despond' to `one of the scenes in part 1 of B' (which was obviously intended to say, `Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"'). Moreover, several tables are rendered virtually useless at any text size due to erratic tabulation and arbitrary line-endings, while note numbers aren't actively linked to their respective notes, which means a good deal of page-saving and searching through the Kindle's Notes and Marks function. Finally, the index is of no practical use whatsoever.
While some of these shortcomings might be tolerable in cheaply produced editions, they become unacceptable when issued by renowned publishers like OUP and Penguin (whose Kindle edition of Fitzgerald's `This Side of Paradise' leaves much to be desired), retailing at prices not much lower than one would pay for their own print editions.
Though the responsibility for highlighting these errors of negligence shouldn't fall on Kindle users, until Amazon revises its returns policy for Kindle purchases, there seems little more we can do to encourage improved quality control among publishers.
Update: Since these comments were posted, the cost of the Kindle edition has varied from £5.38 to £0.99 and back to £5.38. Other customers might feel they can live with its shortcomings at the lower price, but should Kindle users to expected to reconcile themselves to second best? A lemon is a lemon at any price, and it remains inexcusable that such a shoddy item should have been issued by a major publisher.