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Too Many Spelling Mistakes in e-Books

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Showing 1-25 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Oct 2010, 13:04:32 BST
Traffic says:

I have read 3 books on my Kindle so far and in all of them (The Stand - Stephen King; The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett; Chocky - John Wyndham) I have noticed that there are many more spelling mistakes in them than in their printed counterparts. I personally believe that it is a result of the publishers rushing so desperately to get as many of their books on the Kindle/eBook format that they haven't proof-read the end product before making it available. Very poor effort by these publishers.

Has anybody else noticed this?

Posted on 11 Nov 2010, 14:56:02 GMT
a2025398 says:
.... and its not just spelling mistakes! In eBooks from non-Amazon sources, many words have bits left out and punctuation marks inserted at random. This is because they were scanned in from the paper version, using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), without adequate checks on the finished product. Now, I have converted several documents to digital form using OCR and, believe me, proof-reading is vital. It is also time-consuming, stressful and fiddly. While it is rather irritating to find these errors, I prefer to have an eBook with a few errors at a low price than a totally perfect copy at a much higher price. Hope this helps?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2010, 16:39:30 GMT
avidreader says:
yes I also have noticed this, which is very annoying, especially when you find you're paying more for some of these books that in hard copy. The grammar and punctuation sometimes change the entire stream and I find myself having to read and then re-read to determine what was SUPPOSED to be the correct wording.

Posted on 30 Nov 2010, 12:31:00 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Nov 2010, 12:46:18 GMT
Dave T says:
Conversion of books from paper to electronic versions using OCR can be very time consuming & frustrating. The quality of the scanner, the quality of the original document, and even the font it has been printed in can all contribute to the accuracy & quality of the final result. Proof reading is essential to pick up any mistakes from the OCR process, ideally by more than one proof-reader if you want to catch all the errors. However, many of the classical books that have been converted to free e-books are processed by volunteers, so resources are limited. I guess that at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference; free with the possibility of some errors from the conversion process, or a more `perfect' version without so many conversion errors but at a price? (And having to find an organisation prepared to perform the additional proof reading & conversion.)

As an aside, does anyone know if there is some way of offering corrections & updates for these converted e-books so that over time the e-book will evolve & the accuracy will improve?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2010, 19:46:24 GMT
a2025398 says:
The Gutenberg Project (hope I have spelt that correctly) is the mammoth project that is converting all out-of-copyright books to electronic form. That is the place to offer your services, they are always pleading for proofreaders. You will actually be contributing something to the total store of human knowledge and art - think about that! You could look it up in your favourite search engine.
Personally, the books that I want to read, and so am prepared to take time over, are all in copyright (trashy science fiction or stuff by CS Forester) so any improvements I make will be for my own personal satisfaction.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2011, 20:21:45 GMT
Personally i wouldn't mind doing a bit of proof reading but surely - as on pc's - there are spell checkers when converting - or as a new kindle user (haven't actually used it just downloaded some books to show my computer and electronic savvy son I really appreciate the thought; though I actually love the feel and touch of a book) am i being totally naive in thinking that an electronic book would incorporate something as simple as (english please) spell checker ? I also have the avid book lovers' leaning towers in the hallways and agree with a2025398 when saying that improvements would be for own personal satisfaction as nothing makes me more annoyed than lazy misuse of the english language!! Have also noted that there are many comments on the new kindle books leaving out huge chunks of storyline. Any comments there ?

Posted on 11 Jan 2011, 07:45:49 GMT
J. Webb says:
The mistakes I notice do not bother me hugely; I mean I've seen plenty of mistakes in large volume print books too. As long as the word is mostly there, the human brain will simply read it as if it was the correct word anyway. The problem I find is it is much more obvious when it refers to something unique to the story, or as I see more frequently the addition of spaces in the middle of words. This happens not only with the free books, but it happens quite often with the paid ones.

I have only seen one instance of chapters being missing (forget which book), but I have also seen evidence of a chapter being repeated in place of another chapter (I think one of the Dan Brown books, but might be mistaken).

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2011, 14:15:36 GMT
JulesMc says:
Yeah I know what you mean. Also when words are split into two because it still makes proper words like office and off ice! Makes you stop in your tracks sometimes :)

Posted on 27 Jan 2011, 17:13:55 GMT
Pat M says:
I've noticed very strange happenings. In the recent Peter Robinson book that I read the word 'tall' was replaced by the word 'girl'! it took a while to work out in a sentence like ' The house was surrounded by a girl fence'

Posted on 8 Feb 2011, 23:08:38 GMT
daveat22 says:
I am reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and having noticed many apparent spelling and punctuation mistakes I checked with a printed book, to find, yes, many spelling and punctuation mistakes. These e-books are carried out by volunteers, but why, oh why do they willfully change words and leave out commas?

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Feb 2011, 13:24:04 GMT
Reeder says:
I think I've yet to read a 'book' on kindle that doesn't contain spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, etc. Annoying, but then again, much cheaper than printed versions...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2011, 02:38:11 GMT
One or two words per line and words run together. I also find my ebooks tell me how many people have highlighted a particular portion of text. Why am I getting this kind of information?

Posted on 26 Feb 2011, 02:41:04 GMT
Yes! Text with only one or two words per line and words run together. Also information on the number of people that have highlighted a particular portion of text.
Can we download a 'scrubbed' version of the book with these annoying items removed?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2011, 16:32:12 GMT
Bob says:
Paul Brownlie - It is on by default with the Kindle you can turn it off in settings

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2011, 22:19:42 GMT
Thanks Bob

Posted on 17 Mar 2011, 21:27:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Mar 2011, 21:28:27 GMT
I must admit it drives me mad to see the errors. I would also be happy to proof read for writers or publishers, maybe there should be a facility to connect those of us who care about spelling and grammar to those who need the service?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2011, 07:07:22 BST
Last edited by the author on 3 Apr 2011, 07:08:12 BST
L. Moon says:
I agree with your sentiments but have my doubts as to the success. Not when you find someone posting here who is deploring the bad grammar in books they read yet have not taken the trouble to use good English and correct punctuation when they write. If these people volunteer to proof read I despair of the results.
As you know, even when using a spell check it can pick out errors but you need to be able to recognise the correct alternative. Still I suppose it could provide the reader with a good laugh.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Apr 2011, 23:09:40 BST
Surely mean spirited comments like that are the reason people DO NOT volunteer their services Master Moon. Proof reading is a whole heap of difference away from dashing out a personal viewpoint on spelling and grammar in 'e' books as opposed to 'hard back'. However, on a slightly different note; in this technological age of 'e' books and 'hard backs' does it mean that in the near future paperbacks will become the new floppies ?

Posted on 6 Apr 2011, 07:47:15 BST
a2025398 says:
Well said Margaret! Actually, it seems to me that newspapapers and magazines are the floppies. Paperbacks are more like the memory sticks of this whizzbang electronic age.
On a more cheerful note, I have discovered the Baen Free Library. So far, none of the books there which I have looked at have a significant proportion of errors, and pagination is good. These have all been published in hard copy recently. Is it possible that Baen are using the original electronic master copy to produce these mobi files? If any of you are ardent science-fiction fans like myself, do have a look at this facility, it will be very worthwhile.

Posted on 10 Aug 2011, 01:07:48 BST
So there are a few spelling mistakes, so what, get over it? I am something of a perfectionist and I do find it irritating but not enough to warrant some of the comments on this link. As for sometimes paying more for ebooks than paperbacks - don't be a slave to your Kindle, be sensible, buy whichever is the cheapest at the time.

Posted on 11 Sep 2011, 20:39:06 BST
ren41ss4nce says:
I'm one of many distributed proofreaders for Project Gutenberg, and each book goes through 4 rigorous stages of proofreading. The goal is to produce a book which equates as closely to the written version and the resulting ebook has few mistakes. As someone mentioned earlier, publishers are generally eager to get works quickly converted to digital format, and at the same time are keen to minimize costs and maximise profit. Project Gutenberg's proofreaders are all volunteers.

Posted on 11 Sep 2011, 21:01:50 BST
Proof reading is a really, really difficult task because the eye/brain sees what it expects to see. I applaude all the proof readers, especially as they are volunteers.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Dec 2011, 22:37:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Dec 2011, 22:49:07 GMT
M. McBratney says:
I have seen the website and looked into proof reading for Project Guttenberg and you compare parts of the original text to the OCR text and modify spelling, punctuation etc. As an avid book reader and collector I will be taking part as in this lifetime it's very hard to get something for nothing. I have kindle for P.C and have just started my collection. I am very excited about the books there are available to download!!

As an example of how difficult it is to proof read text as Sue120502 has mentioned:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.


There has been vast study into how the mind reads things for competent readers however it is not as simple as given in the example above.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2012, 21:15:42 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 4 Feb 2012, 21:17:29 GMT]

Posted on 2 Mar 2012, 16:20:02 GMT
Aahh! I know just how you feel! I don't know about everyone else, but whenever I come up against spelling mistake, or missing word, I immediately think it's me - I think I must have read it wrong, so I go back 3 or 4 times to see what I'm missing. (I guess its a bit like when you see a sheep driving a car on the wrong side of the road!)

Mind you, it's not just e-books. Apparently Antony Horowitz had 35 typos in his Sherlock Holmes novel. See this article here:

A good and amusing article by him on this link here:

Maybe its' just as everyone cuts back on staff and timescales...

Still, Im cofident their arr know sully irrors in anythig Ive ever wirtten..!
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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Collins Classics)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Collins Classics) by Arthur Conan Doyle (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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