Friday, 10 February 2012

Finished Product

By Richard Jay Parker

Ebooks mean that not only do people discuss their progress through a book in terms of percent but reviews now seem to include more and more references to layout and accessibility.  The most common new additions to reader critiques, however, are the references to typos.

I've got plenty of paper books on my shelves published by renowned houses which still contain some howling errors often within the first couple of pages.  They've always crept in but now readers of digital content seem to be anticipating them.     

With so much old and new content being uploaded as well as publishing houses rushing out hastily formatted ebooks it seems that the rigorous measures taken to ensure a manuscript is as polished as possible before a print run are being bypassed.

It now seems to be accepted as inevitable by reviewers and a new string to their bows to include their favourites.  Some are amusing but you wonder whether sacrificing these filters is really worth it.  Is the time it would take really worth leapfrogging at the expense of the publisher/author's reputation?

It's certainly something to consider whether you're a major publisher or an enterprising self publisher.  Perhaps pushing that digital publish button is too tempting and too easy.  After all, it's hard enough getting good reviews for a book without a typo on every other page. 

Incidentally, I made some deliberate errors during this piece - did you spot them?

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  1. I didn't even spot them after reading it twice. I am humbled. And chagrined.
    I have noticed quite a few typos in printed books. And a few in e-books.
    Readers may delight in pointing out the typos in e-books, but/because they never had the opportunity to do it with print books.
    Typos are very hard to spot in one's own writing, and seem to reproduce when you look away.
    I think it's worth the effort to put out as polished and quality a piece, whether printed or electronic, as one can.

  2. Agreed, Louise. I'm glad you didn't spot any errors. I put the last line in as insurance because I thought writing a piece about typos would mean I was bound to make some howling error. Thanks for dropping in.