Content Reporting of Poorly Formatted E-Books: Some welcome first steps from Amazon

I was browsing at the Kindle store today when I came across a book with a notice on it I haven’t seen before.

(Check out the screenshot, below … )














I scrolled further down the page and found, buried way at the bottom, a link to report problematic content to Amazon. To this, I say: hooray! I’m glad Amazon has a mechanism for readers to report problematic e-books, and I’m glad they have a mechanism to warn readers away from accidentally purchasing a sub-par title.

I do have a few questions about how this process works:

♦ How many people must report a title before it gets the warning?

♦ How long does it typically take from the time the warning goes up to the time a corrected edition replaces it?

♦ What percentage of books will never get fixed at all?

♦ And I wonder, too, how other retailers are handling this. Has anyone ever seen such a message at Kobo or Barnes & Noble? Does anybody know how their error correction process works?

This message was a welcome first step toward assuring e-book readers a future of quality, error-free e-books. I’d love to hear more from people about what they’ve seen elsewhere, and about how this process works.

6 Comments on Content Reporting of Poorly Formatted E-Books: Some welcome first steps from Amazon

  1. How long it takes to fix a shoddy ebook, if it ever gets fixed at all, is entirely up to the publisher. I doubt if Amazon is going to hire a host of editors to fix other peoples ebooks for them, for free.

    I would be interested to see if Amazon integrates this into it’s refund process. Joanna, when you recently returned an ebook for a refund because of bad formatting, were you given an opportunity to say _why_ you were retuning the book? If there was no such feature at that time, has one been added to the refund process now?

  2. I was not given an opportunity to state why I had returned it, but after seeing this message and spying the well-hidden ‘report this book’ link, I went back to the other book and reported it. However, it has not yet been slapped with a warning message like the book in the screenshot has.

  3. Great catch.
    I will reference your post in my Publishing Poynters newsletter.


  4. Gary…

    Amazon has always integrated this into the refund process. I have returned two books for bad formatting, both over a year ago. The warning is new to me though.

    It was well over their normal 7 day return cut-off when told them I was returning for bad formatting. They asked me if I would give them examples and I did w/ location #s.

    I was given the option of keeping the book and being notified when a corrected copy was ready or taking a refund. I chose the “keep” option for both since I really did want to read them. About a month later, I was notified that one of the books was ready to re-load. It took about three months for the second one.

  5. What a cool idea. I hope that the publisher gets notified when people report the problem. Although formatting can be a translation issue when the work goes from .doc to .mobi and maybe Amazon is fixing a problem on their end.

  6. The latest Mcmillan ebook I purchased through Amazon had quite a few grammatical errors and typos, that I have been highlighting as I discovered them. It would be cool if there was a “share your edits” function built into their apps and native kindle software.

    This new reporting link is a step in the right direction, though.

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