Monday, July 29, 2013

Amazon adds a great new feature to Kindle: automatic delivery of corrections

I went to my "Manage Your Kindle" page on Amazon today, to send a copy of the J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith mystery novel The Cuckoo's Calling to my husband's iPad, and I noticed something new.  There was a notice above the section with the list of my books that said I could sign up for automatic updates when a corrected version of an ebook comes out. Naturally, I clicked OK!

A big advantage of ebooks over print is they can be corrected if errors (typos as well as formatting errors) are found. Newer Kindles even offer a way to report these kinds of mistakes (in the More menu that comes up when you highlight a phrase).  But once the publisher has fixed the mistakes, someone who has already bought that book won't see that fix unless they download the book again.  Amazon will email buyers if the mistake is significant, but then they buyer has to request a new copy. This new feature is a "sign up once, and it's automatic from then on" thing, which is much better.

The number of errors in ebooks from self-publishers is widely variable, depending on the author's attention to detail. The number of errors in traditional books used to be just awful, mostly because of workflow issues, but they have (mostly) gotten better. I have found a couple of typos in The Cuckoo's Calling, though (an excellent book, by the way!). I will have to report them and see how well this new feature works!


  1. I can understand the prevalence of typos in ebooks but I'm currently reading The Cuckoo's Calling in hardback and was surprised to find more than a few typos in there. I don't understand how something like this happens??? Ciao!

    1. Most of the problems in ebooks from traditional (print) publishers happen because of workflow. Sometimes the ebook is created from a scanned copy (almost guaranteed to have typos--or maybe "scannos"?) and sometimes it's created from the Word file the author submitted, which doesn't have corrections made at the galley proof stage. But if the print has typos, the ebook version is doomed, I saw a few typos in Cuckoo's Calling, but frankly, between British slang and the way the Cockney dialect is written phonetically made it hard for me to know what was a mistake and what was local color. I always highlight or make a note of errors in ebooks, I thought "that rarely awful-colored girl she sometimes dragged back" might have been an error caused by using dictation software. The same was true of "piss ant." On the other hand, "Fort I was giving ’er all the fings I never ’ad" was probably exactly as Rowling wanted it.

      Three words, really: Lack of proofing!