Wednesday, August 8, 2018

eBooks can be corrected and Kindle books often are!

Any book can have errors, but one book that's almost bound to have errors is an old, out-of-print (or even out-of-copyright) title that is published as an ebook by scanning the printed pages and then converting the resulting file into epub or Kindle format without carefully proofing every word. It might be because the pages weren't in great shape or it might be because the scanner wasn't the latest and greatest, but those kinds of books almost always have some errors. Sometimes they have many errors.

A lot of readers probably pay no attention, but in fact Kindle books are often updated after publication. This could be for reasons other than errors; the publisher might have added content, or enabled a new feature like X-Ray. But since the  Kindle interface provides a way for the user to report content errors, I'm guessing the most common reason is fixing a typo or several typos.  [Note: This only works on an actual Kindle. The Kindle app on my Android phone, my PC, and my tablet do not have this function. I don't know about the iPhone and/or iPad versions. If you know, please leave me a comment.]

If you feel like it, you can send Amazon info about errors using the menu that pops up when you highlight text.  The example below is highly typical of the kind of errors you'll see in scanned books. "For two pins" was a common expression, but the scanner made it into "Pot two pins."

Once you tap the three dots to get the menu, you see an option to report a content error. 

Amazon now asks you to identify the error.

In this case, I tapped Typo.

This gave me a screen where I could input the correction. In a way, Amazon is making readers into proofreaders. 

Once you click submit, you get a screen telling you the error will be submitted. But assuming that the publisher acts on these notices, how do you get a corrected file? Well, corrections and changes happen all the time, but Amazon doesn't automatically reload the book because doing so with no warning could wipe out a reader's notes and highlights and lose his place in the book. If a publisher has uploaded a corrected ebook that you bought from Amazon, that shows in your list of  Kindle books, accessible in your browser when you're on The list appears under the heading  "Content and Devices"  and updates are obvious. 

If you click the update button, Amazon first sends a warning. 

And there you have it. Good luck trying that with a printed book on your shelves! 


  1. How does the publisher get a list of reported typos? I'd happily fix anything wrong with my ebooks. I've even made corrections to the print books. Since they're POD, next buyer gets the updated version anyway.

    1. Hi Sorry, I just saw this. Usually I get notified about comments, but not this time. Amazon sends an email. I know because I got one for one of my books. The subject line reads like this:

      Kindle Quality Notice: [Book title] [Amazon ASIN] Ticket: [0000000000]

      Any errors listed will be in the body of the email, with the Kindle file location number. I had two misspelled words in one of my books, and someone used the above protocol to tell me about them.