Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Amazon and Editing

There have been rumours around the internet these last weeks which claim Amazon will penalise poorly edited books.

I dug around to see what the story is and discovered that specific complaints from readers will trigger an e-book being examined.

If you want to read the entire article, and it is well worth doing so, then go http://johndopp.com/writers/amazon-kindle-spelling-mistakes/

Amazon staff are to review the complaints. The process is not automated. If it is decided that your book has problems, then you will have the chance to question the complaint or simply correct it. For errors prominent or numerous enough to detract from the reader’s enjoyment, Amazon will place a warning banner on the product’s page alerting customers that the item is under review. Authors and publishers will then have an opportunity to correct the issue and promptly remove the warning banner. (Amazon has already been doing this for years; they’re just expanding the conditions that can trigger an alert.)

Errors that render the book unusable or incomplete or books that violate Amazon’s Terms of Service will be removed from sale.

Some of the things Amazon will look for:

missing content
duplicated content
numbers inadvertently substituted for letters, or vice versa (“typ0gr4phic”, “the year 2o12”)
punctuation used in place of letters (e.g., “I read bo%ks”)
visible or malformed HTML code
discretional hyphens (“bad hy-phenation”)
missing letters (“m ghty pecul ar”)
unsupported characters (e.g., emoticons)
incorrect content (as when the publisher uploads the interior file for a different book)
blurry or excessively compressed images
body text rendered entirely as underlined, bold, or hyperlinked
page numbers embedded in the text
non-functional table of contents or internal links

In other words, largely due to formatting problems or OCR errors.

Amazon will not flag:
minor typographical errors (“What have you got to loose?”)
regional spelling differences (e.g., “favourite” vs. “favorite”)
dialogue, accents, or dialects (“I doan’ budge a step out’n dis place ‘dout a doctor”)
foreign languages, archaic speech (“leet his sheep encombred in the myre”)
proper names (“The Dothraki called that land Rhaesh Andahli”)

Update 1/23/2016: Some authors are reporting flags for a small number of typos. This is inconsistent with what Amazon has previously said, and the enforcement appears to be erratic. It is possible that Amazon’s employees are confused about how strict they should be in cracking down on issues. Stay tuned for further updates.

Update 1/24/2016: A KDP representative has informed me that the warning labels will be referred to as CFQIs, Customer Facing Quality Indicators. The first CFQIs will appear on January 27, 2016. The CFQI will read “Quality issues reported”. Hovering over this indicator will display a list of the types of defects reported by customers (and verified by Amazon). The CFQI will also contain a message stating that the publisher has been notified of the issues. Follow-up questions are in the pipeline, and I will report here when (or if) I receive clarifications.

Update 1/28/2016: KDP has provided additional information about the number of typos that will trigger a CFQI.

Our Quality team uses a formula based on how many defects it contains out of the total allowable defects for a book of its length. Longer titles are allowed more defects than shorter ones because the overall impact is distributed. Note that “locations” below refers to the internal divisions of an ebook, not pages or chapters.

While we are not able to disclose this specific formula, please be informed that an average sized novel with around 3000 locations will trigger the quality warning with 10-15 typos.

1 comment:

Jen Black said...

The Just-About-Average Ms M said: About time! I'll be more than happy to share a whole slew of books with enough mistakes in editing to make them worthless.