The truth about e-book misspellings with Amazon

If you read customer reviews on Amazon about an e-book, then like me, you have run across reviews where people complain about bad grammar and misspellings. It gives me pause, and I hesitate to hit the click button. I read samples from one star through four or five stars to get a balance. Some reviews never mention any problems.

What is alarming is that recently I read about misspellings in e-books from two well known and best selling authors. How did this happen?

Some time ago I mentioned that I had a good review of one my e-books, but the reviewer complained about misspellings. I checked through my copy, even going as far as going to my formatter and doing a second spell check, found nothing, and resubmitted to Amazon. I also checked with Amazon before doing this, telling about the problem. They checked and this was there response:

I checked and confirmed that there were 4 potential typo errors found by our spellcheck tool, but no grammatical or other errors were found.

Here are the ones:

booklegger: location 1425
jimjam: location 28
melo: location 2343
xxxxxx: location 2709

I understand that the above mentioned errors may actually be contextually accurate so no action would be required to correct them which is why the tool also gives the option to ignore them. As we were unable to locate any other errors, we suggest checking with the customer who posted the review, to confirm what errors they were able to view on their end. You can leave a comment on their review for your title asking them to check with our Kindle customer support. It’s possible the issue is with their device or reading app that some spacing or other formatting errors may appear. (italics mine)

We’ll be happy to help them out. Rest assured, we’ve not received any complaints regarding the content of the eBook from any customers that we could confirm were present. We would’ve certainly notified you of the same since we strive to maintain very high standards for content published through our platform.

I don’t know if there is a problem with your Kindle, though if you have not experienced this problem on other books, I guess we chalk it up to digital gremlins. It just might be something unexplainable. (italics mine).”

The four exceptions Amazon found were intended. 

Amazon suggested problem with the readers app, then later said it was digital gremlins. Another possibility encountered by another writer was the discovery that Word was undoing corrections in his manuscript. he would correct, and later in rereading that mistake had returned. this has also happened to me, the why this happens is unknown. maybe the digital gremlin. It is also true that some writers can’t spell, have poor grammar, and thus you encounter a bad experience.

But, when it happens to authors like Lisa Alther, Dean Koontz, Ann Rynd, among others, it might be attributed to sloppy work by the publisher, or those gremlins. We live in a new digital age and I am sure there are bugs to be worked out. We assume it is the writers fault, but it could be the unexplainable-as yet- undoing of corrections that Word does, the apps, the formats, the platforms, Russian hackers, or Bigfoot.

And bad things happen to regular books. Back in 1851 Moby Dick did not sell and received bad reviews. It was discovered that the last few pages were missing and that made the end confusing.  And just last night I was reading a book on medical mysteries and found this, “The man who let Napoleon sleep in was his chief medical officer Baron Dominique-Jean Larrey, and as he was the dominant medical figure in an otherwise oppressive military bravura of Waterloo. We ought to digress slightly and take a closer look at this remarkable man and his background.” There should be a comma after Waterloo as the second sentence should be a clause to finish ‘as he was’ so there will always be mistakes, whether hard copy or digital copy.

          Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.-Thomas Berger

My e-books

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