Great article in the LA times about the a voracious reader making the conversion to e-books. He made the switch and ‘never looked back’. His device of choice? The latest Kindle.
It’s a good article, but one minor point stuck out at me. From the article:
Amazon’s e-books seem rife with typos, odd hyphenations, words run together, as though the developers haven’t invested in proofreaders.
I’ve been reading Sharpe’s Tiger on my Kindle. I’m a sucker for historic fiction in the Napoleonic Era, and Bernard Cornwell always pleases. But I’ve noticed several spelling errors. The word “the” has been converted to “die” about a dozen times. I haven’t been counting, but I bet close to thirty words are misspelled.
It got me thinking; communication between the Kindle and Amazon is two way. In other words, I can pull stuff down from Amazon, but I can also push stuff up. I can’t help but think a neat feature would be the ability for me to mark spelling errors while I read. When enough people tag the same error, proofreaders at Amazon could make the correction and push out new copies of the book to anybody who has it.
Technically I think this would be a pretty easy, although I also understand it would very likely be a PR black eye for Amazon. I can see the blog headlines now, Amazon charges you for error-filled books, then asks you to fix it for them.
Still, this would be a great feature for Public Domain works, many of which have been digitized by volunteers. I think readers wouldn’t mind pitching in to help improve the book, just like they do for Wikipedia. Again, you’d have to have a paid editors at Amazon to actually make the changes, just to make sure a couple of yahoos don’t go and change Oliver Twist’s name to Herman Buckleweather, but I think the concept in theory would work.