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Customer Discussions > Kindle forum

Re-edited e-books?

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Showing 1-18 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 29, 2013 1:35:58 PM PDT
L. Phillips says:
I recieved an email today from Amazon informing me that a book I purchased has been re-edited and that I can download the newer version of it. It a non-fiction book on subject of politics and religion. The email said that "significant editorial changes have been made".
I spoke with an Amazon rep. (best customer service anywhere) who told me that the newer download would change the content of the book I already own, instead of just downloading the new version of the book. This makes it impossible to compare the two. The rep couldn't tell me what chapters or specific content had been affected.
Am I the only one who feels uneasy about re-editing books purchased? It feels a bit Orwellian to me.

Posted on May 29, 2013 1:38:19 PM PDT
Korlithiel says:
I have not given it much thought, as the last book it happened to that I purchased was fiction and I felt it was likely just a matter of editing. Now that you mention it, I am a bit bothered by not being informed of the changes that were made and feel it would be reasonably easy for Amazon to compare the versions and so denote what has changed (as I presume they don't delete the original ebook, and if they do that it would be trivial to maintain a copy).

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2013 1:38:26 PM PDT
This is a service offered to purchasers by the publisher/author. If you don't want the newer version, don't download it. If you want to compare the two and you have two kindles, turn off the wifi for one of the two, and then download the new version to the other one. The book won't be able to update. You should be able to read the old one and the new one side by side.

I don't think it's Orwellian at all. It isn't amazon that is making the changes, and you don't have to accept the download.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2013 1:40:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2013 1:40:39 PM PDT
If you purchase the 8th edition of a textbook, it doesn't indicate to you the changes made in first 7 editions so that you can compare them to one another.

However, Mr. Phillips might want to check reviews before he downloads. There may have been a reviewer who did a comparison of the first and second editions.

Posted on May 29, 2013 2:16:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2013 2:16:46 PM PDT
T. Cook says:
"Am I the only one who feels uneasy about re-editing books purchased? It feels a bit Orwellian to me."

I do believe that's why books have edition numbers... None of my text books were the first Edition, and a lot of them (not all) mention corrections from the 1st edition which is why they published a 2nd edition, whether or not they give you a list of those corrections is another story.... Corrected Information/spelling does not seem Orwellian to me... Of course, neither does CCTV, it seems more 1984 to me since he wrote more than one book...

Posted on May 29, 2013 2:20:31 PM PDT
Marion Stein says:
Does anyone know if this is common? It makes me very curious about what the changes were and whether or not there was some concern about plagiarism or libel.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2013 2:36:38 PM PDT
It's very common with textbooks, because as scholarship and research changes, textbooks must change to keep up with the new work.

It's also very common with self-published fiction because so many of them are uploaded unedited, and then when the authors get complaints about errors, they update the file to reflect improvements to their writing. It is less common with trade published fiction, although it is not unheard of.

Posted on May 29, 2013 6:27:29 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2013 6:34:17 PM PDT
I never thought about the "edition" thing; this is true. I suppose the OP has the option of keeping the edition they currently have, or accepting a later edition in exchange.

When you go to MYK, you have the option to update; you don't HAVE to update.

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2013 12:47:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 30, 2013 12:48:44 PM PDT
Marion Stein says:
I know SP writers can update. Smashwords allows people who've downloaded a version to download an updated version free, but I don't believe Amazon has any provision for getting the most recently edited version of an SP book. (I know that I've sent authors crit about errors found and changes were made, and I certainly never heard from Amazon about access to a new version.)

Posted on May 30, 2013 12:56:55 PM PDT
I don't mind updates which are simply corrections to grammar errors. What I don't like are updates that add, change, or remove story arcs. If your book needs those changes, you released it too soon.

In my experience, most Kindle book updates are functional / formatting issues.

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2013 1:15:23 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
L., I actually think it's a wonderful service, since you can take the new version or not.

Here's the way it works (at least with publishers that use Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing...I assume it is similar for tradpubs ((traditional publishers))):

The publisher (and that could be just an author) uploads a new version of the book. It could be to correct errors, improving formatting, or to actually change content.

The publisher alerts Amazon.

Amazon reviews it. There are three possible outcomes:

* Amazon considers it a minor change. Publishers are not alerted by an e-mail, but can (if they choose) download an updated version from

* Amazon considers it a major change. Amazon e-mails former purchasers, and gives them the option of getting the new version

* Amazon's decision is that the update has "broken" the book. They may remove the book from sale, and instruct the publisher to fix it

It can take weeks for this evaluation to be made.

I don't find it particularly different from books in paper (outside of the convenience of it). Publishers make changes to paperbooks, put out the new version, and don't tell you what was changed or even that something was changed (printing numbers aren't necessarily because of changes).

The publisher does have another option. They could release a greatly updated version as a different book, with a different ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). In that case, previous purchasers don't get the new one, unless they buy it. Think a travel guide that is different from year to year. In a case like that, I don't think most people would think that they deserved the 2013 guide to Disnyeland in addition to the one they bought for 1980...

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2013 1:23:54 PM PDT
Seems like at one time Amazon sent email updates out fairly frequently, then I heard that the SPA updates were too numerous to deal with--they don't update for all self-reported reasons by author any more, and they rarely send emails. But, if you go to your MYK page and sort by 'Updates available' you'll see any selections available for download. [If there are no updates, that option isn't visible.]

I hadn't seen any emails in quite a while but this week I got a couple, several of which, surprisingly, were for trad-pubbed books, including one non-fiction. I actually assumed they were kindle-formatting related rather than Orwellian, like the OP...

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2013 1:24:31 PM PDT
I've not been informed of all of them but if you go to the Manage Your Kindle page you can select just those books that are available for update. In the drop down box just above the list of books choose "available for update".

Posted on May 31, 2013 3:08:24 AM PDT
I get the new updated ones because it is mostly typos and formatting issues that were corrected. Sometimes the listing for the newer version will state what was updated-it's very general, but it might give you an idea if you want to download the update or not. If it was something like plagiarism it will not be you getting in trouble for that- that is all on the other party.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2013 5:17:40 AM PDT
I still get the emails. But I do wonder if the update has to be a certain, I dunno, severity (?) to prompt a notification. I haven't matched up the emails to titles in "Updates Available".

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 9:44:30 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 15, 2013 9:58:25 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 14, 2015 4:05:12 PM PST
I did that with one of my books. The book downloaded, however it is kind of "stuck". It indicates download complete, with an X in the upper right corner and I cannot open the "updated" version, or delete it from my kindle.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  18
Initial post:  May 29, 2013
Latest post:  Feb 14, 2015

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