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Sloppy conversion mars reading enjoyment
on January 12, 2011
I was a print subscriber for ~20 years and have subscribed to the Kindle version since 1/11. Here's an updated (downgraded) review of the Kindle product, based on an email I sent to The Atlantic.
The Kindle edition of this excellent magazine is marred by numerous conversion errors. For example, here are the errors I detected in a single read through just one of the articles (William Powers' dispatch on body surfing in Liberia) in the July/August 2012 issue:
The subtitle for this article was mispunctuated and miscapitalized, with a period rather than a comma after the first clause. Elsewhere in the article, "one" was substituted where "once" was clearly intended. A whole line of text was missing: these sentences "The first gigantic wave slammed me into a sandbar. I limped back to the beach and lay on my back in the sand" appeared as "The first gigantic limped back to the beach and lay on my back in the sand" on my Kindle. That's a lot of mistakes to catch in a casual perusal of only 1085 words, and it marred the experience of reading a well-written, intriguing dispatch.
There are many other, similar errors in this current issue, along with most other Kindle editions of The Atlantic. I don't think it's too much to expect that Amazon's document conversions be checked for accuracy before being released to paying subscribers. Checking for lost text ("wave slammed me into a sandbar. I") by comparing the number of words in an article before and after conversion requires only the most rudimentary code. Selling such a flawed product is not fair to your authors or to the reputation of The Atlantic, and makes me fear that Amazon's growing dominance in the eBook market will further erode editorial standards everywhere.
At $2.39/issue, I'm paying as much for the truncated electronic version of the magazine as I used to pay (~1980-1999) for the throroughly edited, complete print edition, which, of course, came out 12 times/year. This is one industry that progress is not improving