Publishers like to justify their ridiculous ebook prices by claiming to offer great value for the price. I'm sure that's what Hachette was thinking when they set the ebook price for Casual Vacancy, J K Rowling's new book, at $18.
Now, if only the ebook didn't look like crap Hachette might have gotten off with just a few disappointed customers.
Reports are coming in today and yesterday that the Nook and Kindle editions of this ebook look terrible. Readers are reporting that the font settings are screwed up, with the Kindle edition only being able to show the smallest and the largest fonts, with some users not able to change from the smallest and virtually unreadable font.
This complaint has been confirmed by a number of reviewers on Amazon as well as several Twitter users, but that's not all. I've heard a number of nearly identical complaints about the Nook edition for this title. I first heard this in a private Facebook group last night, but now it is being echoed on B&N's Nook Support Forums:
Have others run into this problem? I have a Nook Simple Touch and cannot adjust the tiny font of the new JK Rowling book. I don't think I'll be able to read 400+ pages like this!
And here is another.
There's no word yet from the publisher on when this will be fixed., though now that it has hit the major tech blogs (Gizmodo already picked it up) I expect it to be their top priority. In any case, this just goes to show that price does not now nor has it ever correlated to ebook quality.
Update: Hachette has said that they fixed this issue and already provided the corrected ebook to the ebookstores. According to paidContent:
There was an issue with the file (no issues reading the book, just adjusting the type), but that has been corrected and is fully adjustable/functional for all those who have purchased the e-book and for those who will purchase it in the future.
That's great but not exactly true. According to Laura her copy isn't fixed:
If you’ve already bought the ebook, the file isn’t going to correct itself. You’ll have to download it again — and Amazon isn’t yet pushing out an updated version, so you can either try buying the ebook again (which: why?) or wait for an update to roll out.
Luckily there does appear to be a work around.
All the reports of the font issues are only being reported on the Nook and Kindle hardware. The apps don't seem to have this same issue, so if you're not bothered by being forced to switch you could always read on an app until Hachette fixes the problem.
image by FontFont