Yesterday’s News, and Tomorrow’s: Badly-Formatted Kindle eBooks Will (Continue to) Display an Error Message

Yesterday's News, and Tomorrow's: Badly-Formatted Kindle eBooks Will (Continue to) Display an Error Message Amazon eBook Formatting An old story cropped up yesterday as "new" news when it may be anything but. According to one of my competitors:

Starting February 3, 2016 Amazon will begin showing customers a warning message on the Kindle store detail pages of books that contain several validated quality issues. The warning message will be removed as soon as Amazon received an updated file from self-published authors or publishing companies.

Amazon has two stages of the warning system that will go live within a few short weeks. If an e-book only contains a few spelling mistakes, but is still readable, a simple warning message will appear on the details page of that specific title. It will make the average book buyer aware that there are some issues. If the book has bad formatting issues, and basically renders it unreadable Amazon will suppress it and the book listing will be removed.

At least half of this story is old news, and I am still waiting on confirmation of the other half.

Amazon has been pulling ebooks for egregious errors for over four years now, and replacing the listings with warning messages like the following:

Yesterday's News, and Tomorrow's: Badly-Formatted Kindle eBooks Will (Continue to) Display an Error Message Amazon eBook Formatting

I reported on this story in October 2012, and cited a discussion from 2011, so it's not exactly a new story in 2016. In fact, it wasn't exactly news in 2012; I had heard reports going back as early as 2010 that Amazon would pull ebooks for serious errors.

Amazon has continued to pull ebooks in response to reader complaints since then, so the only possible new news today is that Amazon might be adding a second error message.

But I am still waiting for confirmation.

I want that confirmation because because I don't see it as very likely that Amazon would post a notice  over "a few spelling mistakes" when those mistakes could just as easily be valid alternate spellings or words which aren't listed in the dictionary used by Amazon's bot.

False positives are even more likely now that the Kindle Store stocks ebooks in several dozen languages, but it is still possible that Amazon will warn readers about minor issues.

Have you seen one of those warning messages? What did it say?

Update: And now I have confirmation. Over on KBoards an author has posted the email he received from Amazon:

Our shared goal is to provide the best digital reading experience for customers on Kindle. When customers contact us with quality issues in a book you published, we validate the issues and send them immediately to you to fix.

Starting February 3, 2016 we will begin showing customers a warning message on the Amazon.com Kindle store detail pages of books that contain several validated quality issues. We will remove this message for a book as soon as we receive the fixed file from you and verify the corrections -- typically within 2 business days.

We understand that even with the best quality controls, defects sometimes make it through. That's why we've limited this messaging to books with several issues. Books with more serious quality issues will continue to be suppressed from sale.

So the new two-tier warning system is real.

image by JuditK

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

13 Comments

  1. […] zwar bislang schon Titel aus dem Sortiment, wie das Blog The Digital Reader in diesem Zusammenhang anmerkt. Faktisch passiert das aber sehr […]

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  2. […] Yesterday’s News: Badly-Formatted Kindle eBooks Will (Continue to) Display an Error Message […]

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  3. carmen webster buxton21 January, 2016

    Interesting. I recently bought a Dorothy L Sayers book, and the formatting was so incredibly bad, I asked for my 99 cents back. Oddly, it turned out I already had the same book from a different publisher, but Amazon didn’t display the “You bought this item on …” message at the top, I guess because it was from a different publisher. Sayers must have gone out of copyright. So, Amazon has a different ASIN for the two versions, but they lump the reviews together and now all versions are getting one star reviews. I even blogged about the problem.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder21 January, 2016

      That is interesting, yes. If Amazon is conflating the reviews then why not the making a connection between purchases (at least a suggested connection).

      Reply
  4. kurt22 January, 2016

    I have not seen this “warning” once despite reading multiple reviews on a single book alerting potential buyers/readers of horrible grammatical/spelling/editing/formatting errors – reviews I heed despite having no warning from Amazon

    Reply
  5. K. S. Brooks22 January, 2016

    Thank you. You are the Snopes of the publishing world. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder22 January, 2016

      Thanks! I do try my best!

      Reply
  6. Amazon to begin warning customers about error-ridden e-books - TeleRead23 January, 2016

    […] errors within them, Amazon is finally taking some action. Or I should say, some further action. As Nate Hoffelder reported, Amazon has pulled e-books for “egregious” errors for several years now, replacing the listing […]

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  7. […] Yesterday’s News, and Tomorrow’s: Badly-Formatted Kindle eBooks Will (Continue to) Display an Er… (The Digital Reader) […]

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  8. […] According to another article by Nate Hoffelder, Amazon has long been warning readers when they come across an e-Book with substantial errors, and rightfully so. No one wants to try to decipher whether or not a 5 is really supposed to be an “S” whenever they sit down with a romance novel. Sometimes, Amazon will even remove the titles. These files come with a message: […]

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  9. […] can tell I’m not really worried by the “new” Kindle requirements (actually the spellchecker found a typo on The Archers that had avoided both me and Mighty Editor, […]

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  10. […] KDP has reserved that power unto itself since at least 2010, according to Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader. What’s happening now is that Amazon is instituting a two-tier system. Books that are basically […]

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