Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Problem with "E" books
It's handy being able to download books on the Kindle. It's difficult in some instances to know what you are getting. If it's a case of an author you have read previously, then at least you have some idea what to expect. However, since the advent of self publishing , you really have no idea what you are buying until you buy it, then it's too late if it's a bust.
With print books, you can assume a certain level of professionalism and competency was involved in publishing. The expectation that a good editor has corrected most of the glaring errors in the original manuscript, from a grammatical standpoint, is usually valid.
There are no guarantee's with E books. I've purchased a few that I just quit reading, because the construction was just too jarring.
Then too, some of the books are appallingly bad. No plot construction, no character development, no continuity in the flow of the story. But, you bought it and you are just stuck. There's no one sitting at the top to screen the manuscripts and take the one out of a hundred that merits publishing.
Another tendency I see in post apocalyptic fiction is the " E book" that is only a few chapters long. It's really a short story. Then the last page tells you to look for the next book coming out soon. I once bought six books by the same author, each of which just continued on with the story told in the proceeding books. She wasn't a bad writer, but it was like trying to read Shogun or Centennial one chapter at a time, weeks apart.
The lastest example of a frustrating purchase on the download side is the book below.
I bought it based on the reviews. The author is not a bad writer, and the editing is "good enough."
However, there are so many different characters, in three distinct time periods, that it is almost impossible to keep all of it in the proper relationship. I don't want to spoil anything in case someone else reads it. Let me just say that in this book, at least, two of the different time periods and their characters contributed nothing to the main story. In and of itself, if the author had been content to stick with his story line in the present time, he'd have been much better off.
And then, of course, the book ends after you've been reading for an hour, with the customary exhortation to buy the next volume. I won't be. This is one that just has too many problematic aspects for me to recommend it. Most of them are inherent to the "E Book" world as far as I can tell.
I may just have to start going back to my old practice of thumbing through a book in a bookstore before I buy it.