A major complaint readers have is the declining quality of books. As publishers of all stripes hope to maintain or increase pricing, especially with ebooks, there is the constant friction between pricing and quality — they are in disequilibrium.
To help both readers and publishers, I have decided to start the Hall of Shame, a place where readers and publishers can both come to see what books have quality problems and readers are complaining about. Let me say upfront that this is not a place to
- review a book,
- say that the author is a great or poor storyteller,
- complain about availability, or
- argue the merits of pricing by dissing a book because you do not like the price.
Rather, it is a place to point out where editorial and production quality has fallen down, creating a disequilibrium between price and quality.
The format will be as follows:
Book title, book author, edition (that is, print or ebook), publisher of the edition.
Problem: e.g., poor editing, poor formatting, or both
Samples of error(s): (if appropriate)
Frequency of error(s): e.g., occasional, often, very often
Overall Quality: e.g., very poor, poor, neutral, good, very
Here is the first nominee for the Hall of Shame to illustrate the process.
Look to the Sky, Margaret D. Van Tine, ebook, Live Oak House
Problem: poor editing
Sample of error(s): (1) wrong word use, e.g.: “You don’t call Paw ‘Reverend,’…”; (2) improper and inconsistent use of double and single quote marks; (3) failure to capitalize sentence beginning, e.g.: “I was shouted down! on a vital issue.”; (4) misuse of punctuation marks, including random punctuation marks in the midst of sentences.
Frequency of error(s): often
Overall Quality: poor
By spreading the word about poor editing and formatting, readers will become knowledgable consumers and speak with their wallets, declining to purchase inferior quality books, thereby shaming publishers into fixing them. Should a publisher undertake to fix a book’s problems, that, too, will be noted, assuming the publisher lets us know.
To participate in the Hall of Shame, please send the requested information via e-mail to: hallofshame[at]anamericaneditor.com.
If you have suggestions regarding information that should be included (or excluded) let me know. Remember that this is a part-time blog so Hall of Shame entries won’t necessarily go up immediately.