I must credit one of my blog readers with making me think about the quality standard of ebooks. It is no great industrial secret that some ebooks are very badly written and edited, but there are also many that are well written and great value. So how do you find out which is which before you buy?
Before giving some tips that may help, I would like to say that the time is nearing when the main ebook publishers need to take some responsibility and start vetting to sort some of the wheat from the chaff. While it seems Amazon Kindle is still publishing anything and everything, I must say that Smashwords have at least started a form of quality control.
Their premium status ebooks are distributed to Amazon, Apple, Sony and many other retailers and to qualify for this program a book must pass a number of human checks. I know from my own experience that it can take some weeks to be approved. This I think is a step in the right direction.
Tip 1. So perhaps if you have a choice at the same price, Smashwords may be a good first option in finding a degree of quality.
Tip 2. Before I buy any ebook, I always download a sample first. I think this has saved me a number of times as the first chapter or two tell you if it’s well written or not. I have encountered ‘clanging’ errors many times, even on what are supposed to be quality books from well known writers and publishers.
Tip 3. Reviews are a good guide, but be aware that there is a ‘trade’ in ebook reviews, so check out who wrote the review. Usually you can contact the reviewer and ask. One of the benefits of social media.
Tip 4. Free ebooks are very often offered directly by authors. Check out author websites and see what they have to offer. Normally you are asked to join a mailing list, but you can always unsubscribe if it becomes a pain.
Tip 5. Ask your friends. Especially your friends on social media. A great way to get an honest answer.
Ebooks are a new frontier and have become part of our everyday routine extremely quickly. And as with anything new, it takes time to settle. One point I would make however is that the quality standard of ebooks is not a culture clash between traditional publishers and Indies. Both can be good or bad.
In fact, I just finished reading the first Harry Potter book as an ebook and to my horror, there were a number of typos.