Let me show you one page that sums up the problem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats

That’s a lot of formats. Also, not all of them are really followed. Kindle has a format, “.mobi,” which if you decode various .mobi books (which may be illegal, but they are being shared willy-nilly out there), you realize publishers are being really lax with the standards. What I’m trying to do is get a standard format everyone can agree on, which I thought was EPUB, but there’s a 2.0 format and a 3.0 format. Given my most popular request is via the Kindle, which does not support EPUB, this is a kind of quandary.

All current readers support plain text, but then that looks like crap. PDF is supported by most readers, except the Kindle version 1, and “Azbooka WISEreader,” but I don’t care about them at the moment. Sadly, our early tests with PDF also looked like crap. Table of contents was messed up, the formatting looked like poop on the K2, and then the K1 doesn’t support it.

And none of this included the hell that is DRM. I’d rather avoid DRM. I think it punishes my honest readers and the pirates would just laugh at us like the laugh at the FBI warnings in front of movies. I can’t stop pirating, and DRM is just adding to the complications.

We have a new converting person, who has the final, final draft of the book. I have to admit, I cheated a little. The final, final draft I sent had a LOT of corrections from the print version. I can’t believe we had six people editing this book (me being one of them) and we missed SO MANY errors. All it took was a seventh editor, a friend of mine who did it on his volition without asking, to find probably over 100 mistakes in the form of missing words, transposed words, and a few words that were incorrectly used. Like I used “ancestors” where I should have used “descendants.” How fucking embarrassing for me. It’s because of this that I still firmly believe that there are two essential pieces to any book: an author and an editor. I don’t have an ego when it comes to an editor pointing out where I used “they” instead of “the” or “mixed words two with one another.” Spellcheckers don’t find things like that. I have no one to blame (but me, the originator of all these mistakes), because it went through six people; two of them who edit for a living. How could we have all missed so many? I guess there is no such thing as a perfect book, because when I did a poll on Ars Technica about what they hated most in e-Books, “constant misspellings and poor editing in comparison to the print version” was one of the tops ones. Really? That surprised me a lot. I guess my book will be the other way around.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted.

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