The Travails of the eBook

Diane Duane wrote an interesting post responding to a shocking post from Teleread.  They are both facinating reads about the travails of the eBook market, and the odd problems publishers are having moving their content over, including these new editions are adding horrid typos to the text such as:

“The reader is invited to examine the next Jew chapters…” (Teleread)

Ack, how could a publisher miss that?

Enter the eBook

Publishing is in crisis.  I don't think there are any readers or writers out there that are unaware of the problems the industry is having.  The eBook market, like the audiobook market, was seen as a small niche market by the publishers, so they didn't pay much attention to the quality of either.

Now that both are taking off as preferred methods for reading their lack of attention is biting them in the butt.

Compounding issues is that as these formats are taking off, more authors are checking out of the old school publishers and moving to publish their own books.  This gives rise to new issues.

Where have all the editors gone?

Small press and self-publishers often don't have the money or the prestige to attract editors, and the work suffers.

I have had this issue.  I enjoy working with editors, and feel like it makes my work better, but as a self-publisher, the cost of an editor is a problem.  Most services are just for copy editors, and that is important, but I am more interested in having a content editor I can develop a relationship with.

There are not many options for folks like me.  We are desperately in need of a new model.

Beta Readers?

I have thought about setting up a beta reader site to control who has access to it so I can gather a group of trusted readers together to comment on my fiction while I am working on it.  My biggest problem with that is that I would probably have to consult a lawyer to make sure that everything works smoothly, and to help me write a license explaining in legalese what the relationship between me and the beta readers would be.

Wow, that is starting so sound complicated.  I am not sure if I want to get involved with all these issues.  Complexity stifles innovation.

I am not sure what the solution to this would be.  Maybe there should be a beta reader license foundation like the Creative Commons Foundation to maintain such a license, but that seems like a dream at this point, but it is something to look at.

What solutions do you have?  How can we make eBooks better?