Friday, May 13, 2011

Not All eBooks are Created Equally

As part of my learning more about Kindlegen and how to make Kindle books, I took source from Project Gutenberg for Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, two of my favorite books.   As an experiment, I decided to use this content to create my own eBooks.

I had already purchased free versions for my Kindle and my phone and I have a paper copy that I purchased my years ago. Once I had generated books for both stories, I looked through each version and discovered something interesting and important.

The free Kindle versions do not include images of my original paper version. And the images in the ePub version (from the Apple iBook store) has completely different images.  What's worse is that in Through the Looking Glass the poems are missing. No Jabberwocky, no Walrus and the Carpenter.  This makes it hard to follow the stories or really appreciate the genius of Lewis Carroll.

Back in college, one of my professor told me that not dictionary are equivalent; some have more words that others.  Apparently, some dictionary makers leave out works; this is often true for paperback editions.  I now realize that a similar rule is true for eBooks.  Free eBooks might now be worth the download, particularly for older classics.

So a word to the wise, you might want to pay a few pennies for a copy of an eBook to ensure the story is complete.  In fact, very soon, when I go replace my paper copies of Dickens, I plan to purchase the ones with the original illustrations.  They all are under a $1 and it will be worth every penny to know the book is complete.

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