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 eBook Quality  
An increasingly popular hobby as of late has been eBook authoring. People have become taken with being authors of the next generation, seeing their names in digital print and knowing that people are reading books that they put together. This is also a very important task in the grand scheme of things since eBooks can only thrive if there are people actively making them.

In the digital world, like so many others a rather common problem presents itself. With more and more people participate, the quality and legality often suffers. A parallel to the eBook problem is that of a store (your convenience store, for example) and the coming of the Internet. To open a store in the real world you must have capital, inventory, equipment, a premise; certain licenses and you are bound by rules and regulations (with regulators to back them up). To open an eStore you need nothing but a basic understanding of a computer and stock. There are regulations but due to international trade, no one can really back them up - and often they fall into the pit of illegal activity by either taking the money and running or selling stolen or pirated goods. That is not to say all eStores are running illegal goods, nor are they even a majority, but they are there and they are far more rampant than your common brick-and-mortar store two doors down.

It is the same thing with eBooks versus their paper brethren. The cost of producing a paper book often prohibits pirating on a large scale and while shoddy products do exist, you can always return it for a refund. With eBooks however, the cost is minimal, if anything and there are no standards to enforce. Typing 'Harry Potter eBook' in to Google reveals many readily downloadable versions of an illegal book. The quality of such books (and many legal ones) are extremely questionable, with errors abounding, improper formatting, stolen graphics for title pages and possibly gross portions of the original text missing. Hardly something you would want to try and read.

This section will detail what to look for when purchasing or downloading eBooks, to determine whether they are authentic or merely cheap copies or illegally pirated books.

1. "Don't Judge a Book by its Cover"

While this adage is used far too often today it still holds a very valid point, when purchasing eBooks, do not simply say to yourself, "The cover looks professional so it is probably authentic." This might seem like unnecessary advice but it is wise to heed it. In today's digital age, a pretty picture can be quickly and almost effortlessly generated using an image-editing tool. (View sample fake cover below)

(Its just that easy to make a fake eBook cover - total editing time, 1 minute)

2. What does the site look like?

What does the site look like? Are their spelling errors running rampant? Are their ads that aren't meant for illicit or profane products or services? Are the books free even though you would have to pay for them at a local bookstore? If so, use common sense. It should be fairly obvious that the publishing company does probably not endorse these books.

3. What does the ebook look like?

This is probably the most important question to ask yourself. If you are purchasing or downloading an eBook that is deemed 'official' but there are many spelling errors or the book is not properly formatted, how official do you think it is?

4. What does the ebook look right?

When downloading a free or purchased eBook, for example Macbeth, it should be readable. In the case of Macbeth, a Shakespearean play, it should be properly formatted, in other words, the characters names should all be aligned with their lines and should be capitalized. You shouldn't see a lines appear on the same line as the preceding line. If you are faced with this, the book will often be a chore to read and probably means further quality issues down the road. (See figure 4.1)

Figure 4.1

He           said
    to the             bar



Can you read that easily?

5. Was the book released electronically?

It is surprising how many people believe that because they find a copy of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or other popular eBook on the Internet, they immediately assume it was released by the publisher for electronic distribution. For very popular and very recent books publishers don't often release the digital rights to it. The reason for that is that, while eBooks are relatively secure they can still be mass distributed much faster than a paper book. So, before downloading a book do some research. If it is a popular book, look on some large scale sites (listed in a previous section) and see if you can find it. If you can't find it or any news about it, chances are it isn't legitimate.

After asking yourself these simple questions you should be able to easily discern whether the book is of good quality and legal. It is often best to do some research on the site you purchase or download from, remember, if it is such a popular site, chances are others will agreeand say so on the Internet.


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