1 2 3 41 Replies Latest reply on Feb 25, 2014 10:34 PM by deesy58 Go to original post
      • 15. Re: Free Books -- useless?

        Maybe BN should create a special category for Google project books.  If they were tagged and could be excluded from your book search etc.  That is what people are asking for search help, tagging, labeling, whatever. I  don't want to wade through garbage to find the first book free in a series promotion etc. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect BN to give me some tools, multiple  criteria for my searches. 

        • 16. Re: Free Books -- useless?
          keriflur

          Actually, FT, we've not discussed THIS issue.

           

          There is a huge difference between judging the content of a legible book versus refusing to sell a defective one. Its the same as any other product - a pair of cheap headphones that sound crappy versus don't actually provide sound at all. One is a quality issue, the other is DEFECTIVE. 

           

          Most stores can't tell if a product is defective before they sell it, but in the case of ebooks, a company can easily see some defects, such as OCR artifacts and some other format translation issues. If a company can reject defective product BEFORE it gets to a consumer, why wouldn't they? Especially when their competition is doing it. 

           

          I don't think B&N has any place judging writing quality or content, but this is not that. 

          • 17. Re: Free Books -- useless?
            Mercury_Glitch

            keriflur wrote:

            Actually, FT, we've not discussed THIS issue.

             

            There is a huge difference between judging the content of a legible book versus refusing to sell a defective one. Its the same as any other product - a pair of cheap headphones that sound crappy versus don't actually provide sound at all. One is a quality issue, the other is DEFECTIVE. 

             

            Most stores can't tell if a product is defective before they sell it, but in the case of ebooks, a company can easily see some defects, such as OCR artifacts and some other format translation issues. If a company can reject defective product BEFORE it gets to a consumer, why wouldn't they? Especially when their competition is doing it. 

             

            I don't think B&N has any place judging writing quality or content, but this is not that. 


            This I can agree with, some quality control for things before they get in to the shop would be welcome.  Once they get in it's a harder question. 

            • 18. Re: Free Books -- useless?
              keriflur

              patgolfneb wrote:

              Maybe BN should create a special category for Google project books.  If they were tagged and could be excluded from your book search etc.  That is what people are asking for search help, tagging, labeling, whatever. I  don't want to wade through garbage to find the first book free in a series promotion etc. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect BN to give me some tools, multiple  criteria for my searches. 


              There are a LOT of OCRd books from other pubs.

              • 19. Re: Free Books -- useless?
                keriflur

                Mercury_Glitch wrote:

                keriflur wrote:

                Actually, FT, we've not discussed THIS issue.

                 

                There is a huge difference between judging the content of a legible book versus refusing to sell a defective one. Its the same as any other product - a pair of cheap headphones that sound crappy versus don't actually provide sound at all. One is a quality issue, the other is DEFECTIVE. 

                 

                Most stores can't tell if a product is defective before they sell it, but in the case of ebooks, a company can easily see some defects, such as OCR artifacts and some other format translation issues. If a company can reject defective product BEFORE it gets to a consumer, why wouldn't they? Especially when their competition is doing it. 

                 

                I don't think B&N has any place judging writing quality or content, but this is not that. 


                This I can agree with, some quality control for things before they get in to the shop would be welcome.  Once they get in it's a harder question. 


                Not really. Remove the Buy button and add a red note that the book is not for sale due to formatting defects that rendered it Illegible. "We are working with the publisher to resolve this issue and hope to have the book available again soon."

                 

                If the pub doesn't fix in a set timeframe, remove the book from the store. 

                • 20. Re: Free Books -- useless?

                  As a business enterprise you have to wonder why BN is encouraging amateurs.  I  published several short stories, through the now defunct Tulane press many moons ago. My total reimbursement was less than $1000.00. Mostly I established my own lack of talent and the importance of keeping my day job. Despite this I clearly was an amateur. 

                   

                  Anyone willing to give away their work for free on an extended basis is also an amateur.  Just as many people who play instruments, make crafts, paint etc.  Unlike myself some have considerable talent. Some are just dreamers who don't accept they are not talented enough.  You can see a sampling every year on American Idol auditions. 

                   

                  A writer with professional aspirations has to write in a disciplined manner and spend many hours editing and re writing .  Almost all new authors rely on a writing group or friends for feedback.  Almost no one serious and disciplined seeks no financial return.  This means legitimate free books are promotional, amateurs or scams, someone after your e mail address or something. BN has no reason to support amateurs or scammers.  Which category do you think unreadable books come from? Serious writers won't jeopardize their hard work with an unreadable book.  BN has every reason to exclude products not produced in a professional manner and to help us avoid those products. 

                   

                  I recognize that there are exceptions.  I  met  a friend of the author of a Confederacy of  Dunces, at a student writers workshop.  He gave us photo copied versions of his then current draft.  Today he might put it out as a free book and seek feedback. Even then his goal was to be a paid author. In some sense getting paid is recognition of your talent and perseverance. 

                  • 21. Re: Free Books -- useless?
                    keriflur

                    patgolfneb wrote:

                    As a business enterprise you have to wonder why BN is encouraging amateurs.  I  published several short stories, through the now defunct Tulane press many moons ago. My total reimbursement was less than $1000.00. Mostly I established my own lack of talent and the importance of keeping my day job. Despite this I clearly was an amateur. 

                     


                    They are because Amazon is, and because there are some very successful self-pubbed authors. As you mentioned, some self-pubbers are very talented, and some are excellent at writing stories that sell a lot of copies (those aren't always the talented ones, lol).

                     

                    $1000 is more than most self-pubbers make, and while low, it's not a terribly uncommon traditional publishing advance.  It sounds like, by today's standards, you did pretty well.

                    • 22. Re: Free Books -- useless?

                      LarryOnLI wrote:

                      There is no way possible for B&N (or any company) to check these thousands of eBooks for quality, and frankly why should B&N pay staff to do Google's copy editing for them.

                      _____________________________________________

                      Certainly there is.  In the last three weeks I've downloaded almost 40 eBooks that a simple 5-second visual scan through the first few pages would have revealed to be too full of OCR errors to be readable.

                       

                      But no one has suggested that B&N edit the books -- Google should be doing that.  The suggestion is that B&N needs to so some quality control on the products it offers up on its website.

                       

                      Suppose someone at U-Mich with a grudge against someone in th food chain decided to insert some pages of graphic pronography into a scan of an old Bible, and U-Mich passes that on to Google books, and Google books passes that on to B&N, and B&N posts it for their customers to DL for free.  Arguably there should have been either editing or quality control at least at three stages during this process.  But which part of that chain do you suppose is going to catch the most heat when pious B&N customers discover the porn?

                       

                      _____________________________________________

                      If B&N were to remove these free Google books from their offerings, people would scream bloody murder that they were being denied access to free books that in some cases are not available from any other source.

                      _____________________________________________

                       

                      They're available from the Google Book Project.

                       

                      _____________________________________________

                      The customer needs to be aware of what they are getting, perhaps there should be a disclaimer on the product page when buying the book.

                      _____________________________________________

                      Agreed.

                       

                      But this doesn't address the issue of B&N participating in teh dissemination of misinformation and corrupted texts that were alleged supposed to have been "preserved".

                       

                       

                      • 23. Re: Free Books -- useless?
                        MacMcK1957
                        A year or so ago, I took a look at a bunch of the free classic books listed on B&N. My impression was that B&N had done some sort of mass upload, years ago, of the entire google books free library. Some looked decent, some were garbage. I assume that was google's work. None had any remotely recent dates on them. If these were all mass uploaded, and B&N just assumed at the time that google had done their work, it would not surprise me at all if in fact B&N hasn't even looked at any of them since.
                        • 24. Re: Free Books -- useless?
                          LarryOnLI

                          Once again.

                           

                          Google mass scanned the contents of multiple university libraries and ran these images through OCR software to create eBooks.

                           

                          Their stated objective was to preserve the books and make them available to the public.

                           

                          Regardless of the OCR errors in the converted eBooks, they have succeeded in preserving the books, because the original scans are retained.

                           

                          Also, a book with typeset mathematical equations is NEVER EVER EVER (yes I know that is grammatically incorrect) going to OCR correctly. There are limits to the software's abilities.

                           

                          So these books are the worst possible test case of the Google project.

                           

                          Finally B&N made the Google project books available as a service to their customers, because people were requesting them.

                           

                          Would you be happier if these books were just plain not available?

                           

                          B&N isn't going to put any effort into correcting them, they're free!

                           

                          Google isn't going to put any effort into correcting them, they're free!

                           

                          Your choice are to have them available for download from B&N, or not to have them.

                           

                          • 25. Re: Free Books -- useless?
                            bobstro

                            Again, the PDF versions of many of the older titles available from Google are fine. Why can't/won't B&N put up the most usable version of the scanned files?

                             

                            I'd be more receptive to the "it's free, what do you want?" argument if we had a way to filter out such results. B&N touts free titles in their advertising, so I do think they still have some obligation to weed out garbage, even if they let the community do it via crowdsourcing. Right now it's:

                             

                            "Free salad if you eat here!"

                            "There's a fly in my lettuce."

                            "Well it's free, so you should expect that.  You can have edible salad, but that will cost you".

                             

                            B&N is advertising free books as a benefit. Pulling the "it's free" card only generates a feeling of being duped.

                             

                            I get it. They're free. When I'm looking for something specific, having dozens of pages of such "related" results isn't helpful if it's already known that they're garbage. If some sort of flag usable for filtering were available, it'd give B&N an opportunity to post a disclaimer. As it is now, people (myself included when I first signed up) download these titles having no idea of their history and wonder how the garbage wound up displayed under B&N's corporate logo. Now that I know what they are, I'd love to just avoid them.

                             

                             

                            • 26. Re: Free Books -- useless?
                              keriflur

                              LarryOnLI wrote:

                               

                              Finally B&N made the Google project books available as a service to their customers, because people were requesting them.

                               


                              And that's great for the ones that are readable. But for the others? No.

                               

                              If a copy from a non-Google publisher is available, B&N can simply deny the book's entry into the store. For a book for which there is no other publisher, B&N can list the book in the store with the "Unfortunately this book is not available because" message.

                               

                              What this comes down to, ultimately, is this :B&N is carrying products in their store that are clearly defective and they are doing nothing about it. Would you shop at your local grocery store if you knew that all the milk was rotten, and no one was going to get new milk in, they were just going to keep selling the rotten stuff? Would you shop at your local clothing store if you knew that their clothes fell apart after the first wash?

                               

                              No store should knowingly carry defective product, and continue to offer that product to customers.

                              • 27. Re: Free Books -- useless?
                                LarryOnLI

                                keriflur wrote:

                                LarryOnLI wrote:

                                 

                                Finally B&N made the Google project books available as a service to their customers, because people were requesting them.

                                 


                                And that's great for the ones that are readable. But for the others? No.

                                 

                                If a copy from a non-Google publisher is available, B&N can simply deny the book's entry into the store. For a book for which there is no other publisher, B&N can list the book in the store with the "Unfortunately this book is not available because" message.

                                 

                                What this comes down to, ultimately, is this :B&N is carrying products in their store that are clearly defective and they are doing nothing about it. Would you shop at your local grocery store if you knew that all the milk was rotten, and no one was going to get new milk in, they were just going to keep selling the rotten stuff? Would you shop at your local clothing store if you knew that their clothes fell apart after the first wash?

                                 

                                No store should knowingly carry defective product, and continue to offer that product to customers.


                                You keep referring to "selling" as if you purchased something.

                                 

                                This was a free book. B&N made no profit off of it.

                                 

                                Sorry, but the way I see it an over developed sense of entitlement is at play here.

                                 

                                • 28. Re: Free Books -- useless?
                                  keriflur

                                  LarryOnLI wrote:

                                  keriflur wrote:

                                  LarryOnLI wrote:

                                   

                                  Finally B&N made the Google project books available as a service to their customers, because people were requesting them.

                                   


                                  And that's great for the ones that are readable. But for the others? No.

                                   

                                  If a copy from a non-Google publisher is available, B&N can simply deny the book's entry into the store. For a book for which there is no other publisher, B&N can list the book in the store with the "Unfortunately this book is not available because" message.

                                   

                                  What this comes down to, ultimately, is this :B&N is carrying products in their store that are clearly defective and they are doing nothing about it. Would you shop at your local grocery store if you knew that all the milk was rotten, and no one was going to get new milk in, they were just going to keep selling the rotten stuff? Would you shop at your local clothing store if you knew that their clothes fell apart after the first wash?

                                   

                                  No store should knowingly carry defective product, and continue to offer that product to customers.


                                  You keep referring to "selling" as if you purchased something.

                                   

                                  This was a free book. B&N made no profit off of it.

                                   

                                  Sorry, but the way I see it an over developed sense of entitlement is at play here.

                                   


                                  Where in "B&N is carrying products in their store that are clearly defective and they are doing nothing about it." or "No store should knowingly carry defective product, and continue to offer that product to customers." do I use the word "Selling"?

                                   

                                  Are these examples more appeasing to you?

                                  Here's some free milk, but you can't drink it because it's spoiled.

                                  Here's a free t-shirt.  Yeah, we know it doesn't have any arm or neck holes.  But hey, it's free, so we can call it anything we want.

                                   

                                  Giving away spoiled food and other things that are useless to anyone is just dumb, plain and simple.  If I were at the market and they were giving away rotten fruit, and told me that I could buy good fruit inside, I'd wonder at the intelligence of the people running the market.  I'd find it offensive that they offered me rotten fruit and I'd wonder why they didn't get rid of it.  And I'd be annoyed that they wasted my time by showing me the rotten fruit in the first place.

                                   

                                  If you've got the time to sift through all that crap, knock yourself out.  But if B&N wants to offer a premium experience, and they should, because that will help them sell their $$ product, they should get rid of all the rotten fruit.

                                  • 29. Re: Free Books -- useless?

                                    I'm a proponent of the "you get what you pay for" philosophy, but I'm coming to see the validity of the "seller's responsibility" argument as well. The grocery store analogy, while spurious at best, does point to responsibility. Stores regularly remove expired perishables from their shelves, be they fruits and vegetables, meats, or dairy products. And they don't try to fob them off on the unsuspecting public.

                                     

                                    While there may be legal reasons for not editing and financial reasons for not validating the quality of every ebook, I believe there is a responsibility to the customer. If the book, free or not, is found to be defective and reported as such, B&N should have a mechanism whereby:

                                     

                                    1) the customer's concern is addressed

                                    2) the questionable book is examined

                                    3) the book is removed or flagged

                                    4) the publisher/author is requested to fix the problem

                                     

                                    It appears, from what I've read so  far that B&N does not do any of these (correct me if I'm wrong Merc and FT). If that is the case, then B&N is not fulfilling a basic responsibility to their customers, that of offering good product. This does not make them evil, only corporate (although the two can be synonymous). It also does not make them unique. I defy you to find a major retailer who never proffers defective product or fails to address it when found.

                                     

                                    We, as customers, also bear the responsibility of reporting defective product and seeking redress through official channels. Coming here and complaining bitterly only assuages your hurt feelings. The problem is, B&N does not seem to have those channels open. We need to, politely, request that they be opened.

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