How Amazon Fixes Errors in Kindle Books

Here’s a bit of good info from this month’s print edition of Wired (we couldn’t find the article online). In “Every Day They Rewrite the Book,” Steven Levy, who frequently writes about gadgets for Wired, offers a short account of how an error in a Simon & Schuster Kindle eBooks was fixed by the folks at Amazon.

In his Kindle copy of I, Sniper, Levy noticed the title had been misprinted as “I, Snipper.” “I thought I was about to nestle into a tale of tough guys who take out human targets…but this promised to be the autobiography of a mohel.”

So, Levy contacted a friend at Simon & Schuster, as well as Amazon’s Drew Herdner. The friend at S&S thought Amazon would correct the error (which, they of course would), and beam to corrected eBook to everyone who’d already bought it. Not so. Here’s what Herdner told him about how Amazon fixes errors:

When we find a copyediting or formatting error in a book, we ask the publisher for a new file and replace the one in the Kindle store so that new purchases of the book do not have the error. We will update the file for a book a customer has already purchased only when the customer asks us to.

Amazon learned its lesson the hard way after that 1984 debacle: don’t mess with people’s purchased books, unless they ask you to.