“You, you, you, you! Get out!”
It upsets me. I’ve only gotten a refund once before and that was because I bought the wrong book, and realized the mistake the second after I clicked the buy button. I support authors. I hate when authors have to take the hit for their publisher’s mistakes. This was one of my must-read authors and I want to read this book and usually I’ll grit my teeth and ignore the nonsense as best I can in order to read an M-R-A.
But… damn it. I can’t take anymore.
Maybe it’s just me. I spent all day yesterday trying to figure out if a new technique will work properly on devices I don’t have ready access to. That’s a lot of work and nitpicking and frustration. Maybe it’s because the internet is crawling with information about how to properly format an ebook, but I still keep finding ebooks that are broken or ugly or amateurish or just plain careless. Maybe I am just fed up and tired of being tolerant and I’ve read too many poorly formatted books here lately. Maybe I expected that at this point in the game publishers should have figured out the basics.
So Dear Angry Robot Books, please learn how to properly design and format an ebook.
- Do NOT ever center paragraph blocks. Amateur hour! It’s messy, ugly and the only thing missing are hearts and smiley faces dotting the ‘i’s.
- Don’t compound the ugliness by italicizing the centered text and calling even more attention to how hideous it is.
- Justify the body text. Left aligned looks like a manuscript. Use it only in special circumstances.
- Whatever the hell you did to screw up the font size controls so that I was left with a choice between “squint at the screen” or “six words per page”–do NOT ever do that again. Ever. I mean it. Don’t.
- Use scene break indicators! Want to know what happens when a blank line meets the bottom of the screen? It disappears!
- Do a proper indent on the paragraphs. That extra narrow indentation is a cheap paperback device to save paper costs. It looks like crap in print and it looks like crap in ebooks.
- When the ebook is formatted, look at it! Load it up on an ereader and LOOK AT IT. Would you want to read something that is broken and looks awful and is distracting and looks like a 7th grader built it during study hall? No? Then do it over.
So that’s it. I have finally learned my lesson. No more auto-buys from even my most cherished writers. I don’t care if I’ve been salivating a year in anticipation of a new release. Everything gets sampled. Like Gordon says, “Your menu, my standards.” Meet the standards or lose the sale.