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A win for Amazon readers - Amazon will now flag badly formatted and edited eBooks

A win for Amazon readers - Amazon will now flag badly formatted and edited eBooks


Earlier this year, Amazon announced a new update to their Kindle Content Quality policy, which would enable readers to report problems found in their eBooks. This was met with panic in the self-publishing industry, as some blogs framed the news in a much more gory manner than was really the case. Visions of red flags and flashing warnings sprung to mind, but it is not quite that bad, yet still not great… What it is, is an opportunity for self-publishing authors to silence the naysayers, who have long bashed the industry, and assure the readers of our commitment to sharing quality content with them.

Get-rich-quick manuals online have alerted opportunists to the idea of publishing books as a means to make money in a hurry. Unfortunately, this has led to an influx of rubbish content that is poorly written and offers little to no value. Amazon, always looking to provide a better reader experience and product quality, decided to protect their assets by enabling readers to complain about poor quality eBooks. Unless your eBook is professionally edited, it may well be in the firing line.

Spelling Errors in Kindle eBooks Casting a Bad Reputation on the Industry

When an eBook is published on Amazon, it goes through a lengthy automated approval process which aims to combat unreadable content. However, this process does not replace professional editing.

One of the main reasons why the industry looks down on self-publishing, is because authors see it as an opportunity to save on the costs of hiring an editor. Yes, we have all seen typos in traditionally printed books, even those of best-selling authors. We also know that even the most professional and talented editors have an average error-rate of 5%, but what does that mean for un-edited manuscripts?

As an author trying to make a living from your writing, the last thing you want is a banner stating that your book is full of errors.


Amazon will now flag badly formatted and edited eBooks 2


Self-published authors have been under scrutiny since the inception of the Amazon KDP platform, which enables everyone to share their work with a global audience. Yet, some authors’ resistance to invest in professional editing leaves a bad taste in the mouths of eBook readers.

Amazon’s New Reader Reporting Tool

Amazon recently introduced a new update to their quality content policy which allows readers to file specific complaints about the quality of your eBooks. The purpose of this initiative is to combat poor quality eBooks from being sold on the platform and does not apply to an isolated typo, which may inevitably slip through the most diligent editing processes.

Humans at Amazon will review the complaints and your manuscript, and get in touch with you to correct or contest the problem. Issues they will be looking for, will include missing or duplicated content; spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors; unsupported characters (emoticons), and formatting issues.

When your eBook is flagged, it will be bear the following message on the sales pages:  


Amazon will now flag badly formatted and edited eBooks


During the review process, readers will be unable to purchase your book, which means you will be missing out on potential sales. Depending on the significance of the errors, you may have to reconsider hiring an editor to correct the issues, and you will have to go through the entire publishing again. All of the hassle (and the negative slant on your reputation!) could be saved by simply investing into copy-editing or proofreading from the start.

Hiring an Editor Ensures a Quality Manuscript

As an author who is serious about carving out a niche in the self-publishing arena, you will want to make the best possible impression on your readers from the very first sentence to the very last. Hiring an editor to spot glaring (and hidden!) problems is imperative to your success.

South African authors wishing to break into the international market have to consider the geographical language differences that require additional skill. While the use of “z” instead of “s” and the “u” that’s dropped from “colour” is elemental, other issues can affect the readability of your manuscript. We tend to use idiomatic and metaphorical language, whereas the Americans are much more literal, and some of the things we say that are universally understood by our country folk, are completely misunderstood by overseas readers. It affects readers’ understanding  and enjoyment of your book, and can impact future sales. That’s where a professional editor with international experience comes in handy. The editor would make recommendations on how to maintain your South African “flavour” while ensuring that your international audience understands your message.


Read more on the topic of Amazon's warnings for poorly formatted eBook here and here.


Do you have reservations about hiring an editor? Please leave a comment below and we will address your questions, which many writers probably share.

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