Researching a new book is not my favorite part of the publishing process. Which is why I am delighted to have found a
little wheeze that makes the job a bit easier. It has actually been around for years, but I’ve only just discovered it, which I suppose enhances my techno-thicko credentials but I don’t care. It doesn’t pay to be too cutting edge; you’re always the first up against the wall in a revolution. Just look at what happened in Cambodia.
Anyway, this concerns the downloading of pdf files from my computor to my Kindle.
When you’re trawling all over the internet during the course of research, you will very often come across a paper or report in pdf. format which contains plenty of interesting information. Being a pdf file makes it easily downloadable, which is great if you want to read it later, at your convenience.
Now, even more convenient is the fact that you can transfer this file from your computor to your Kindle device, so that not only can you read it at your convenience, but you can read it IN your convenience if you want to, as well as in bed, in the shed, on the plane or when you’re driving (just joking!)
In case you don’t already know, in order to do this you connect the Kindle to the computer using a USB cable. The Kindle then appears as a removable drive. Click on its icon to open and you’ll see a set of folders. All you have to do is drag and drop or copy and paste your pdf file into the Kindle’s Documents folder and it appears as an item on the Home page.
The problem is, though, that very often pdfs transfered this way don’t display properly. Usually on my machine the font size is so miniscule that it looks like a series of lines and even at maximum resolution I have to squint like Mr Magoo in order to read anything at all. This is because the pdf is not in a proper Kindle format.
The easier way
Which brings me to that little wheeze I was crowing about at the beginning of this article. It seems that those clever folks at Amazon have already thought of this and have come to the rescue by making it easy to convert your pdf into the proper format.
Here’s how it works.
Firstly you have to make sure that your device is registered with Amazon and has its own approved email address (log on to your Amazon account, go to the Manage Your Kindle web page (Manage Your Device > Personal Document Settings) and set it up.
Then all you need to do is send the pdf to the Kindle email address as an email attachment with “convert” in the subject line and it’s automatically reformatted into Kindle format and sent back to your Kindle.
photo credit: barnimages.com Business still life via photopin (license)
According to Amazon, more Kindle books are returned due to bad spelling and grammar than for any other reason.
It’s not hard to see why the Kindle in particular should be so singularly prone to typos.
- Authors are human (mostly), and make mistakes.
- The rush to publish and the DIY nature of the Kindle process means that many authors are dispensing with the quality control processes which were integral to the traditional publishing process. Specifically, instead of using the publishing house’s professional copy-editors they are correcting their own manuscripts which, as I know only too well, is almost impossible to do successfully.
Copy-editors are trained to pick up those howlers and faux-pas that slip unnoticed into the work of lesser mortals. Most professional organisations wouldn’t dream of publishing or releasing any information before it had been throughly checked over for errors by copy-editors or other specialists.
Which makes the following blunders and boo-boos as puzzling as they were expensive.
Back in 2010, Penguin Australia had to pulp 7000 copies of ‘The Pasta Bible’ because it contained a receipe for tagliatelle and sardines which called for ‘salt and freshly ground black people. . .’ It should, of course, have read black pepper.
The most expensive hyphen in history
On July 22, 1962 Mariner 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, marking the United States’ first attempt at an inter-planetary mission. Unfortunately a hyphen had been ommitted from the coded computer instructions, resulting in incorrect guidance signals being sent to the spacecraft. (Actually there was some speculation that the problem might have been caused by an ‘overbar transcription error’—whatever that is—or even a misplaced decimal point, but the missing hyphen was the most likely culprit. Either way it was an editing error.) As a result, five minutes after launch the Range Safety Officer issued the destruct command and the $80 million spacecraft was blown to smithereens. The spelling error ended up costing each and every US taxpayer about one dollar each.
How’s this for a high profile spelling mistake?
In 2008, 1.5 million Chilean 50 peso coins were released with the South American country’s name spelled as ‘Chiie’ instead of ‘Chile’. The mistake was not caught until a coin collector reported the error. By that time, 1.5 million coins were already distributed to the public. Although the mint has so far refused to remove the coin from circulation the mistake has caused the country significant embarrassment, and several Chilean mint employees lost their jobs because of this massive error.
It’s unlikely that any of us Kindle writers will be responsible for howlers on the same scale as these, but maybe we should learn from them.
If the people responsible for such important projects as these can make such gigantic cock-ups, what chance have we got to catch our own mistakes unaided?
So get a professional copy-editor to check your manuscript. Don’t be tempted to scrimp on this stage.
You may not lose a million dollars. But it might cost you your reputation.
My first Kindle book, “Grounding Therapy: Nature’s Most Powerful Natural Health Secret” has just been published. Describing a powerful, previously unknown but completely natural healing power, it’s a concise, simple to understand primer on the phenomenon of Grounding Therapy and it’s out now on Amazon.
Use the link below to check it out.