I’ve been wanting to re-read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and decided to buy the books to read on my iPad (I already have paperback versions), to benefit from the larger font size. I’m currently near the end of the third book, when I noticed that something was missing. At the end of part III, there’s a section that seemed to not be there. I looked it up in my paperback, and, indeed, pages 459-548 are missing from the ebook edition.
I’m writing to Apple to get a refund (which I’m sure they’ll issue right away; they are pretty good about doing so for any music problems), but I’m somewhat worried about the overall integrity of these ebooks. If I hadn’t read the book before, I might not have noticed the missing part. Sure, there’s a hiccup, but one could assume that it was just glossed over.
So can one assume that ebooks purchased from Apple – or from any other vendor, for that matter – are complete? I’ve seen comments that many of them have editing issues, and I indeed found this to be the case for a Penguin ebook I bought from Amazon.
This is disturbing; are publishers really not performing quality checks for ebooks? In this case, nearly 1/6 of the book is missing; the length of the file should have been checked.
It’s worth noting that this particular book has been the object of several “reviews” in the iBookstore mentioning the glitch (I bought the book before these reviews were posted), some of which mention having contacted Apple. That Apple is still selling the book is at a minimum disturbing.
UPDATE: Apple customer service had me re-download the book. It’s the same. They didn’t seem to understand that it wasn’t a faulty download, but rather a problem with the actual book file that they are peddling. This leads to a problem: since customer service reps probably can’t escalate this type of problem to those who can take care of it, these issues may take a long time to be resolved.
UDATE 2: Apple has replied (much more quickly this time) to my follow-up e-mail, saying:
“I’m sorry to hear that the new copy of “The Waste Lands” is also missing the same section as the first copy. I am sure you were looking forward to reading the entire book and I would be more than happy to assist you with your refund request.
“I have reversed the charge for this iBook. In three to five business days, a credit of $6.99 should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.
“I have also submitted this item for investigation. Apple takes the quality of the items offered on the iTunes Store seriously and will investigate the issue with this item, but I can’t say when or if the issue will be resolved. Please try again in a few weeks if you would like.”
Note the “when and if” part, which suggests that this will never be fixed…Posted: 6/12/2010 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, books, iPad | 18 Comments »