The Kindle edition of the rather excellent book Red Plenty is broken. It has lots of footnotes in it that are completely unlinked from the body of the text. This, combined with the Kindle’s inability to show footnotes in any other way than inline, means that at the end of every chapter you find yourself either undertaking a very fiddly process of trying to skip back and forth to reread the text, now with footnotes, or simply angrily flicking past them (which in the case of this book is 24 pages for the first chapter; or “click, pause” 24 times).
I’d been really looking forward to reading this, so I was genuinely pissed off. I ranted a bit on Twitter (as you do) but then actually got angry enough to go and write a review on Amazon. I’ve never done this before, but felt cross enough about the combination of a) poor execution of something so simple by the publisher, b) the fact that the Kindle edition was £1 more than the paperback, and c) that Amazon has no Kindle returns policy (even if it’s fundamentally broken), that I actually went and did it. Spleen vented, I moved on (after checking that it had been published, of course).
This morning, through the contact form of our company website, the author got in touch with me. He asked me about the problems with the book (not having a Kindle himself) and offered me an author’s copy of the book to make up for my poor experience.
Isn’t that awesome? (and doesn’t it show how hard it is for publishers to add value in a world of pure digital distribution?)
And of course I can’t let this pass without linking to this conversation on Twitter