Hey Amazon…What’s Up With That?

Published October 8, 2013 by M E McMahon

anigif_enhanced-buzz-18509-1355942833-4This morning I was shocked to discover three separate e-mails from Amazon.  Both letters advised me that there were UPDATES available for three books by the same author and I could download them…free.

Confused, my first thought was “what’s up with that?” I didn’t know that writer’s were allowed DO-OVERS once their work was published.  Do readers who purchase a novel expect it to get better somewhere down the road?

Naturally, I ran to my Amazon Account to find out why I was receiving updates on a published novel and how much I paid for the “original” version.

After a little research I found the “updated” versions were for three books I purchased through Amazon by author, James Hankins.  He writes a fairly decent book, not one I would submit for the bestseller list, but I’ve read worse.

The first book titled “Brothers and Bones” that I purchased for 99 cents…well, I felt I got my money’s worth.  The novel was not edge of your seat material, but it was a interesting theme and he did a good job with the characters.

The second book I put out some coins for was “Jack of Spades” and it cost $2.99.  That novel was better than his first as it’s character’s and plot were better developed.  Again, I wouldn’t gripe about the price.

The third book I purchased was titled “Drawn” and I had shelled out $2.99 and it was the most recent of the three.  I was unimpressed…figured out the end by the third chapter, and decided he had done better on his previous two novels.

The author didn’t write serials, all the characters and themes in each book are different, and I felt that he was still working his way towards a kick-butt novel!  But, none of the three were worthy, in my humble opinion of recommending to others.

Since I wasn’t jumping up and down over this author’s talents as a writer, I was confused by the “updates” available.  I clicked on the three titles and was informed that the updates consisted of a “Corrected Version” of the original book.

Now, I hate spelling errors and misplaced words when reading a novel….especially when I’ve paid for one.  And, I imagine that is what all this is about.  The publisher might have gotten some grief from the author and corrections were made (that should have been caught IN THE FIRST PLACE) to avoid hard feelings, readers complaints and probably litigation.

I think that it’s nice of Amazon to send us corrected updates…after all, if you pay for a book you hope for a certain level of quality or you would expect the novel to be “Free.”  And, don’t get me wrong, there are many, many excellent books available from Amazon that are “Free” and are just waiting for readers to discover them.

The problem I have is that I would expect a book to be released AFTER it has been fine tuned by the author, the editors and the publisher.  I know that if I EVER have a novel getting ready to be published, I would be going over it with a fine toothed comb to avoid the embarrassment of having to send readers a “Corrected” copy.

By the way, all three novels were rift with errors that made me wince, but for the price of the books, I just ground my teeth and plowed by them.

So, the mystery is solved and thanks Amazon for sending me the updates.  However, I was not so impressed by the “Incorrect” versions that I want to read these books again now that the errors have been corrected!

Sorry…but I don’t believe in literary do-overs!

Yours In Writing,



9 comments on “Hey Amazon…What’s Up With That?

  • Amazon has done this pretty much since the beginning of the ebook, providing updates. Generally, they are to fix errors that aren’t necessarily author related — the author can submit a perfect manuscript, but, in the transcribing to ebook format, typos can be made, commas left out, etc. Sometimes the updates are to fix formatting errors, or spacing errors.

    In the case of self-published works, many of the authors don’t hire an editor first, and just get the book published. After reading a bunch of negative comments about all the errors, that’s when self-pub authors will go back and check. Sometimes it’s the author, sometimes it is the company used to turn your book into an ebook.

    So, it’s not necessarily that the author did anything wrong.


  • I think it’s great customer service on the part of Amazon, so hats off to them. But come on. Ultimately, it’s the author’s responsibility to make sure he’s putting out the highest quality product. I can understand weaknesses in the plot and characters, but typos? No excuse. I downloaded a book that was heavily promoted here in the blogosphere (one of those buy my book! buy my book! folks). I hadn’t even finished a the first chapter and there was a typo. You must be a kinder soul than me, because that was the nail in the coffin for this novel. Some writers are in such a hurry to get their book “out there” that the details are overlooked. But once it’s out there, it’s out there for good. Why turn off potential readers with something that so easy to fix?


    • At least you got through the first chapter before getting a type…I’ve gotten them in the first paragraph. Now, truthfully, too many authors are too quick to slam their books out in the blogosphere before they are fine tuned.

      It’s a shame…because some of them could have been good…but a lot of people see poor attention to detail and quality in the first pages, they too will dump the book.

      I, too, think it’s a great service by Amazon and if it had been a “corrected” version of a book by Stephen King, or J.D. Robb, I would applaud since those are books I would lend to others with a recommendation to read.

      But this author’s books were “so-so” and I have no desire to reread them anywhere except when stuck in the bathroom without a book! 🙂


  • Hi M E, I loved this post, ironically I have written a post (to publish this weekend) which has some similar points, re: some authors putting out some material in a hurry to push the ‘publish’ button. But regarding the updates, there has always been an option on the kindle toolbar (on pc) to manage kindle which also includes updates, I suppose it is on the actual kindle as well but I seem to catch it on the PC. I suppose there is a bit of controversy there because yes, a book isn’t supposed to be rewritten after it is published but as John above mentioned, unfortunately because they are ebooks, formatting does sometimes lend a problem once the author’s work is finished. I think as an ebook reader and a soon to be published author it is a bit frightening and I know I would be embarrassed but it happens and I can only hope it doesn’t happen to me. But on the other hand, if I had a chance to correct the formatting errors I would rather do that than look at them staring me in the face, It’s a tough subject.


    • I agree..it would be embarrassing to discover errors in one’s own book. Since I haven’t reached that stage of having a book published, I hope to learn from others!

      But, as a reader, there are certain expectations and I think it’s a shame when a large amount of errors make me give up on reading what could be a good book!


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