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Now on e-book - but who owns the rights?

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Now on e-book - but who owns the rights?

Postby Misfit » Fri November 8th, 2013, 6:22 pm

A curious thing, and I'm hoping some of our publishing savvy authors will chime in. I heard that The Winthrop Woman was the Kindle deal of the day, and was considering purchasing it, until I glanced through the reviews and noticed complaints about editing and typos - and must be from the conversion errors. I don't recall noticing any serious typos in the dead tree versions I read.

I noticed that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is listed as the publisher for these, and I think they were her original publisher in the 50s and 60s (haven't hunted them all down, still working at work today). Which is odd, since Chicago Review Press reprinted them in in 2006 or thereabouts and it looks like those are still available for purchase on Amazon.

Soooooo, who does own the rights to these books? I did think it odd that on the Winthrop Woman Kindle page it said the publishing date was 1900 which I know it's not. Like someone wanted to pass off on the public domain stuff. Thoughts?
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Mythica
Bibliophile
Preferred HF: European and American (mostly pre-20th century)
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Postby Mythica » Fri November 8th, 2013, 9:35 pm

I can't speak for copyrights but the reason an ebook might have a lot of typos when the print edition didn't is because a lot of older ebooks have no digital copies. So they have to scan a printed copy and then use what's call OCR - optical character recognition - to convert the scanned image into fluid text. The OCR works by recognizing the shapes of letters or numbers and other characters but errors inevitably occur when two or more characters look similar. So an 'I' might be mistaken for a '1' instead. Depending on the OCR abilities and the quality of the original document, there might be lot or very few of these errors but either way, if you don't have a human being go through the text and correct the errors, the ebook will get published with all these errors. This can and has happened with public domain books and copyrighted books alike.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Fri November 8th, 2013, 11:12 pm

"Mythica" wrote:I can't speak for copyrights but the reason an ebook might have a lot of typos when the print edition didn't is because a lot of older ebooks have no digital copies. So they have to scan a printed copy and then use what's call OCR - optical character recognition - to convert the scanned image into fluid text. The OCR works by recognizing the shapes of letters or numbers and other characters but errors inevitably occur when two or more characters look similar. So an 'I' might be mistaken for a '1' instead. Depending on the OCR abilities and the quality of the original document, there might be lot or very few of these errors but either way, if you don't have a human being go through the text and correct the errors, the ebook will get published with all these errors. This can and has happened with public domain books and copyrighted books alike.


I can understand that, but you would think a big publishing house charging top dollar for those would have someone edit.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat November 9th, 2013, 3:01 am

Nothing to add to Mythica's post on the OCR issues, but creative works become public domain 75 years from the publishing date. Or at least that's what it used to be. I seem to recall a story about Congress changing the rules when Mickey Mouse turned 75.

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Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: Heavenfield by L J Ross & Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Postby Madeleine » Sat November 9th, 2013, 11:52 am

In the UK it's 70 years from the date of the author's death.
Currently reading "Heavenfield" by L J Ross & "Lost for Words" by Stephanie Butland

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Mythica
Bibliophile
Preferred HF: European and American (mostly pre-20th century)
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Postby Mythica » Sat November 9th, 2013, 4:38 pm

"Misfit" wrote:I can understand that, but you would think a big publishing house charging top dollar for those would have someone edit.


You would think but not always.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sat November 9th, 2013, 5:11 pm

"Mythica" wrote:You would think but not always.


Guess you're right. Look at all those new adult P2P books making the rounds of the big publishers without a hint of the red pencil guy doing any thing :mad:
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Mon November 11th, 2013, 6:43 am

Expiration date for copyright varies widely around the world - here in NZ it's 50 years after the author's death.

I think that when it comes to Kindle editions of already existing books, errors are often, as Mythica pointed out, not so much the result of poor editing as poor translation from printed media to digital. I do have a huge gripe with the many new books (print and digital) coming on to the market which are are total crap as far as spelling and grammar goes. We as readers have the right to expect more of publishers, whether big-name publishing house or self-pubber :(
Last edited by annis on Mon November 11th, 2013, 6:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: Heavenfield by L J Ross & Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Postby Madeleine » Mon November 11th, 2013, 9:45 am

Yes I agree, I'm beginning to wonder if anyone actually proof-reads or edits at all these days.
Currently reading "Heavenfield" by L J Ross & "Lost for Words" by Stephanie Butland

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Mon November 11th, 2013, 3:00 pm

"Madeleine" wrote:Yes I agree, I'm beginning to wonder if anyone actually proof-reads or edits at all these days.


And when you complain about it, there's the *What do you expect for $.99* attitude I've seen some take over reviewer complaints. I have been picking up a lot of these older titles when they are freebies, some come over clean as a whistle, and others just riddled with odd words or characters. Had a couple of Jennifer Blake books where I had the original to compare to side by side.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be


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