If you’re a traditional publisher launching a $17.99 ebook into a market that’s used to lower prices, you should probably make sure you don’t suffer technical gremlins. It’s somewhat ironic to take note of the problems experienced with the $17.99 ebook edition of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which appears to have caused font and margin problems for some readers. A replacement edition has already been issued to correct those problems, but you have to wonder how they occurred in the first place.
PaidContent has the full story about the technical problems, which seem to have occurred across multiple retailers and devices. The problem, according to publisher Hachette, was theirs rather than Amazon’s, and appears to have already been fixed. For some reason, I didn’t have the problem at all when I started reading the novel on my iPad (and although I’m only three quarters of the way through, my impression so far is that it’s a decent novel; not awful, not great). But how did this mess happen in the first place?
Unfortunately for the publishers, the technical problem with the ebook edition seems to have become mixed up with the criticism of the book’s price. As noted yesterday, early Amazon reviews of the book have been seriously distorted by the debate over pricing. This is probably one of those stories that seems important at the time but fades rapidly, but it’s still worth noting that thousands of ebooks are published at the 99 cent price point every day, with no technical problems at all.