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Posted by: Neil Are other customers having problems with the formatting of Osprey's e-books?
Posted on: 06/10/2021 20:22:35

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Posted by: Neil
Total Posts: 4
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Hello, Molly.

Thank you for getting back so promptly regarding my comments.

I'm afraid my temper and my opinion of Osprey's e-universe has just suffered further when, after working for a considerable time preparing you what I hoped would be a helpful list of suggestions re the problems I've encountered and what might be done about them I attempted to submit it and discovered the website had logged me out and the comments were lost.

So here are the edited highlights!

I appreciate your efforts and the constructive efforts of the editorial team.

However, problems with formats does not excuse marketing products that are not fit for purpose. My key suggestion to the editorial team is: check the e-titles and if there are problems, don't put them up for sale. Doing so will only damage the brand. Who knows how many potential new customers have purchased a duff e-book and never bought another?

Good luck!

Neil



Posted on: 11/10/2021 22:59:42
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 407
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Good day Molly, and thank you for responding to my gripes so quickly.


It is disappointing to hear that it is not thought feasible to render the 2-page spreads as a single item in ePDF's. Trying to make sense of the otherwise excellent maps when they are 2 parts is very difficult.


On the other hand I am glad to hear that all aspects of e-publishing are kept under review and I cross my fingers for more and better books in the coming years. 

Posted on: 11/10/2021 14:38:21
Posted by: Molly @ Osprey
Total Posts: 5
Joined Date: Thursday, 7 October 2021

Hi Neil and Paintybeard,

Many thanks for your patience while I’ve been looking into this for you. I’ve been in touch with our production team and this is something that has been on their radar for a while. The issue with the illustrations is specific to ePDF’s, as joining two pages together would cause problems with the pagination.

Landscape illustrations have been corrected in all future publications, so you will be able to rotate them for better viewing going forwards. Unfortunately, this is not an issue that can be corrected with previous publications. This means that we would not be able to change the images for Warrior 157. 

Could you give me some more information about the missing illustrations? If you can let me know which titles you’re referring to, I can pass this on to the production team.

The formatting of eBooks is always under constant development and therefore there may be more issues with older eBooks on our site, but going forwards you should experience less of these issues. The production team always strives to check each book before it’s put up for sale, but unfortunately some issues are inherent with a particular format.

I hope this goes some way to allaying your concerns and please do let me know whether there was anything else I can help you with.

With kind regards,

Molly

Marketing Assistant

Posted on: 11/10/2021 09:52:59
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 407
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Hello Molly@Osprey, and welcome to the hot seat!

While you are talking to the editorial people about this sort of thing please could you ask them to have an especial look at Warrior title No. 157 (French Foreighn Legionnaire 1890-1914)? Both the colour and black-and-white illustrations are all very fuzzy and low quality.


 Thank you in advance.

Posted on: 07/10/2021 11:41:19
Posted by: Neil
Total Posts: 4
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Hello, Molly.

Thank you for your response.

Here are a couple of points that might be helpful to you in your new post.

The problem with illustrations being split is not because they are too large: they are standard sizes and work fine in many titles. So far as I can tell, the problem is pagination. Basically a print title is taken and digitised: if the two-spread illustrations happen to fit 'evenly' in PDF format there will be no problems; if the spread in the PDF format is across 'odd' pairs of pages, the illustrations don't match. I would have thought that ePub versions could avoid this sort of problem completely but certainly on one newly digitised ePub version of an old print title that I purchased the illustrations were fragmented all over the place.


There may be difficulties with software but the core problem with all the faults I've encountered is that proper checks are not being made. Even a quick pan through the e-book would identify the errors.


Why are these checks not being made?


I fear that pressure to churn out titles at minimum cost means that the quality of Osprey's brand is being erroded: a problem that history shows has had serious consequences for many companies.


I used to do editorial work for various educational publishers and there would have been executions had sub-standard products been marketed in the manner that is happening with Osprey's e-books.


I look forward to hearing from you, Molly and I wish you all the best in your new post and hope that you do not prove to be one of Paintybeard's 'poor dogsbodies.'


Neil

Posted on: 07/10/2021 10:57:34
Posted by: Molly @ Osprey
Total Posts: 5
Joined Date: Thursday, 7 October 2021

Hi both,

I'm very sorry to hear you've been unhappy with the quality of the eBooks. I've just started in this role, but I will ensure you get a reply on this. I will email the production department now with your complaint and let you know what they come back to me with and chase them up if I don't hear anything back witfhin a few days. With regards to the illustrations (I've come across several like this) I suspect they're spread over two pages as they're simply too large to fit onto one page, but I can understand how this doesn't make for an ideal reading experience. 

Best wishes,

Molly

Marketing Assistant 

Posted on: 07/10/2021 10:19:18
Posted by: Neil
Total Posts: 4
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Hello, Paintybeard!


Thanks for your response. Even if not encouraging it at least reassures me that I'm not alone in a slightly-out-of-phase alternate universe.


N

Posted on: 06/10/2021 21:18:54
Posted by: Paintybeard
Total Posts: 407
Joined Date: Monday, 4 February 2013

Neil, I wish you the very best of luck with this post, but I can offer you little hope of improvement. I have been begging Osprey to improve the quality of their e-books for several years and have had very little success. What usually happens is that some poor dogs-body comes onto threads like this and says something like: "I will get this looked into." And that is the last we ever hear about the matter.

 I find it absolutely nonsensical that 2-page maps and illustrations are published cut into 2 halves, which renders them virtually useless. The only short term solution I can offer is that if you have Bronze, Silver or Gold membership most of these illustrations can be found in their proper comlete form in the members area.

Posted on: 06/10/2021 20:57:06
Posted by: Neil
Total Posts: 4
Joined Date: Wednesday, 6 October 2021

I have been buying Osprey titles for over forty years but I'm reaching the end of my patience with the company.

My circumstances mean than I can only purchase electronic formats of the titles but in almost every order I purchase, at least one title arrives with defects in the formatting.

The problems occur both in newly published titles and in older titles that have been subsequently digitised.

I have tried both e-pub and PDF formats and have found both have problems.

I read the titles on an up-to-date MacBook Air, which surely must be a mainstream platform.

I have encountered a range of problems which include:

  • two-page spread illustrations/maps/diagrams formatted so that it is impossible to view the illustration in its entirety;
  • maps and diagrams fragmented over multiple pages;
  • landscape illustrations being formatted portrait with no facility to rotate them to allow correct viewing;
  • some illustrations being missing from the electronic format;
  • all of the illustrations in a title being slightly out of focus.

In fairness, so far, Osprey have supplied me with the alternative format (e-pub/PDF) and that has usually solved the problem. Or, for example, when the illustrations were out of focus, they refunded my money. However it often takes several complaints before action is taken and at present I have been waiting for six weeks for the last problems to be rectified.

No one would go into a bookshop and purchase a paperback with illustrations that were split up and jumbled: why should e-books be any different?

Why do these problems occur and with such frequency? Does no one actually proof and check the titles before they are put on sale?

I recently left off renewing my gold membership for some months because I was so fed up. After I decided I'd give it another go I have five defective titles across the two orders I've purchased.

If this continues I will stop purchasing titles from the company.

Neil

Posted on: 06/10/2021 20:22:35

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