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Hey Macmillan, Why Does My eBook Say That it Belongs to a Public Library?

September 10th, 2013 by · 14 Comments · humor

Screenshot_2013-09-10-08-28-57Were you amused by the formatting error that inserted George RR Martin’s name into one of his ebooks? Then today I have a treat for you.

According to the title page, my recently purchased ebook copy of Absolution by Murder is the property of Half Hollow Hills Community Library. You can see this in the screenshot below.

That screen shot was taken on my KFHD and it shows the Kindle edition of Absolution By Murder, a title that was originally published by Macmillan in the US in 1996. The Nook version of the book has an identical stamp, and you can see it in the preview.

Screenshot_2013-09-10-08-28-57Funny, no?

In case you’re wondering, this is probably a scanning error on the part of Macmillan or one of their contractors. What you are looking at is a scanned title page that came from a book which was originally owned by a library.

This title is old enough that by the time Macmillan decided to sell the ebook there very likely no digital copy available. The only way to get an ebook was to either type the book into a computer or scan an old paper copy.

It’s my guess that Half Hollow Hills Community Library, a small library system on Long Island, discarded a copy of this book and sold it at a book sale. It then passed into the used book market and was bought so it could be sliced up and fed into a scanner.

The usual next step would be to OCR the scanned pages and then convert to text. In the case of this title most of the ebook was converted to text, but for some reason the title page was inserted as a scanned page.

Scanning a paper book is usually the easiest and quickest way to convert 20th century books into ebook form, though we rarely see such a visible example of this conversion method gone wrong.

But never mind that; I now own an ex-library ebook.



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