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In Search of the Deskable

My Adventures with E-Books

My Adventures with E-Books

About a third of the books I read are on one of my two Kindles—especially if I am traveling where a bag full of books would limit my range. Most of the time, the experience is pleasant, especially when the e-book I purchase is from a reputable publisher such as Penguin. Sometimes, however, you get an otherwise worthy book that is marred by the bane of e-publishing: namely, Optical Character Recognition, or OCR.

I have just finished reading C.S. Lewis’s superb autobiography, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. In between passages of great beauty, I would find sentences such as: “…but the real Deskable would have evaded one, the real Deske would have been left saying, ‘What is this to me?’”

Deskable? Deske?

The publisher of this e-book decided to forego human proofreading in favor of OCR software. Unfortunately, the software used rendered Desire as Deske and Desirable as Deskable.

At one point, I recognized the word “horkon” as the computer’s reading of “horizon.” The first person singular pronoun was frequently rendered by the decimal digit 1.

Fortunately, the work was good enough for me to persist to the end; but, many a time, usually when dealing with cheapster editions, I have given up in disgust.

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