Sela wrote about ebooks a few days ago. She's read several bad ones, and is starting to think it's "excruciatingly obvious why traditional pubs diss the e-world as the last bastion for no-hope writers." She adds, "After the first couple, I thought maybe I was just picking duds, but I don't think so anymore. These books had good reviews -- some of them were even glowing!"
I hate that. I have picked up ebooks that were terribly poorly written-- with continuity errors, misspellings, poor grammar, repetitive writing, and the like-- and been appalled to find that they have several five-star reviews to their credit. Books this bad should NOT be getting five-star reviews, people! Yes, reviewing is subjective, but a truly bad book is, well, bad. Come on, don't tell me you really think that horrifically written book is one of the best you ever read. I don't believe it. If it's terrible, please say so!
I also see reviewers apologizing for mentioning poor editing, or hesitating to bring it up at all, because "it's not the fault of the author, but the editor." No, no, no. PLEASE mention poor editing! Two reasons: First, the reader deserves to know before she buys the book. We cannot afford to give a pass to terribly edited books just because they're e-published-- it gives an awful impression to readers like Sela, who happen to pick one of them up.
Second, it IS the author's fault. Absolutely. I am responsible for what I write. I proofread everything I write to within an inch of its life, and then I have DH go over it. Sure it'd be nice to have a good editor go through it, but that doesn't always happen in small press. It's MY book and MY name is on it. That makes it MY responsibility. Feel free to criticize the editing... potential readers have a right to know if it's bad.
In closing, Sela said, "This is not a universal slam of e-publishing. It is a call to arms. We don't have to put up with terrible books. If you read a bad book, let the publisher know that it was not up to par. If you're a reviewer, for the love of heaven, be honest."
I totally agree. If you buy a dreadful book, complain to the publisher. If you're a reviewer and you read a horrible book, give it one star and say why it was dreadful. Please, let's not give dreadful books five-star reviews and rave about their few strengths while omitting any mention of their many weaknesses. Too many readers are picking up bad books on the strength of their reviews and being horribly disappointed. And it's unfair to the good books that are out there-- readers can't tell the difference because they ALL get good reviews.
There ARE lots of good ebooks out there, but sadly, there are many poor ones as well. And unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult for readers to figure out which is which.