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Re: Ebook market, distribution and devices

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  • K. C. Krueger
    The kind of distributor ebooks need in order to make it is one who understands and respects the market and gives it what it wants. i.e. I tried Baen just once
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 1, 2002
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      The kind of distributor ebooks need in order to make it is one who
      understands and respects the market and gives it what it wants.

      i.e. I tried Baen just once and once was quite enough, thank you very much.

      First of all, I found their selection of ebooks extremely poor. (IMO, Baen
      is using its ebook subscription service strictly as a come-on to sell their
      print editions, and, with rare exceptions, I'm not even remotely interested
      in purchasing print editions via the Net.)

      Second, surfing the Baen site and downloading is a hassle all by itself.

      Third, I own an NM Rocket, hiebook, laptop and hp Jornada, and Baen doesn't
      offer all the formulas I want. Being I'm an eclectic reader, a little
      straight formula SF and/or Fantasy goes a very long way with me, and that's
      all they offer.

      By contrast, the Fictionwise site is well laid out, attractive and easy to
      negotiate, with a wide selection of titles at reasonable prices in all the
      formulas I want. (My only caveat is, by the time I'd signed up and surfed
      for a while, Fictionwise ruined my entire Easter Sunday and is in danger of
      becoming an addiction with me.)

      Another of my reasons for preferring Fictionwise is that I'm an
      independently published ebook author myself.

      In contrast to Baen and certain other online booksellers I won't mention
      here, the fact that Fictionwise is indie-friendly matters a great deal to me
      and I believe in putting my money where my mouth is. Like most of my
      indie-pubbed colleagues, I'm a regular ebook customer, and not having to run
      all over the Net to see what's new is a real treat as well as a timesaver. I
      also like the fact that, so far anyway, Fictionwise is sticking to
      electronic downloads and not haring off in all directions with auctions for
      this, that and the other, offers to sell used editions of their new titles,
      and goodness knows what all.

      As evidenced by posts to this list, ebook readers are an incredibly diverse
      bunch and every wireless e-reading device has its own set of passionate
      adherents. As I have learned from using them, every one of these devices has
      tradeoffs. For sheer reading pleasure, my classic Franklin Rocket is still
      my favorite and if it were still available and being supported by the
      manufacturer, I wouldn't have gone shopping elsewhere.

      I bought my hiebook as insurance against the day my Rocket bites the dust
      and it offers PDA certain functions the Rocket, as a single use device,
      doesn't. The hiebook is also smaller, the manufacturer is customer-friendly,
      and I like the case a whole lot better than the Rocket's.

      My hp Jornada 548 is a honey and I'm finding it a whole lot easier to read
      on that I'd expected. Besides that, my Jornada lets me play Diamond Mine,
      (the PDA version of Bejeweled), to my heart's content and I happen to be a
      dyed-in-the wool Bejeweled addict. Sizewise, it easily slips into a jacket
      pocket or a purse and I like the clamshell case, flash cards and stowaway
      keyboard. Problem is, like the hiebook's, the Jornada's battery life is
      extremely short, especially when compared to the Rocket's beefy 18 hours.

      Unlike its Procrustean competition, Fictionwise has obviously recognized the
      diversity of the ebook market and they're blessedly *not* hung up on only
      one or two formats or the conventional print publishing model.

      In summary, I've come to the conclusion that it's a mistake to keep
      comparing ebooks to print books because they're geared, as far as I can
      tell, to two entirely different markets. The major print publishers have
      never understood the ebook market or why their model doesn't work. ($25.00
      for one download? Give me a break!)

      By attempting to cater to the major print publishers and so cavalierly
      spitting on the market that was already out there, the Gemstar devices are
      deservedly going down the tubes. Ditto Franklin's EbookMan. I know this from
      visiting Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max and Circuit City. Most have
      Gemstar and/or Franklin demos, none of which are hooked up, and their
      salespeople won't even discuss them.

      i.e.Yesterday, when I saw a Gemstar Rocket 1200 demo at Circuit City, I
      asked the clerk about it. (The demo wasn't working, btw.) When he looked up
      the specs, he just laughed and started discussing handheld PDAs.

      Need any more be said?

      Freddie aka Kate Saundby
      shippard@...
      http://www.realmofnublis.com
      http://double-dragon-ebooks.com/
    • mtrskater
      ... They re a print publisher, they publish only their own books as eBooks (with two exceptions -- one a book not their own, one they ve only released in eBook
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
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        --- In ebook-community@y..., "K. C. Krueger" <shippard@w...> wrote:
        >
        > First of all, I found their selection of ebooks extremely poor.

        They're a print publisher, they publish only their own books as eBooks
        (with two exceptions -- one a book not their own, one they've only
        released in eBook form).

        > (IMO, Baen
        > is using its ebook subscription service strictly as a come-on to
        sell their
        > print editions, and, with rare exceptions, I'm not even remotely
        interested
        > in purchasing print editions via the Net.)

        I'm sure they intend to use the WebScriptions program to help sell
        print editions (since they say so themselves), but I don't think it's
        strictly a come-on. They claim to make a profit on the eBooks too.
        Note that Baen doesn't sell print books directly; they refer you to
        Amazon.

        > Second, surfing the Baen site and downloading is a hassle all by
        itself.

        The original site was pretty good. They switched to something new
        recently which is "prettier" but more of a pain.

        > In contrast to Baen and certain other online booksellers I won't
        mention
        > here, the fact that Fictionwise is indie-friendly matters a great
        deal to me

        You're comparing apples to oranges here -- Baen is a print publisher
        which also sells and distributes its own eBooks. Fictionwise is an
        eBook publisher and distributor; they even distribute some of Baen's
        stuff, as single volumes rather than subscriptions.
      • K. C. Krueger
        You re comparing apples to oranges here -- Baen is a print publisher which also sells and distributes its own eBooks. Fictionwise is an eBook publisher
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
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          <snip> You're comparing apples to oranges here -- Baen is a print publisher
          which also sells and distributes its own eBooks. Fictionwise is an
          eBook publisher and distributor; they even distribute some of Baen's
          stuff, as single volumes rather than subscriptions.<snip>
          _________________________

          No, I am most emphatically *not*comparing apples and oranges.

          Gemstar is *not* dedicated to print editions, neither is the other online
          distributor I didn't mention. Both companies are, however, catering to the
          major New York print publishers' wannabe business model for ebook downloads
          which, IMO, has been a dud from the getgo. Ditto Amazon etc.

          Baen made such a big deal out of its ebook operation, I gave them a look and
          actually subscribed--one time. After reviewing the quality of the titles I
          received, I decided 'never again.' I didn't make it past the first chapter
          of either--yawn--and concluded that Baen's subscription service was a waste
          of my time and my money.

          This past weekend, OTOH, I went to Fictionwise and painlessly downloaded
          four Fritz Leibers, a Mike Resnick, and two indie titles that looked good to
          me. Being I also joined the Fictionwise Buyers' club, one of the ebooks was
          free and my total purchase at club prices came to around around $30.00.
          Sadly, only the Mike Resnick and the two indies are available in Rocket
          format because of some dog-in-the-manger deal by Gemstar. However, I could
          the Leibers in every other format I wanted, which in my case were MsReader's
          lit, Mobipocket and hiebook.

          I'm not interested in print editions because I can't read them in the dark
          and, once I'm done with them, they clutter up my house. Unlike print books,
          ebooks don't go yellow, their pages don't fall out and, best of all, they
          *don't* attract silverfish.


          Freddie aka Kate Saundby
          shippard@...
          http://www.realmofnublis.com
          http://double-dragon-ebooks.com/
        • Jim Drew
          From: K. C. Krueger ... Sounds like your issue ( yawn ) is with the content that they buy, not with their eBook operation itself. Jim
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
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            From: "K. C. Krueger" <shippard@...>

            >Baen made such a big deal out of its ebook operation, I gave them a look and
            >actually subscribed--one time. After reviewing the quality of the titles I
            >received, I decided 'never again.' I didn't make it past the first chapter
            >of either--yawn--and concluded that Baen's subscription service was a waste
            >of my time and my money.

            Sounds like your issue ("yawn") is with the content that they buy,
            not with their eBook operation itself.

            Jim
          • tom_corbet
            ... You got that right! Not only that, but paperbacks just aren t fun to read anymore. Is it just my imagination ( and middle-aged eyesight ) or are paperbacks
            Message 5 of 5 , May 4, 2002
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              --- In ebook-community@y..., "K. C. Krueger" <shippard@w...> wrote:
              > I'm not interested in print editions because I can't read them in
              > the dark and, once I'm done with them, they clutter up my house.

              You got that right! Not only that, but paperbacks just aren't fun to read anymore.

              Is it just my imagination ( and middle-aged eyesight ) or are paperbacks today much worse quality than they were 20 years ago? I mean the small fuzzy type on coarse paper.

              It's my increasing disatisfaction with paperbacks that is leading me to investigate using ebooks more.
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