Talking about things

eBook things

The eBook market seems to be settling down, and with it eReading habits. I step back and take stock occasionally. Here’s where I’m at with eBooks right now.

I buy my eBooks from a number of suppliers, and I keep them in a number of different places as well. This may or may not be typical behaviour—most of my eBook reading friends tend to buy from one supplier, even if they buy their paper books from different places.

I can see lots of advantages to sticking to a single supplier and format but there a lots of disadvantages too.

Some eReading facts about me

  • I don’t have a dedicated eReader like a Nook or a Kindle
  • My favourite eReader is the iBook app on the iPad
  • Other eBook readers I use on a regular basis are Calibre, Kindle for iPad and Kindle for PC, and I use on a lesser basis some other proprietary readers
  • I like to keep all my books in the one place
  • I use Calibre to manage my books
  • I don’t have a preference for eBooks over paper books; price and immediacy (as in, do I want to read it right now) determine which format I buy in.

Some eBuying facts about me

  • I buy DRM-free if I can, because it’s easier to move between eReaders
  • I prefer to buy books in a non-proprietary format, again so I can easily move between eReaders
  • I try to buy from publishers whose business practises I support
  • I buy more books now I have an eReader
  • I’ve had some bad experiences with PayPal, so if that’s the only way I can pay for a book I’m not going to buy, not matter how much I might want it

And yes, those first three points mean that I only buy eBooks from Amazon when it’s the only place I can get them from, or when they’re so cheap I’ll take that in preference to a book I can read in another reader. What this means is that my Kindle books tend to be my junk novels. There are a lot of self-published books in there, for example.

I don’t buy books from the Apple store. Ever.

I also like to feel that once I’ve bought a book, it’s mine. The bookseller can’t take it back on a whim. Here’s looking at you, Amazon.

The last point limits where I buy books. A surprising number of smaller online publishers only take PayPal.

ePurchasing experience

Things suppliers/software do for me to make my ePurchasing experience easier

  • Read the first pages

This is the equivalent of picking up a book in the bookstore and starting to read. I love it.

  • Amazon one-click to purchase

I love it.Despite what I say about Amazon above, this makes be buy a lot of books. Spur-of-the-moment decisions. If I have to take out my credit card to make the purchase I’ll often think twice.

Maybe it’s a good thing.

  • Number of pages or number of words

Amazon again, but other publishers do it as well. Sometimes, buying a book off the internet seems like a lottery with regard to value for money. I have been caught out so often buying stories—at novel-type prices—only to find it’s little more than a glorified short story. Unfortunately too, many of my favourite mid-list writers are turning to self-publishing, and it seems that as soon as they do, they start producing shorter works. If a story is only nine pages long, I want to know that before I fork out $5 for it. I’m expecting at least half a novel for that price.

  • Send to device

Calibre has a great feature where you can send your books to iTunes. Kindle has a ‘send to Kindle’ option when you select a file. I use them both all the time. Anything that makes it easier to move between the various readers gets my vote.


Looking back over old blogs, I’d say my eBuying and eReading habits were settling.

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