More experience buying eBooks

As I read more eBooks my buying habits are slowly changing.

Amazon still has the best ‘book finding’ capability, and their one-click buy makes it easy to purchase. I say I wish more publishers would do that but I don’t like leaving my credit card details with any and every site, and I need to be sure it’s secure first.

Amazon has a couple of big problems.

  • The Big Brother issue. If I buy something, I don’t expect someone to come to my house and steal it back when they find they have made a mistake, even if they do leave money on the table for it. At the very least it would be nice to say, “I mucked up” first, and then politely offer me my money back.
  • Format. I like my novels all in the one reader, and I my format of choice is ePub. I use Calibre E-book management to manage them. We put our own novels there as well , so that we can read them and annotate them on whatever device we’re reading from (mostly the iPad). But Amazon doesn’t publish files in ePub format, they use mobi (.azw) files. Which leads me to the third problem with Amazon.
  • Digital rights management. The files you buy from Amazon are locked. I can’t upload them into Calibre and convert them to ePubs so that I can read them on other eReaders.

Apple has the best little eReader on the market in the iPad, but it has some problems of its own:

  • When will Apple (Australia) learn that books could be good sellers if they just gave them some space? They have a menu option for audio books but their text versions are still tucked away in Apps. Believe me, Apple, some people still like to read, rather than just listen
  • It’s too hard to find books in the Apps unless you are looking for a specific title
  • You have to jump through hoops to get a book onto the eReader. It’s easier with Calibre doing some of the work, but you still have to sync.

At least Apple does use ePub format.

So far, I have never bought a book from the Apple store and I buy from Amazon only when I can’t find a book elsewhere, when the electronic book is much cheaper than the paper book and when I’m not concerned about losing the text some time in the future. (Call me paranoid, yes.)

I have bought a lot of books from boutique publishers and author sites. Not to mention Fictionwise (a Barnes and Noble company) that seems to publish a lot of boutique publisher books. The prices are better and I get what I want. In fact, I have bought more books from the non-mainstream publishers this last six months than I have bought from mainstream publishers. I can see that happening more and more.

Based on my own book-buying experience boutique publishers will sell a higher proportion of books in the future.

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