Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Is it just me or are things getting a little crowded in the ebookstore market. For a long time there were a few big ones (Fictionwise), a bunch of little ones (Diesel etc), some genre (AllRomanceEbooks) and niche outlets (RPGnow etc) and straight-from-the-publisher options. For those inclined there are also locked-in options like the Amazon Kindle or apps such as for the iPhone....

Now it seems like everyone wants to be an all-genre all-format ebookstore. Last week Barnes and Noble jumped into the fray with their so-called "world's largest ebook store". Today the major UK book retailer The Book depository opened their US ebook storefront.

Which begs the question, where exactly do y'all get your ebooks?

The answer from my ebook folder seems to be....

1) Review copies (sorry, I am behind on reviews!)
2) Lulu
3) Fictionwise
4) Direct from publisher
5) other (various)


Anonymous said...

this frankly is no different that the (former) proliferation of brock-and-mortar bookstores. Nobody used to bat an eyelash if there were 4 or 5 bookstores in the same town---why should the online world be any different?

And when was the last time you bought a hardcover book direct from Simon & Schuster? Bookstores make up 99% of the book sale market (and I'm including Amazon). Epublishers that don't use third-party sellers (are you listening, Ellora's Cave) are not going to stay in business long.

Anonymous said...

meant to say---"brick-and-mortar". Damn typos.

Kris Eton said...

Um, I thought B&N bought Fictionwise? I'm assuming that they will do away with Fictionwise once they move all the content and stuff over to the B&N store. Or am I missing something?

Angie said...

I buy mainly from the publishers, and after that, Fictionwise. I don't really shop anywhere else; I already have a growing TBR pile for my e-books that's starting to look like the one for my hardcopies, so no need to expand shopping choices. [wry smile]


writingmood said...

I buy direct from the publisher's website for all of my e-books, hard copies I buy from Amazon. And I buy a LOT of books.

The only exception to that is a small mom and pop by my parent's house. I always stop by them for a book or two when I'm visiting.

Angela James said...

I think it could only be considered crowded if you're Amazon and would prefer there to be no free market and no competition to force competitive pricing for buyers.

Diana Castilleja said...

1. Direct
2. Fictionwise / ARe (About equal)

No reason to go elsewhere for me.

kirsten saell said...

I buy direct from publishers if they offer in Sony format or epub. If not, I buy from Sony. If the book is one I really want, but isn't at Sony, I'll get it in pdf and read it on my laptop, in which case, I go back to the publisher.

I wish more epubs would offer epub as a format--everyone says it's the "universal format", so why don't more publishers use it? Grr.

Angela James said...

I wish more epubs would offer epub as a format--everyone says it's the "universal format", so why don't more publishers use it? Grr.

Because as far as formats go, it's still very new and it takes time to get publishers and other business models to adapt something new. Many publishers don't offer but a few standard formats.

I think, as time passes and publishers become more comfortable with digitizing (many traditional publishers outsource their digitizing and pay per format), we'll see more offer the epub format.

Angie said...

Kirsten -- because right now, the real universal format is PDF. Not secured PDF, but just basic PDF. That's the only format I buy; I don't need a specific brand of reader for it, it works on my desktop or my laptop or a PDA, and if a reader manufacturer has any brains at all it'll work on the reader too, and without having to translate or convert or jump through any hoops. If you have a Mac, it'll work on that. If you run Linux, it'll work on that.

Maybe that's what EPUB is shooting for, and if so then good luck to them. But for right know, I know the PDF will still work for me through changes of platform and OS.


Teddy Pig said...

ePublisher if they allow me to re-download the book I bought from them. Fictionwise if the ePublisher cannot provide that consideration.

Teddy Pig said...

PDF is the "universal standard" format supported out of the box by any OS worth installing and any reader worth buying.

Not ePub.

Ann Bruce said...

If the e-book isn't DRM'd, you can convert it to ePub using Calibre and upload it to the e-reader of your choice.

Stanza and Adobe are "supposedly" working to allow Stanza to read DRM'd Digital Editions. If that means I can convert the book to ePub, I may never buy a print book again.

Ann Bruce said...

And I prefer ePub to standard PDF because ePub "flows" the text better. PDF might not do it at all and you can be stuck having to scroll horizontally.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's one thing if a publisher has only a few dozen books to reformat for each new type of file to emerge, but it's quite another for a publisher with hundreds and hundreds (or thousands) of titles to convert all of its back catalogue. Plus there's major money involved if the publisher has to pay technical staff to do the conversions for all those titles. Then there's also the risk involved for taking on a huge project for formats that end up fizzling (remember KML anyone?) so publishers are reluctant to begin yet another huge conversion project like that. That's why, on the priority scale, it's way down at the bottom.

Renee Rocco said...

As a publisher, I've enjoyed reading the replies to this topic.

It's heartening to know Lyrical Press already provides readers with what you obviously look for when buying direct from a publisher.

We offer customers an eternal bookshelf (aren't they awesome?) and all of our books are available in .epub.

Our executive editor actually posted a poll to determine the formats readers wanted. You spoke. We listened. .epub was added to the formats we offer soon after.

Helen said...

I buy my books from Fictionwise, or I get free books from the Gutenberg Project online. I've bought once from the publisher - Loose ID. Some crazy woman named Veinglory wrote this book and I just had to read it...

vanessa jaye said...

Direct from the epublisher 99% of the time, and Fictionwise the rest. I usually download the unsecured Adobe version.

Bought one book from eharl, turned out to be DRM'd PDF so Calibre couldn't convert it to upload to my ereader.

That's probably the last ebook sale eharl will get from me.

I'm planning on getting an iPhone within the next year, so we'll see what happens then with Stanza.

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