Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Did A Naked Hamilton God Grant Me An $8.99 E-book Bargain?

Did I find an e-book bargain? I think I did. Last night I was searching around in the Apple iBooks store and ran across Peter Hamilton’s ‘The Night’s Dawn Trilogy’, which includes ‘The Reality Dysfunction’, ‘The Neutronium Alchemist’, and ‘The Naked God’. The price for all 3 books in one e-book? Are you sitting down? $8.99!!!!! The price for each book alone in e-book format is $9.99!!! OUCH!

At first I didn’t believe my good fortune but I downloaded the e-book and gave it a quick scan through and sure enough all 3 books are indeed within this one trilogy edition! A quick check of Barnes and Noble and Amazon and neither have this fantastic deal listed. However Borders e-book store does have it for the same price as the Apple iBooks store!

I know nothing about this trilogy except many of my hardcore science fiction friends were shocked that I hadn’t read the books yet! Looks like I have a lot of reading ahead of me but at least I a got a bargain! See publishers, if you price things reasonably, you can make customers happy and sell e-books!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Penguin Publishing Shrugs off Rand Customers with E-book Pricing

I think it was last summer, I was waiting and waiting for Ayn Rand’s book ‘Atlas Shrugged’ to make its way into e-book form. If I remember right, I think it showed up on the Barnes and Noble site first but their iPhone ebook app wasn’t the greatest at that time and I really wanted to have the e-book in Kindle form. My patience was reward and it did finally arrive and Amazon priced it at 9.99 so I quickly grabbed it. I wanted to find out what all this ‘Going Galt’ talk was all about. Now, this post isn’t really a review but the book is awesome and has a lot of meaning for our society today. It is well worth a read. What this post is really about is the current e-book pricing for ‘Atlas Shrugged’!

Once the ‘Agency Model’ hit it seems like Penguin Publishing decided it wanted to punish it customers and make the price of e-books ridiculous! The price for ‘Atlas Shrugged’ at one time was REALLY outrageous, I can’t remember exactly what it was, but the current price is still way out of line at 18.99 on Amazon. What is really strange is that Amazon is selling the paperback at 14.87 and even has a mass market paperback for 9.99! I even think Amazon pulled it at one point for awhile.

There has to be a reason for pricing this insane. I just can’t believe that Penguin is that unreasonable in pricing on their e-books. If anyone has any knowledge or insight into this issue please leave a comment.

A quick check on the Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Borders e-books stores show the same set pricing at 18.99. Come on Penguin don’t shrug off your customers e-book dollars!

One last note, the other night I received an email from Amazon that there was an updated version of the e-book that would be pushed to my Kindle. Supposedly with corrections. I am still glad I didn’t have to pay 18.99 for it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Trip to 'Mars' on my iPad E-Book Style

One of the first e-books I read on my iPad (using the Kindle app) was Ben Bova's excellent book detailing the first man mission to Mars, titled simply, 'Mars'. One of the things I loved most about this read was all the technology details that Bova has injected into the story. Everything made scientific sense (to a point) and the overall plot kept me interested.

'Mars' is one of a trilogy of books - 'Mars', 'Return to Mars' and 'Mars Life'. Over the next several weeks I will focus a bit on each of the sequels. 'Mars' is also one of several planet books that Bova has written in 'The Grand Tour' books series. I will also focus a bit on the overall maddening part of the 'Grand Tour' books is that you can't get them all in e-book format, yet. There seems to be NO reasoning to why certain books haven't been released and others have. In fact on Ben Bova's site he has a chronological order in which he suggests the books should be read. You don't have to read them in the order he suggests, he states so himself, but it sure would be nice to have access to all them.

The book is currently priced at 7.99 on Amazon. which for this book is probably just a little bit high since it is available in paperback at 7.13. What is really strange is that Amazon has set the price for this book and the paperback price has been set by the publisher Rosetta Books. This might have something to do with the lack of various others books from the series. If anyone has any insights please leave a comment. The e-book isn't available on the Apple iBook, Barnes and Noble, or Border e-books stores.

Overall I highly recommend 'Mars' if you enjoy having real science interjected into your science fiction. The characters are pretty well fleshed out and the overall plot keeps the pages turning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Publishers Need to Think Different

When thinking on how the book publishing industry seems to be marching down the same path that the music and video industry has in regards to digital media, it reminded me of an interview I had heard with author Seth Godin. Len Edgerly of the great podcasts and blogs The Kindle Chronicles and The Reading Edge interviewed Mr. Godin and got him to briefly discuss an entire new take on how the publishing industry should be responding to the new digital age. The interview was done in February of 2010 right after the iPad was announced. It is an excellent interview. The views on the publishing industry come later in the conversation so hang in there and listen to the entire podcast.

The podcast can be downloaded directly from The Reading Edge site here or by doing a search in iTunes.

All of Len Edgerly's podcasts are excellent and a must listen if your a kindle or e-book fan in general.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Must Read e-book - To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis & Clark

I wanted to share a great e-book I read several months ago.

I am a huge Lewis and Clark fan and had enjoyed reading about their grand adventure in Stephen Ambrose's 'Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West'. I was looking for other books on Lewis and Clark when I stumbled upon Frances Hunter's 'To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis & Clark'. The book merges history and fiction to help fill in the blanks of what happen to Lewis and Clark once they returned home from their 2 year adventure across the uncharted United States. The book is a great read and moves along at a quick pace. The characters are fully fleshed out and we get a new insight into what happened to Lewis and Clark in their later years. If you enjoy reading historical fiction this is a must read.

The e-book is available on Amazon (see link below),  and Apple's iBook store for 4.99. I found the e-book for 3.89 on the Borders e-book store. Also discovered it on the Barnes and Noble site for .99 cents! As much as I am price sensitive in regards to e-books and love a deal the .99 cent price is just to inexpensive for this book. The book is well worth the 4.99 on Amazon or the iBook store.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Macmillan Price Gouge on Old Classic Sci-fi series

Author Philip Jose Farmer is probably best known for his famous Riverworld series of books. The series consists of - ‘To Your Scattered Bodies Go’ (1971), ‘The Fabulous Riverboat’ (1971), ‘The Dark Design’ (1977), ‘The Magic Labyrinth’ (1980), and ‘Gods of Riverworld’ (1983). ‘Riverworld and Other Stories’ (1979) was not part of the original Riverworld series but a free standing collection of short stories set in Riverworld. The basis of the books are that all of humanity, give or take a few, have been resurrected in an alien world along a seemingly endless river.

I have enjoyed the books and am now on my second reading of the series. However I have found that it is a bit difficult to get the books in e-book format. Since the ‘Agency Model’ has taken over, Macmillan Publishing has decided to slowly release this series of books in the e-book format but price them outrageously for books that were published in the early 70’s and 80’s. Macmillan has taken the first two books and combined them into one e-book called Riverworld and has priced it at 9.99. Which to be fair isn’t to bad of a price since you are getting two books for one. However the third book, ‘The Dark Design,' has been priced as a stand alone e-book at 9.99 which is outrageous for a book that was published in 1977! The remainder of the books are not currently available in e-book format but ‘The Magic Labyrinth’ is set to be released on November 9, 2010, again for 9.99. I have not seen anything mentioned on release dates for the last book in the series.

Pricing and releasing e-books in this manner is in my opinion a slap to the consumer. I am not sure what the real reasoning is behind the price gouging for this long time science fiction classic but I refuse to pay these prices for books originally published that long ago! I guess there are several questions to ask. Why would Macmillan take this tack with this series of books? Is it a test to see how much a customer will pay for an old classic science fiction series like this? Are they trying to build a hype around the e-book? Are we going to see more classic science fiction books priced like this? Hopefully the customers will stand strong against this type of tactic and as much as I hate to say but refuse to buy this series of e-books and any others priced like it.

The combination ‘To Your Scattered Bodies Go’ and ‘The Fabulous Riverboat’ e-book called ‘Riverworld’ and ‘The Dark Design’ can be found on Amazon, the Apple iBook store, and Barnes and Noble. For some reason only ‘The Dark Design’ is for sale on the Borders site. The price is 9.99 on all sites per the standard new ‘Agency Model’ the publishers have slapped on us consumers.

Welcome to My New Blog

I know. Why another blog about e-books? Well first off I wanted a place where I could expose some of the current shocking publishers ebook pricing (thank you ‘Agency Model’). Second I wanted a place to share my love of e-books, or rather the experience of reading and having e-books with me wherever I go.

It has been about 2 years since I got my first Kindle and since then I haven’t purchased one ‘real’ book. Now I need to say that I am a HUGE book lover. HUGE! But after using the Kindle, my iPhone, and iPad to read e-books I have discovered what I really love is READING. The book has a long tradition, but really, when you think about it, the book is just a method of giving a reader the experience of reading words an author has given to a reader to read. So, no matter how a reader gets the authors words should be an acceptable medium. Well acceptable as long as the authors words haven’t been changed.

I urge the readers of this blog to help me rat out the current schizophrenic marketing practices many of major publishers are forcing upon us consumers of e-books. So...lets get started!