Monday, August 30, 2010

5 E-books I Would Have Purchased if the Price Had Been Right

I have been pretty much sticking to my guns when it comes to purchasing any e-book  that is priced over $9.99. I almost pulled the trigger when it came to the Mary Roach e-book ‘Packing for Mars’ but luckily at the last minute Amazon priced the book properly.

Here is a list of 5 books I would have purchased, or will purchase, if the prices come down to a reasonable level.

  • ‘Dune - 40th Anniversary Edition’ - by Frank Herbert - this book is currently priced at $13.99. There have been many reports on the Amazon forums that this edition is still filled with spelling errors and missing sentences and paragraphs. At this price I will for sure stay away!
  • ‘The Shroud Codex’ - by Jerome R. Corsi -  this book has hung at the $12.99 price since its release. Sorry publishers, I don’t buy $12.99 e-books!
  • ‘Henry Clay - The Essential American’ - by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler - I really want to read this book but I refuse to pay the Amazon set price of $16.50. This would be my next read if only the price came down.
  • ‘Black Hills: A Novel’ - by Dan Simmons - I enjoy reading any of Dan Simmons books. This one I have held out on not just because of the $12.99 price but when it was first released it was held back from being e-book released for a few months to maximize hardcover sales. I vowed not to purchase the book no matter what, just on principle. Publishers should realize there are a lot of other books people can read and even a readers loyalty to an author has its limits. Sorry Dan, hopefully your next release will be more e-book friendly.
  • ‘The Dark Design - Book 3 of the Riverworld Series’ - by Phillip Jose Farmer - I have read this series once and have been on my second go around but I REFUSE to pay $9.99 for a book written in the 70’s, be it a classic or not. OUTRAGEOUS!
What e-books are you not buying due to publisher greed?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guest Blog by Ben Brown

When I started this blog I wanted to make sure I included other voices to my usual rants about e-books and give guest bloggers a chance to weigh in. My first guest blogger is Ben Brown. Ben lives in Australia and is about to have his first book published by AKW Books. The book's title is 'Enhanced' and will be be released in e-book format hopefully in the next couple of months.  Sample pages of 'Enchanced' can be found at Ben can be followed on Twitter @beninoz. 
Thanks Ben for doing a guest blog for me, and the best of luck with your upcoming book release!
Guest Blog - 
By Ben Brown -
A while back I started a discussion on in regard to eBooks and their place within today’s book market. I must say I was surprised by the level of response.
I have read on many websites that the eBook and the iPad will be the great champion of the publishing industry. However, looking at the responses to the eBook discussion, I would say that these sites have overestimated the impact of the iPad on the book industry.
I would agree that the eBook may find a larger place within the mainstream market because of the iPad. It may even do for books what iTunes has done for music, but I think it will take time. I still think that the good old fashioned paperback will win out for most people in the end.
Based on the responses made by the book lovers on bookblogs, most people still like the feel of a book in their hands. I think the pleasure felt by an individual as they browse through a good book store, feeling the books as they pick them up to read the cover, will be hard to beat. My wife even loves the smell of a new book. No eBook can compete with that!
I am a great lover of the eBook, don’t get me wrong. I first discovered them back in the mid-nineties. I have dyslexia and until I bought my first computer and connected to the internet, I struggled with reading. The internet offered me a place to learn, and read at my own pace. One of the consequences of my dyslexia was, I always found going into a book shop or a library very daunting. Then I discovered the Gutenberg Project.   This site opened up a whole world of literature to me, and I have not looked back. I personally love the benefit of having hundreds of eBooks on a relatively small digital device, in my case a Kobo. For this reason, I think the eBook may find a niche market for people who travel or wish to have a full library with them at all times. I love the fact that I don’t need to leave the house to buy a good book. I simply go online and choose from the millions of titles available to me.
I frequently hunt for books on the net; as a result, I have noticed many small e-publishers springing up. Most seem to be pinning their hopes on the eBook and the iPad. I wonder if these companies will still be here next year. I think most may fold. That being said, there are many great e-publishers out there who offer new authors an opportunity that ordinarily, they would not get. I have read many amazing books that simply would never have seen the light of day if it wasn’t for e-publishing. E-publishing offers a small but vital service to both readers and authors.
Whilst I think the iPad will have an impact on increasing eBook sales. I also believe Apple have made the epub file format too hard for the average author and small publisher to produce. My book ‘Enhanced’ has been picked up by an e-publisher, AKW Books. I discussed with them whether or not my book would be available through the iBook store. When they explained the costs involved in placing their publications on iBooks, it soon became apparent that it simply wasn’t viable for them. At least not until iBooks represent a larger share of the market. 
Another reason I think the eBook will take some time to catch on, is the price. Most books are far too expensive. Once the book has been created all that is needed is a small amount of space on a server, there are no further production costs or shipping costs what so ever. In spite of this many eBooks from mainstream authors are only a few dollars less than their paperback counterparts. This is clearly a rip-off. In my opinion, there is no reason for any eBook to cost more than ten dollars, and in most cases, much less.
In conclusion, I think the paperback and hardback is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. However, the eBook has a small but important place in today’s market. What do you think?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pack for Mars and Head to Amazon for a Great E-book Deal

Quick! Before it is to late! For all of us $9.99 e-book screamers, Amazon has a great deal on a new e-book that is sure to be a great end of summer read. Author Mary Roach’s ‘Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void’ is currently priced at $9.99 for the Kindle at Amazon. This is a GREAT deal since the Apple iBook store currently has the book priced at $12.99 and Barnes and Noble has it at $14.27. I couldn’t kind the book available from Borders.

I have read Roach’s book ‘Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers’ and it was a fantastic read. Roach emerges herself in the worlds she is researching and does it with flare. I can’t wait to read this newest release especially at the $9.99 price!
UPDATE - 8/27/10
I just finished this e-book and I really enjoyed it. As usual Roach's writing style draws the reader in as she asks questions most would be ashamed or afraid to ask. If you are at all interested in learning about how 'we' can live in space and make a round trip to Mars then this is the book you should read.

Remember, Amazon is selling this e-book for $9.99 which is one of the best e-book prices around!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Insane Pricing Forces Author to Gain Back Book Rights*

Several years ago browsing the aisle of Barnes and Noble I ran across a book title that caught my eye. It was classified as christian fiction, which I don’t normally read, but the title, and the overall idea of the book made me purchase it (yes this is when I use to purchased hardcover books). The book is titled ‘In His Image - (The Christ Clone Trilogy Book 1) by James BeauSeigneur. The book was an excellent read and I enjoyed it.

Flash forward a couple of years later and I realized I never finished out the trilogy but saw books 2 and 3 were available for my Kindle at $9.99 or under. I read both ‘Birth of an Age - (The Christ Clone Trilogy, Book 2)’, and ‘Acts of God - (The Christ Clone Trilogy, Book 3)’ and again enjoyed the fast paced original story of this series but this time in e-book format. Even if you don’t like christian fiction I can recommend these books as good old fashion thrillers and even disaster type books, but to each his own. I liked the books.

Now warp speed to last week when I was searching the Apple iBook store I happened to run across ‘In His Image’ in ebook format, however, I was shocked at what I found. The e-book was priced at $19.99 with the publisher being FaithWords and the Seller being Hachette Book Group. The second book was also priced at $19.99 but the third book was strangely priced at $16.99. I thought great more crazy greedy publisher pricing. I sent an email to Hachette Book Group with my dismay about their pricing and received an email back that just said ‘sorry you don’t like our pricing, thanks for writing’. Then I decided to try and write the author, James BeauSeigneur, and see if he was aware that his books were insanely priced.

After a few days I received a very nice email back from Mr. BeauSeigneur telling me he was aware of the pricing and that he is currently in the process of retaining the rights of his books back to himself and that the books would be published by him with new pricing and new cover art sometime in the near future.

It is nice to see that an author is willing to take back the rights to his work and try and sell them to his readers at a reasonable price. I can only imagine the lost revenue the author has had due to the publishers poor pricing of his works. Hopefully this move with stir other authors to do the same. Of course I have NO real insight into why the publisher had these books set at their current prices and exactly why the author is getting the rights back. I am sure there is more to the story then what I see on the surface. However, the bottom line is score one for the consumer. Hopefully this action will make publishers sit up and take notice that outrageous pricing doesn’t sit well with their customers and ultimately their creators (authors).

*note - my sensational headline is just a guess on my part. I needed a catchy headline :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Go Ahead, Blame Me for Barnes and Noble Going Up For Sale

This weeks news that Barnes and Noble has been placed up for sale is a bit disturbing, but I guess I am fully to blame. Since the release of the first Kindle I don’t think I have purchased one paper book. I still enjoy going into Barnes and Noble and other large bookstores but I usually only purchase magazines or blu-ray discs (I am starting to buy more digital videos now) when I am there. I do scan the isles for future e-book purchases but don’t purchase any of the paper books. It isn’t that I don’t like paper books. I do. I love the feel of them and the smell but I have come to the point where it is easier for me to read books on my iPad, iPhone, or Kindle.
The publishing and bookstore industry should have been ready for this day. However it doesn’t appear any lessons were learned from the music and video industries. And even if they did I am not sure they could stop, what I am sure is to come. 
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and over the last several years we have seen Tower Records and Virgin Records both go out of business. I would really hate to see either Barnes and Noble or Borders go out of business. But, like the book stores, in both cases with Tower Records and Virgin, I would visit the stores often but would never make a purchase. I haven’t purchased a CD in many many years. So I guess I am also to blame for the demise of the music stores too.
I am not sure what can be done. Maybe the bookstores can offer the e-book version of a book along with the physical book. I wouldn’t mind actually owning the paper book along with electronic book. Or maybe they can offer a deeper discount if say you bring your digital book reader into the store and make a purchase. What won’t work is only offering the paper book or jacking up the e-book price. I have an entire list of e-books I have currently passed on due to the higher ‘agency model’ pricing. The publishing and bookstore industries really need to step outside the box in order to survive in our digital age. Any other ideas you can think of to help keep the bookstores alive? In the meantime you can blame me for the demise of the music and book stores vanishing around the world. I guess all I can say is, sorry, but only e-books for me!