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Thursday, November 5, 2009

On ebooks and Nooks

You may (or may not) recall, when B&N stepped back into the ebook business, I blogged about it. Was so excited to have a big retailer giving so much spotlight time to ebooks. While the exposure is still a good thing, overall I'm disappointed with B&N.

Of course it was no surprise when they intro'd their new e-reader. They'd be silly not to sell one. I have to say, though, I'm not seeing its success. At least, not in the way they must be hoping it to succeed. (Note to B&N: You do not carry the retail muscle Amazon does. Readers aren't gonna "go for" another exclusive reading device.) If you buy a Nook, you're stuck buying ebooks for it from B&N. And sorry, but their selection just is NOT what Amazon's is. (Have I mentioned B&N's site is 2nd in slow-as-hellness only to DirecTV's??? It's like entering the net in 1994 going there.) Nooks have this fab "loaning" feature where you can send out ebooks you've purchased for a friend to borrow. Which would be bitchin', except that friend has to also own a Nook, a la Microsoft's Zune and its music share feature -- and just look at it's wild success compared to iPod, eh?

But my biggest gripe is NOT with the Nook. I've already got a reader, why do I care if B&N shoots itself in the profit-margin foot? What really grinds me is this: They've taken all the time to set up an ebook store, list these thousands of books, yet they are only selling in formats usable to the iPhone, Blackberry, and Nook. (oh yes, and of course you can read their books on a computer. Anybody notice how ebook sales have taken off since portable readers entered the market? Most ebook readers simply don't want to spend that much more facetime with their laptops.) It would've made much more retail sense for B&N to include formats the rest of us could use and buy, such as PDF, which almost all readers can utilize. Who knows, maybe since B&N owns Fictionwise, they figure they're already providing multi-formats.

Which brings me to another gripe (on a roll here): Fictionwise. I'm a card-carrying (well, a virtual card) member, yet I'm about to take my ebook $$ to Books on Board. Why? FW has so many great books - unavailable in PDF. WTF??? Every time I find a title I want, it's not available in PDF. It takes me ages to shop there, and then downloading the books and managing to open them (because of the DRMs on their Secure Adobe files) is always a new adventure.

Which reminds me, note to Sony: Your ebook library software sucks pond sludge. Yesterday it totally jacked my Secure Adobe downloads and pulled them into the Library but then wouldn't load them on my Reader. The Adobe Digital Editions software is nice, and free, although yesterday the update seemed to have made it function badly, turning a 10 minute coupon purchase into an hour-long loading ordeal...

All the hassles and time spent dealing with ebook conundrums (twice now I've bought books in formats which the sites told me I'd be able to use if I downloaded certain software, only to discover that hehhhll no, that file was NOT opening for me and what pissed me off even more than the money I was out, was the time I spent screwing with it)... well, it makes me feel like a techno-toddler. And lemme tell ya - I might not be a supergeek, but I do find my way around gadgets. Eventually. And often with the help of my tech-wiz bud, eA.

On the positive side, I've had excellent results with ebooks directly from both Lyrical Press (you get a zip file with all the formats inside. yippee!) and Harlequin. Simple, fast, and the files worked.

Just like it should be.

Happy Thursday.

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!


Stephanie said...

I just blogged about ebook readers today!!! (inspired by seeing an ad at B&N for the Nook and my disappointment in Target telling me they no longer carry the Sony Reader and that they sold the remaining ones they had a month ago for $75 a pop.)

I really really want one...and the Sony Reader Pocket is the right price. But you cannot make notes...and like you one wants to read books on the laptop...including your own!! I would love to be able to read my stuff on a Reader and makes notes.

Piper Denna said...

Dude. Target is ditching the Reader altogether? Or did they just sell out their PRS-505s?

FYI, Walmart also sells them, but only online (you can order them site-to-store and pick it up at your store's old layaway dept) for the cheapest price. So you might check that out.

As for notes, no you can't make notes on the Reader and you can't highlight either - but you CAN put in bookmarks. I'm thinking we'll get there... eventually.