Imagine trying to buy a book from Big Generic Bookstore and watching the cashier add $5 to the sticker price. “What are you doing?!” you cry out, waving a fist menacingly at him. “You look like you can afford it,” he says back to you with a hint of entitltement. That’s basically what a publishing industry expert said in a piece he wrote last week about ebook pricing. [More]
After refusing to sell any Macmillan books or ebooks for three days, Amazon.com today gave in to demands by the publisher that it start charging $15 for Macmillan ebooks, rather than Amazon’s customary $9.99. In a statement, Amazon warned that customers might “rebel against such a high price for books that cost far less to distribute than physical books.” Will they also rebel against a $259, black-and-white, DRM-laden e-reader that doesn’t let you share or re-sell books that you “own,” and can yank them back without notice at any time? [More]
Earlier this week, I posted about Kate’s bad experience getting her Sony Reader upgraded. She hadn’t asked for an update, but was told by Sony to send it in, she says. What she got back was a busted Reader that wouldn’t work, and a demand from Sony to pay for any repairs.
Happily, over the past two days Sony reps have been in contact with Kate and made things whole again.
I’m not usually amused at the customer service horror stories that arrive in our in box, but this one is just so over the top that I can’t help but laugh incredulously. The lesson here, which Kate sadly learned for all of us, is if Sony ever asks you out of nowhere to send in your Reader for an update, run away. [More]
Shortcovers, an ebook retailer that I recommended to a Sony Reader owner last month, has morphed into something called kobobooks.com, and it’s now partially owned by Borders. If you own an ereader other than a Kindle, or if you read ebooks primarily on a smartphone, you might want to add it to your list of sources for ebooks. [More]
Update: Barnes & Noble says they’re changing this policy. If you or someone you know is getting a nook, Barnes & Noble’s version of the Kindle, this year and you want to use a gift card to fill it with books, forget it. For mysterious reasons, the retailer won’t allow it. (By contrast, Amazon does.)
Michael bought a Sony Pocket Reader last month, but with the exception of $10 bestsellers, he’s finding that other books he wants are priced higher than he’s willing to pay. For example, Tad Friend’s memoir Cheerful Money is $10 on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble, but $17.49 from Sony. Michael wants to know if we have any advice on how to get Sony to lower their prices.
One of the big selling points about the Nook, the new ebook reader introduced this week by Barnes & Noble, is that unlike Amazon they’ll let you virtually “loan” your ebook to a friend for up to 14 days (if the publisher allows it). What they don’t tell you–some smart readers over at MobileRead sussed it out–is that you can only do this one time per book. You’d better lend wisely–and your friend had better finish that book within 14 days.
As part of a settlement with the customer who sued Amazon over the 1984 fiasco this past summer, Amazon has clarified under what circumstances it can delete your books. Notably, Amazon is not saying that it will never again delete books, which keeps the Kindle in the “do not buy” list for consumers who want unequivocal ownership of the items they purchase. In fact, despite the muted praise Amazon is receiving for doing this, the best we can say about the clarification is that it’s about time, but that it still doesn’t address the fundamental ownership issues raised by the Kindle licensing system.
Great news if you enjoy books, but have the puny attention span of a person raised on television and the Interne—oh, look at the kitten!
If you’re going to school at a Florida state university, your fee burden just grew a little bit lighter:
Later this month, Sony will start selling a $199 ebook reader through Walmart and other retailers ($100 less than the Kindle). They’re also dropping the price of new releases to $9.99, which is what Amazon sells ebook licenses for. [Consumer Reports]
I was never much for writing in books in school, though I did use Post-Its frequently. Which is a precursor to leaving digital notes in a Kindle edition of the book. A Michigan high school student is one of the parties in a class action suit against Amazon because in deleting the unauthorized MobileReference edition of 1984, the company effectively ate his homework.
The ebook “war” is a race to the bottom, apparently, with Barnes & Noble trying to out-do Amazon on DRM stupidity. A reader emailed B&N customer service to point out that their “free books” offer consists of 5 public domain titles that are no longer protected under copyright, yet are still locked down with digital rights management (DRM). Their response? “For copyright protection purposes, these files are encrypted and cannot be converted or printed.”