Barnes & Noble is stumping $15.7m to buy the indie e-book seller Fictionwise.com as part of the mega-chain's second attempt to sell digital books online. The cash acquisition comes just days after Amazon extended its Kindle e-book store to support the iPhone and iPod Touch for US customers. Amazon may be making small concessions …
iPhone is Great!
I just bought an iPhone last week after having a Blackberry for 6 years. The iPhone is so much better! Yesterday I downloaded my first few games, and the kids loved JigSee, which lets you take a picture from the iPhone camera and turn it into a jigsaw puzzle game. But I will be getting this Kindle app right now!!!
Digital books will be one of the best things to happen to optometrists. Their business will go through the roof. Seriously, how long have optometrists (and health professionals in general) been telling us that spending hours looking at a monitor/screen is *NOT* a good thing? So what do we do? We take one of the last bastions of non-monitor/screen entertainment and put it on a monitor/screen. Bravo!
The really funny part will be when the digital copy of a book is more expensive than the physical product. This is already the case with many of the CDs I've purchased in the past year. I bought the CDs on Amazon for a (regular, not sale) price of $4.99 - 7.99, while they were offering the same album as MP3 tracks for $9.99. So that's $4.99-7.99 for a lossless, physical product which I can rip to any format I want , or $9.99 for a lossy 256kbps one-time-only MP3 download. Hmm, that's a tough choice.
It will be similar for books vs ebooks. A book is a physical product which I can take anywhere, loan to anyone I want, it requires no electricity or batteries, and I can use it any time I want (provided there is enough light to see). An ebook is a digital product which is tied to (a) specific device(s), cannot be loaned to anyone, uses electricity/batteries, and has limited use (batteries need to be charged, and can't be used in areas which prohibit electronic devices). As with my CDs, I'll stick with the physical product.
What Baen Books do...if it can't offer a equal level of openness tot hat then its not open...
But fictionwise books are still DRMed, right? I don't see the appeal. Who cares what format they use if you're not allowed to use it where you want.
but but - @ Andrew Crystall
When I have twice read a £6 paperback I can leave it in a hotel library, give it to the local charity shop or flog it for 80p to the bloke on the market. It can keep moving around and being enjoyed by different people for half a century it it wants.
How do you do that with Kindling?
re: I don't think you get e-ink, Chris
"e-ink isn't like a LCD screen. e-ink displays are of higher DPI than most printed books, so they're hardly going to enrich optimetrists - the opposite, if anything."
Please go back and read the article. The article (and my comment) was not about e-ink, it was about e-books. There *IS* a difference. Specifically, please note the first sentence of the second paragraph:
"The cash acquisition comes just days after Amazon extended its Kindle e-book store to support the iPhone and iPod Touch for US customers."
That kind of kills your reliance on e-ink, don't you think? That is, unless you're saying that the iPhone and iPod Touch use e-ink for their displays.
"While some providers charge high and use DRM, others like Baen completely eschew DRM, and their books are typically $5-$6, far less than the £6-7 which is charged for paperbacks in the UK."
So because (at least) one supplier sells their e-books for less than the physical product, that means I cannot make a statement about future prices (or the average price in general)? Well, in that case, Fat Wreck sells their CDs for $12.99 and under, so I guess I can't ever mention that most CDs are commonly sold at prices up to $18.99 or even $21.99 now.
It's not just the Kindle, either.
After all, Sony's gotten into the act, too (I am myself owner of their top end, the PRS-700, and it was a real joy to have during a three-week vacation--gotta use up my remaining free book credits, though). And there's the iRex iLiad, too. B&N's timing may have been off last time, but there IS an increased interest in eBooks now. I wish them luck.
Chris - you obviously haven't looked at an ebook reader
I positively prefer to read books via my Sony Reader, particularly if the book is a long one. As pointed out by Andrew, e-ink is easy to read, there is no back-light and the quality of the "print" is (normally) exceptional.
A 500-page book weighs slightly more than my Sony reader, and is a pain to read standing up in the tube; you end up with cramp in your hand trying to support the book AND hold the pages open with one hand. The same book on a Sony Reader is a pleasure to read.
Fictionwise not DRMed
Fictionwise does sell DRMed ebooks, yes. But they also sell lots of open formats, too (PDF, HTML, RTF etc.). Which format an ebook is available in depends on the publisher.
I've bought and acquired a _lot_ of books from Fictionwise - they also do lots of giveaways at various times. And I find their e-subscription service great for magazines. I desperately hope that B&N don't break Fictionwise. It's one of the best ebook distributors that I've found, precisely because of their willingness to distribute open formats, and their huge catalogue.
Am I the only one...
...who loves the phrase "cash acquisition"? It just conjures up an image in my mind of a little old lady pulling out her purse and counting out fifteen million dollars in pennies. Why is reality never as fun as imagination?
Didn't take long
fictionwise.com appears to be down already :o)
iBoone / iPhook
How long before apple put an e-ink screen on the back of the eye-phone?
e-ink battery life
Im still a little dubious about the supposed battery life on these e-readers.
i have a sony e-reader and have had to recharge my battery a good few times already, and havnt even finished my (farily long) book yet. For something that is supposed to allow you to
"enjoy nearly 7000 page turns without recharging – that’s like reading War and Peace five times over"
i think that their estimate is a bit off. Maybe if you were able to sit and flick your 7000 pages in one day you might manage it, but not over the couple of weeks/months it would likely take you to read such a book (5 times!)
Fictionwise has sold out
I aggree with the general sentiment of the article and I hope that B&N keep their fingers out of a marketing model that is clearly working fine as it is .I have purchased several eBooks in the past from Fictionwise and hope that I will do so again in the future also they do their own reading device but do not sell it out side of the USA maybe that will change now.