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Jacqueline's ramblings - Why I hate publishers: a rant
May 2nd, 2009
11:58 pm
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Why I hate publishers: a rant
As some of you may know, I own a Bookeen Cybook Gen3, which I love and treasure. I use it to read legally bought ebooks, which until now I'd been buying from fictionwise. Even when this still worked I already had a major issue with some publishers, because they would unashamedly ask a ridiculously high price for the latest books of their top-selling authors, by which I mean more than they'd even ask for a hardcover edition. Sometimes a lot more, unless $28 is currently considered a normal price for a new fantasy novel. Fictionwise softened the blow by offering micropay rebates so that part of the price of the book could then be used to buy some more books, but still it didn't make me feel too well disposed to those publishers and (probably) authors who tried to fleece me in this way.

Then, just a short while ago, I tried to buy a book from fictionwise and they refused to sell it to me on the grounds that I wasn't living in the right country. They checked that by looking at the country on a credit card I'd used with them, even though I was now trying to pay from my accumulated micropay rebates. So I can now forget about buying any popular book from them, but they're still holding the money they promised I could use to buy books.

Of course they'll argue that I can still use that money if I buy books that aren't geographically restricted. Which means old books the publishers didn't bother to get DRM on. Yeah, just great. Which leaves me wondering why both publishers and authors are trying like crazy to make sure that this new ebook thing goes away. I've even read a piece from J.K. Rowling who refuses to have her Harry Potter series officially published as ebooks, because then they can be pirated. Well, news flash: they're already online in PDF-format and have been for years. Finding them is as easy as just googling for them. She and all those other technotards might as well make something out of it by supplying an official ebook, for which people could then actually pay her. And if she (and others) want to actually make a lot selling those ebooks, it would help if you didn't treat your paying customers as piggy banks which you smash if you want to get at the money they hold.

In the meantime I'm looking for an ebook store which is actually willing to sell me some books, even though I insist on living in such a backward region as Europe. They'd have to be mobipocket books, because my Cybook won't support epub or lit and I hate the way it handles PDF. Anybody have any suggestions?

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated

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From:julesjones
Date:May 2nd, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
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Direct from the publishers may be the best way to go.

Part of the problem you're encountering is that print books are sold as regional rights, and not that many large print publishers actually have world rights to a particular title. So Fictionwise can't legally sell a European an edition which has only North American rights. Go to a UK-based publisher, and you may have less trouble with this.

My publisher takes world rights and will sell to anyone, but then it's buying ebook rights in the first place, rather than tagging an ebook edition onto the print edition.
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From:jthijsen
Date:May 2nd, 2009 11:15 pm (UTC)
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I just found out that Ebooks.com doesn't have any problems selling their stuff to me. Unfortunately they don't do discounts, so the really expensive books ($28 for Peter Hamilton's latest!) stay really expensive. Which means I won't buy them until the price goes down.

There are several publishers that really don't like ebooks. You can see an example at webscription.net if you click on Tor books (not the smallest of them). They only list a few books, most of which can't be bought yet. And the ones that are actually for sale cost at least three times as much as the paperback versions. Baen, on the other hand, is a shining example of how it should be: reasonable prices and lots of choice.
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From:sallymn
Date:May 2nd, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
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It all sounds a bit like the region codes on DVDs, a perfect waste of time since they're so easy to get round...

It's when business law and ideas don't keep pace with the technology.
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From:jthijsen
Date:May 3rd, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
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Yep, the word technotards would seem to be invented especially for these people.

Fictionwise says they're trying to get around the problem by opening up different branches in all parts of the world (a bit like the evil empire I'm no longer buying from has done for regular books), so they can once again legitimately sell ebooks to everyone. Since ebooks.com is selling me books that Fictionwise couldn't, I'm thinking that they've already done so.
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From:vilakins
Date:May 2nd, 2009 11:57 pm (UTC)
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OK, I'm definitely sticking to the library. It's infinitely cheaper (even if I have to wait for newer books), and I live in a far more marginalised place than you.
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From:jthijsen
Date:May 3rd, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
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I live in hope that one day it'll be better: cheap and good ereaders available all over the world and all ebooks available for reasonable prices at the click of a button no matter where you live.

It's a nice dream to have, isn't it?
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From:kerravonsen
Date:May 3rd, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
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Oh, that is annoying! Badly done, Fictionwise, badly done.
Mind you, I only buy "multiformat" (that is, PDF) books from them, because I refuse to buy things with evil DRM, and even if I did, I wouldn't be able to read them, because none of that stuff works on Linux anyway.

There's one publisher I know of who is Not Evil, and that's Baen. I haven't actually used their Webscriptions service (ebooks that come out in advance of the actual hardcopy book) but I love their free library! They are Good Guys!
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From:jthijsen
Date:May 3rd, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
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Baen rocks. This is how the future of e-publishing should be. All of their books are reasonably priced and some of them are for free!

I don't mind DRM much, as long as I can:

1.: use multiple PID codes (fictionwise allows four, ebooks.com five)
2.: Download my books as often and as long as I like (some publishers no longer allow this).

Both these things would allow me to use an ebook as long as I'd normally be able to use a dead tree book (I very much doubt that I'll buy more than four ebook readers in my lifetime). If DRM makes writers and publishers feel better about actually creating ebooks, then I don't mind it, provided these two conditions are met. Of course this doesn't stop anyone from copying the dead tree books and putting the PDF-file on line, which is what happens a lot to those books that aren't available as legitimate ebooks.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 5th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)

Convert pdf to mobibook

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Dear Jacquelie,

I feel with you. There's one thing you can do about the crappy looking pdf files: you can convert them to mobibook format using their free software "Mobipocket Creator".

Link: http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/ProductDetailsCreator.asp
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From:jthijsen
Date:May 5th, 2009 06:47 am (UTC)

Re: Convert pdf to mobibook

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I could, if they'd made a version of mobipocket creator that'll work with Linux. I've tried it with Wine a while ago and it didn't work so well. It might have improved since then, so maybe I'll give it another shot. Meanwhile, both Baen and ebooks.com are selling mobipocket files, so I'll stick with them for now.
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