A bit about ebook availability for various platforms

Posted in DAW, ebooks, Essalieyan.

Hilda asked a ques­tion in a prior comment thread, and I thought I would answer it because it also allows me to talk a bit about avail­ability of ebooks on different plat­forms.

Concern and ques­tion: For my birthday in August, I requested my sons and daughter to give me an easy to use e‑reader, (I have way over 1,000 books at home) Your paper books are showing my intense use. I’m in no way an expert in anything elec­tronic. Previous discus­sions in this forum seem to indi­cate diffi­cul­ties in obtaining your books or some of them in Kindle. No discus­sions of the Nook. 3 days ago, I went to compare Kindle and Nook. I found lots of your books in the Nook (Barnes and Noble) under Sagara and West, maybe all of them; they were very easy to read. I also went to a Kindle vendor, but could not compare them, except for looking at the screen size, the 9″ Kindle, vs. the 7″: Nook.. Will all your books, currently published and in the future, be easily avail­able in Nook? A friend also suggested that I could use an I Pad. Would I be able to access all your books there? If I sound igno­rant, I am. My law degree is not good here.

The reason people have diffi­culty finding some of my books on the Kindle is because some of my print novels don’t exist as ebooks at all. Those would be the first eight of my DAW novels — the two Sacred Hunt books, and the Six Sun Sword novels — which were published before ebooks were part of Penguin Putnam’s produc­tion process.

Any one of my novels that’s avail­able on the Kindle is also avail­able for the Nook.

I person­ally have an iPad, which I adore — but I don’t yet use it for reading. If you have an iPad, you can access the Kindle store (through the Kindle app) and the Nook books (through the Nook app). There’s also a Kobo app. No, wait, you can access the Nook books if you live in the US. If you don’t, you can’t. (I don’t, and can’t). My father uses an iPad for reading because the screen is large and bright, and he reads indoors; if he’s outdoors, he’s walking.

The down side to the iPad as an ereader is that compared to a Kindle or a Nook (not the colour variety), it eats batteries. It has to be recharged pretty much once a day (depending on how often you use it). A kindle doesn’t.

A Kindle/Nook/Kobo/dedicated ebook reader is better for reading in bright daylight. I will use my iPad in bright daylight, but I have to crank up the bright­ness when I’m outside. You won’t have to do that on a Kindle/Nook/Kobo/etc. Conversely, it’s much easier to read on the iPad in any other lighting condi­tion, although I believe many ereaders now come with a back­light (which will eat battery life as well).

I’ve received word that my DAW novels are now in the phys­ical queue for conver­sion in the produc­tion depart­ment (which involves OCR scan­ning and clean-up, before anything else can be done) — but I have no idea how long that will take. What this does mean is that they will be made avail­able, and when they are, they’ll be avail­able on any plat­form you choose.

Unless, again, you live in Canada.

Amazon‘s Kindle store doesn’t list the DAW novels that currently are avail­able (Hidden City, City of Night, House Name) if I am surfing from Canada, unless I really dig (I have to click on the various side-links; a direct search fails to show them to me at all). There are no DAW or Roc titles that I can see in the iBooks Canada store, either. Since DAW has North Amer­ican rights to the novels, I have no idea why no one in Canada can currently buy them, but will do some digging on my end on Friday, which is when I have access to the Penguin Canada distri­b­u­tion team.

They seem to be avail­able in Canada on the Kobo. Since Indigo, our single book­store chain, has gone with the Kobo as an ebook reading/delivery system, maybe the lack of pres­ence on Amazon​.com and the iBooks store for Cana­dian readers is delib­erate.

That was a minor digres­sion. When the books have been converted, they’ll be avail­able for purchase at almost all of the on-line venues, so make your choice based on what you think you’d like best in terms of the reader itself.

Ebook availability upon publication

Which leads us to: It took Amazon​.com 36 hours to make Echoes avail­able for purchase. I started the only process avail­able to me — Cana­dian! — to get Echoes to Barnes & Noble, but at the moment, there’s a four­teen day lag time (esti­mated; it could be four­teen days to be approved for distri­b­u­tion, and then an unknown number of days to actu­ally be distrib­uted). I’m consid­ering my options now, because at the moment there’s no way to make certain the book is avail­able to all outlets at the same time (Amer­i­cans shouldn’t have this problem for any of the primary ebook distrib­u­tors). If I could upload directly to B&N, I think it would be avail­able in the same time frame as it is on Amazon, but I can’t. Because I’m Cana­dian (trying not to sound bitter here >.>). I have no idea what Apple’s lead time is because the initial approval to be a vendor at all takes weeks, and I haven’t been approved yet.

In order for Cana­dians to get the ebook to Barnes & Noble‘s Nook store, it has to be published at Smash​words​.com first, which means it has to be on sale there first. There’s no other way to have it in the “pending” queue for release to other ebook outlets. If I wait to upload to Amazon, there’s a better chance that the Amazon and B&N releases would hit at the same time — but the book would still be avail­able for sale on Smash­words weeks earlier.

I know that publishers can set strict on-sale dates for their ebook titles, but those publishers aren’t relying on Smash­words for the bulk of their distri­b­u­tion. So, it’s very likely that any of my ebooks will be avail­able at stag­gered times outside of my control.

I don’t want to penalize anyone who prefers one reading plat­form over the other, so I’m still consid­ering options here. Smash­words does sell the books in pretty much any format — .epub, .mobi, .pdf, .lrf and .pdb. All of these can be side­loaded onto an ereading device you choose and…

Smash­words is also avail­able to iPad users through the Stanza app.

Actu­ally, that is one advan­tage to the iPad — and, if you like the idea of tablets, to the Android (which I don’t have). The book­stores are reached through apps that run on the tablets. So if you own an iPad, you can go to Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smash­words, etc. Android has a sepa­rate book­store, but all of the big ones are also avail­able.

But the down­side to that is that your library can be frag­mented across these various readers.

26 Responses to A bit about ebook availability for various platforms

  1. Sascha says:

    Natural selec­tion, supply/demand, etc. They’re going to sell a lot fewer books than Amazon with a supply chain like that. Barnes and Noble can suck it if they offer a book for sale weeks later than Amazon. I love my publisher-agnostic iphone with readers for all book sellers. On the other hand, Hidden City was avail­able at BN several days before Amazon could figure out wtf and make the book avail­able. So I have that in my bn reader.

  2. ElizabethN says:

    omnilit / all romance ebooks have been used to release self-pub mate­rial by several authors I read, i.e. Ilona & Gordon Andrews & Courtney Milan (no DRM), and also corpo­rate publishers as HQN & BenBella have your books (with DRM) for sale. Those two sites don’t report­edly lock the self-pub ebook into some of the geograph­ical restric­tions of the other sites which is why the Andrews mentioned using omnilit. I almost hate to mention those sites as I’m sure that you’d rather be writing than releasing older stories onto the world at yet another distrib­utor.

    thank you for releasing your stories, very good news to read about the older DAW books being in the pipeline.

    I started out with a sony reader and loved it but the soft­ware was atro­cious, even with Calibre. Looked at both the nook & kindle and ended up buying a kindle. I’ve had to deal with amazon customer service and have only good things to say. I would recom­mend going for a device that has plat­forms across multiple sites — phones, tablets, pc/mac etc — like Kindle, Nook, Kobo.

    I just frequently wish that Amazon didn’t make it so easy to buy books as I have very little resis­tance to the lure of books.

  3. Ann Kopchik says:

    I have an iPad (gen1) and have been reading quite a bit on it. I usually charge it every other or every three days or so, even when I’m on a reading binge. But I do keep the screen bright­ness lower, as I read in bed.

    I’m ok with disparate libraries, but that might be because my own phys­ical library is scat­tered all around my house. It’s more orga­nized just being in three places (iBook, Nook, and Kindle apps) on the iPad.

    But I’d only recom­mend an iPad if you plan on using it for other things too (I write on mine and play games). It’s kind of expen­sive a device for just an e‑reader.

  4. @ElizabethN: Thank you for this. I hadn’t heard of Omnilit (I think everyone’s heard of All Romance, but I didn’t realize they were connected.)

    I’ve done my writing for the day, and I’m in the revi­sions phase, which I’ve been doing in the evenings — that, and the ebook wran­gling — so I’m going to go look into them now.

  5. Mark waugh says:

    That is inspi­ra­tional stuff! I wanna collect Stanza app for Smash words! Would you please to share update link for down­load Stanza app? Thanks a lot :)

  6. shauntel says:

    I don’t know if you are aware but the Kindle has a built in light with it’s cover and it is excellent.(you actu­ally attach it to the kindle no external batteries required) The kindle batterie still last a very very long time even wiith the light. I use it day or night to read all of my ebooks. This is just to let everyone know about the night reading with the kindle.

  7. Estara says:

    As someone with various eye prob­lems since 2008 I would also like to point out that the advan­tage of an eInk screen is that you do NOT get the eye fatigue when reading from it which you’ll get with an iPad that is backlit — or any of the cell­phones that allow ebook reading.

    If you have no prob­lems reading books for long periods, but you DO have prob­lems looking at your pc screen for hours that might be another aspect to consider.

  8. Estara says:

    As a German reader I can confirm that AllRomance/Omnilit sells me every book they offer without regional restric­tion or DRM — they offer various formats, you can redown­load as often as you want BUT you have to decide on what format you want after the sale — the first format you down­load will be the only one offered for down­load to you from then on.

  9. BUT you have to decide on what format you want after the sale – the first format you down­load will be the only one offered for down­load to you from then on.

    Smash­words — which doesn’t have access to the ebooks published by major publishers as far as I can tell — does allow you to down­load any ebook you’ve purchased in any of their many formats.

  10. Estara says:

    Indeed! I have a Smash­words account and an AllRo­mance and an Amazon Kindle one (since I figured out how to crack the DRM to trans­form it into .epub) and a Books on Board one and a Kobo one ^^

    I like buying where I can get it cheapest, so I do not mind browsing for best price.

    I just thought you’d like to know the mechanics of Omnilit et. al. so you could decide on whether you wanted to invest time in offering your work there, too.

  11. Estara says:

    OH and AllRo­mance also don’t have the tradi­tional publishers — they have lots of e‑publishers and inde­pen­dents. Because the tradi­tional publishers of course want DRM.

  12. I wasn’t certain about the current Kindles and night reading — but thank you for pointing this out :).

    I love my iPad — but I don’t read on it very much. My father reads on his all the time, but when we were looking for a reader for him, we chose the iPad because a) I wanted mine back and b) he makes the font size so large (his eyes are very bad) that the smaller screens had very little text on them after enlarge­ment. Some­times only a sentence. The iPad at least had 2 para­graphs.

    I think with the larger kindles this wouldn’t have been a problem, but we had no good way of testing those out here. The Kobo was just too small, and my father couldn’t read the silk-screen button text or the built-in menus very easily.

    But I am firm believer in using what­ever plat­form you love best :). There’s no right way or best way to read.

  13. OH and AllRo­mance also don’t have the tradi­tional publishers – they have lots of e‑publishers and inde­pen­dents. Because the tradi­tional publishers of course want DRM.

    AllRo­mance has my Luna books, so they do deal with tradi­tional publishers now, and the books do have DRM, I think. I’m not sure about the latter. Omnilit has the BenBella books (and the Luna books) as well.

  14. technomom says:

    I did a lot of research on various plat­forms. I started out reading on an older Palm PDA, then moved to an iTouch. I have an iPad now, and while I absolutely love it for some things, it is slightly heavy (I have arthritis, carpal and cubital tunnel). I can easily read on my Android phone, too. Which format a book is in isn’t terribly impor­tant, honestly, because Calibre makes conver­sion a simple affair. I regu­larly convert from Kindle to epub and back. I honestly prefer epubs, because I can edit them myself, but the differ­ence is acad­emic.

    Also, all of those have one thing in common: for those of us who like to read in bed, the light from them contributes to sleep prob­lems. The only e‑readers that do not do so are those with e‑ink screens, the Kindle and the black and white Nooks.

    After comparing the Kindle and the Nook, I chose a Nook. I am incred­ibly happy with every­thing but the storage capacity (2GB, which I’m already hitting). The Kindle has 4GB, of which they say approx­i­mately 3GB is avail­able to the user. However, with the Nook I am able to add addi­tional storage using mcroSD cards (up to 32GB), which I’ve done. That means the Nook has poten­tially unlim­ited storage — I could have an entire set of different cards, each loaded with different types of books (and I’ve come nowhere NEAR filling the 32GB card). The Nook also claims to have better battery life, but consid­ering how long the battery life is on both the Nook (3 weeks with Wifi enabled, several months with it off) and the Kindle (I can’t remember the specs at the moment), the differ­ence isn’t very impor­tant.

    Honestly, I would like to have access to a Kindle for research purposes, but I’m so happy with my Nook that it isn’t anything like a priority at the moment.

  15. Aharpy says:

    I have both a Sony Ereader and an Ipad. I primarily use the Sony I like that it supp­ports most writing formats. It’s also easier to just stick down in my purse.

  16. Theresa says:

    I have a Kindle (gen 2) and I love it. I haven’t had any prob­lems getting Michelle’s books on the Kindle (with the excep­tion of House Name). In fact I down­loaded Echos just yesterday. The Kindle will allow you to read in direct sunlight (I spend a lot of time at the beach while my hubby surfs) and it’s easy on the eyes (espe­cially if you sit in front of a computer for work). I am disap­pointed that there is no expan­sion memory but I have had my Kindle for two years and haven’t gotten close to using all the memory. I also love the Kindle App for my iPhone. It will sync up to my last read place (as long as the wifi is on), so i can pick up where I left off on my phone, if I left my Kindle home. Oh and some publishers have allowed customers to “loan” Kindle ebooks to friends for two weeks

    From what I under­stand, Amazon currently has the largest ebook selec­tion. So, that’s a plus. The one annoying thing is that it doesn’t read the ePub format. But since I have an iPhone I have down­loaded the Over­drive Media app and have been able to “borrow” ebooks from my local library.

  17. Hilda says:

    Michelle, and all of you readers, you are a hundred times more knowl­edge­able on e‑readers than any salesman of Nook and Kindle I have found. That includes Amazon to whom I sent messages asking for infor­ma­tion and did not answer ( they do, however, send me messages trying to sell the Kindle). Thanks to all. Hope­fully, I will have one of those e readers before Ruins comes out.

  18. technomom says:

    Hilda, we have reason to educate ourselves, because we’re making a signif­i­cant invest­ment in time, money, or both, and we gener­ally love books.

    Sales­people just want to sell what­ever they’re getting the best commis­sion on or have the most of on the shelves right now, period. Also, and many of them don’t get any educa­tion from their employers, or a chance to actu­ally use the prod­ucts they’re selling.

    When I was at Barnes & Noble the evening we purchased my Nook, there was a booth at the front of the store, so that every customer was confronted with the Nooks on display (with all their acces­sories) upon entering the store. All of the staffers were taking turns leaping upon anyone who so much as glanced towards the display (nearly impos­sible to avoid, of course). My partner and I spoke to several of them, including the assis­tant manager who was in charge at the time, and not one of them had any true famil­iarity with the Nook (or any other plat­form, as far as I could tell) beyond the scripts they’d been given.

  19. shauntel says:

    I don’t know much about the Nook, but I have more info on Kindle. The word size can be adjusted (very large). PDF files can be read on kindle, word docu­ments, text docu­ments (and others), one of the other items is that it has a generic voice that will read any docu­ment or book to you. This feature is nice for my niece she gets tired of reading but wants to finish the book she’ll turn on the audio. Also she uses it for some of her papers, to have it read to her to check it over for mistakes. (The voice is very very generic)

    Batterie life, some­times I go on reading spree’s and I can read for 6 – 10 hours straight. If I do this with the kindle I do not have to charge during this time frame, and i still have plenty of power to continue longer.

    I appre­ciate the infor­ma­tion about readers, I give them as gifts to family. Thank you.

  20. Cynthia Steele says:

    Theresa,

    I am also an avid Kindle reader. First I should point out that I am not a fan of the other e‑reader options, simply because I am quite pleased with my Kindle. I did lots of research when I first purchased my Kindle, and for my purposes, the Kindle was *my* best choice. A lot of your purchase deci­sions as far as ebook readers goes will depend on what your pref­er­ences are.

    Secondly, you were bummed about the Kindle not reading the Epub format. *smiles* My dear, please allow me to intro­duce you to Calibre. http://​calibre​-ebook​.com/​d​o​w​n​l​o​a​d​_​w​i​n​d​ows

    Calibre is a wonderful program I use when I can find a book cheapest in a format that is not really supported by my kindle. I purchase, down­load to my pc, load it into Calibre, and convert it to a Kindle accept­able format. This process is only a matter of seconds, and if you have your Kindle attached via the USB cable to your computer, Calibre will also load it onto your device with just a click of a button. It will also help you keep all such books orga­nized in your Calibre library. :> Very handy since you can only purchase some books in certain formats, but you want them on your Kindle or Nook or what­ever you’re using. This program will convert pretty much to any preferred ereader format.

    I hope this helps and I am wishing you many happy days with your Kindle! Happy reading all you Ereaders!

  21. Derek says:

    I’m still on the fence regarding which e‑reader to purchase. I really like the 3G / Wifi version of the Kindle 3, yet as a Cana­dian I’m quite concerned about lack of content on Amazon​.com, for non‑U.S.A. resi­dents.

    I under­stand that I can purchase e‑books from other websites, i.e. Barnes&Noble or Chap­ters, yet don’t most of these e‑books have DRM? If so, Calibre won’t be able to help me.
    I’m sure there are ways to strip off the DRM, prior to converting with Calibre yet that sounds like a royal hassle, unless other Cana­dians here have advise?

    Note, I tried out the Kobo touch @ Chap­ters yesterday, I really didn’t like the touch screen.

  22. First thing is to pick one you like. Second thing is to wait until the things you don’t like are driven away by market pres­sure. Even now DRM (restraint of trade is always a stupid idea — someone hands you money and you say no? Dumb!) is on its last legs. If not legally then certainly other­wise. At some point, even the pointy haired bosses at many of the big publishers will remember that their job is to sell books, not to play with schemes that grant them a very short term gain in exchange for a long term loss. Person­ally, avail­ability of the titles you want is VERY impor­tant. If you want to look a head and bet on tech­nology, you might think about how much Jeff Bezos has in his R&D money box. Like­wise remember that there are soft­ware versions of Kindle and prob­ably by now a few others. I have 3 on my ‘reading’ machine and they pretty much cover the water­front as far as format goes. Look around, ask around, pick. The price will continue to drop, so the penalty for picking ‘wrong’ will continue to be less and less as well. Good Luck!

  23. technomom says:

    DRM is easy to remove when you want to do it — there are even Calibre plugins to do it in one step. They were not created by the Calibre programmer, and you won’t find them in the offi­cial Calibre forums, but they’re easy to find with a Google search nonethe­less.

    They were created by people who believe, as I do, that when you buy an ebook you should be able to read it on any sort of hard­ware you like without having to buy it over and over again. (I’m not a programmer, myself, but I appre­ciate the work of those who are.)

  24. Derek says:

    Thanks Tech­nomom and Hugh. Looks like Plugins for Calibre make the process easier. I have also heard that if you ‘Manage Your Kindle’ and set your country to United States and type in a random USA address, that anyone can have full access to Amazon​.com books. I’m not sure if that’s true, but at least I now know there are some alter­na­tives.

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