Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Amazon to remove free eBooks from Kindle Bestseller List

The news about how Amazon intends to remove free eBook titles from the Kindle Bestseller List is a couple of days old now, but I still wanted to comment on a few points.

The article states that currently "the top ten bestselling titles on Amazon’s Kindle bestseller list are free downloads". I took a quick look and found that, actually, the first nine out of ten are free. The tenth is not. Not a big deal, and not one of the points I wanted to make. But here's the list for nostalgia purposes if nothing else:

Top 10 on the Kindle Bestseller List What's interesting about this list is that none of the titles are self-published. In other words, publishers put these titles in the Kindle store figuring (or hoping) they'll show up on the bestseller list. Getting noticed in the ocean of titles that is the Kindle store is hard. But if you get on the Bestseller List… People readily see the titles there and when you can download it for free, what's not to like? Of course publishers are hoping that if you do like that one book that you'll then pick up another by the same author, except this time putting down the cash for it.

HarperCollins did this with Robin Hobb's Dragon Keeper. It's the first of a trilogy, so assuming you like it, you're probably going to get books two and three. That's usually how it works with me, anyway.

But this game is about to change. Amazon intends to split the list: one for pay titles, another for free. The effect of this is that publisher's free promotions might become less effective:

An executive at HarperCollins said she thinks Amazon is certainly doing the right thing by splitting the list, noting that consumers “want to know what books everyone is reading, and buying, ” and that a list which combines free downloads and books for sale doesn’t deliver this information. When asked if she thought the separation of the lists might make promotional e-book giveaways less effective, she said it might.

Time will tell. Amazon will start splitting bestsellers based on price in "a few weeks".

[ Follow me on Twitter ]

eReaders for Your Computer

image Not everyone has a handheld device a la an iPhone or Blackberry. Nor does everyone have an eReader (Kindle, nook, etc.). As of this moment, I don't own either. As of December 25, 2009, I own a Kindle 2. Fortunately for those who aren't willing to pay for one of those options there remain other ways to read eBooks: on your PC or Mac.

Now a desktop or laptop is not the best way to read eBooks. LCD technology by its very nature causes eye fatigue of varying degrees, and few people enjoy curling up in bed with their laptop or tablet. Sitting at my desk, with my laptop open, I rarely do more than read short stories or quickly scan through something longer to see if it's something I might want to print.

That being said, I still wanted to scope out the available eReader applications available for your PC or Mac. I'll take a look at each of the eBookstores from my previous post and list the eReader app each requires you to install in order to read eBooks from their store.

That last statement perhaps is worth commenting on: many eBookstores have their own application you will need to install in order to read content from their site. If you're tech savvy enough you may be able to get away with downloading in say, the EPUB format, then import that file into some other eReader application or convert it from one format to another to satisfy the app in question, but my suspicion is that you'll be fighting DRM all the way.

Other eBookstores are satisfied with offering their eBooks in a variety of formats, then pointing you in the direction of someone else's eReader application. For example, DRM-protected PDF files often require Adobe Digital Editions.

As you can imagine by glancing at the list below, if you shop at all of these eStores you're going to have to install a lot of readers:

image

My documents folder has a corresponding number of eBook folders, which has certainly cluttered things up a bit.

So, here are the eBookstores with their respective eReader apps listed alongside.

1. Amazon.com Kindle Store
eBook formats: AZW (aka, Kindle format)
eReader App: Kindle for PC

2. Barnes & Noble
eBook formats: PDB, EPUB
eReader App: Barnes & Noble eReader

3. Books On Board
eBook formats: ADE, PDB, EPUB, MOBI, LIT
eReader Apps: Microsoft Reader, Adobe Digital Editions

4. Diesel eBook Store
eBook formats: PDB, PDF, MOBI
eReader Apps: Adobe Digital Editions

5. eBooks.com
eBook formats: MOBI, LIT, PDF, EPUB
eReader Apps: Microsoft Reader, Adobe Digital Editions

6. fictionwise
eBook formats: PDB, LIT, PDF, MOBI, LRF
eReader Apps: Microsoft Reader, Adobe Digital Editions

7. kobo books
eBook formats: EPUB, PDF
eReader Apps: Adobe Digital Editions

8. Mobipocket eBooks
eBook formats: MOBI
eReader Apps: Mobipocket Reader

9. Palm eBook Store
eBook formats: PDB
eReader App: eReader Pro

10. Scribd
eBook formats: DOC/DOCX, PDF, ODF, TXT, RTF, others?
eReader Apps: Microsoft Reader, Adobe Digital Editions

11. Smashwords
eBook formats: HTML, MOBI, EPUB, PDF, RTF, LRF, PDB, TXT
eReader Apps: Microsoft Reader, Adobe Digital Editions

12. Sony Reader Store
eBook formats: EPUB
eReader App: Reader Library

13. Google eBookstore (added 2010-12-13)
eBook formats: EPUB, PDF
eReader App: for non-DRM, you have many options. For DRM-protected content, Adobe Digital Editions.

[ Follow me on Twitter ]

eBookstores and eBook formats

I'm anticipating receiving hoping to receive an eReader for Christmas this year. Without getting into which eReaders support which eBook formats, I wanted to take a look at what eBookstores are out there and what eBook formats they sell.

Granted, if you own a Kindle you're probably going to get your content from Amazon since they're the most restrictive on format types (for a long time Kindle only supported AZW format, though now it also supports PDF natively, a step in the right direction). But even still it seems as if open standards like EPUB are making their mark while competing eReaders are raising the bar, so I do wonder how long before Kindle jumps on board the EPUB train, too. However, since I said I wasn't going to get into that, I'll move on…

I plan to list just some of the eBookstores out there. It seems every other day I come across a link to one I'd hereto not known about. Also, with new ones popping up more and more as the eBook craze continues to grow, coming up with a comprehensive list of all eBookstores is going to be difficult.

Therefore consider this a partial list of places from which you can purchase eBooks. Alongside each store, I'll list the eBook formats they sell. Stores are listed in alphabetical order.

1. Amazon.com Kindle Store
eBook formats: AZW (aka, Kindle format)

2. Barnes & Noble
eBook formats: PDB, EPUB

3. Books On Board
eBook formats: ADE, PDB, EPUB, MOBI, LIT

4. Diesel eBook Store
eBook formats: PDB, PDF, MOBI

5. eBooks.com
eBook formats: MOBI, LIT, PDF, EPUB

6. fictionwise
eBook formats: PDB, LIT, PDF, MOBI, LRF

7. kobo books
eBook formats: EPUB, PDF

8. Mobipocket eBooks
eBook formats: MOBI

9. Palm eBook Store
eBook formats: PDB

10. Scribd
eBook formats: DOC/DOCX, PDF, ODF, TXT, RTF, others?

11. Smashwords
eBook formats: HTML, MOBI, EPUB, PDF, RTF, LRF, PDB, TXT

12. Sony Reader Store
eBook formats: EPUB

[ Amazon Featured Link: SF/F Shorts by Amazon ]

[ Follow me on Twitter ]