Saturday, 19 March 2011

Arrrg, ebooks - kindle is no better!

The technology is good, but that the hell is the point if you can't get the books?

I decided I would re-read some of the Douglas Adams books that I have not read for a couple decades!

Holistic Detective Agency was on TV recently, and the story was very cut down to fit. Having re-read that, I thought I'll read the other Dirk Gently book again, on my kindle. I recall it being a tad confusing the first time and maybe would make more sense this time...

What is the point of a book shop which has so few books in it, and when it has books it has only some of a series of books and not the whole set. This is not a new book, so where is it? I also looked for Terry Pratchet and only a few of the discworld series are available.

If I walk in to a real book shop I find a whole shelf of Terry Pratchet, the whole discworld series plus several related books. No problem.

So, to continue reading this I have to go and get a paper copy. Yes, it is probably no different in price, and if I get a second hand copy it is way cheaper than an ebook. So what the hell is the point of ebooks?

Your search "Long, Dark Tea-time of the Soul" did not match any products in: Kindle Store

10 comments:

  1. Well, its more convenient (when you can actually get the books you want...) but I agree that ebook pricing is currently absurd.

    Doesn't help that for some insane reason ebooks are subject to VAT while regular books aren't.

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  2. Ebooks don't currently make sense for me. For somebody who actually reads multiple books at the same time, and wants to carry them all around, it's a great concept. Ebook *readers* have other uses - the day somebody makes something with an e-ink screen that handles PDFs well (ie reflows to suit the screen size) and allows me to add comments / annotations that save into the PDF file when I transfer it back to my desktop, I'll probably jump on it - but for me, an ebook reader is:

    - Larger than a paperback
    - More fragile than a paperback
    - Less water-resistant than a paperback
    - More likely to be stolen than a paperback
    - More likely to go wrong than a paperback
    - More expensive than a paperback
    - Harder to flick though than a paperback (although for some purposes the search function negates this)

    And, I can't lend or give people books that I've read, or sell them on.

    I don't really see an advantage :-)

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  3. swaldman: I'm with you on this one! I usually read four or more books at once, but when I go out I can only read one at a time...so take just one with me :-)

    http://simplypeachy.livejournal.com/292234.html

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  4. Charlie Stross wrote about this a while back:

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/10/psa-where-is-the-ebook-edition.html

    I had the same problem with Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy. Books 1 and 2 were available on Kindle but not book 2 :\

    I think a lot of authors get fairly pissed off about this kind of thing.

    Kev
    ps: felt your pain with the Thursday power cut in Maidenhead, we have kit in there too. Luckily our guy was on-site at the time it happened so we got first hand updates. Fortunately no major damage done.

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  5. Hmm strange, Its on the newsgroups in .mobi format so it must have existed somewhere.

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  6. That is, indeed, another really annoying part and a key problem with all of the moves to try and track down copyright infringement.

    I could get an illegal copy.
    I cannot get a legal copy.

    I am prepared to pay for a legal copy - the money is not the issue (though I know it is for many).

    How can they possibly justify measures to bypass normal legal process to punish alleged copyright infringers without also taking steps to ensure copyright holders have to actually provide material for sale at reasonable prices.

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  7. RE: Peter F Hamilton books on Kindle.
    I also came across this. After about an hour of hunting I did find an overpriced copy on Amazon that I managed to purchase after a lot of "country changing" on my kindle page.

    My wife also came across a book which was not available at all on the Kindle. TPB provided :\ but we would have purchased _had_ there been a kindle version available.

    I have had similar experiences with music, no legal way to obtain an electronic copy of a track but plenty of ways to get it 'for free'.

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  8. "The technology is good, but that the hell ..."

    Should presumably be "... what the hell ..."

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  9. Some of the problems in availablity also come from the author's misunderstanding or irrantional dislike of ebooks.

    I heard from one author recently who stated that although he wanted to offer ebook versions he (a) didn't want to change the price as that make the paper-buyers feel second-class and (b) he wanted to think about putting something extra into the paper version for those who bought it (ala DVD extras).

    He completely missed the point that an ebook version should be cheaper by the nature of not having to be printed, bound and shipped to a physical store, and they did not somehow make someone feel like a second-class citizen.

    To swaldman: The Kindle is surprisingly robust in my experience. I've dropped mine several times to no ill effect, and even just last week had a full pint-glass of water knocked over onto it, again with no damage caused.

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  10. Not forgetting also that an ebook is invariably tied to one device and/or one person whereas a paper book is resellable. Ebooks should represent the difference between a new book and second hand book price at most, IMHO, just to be "equal" to the price of the paper book.

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