Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I'm a reader. I read at least one book every 2-3 days, more if I'm under a lot of stress. Reading is one of the only things that is helping me keep my sanity while I stumble through (the second round) of over a year's worth of Infant Reflux-induced sleep deprivation. Since most of my reading is in the late or wee hours with a baby, the ability to read one-handed, in the dark, is absolutely critical. eBooks on a smartphone have been life-savers (I can count on one hand the number of paper books I've read since I've had my babies).
I started off reading on early Palm OS PDAs, then transitioned to Cliés and Treos. eReader and Mobipocket were the only software/format options at the time. I read Mobipocket ebooks from the library, but I spent my money on eReader format because of:
great loyalty/discount programs
good selection of my favorite authors
DRM that wasn't dependent on their servers being up
future-proofing through constantly adding software for new devices
For the last 18 months, I've been happily reading on my iPhone, using eReader software, and purchasing eReader format books from eReader.com and Fictionwise (both now owned by Barnes & Noble).
However, reading just got a lot more difficult for me. Thanks to Apple's requests (demands?) for their upcoming iBookstore, the Big 5 Publishers decided to seize the opportunity to muck with eBook pricing in (desperate) attempts to save the precious hardcover market from Amazon's $9.99 ebooks.
The end result, for me, is that I can't buy the books and authors I prefer at eReader.com or Fictionwise because they aren't able to offer their loyalty discounts on them. SO THEY AREN'T OFFERING THEM AT ALL. And many of the books I previously bought are no longer stored or available on their servers. Luckily for me, I had downloaded the vast majority of them to my hard drive back in my Palm OS Hotsync days, but I'll admit, I had gotten lazy with the iPhone's convenient WiFi download. So I spent the last few weeks researching boards on how to get those books onto my hard drive and available for the future.
I can still get Big 5 books at Barnes & Noble, in eReader format, over my iPhone's wireless connection. But a. they'll cost more (no more loyalty discounts) and, b. I have to download and read them in another app. B&N has entirely separate apps for every platform, even though it uses the same format as eReader and they own eReader/Fictionwise.
So my books would be spread out between apps on my iPhone. That is a huge annoyance when you are talking about keeping track of ongoing series. I've already accidentally bought 3 books twice in the last few years - this would make this even more likely.
So right now, I'm frustrated, angry and tired. I had a system, and the Big 5 broke it. I suspect it's going to backfire on them, since I never buy hardcovers, and with the exception of two authors, I always waited until the eBook price dropped to match the paperback price.
With the discounts and loyalty programs, I could afford to take a $5 risk on an unknown author. I'm not going to take that risk with $7.99-15.99 eBooks.
I just want to read. Why are they making it so hard?