In sad news, squee!Book's epubs have mostly been broken for me since I posted this entry last week. If I load them directly to my ereader, I get a Page Error when I try to read them. If I convert from epub to epub in Calibre, it does this crazy thing where it treats 10...or 50... pages as if they are one page. While I have gotten it to work on occasion, it's not working more than it is working.
Does everybody know about this feed on Dreamwidth? [syndicated profile] booksontheknob_feed 

The author of the blog does post a lot but occasionally the posts are for books that look really interesting.  There is sometimes a very heavy emphasis on Kindle books but lately, B&N, Sony, Kobo and other booksellers are being included more and more.

Today, Rainbow Ebooks is offering 2 ebooks for free.  However, to get said ebooks, you have to pay by giving them all your personal information including birthdate, full address, and phone number. In my mind, that's not free. Making me join with an email and password I can understand but wtf do they need that other data for?

So, that rhetorical question led me to their privacy policy. They store my IP address as well.  Grrrr

I expect better from a queer company.  And people wonder why users prefer the darknet for getting free ebooks.

I like Smashwords. I buy stuff there; I get free stuff from there. I like that they have a style guide, even if it's so complicated most authors apparently just ignore it and the ebooks come out as poorly-formatted almost-plain-text with no chapter breaks. I like that they have ebooks in several formats--everything except .lit and ereader. (I don't care about .lit, and I don't currently read ereader PDBs, although I love the format.) What I don't like? Their search engine. Or rather, their lack of search options.

I like that they'll show free ebooks in each category. I don't like that they won't show "Pay what you like" books with the free ebooks, although that's probably going to be obsolete, because those can't feed to other bookstores.

What I want to see at Smashwords:
So, I read a blog called Get Rich Slowly which I generally enjoy.  However, today, he made a post entitled "Are E-Books Cost Effective? The Pros and Cons of E-Books".  It made me cranky because he wasn't reviewing the cost-effectiveness of ebooks.  He was reviewing the cost-effectiveness of Amazon's ebooks and using a Kindle.  He didn't look at any of the other ereaders out there nor did he examine how people might be getting their ebooks if they hadn't been buying them at Amazon's prices.  I have yet to spend a total of $20US on ebooks.  Of course, I've only had my ereader since October and I don't tend to read new books that show up on the NYT Bestsellers list but I expect that I will eventually spend more than $20 on ebooks.  However, that is going to take a while.  Baen has hooked me up.  Not only through their free library but they also give ebooks to disabled readers for free and I was approved for that program.  Plus, the number of books that I've read and loved that are now in the public domain is quite large. 

So, I've gone from "ereaders - meh" to writing long missives when someone tries to generalize the entire ebook experience based on Kindle. 

The large ebook stores online (amazon, diesel, booksonboard) would like you to believe that *of course* you should have to give them personal info, and tie your purchased ebooks to a small set of devices (device includes your computer and ebook readers), and that it's perfectly reasonable that you can't reformat your ebooks--afer all, you can't reformat a paper book, right?

Well, yes. But you can look at a paper book's format before you buy it, and decide that the font is hard on your eyes or the letters are too cramped to read, or the table of contents sucks, or that it's just too thin for the price they want. You often don't have that option with ebooks. And with a pbook, when you're done, you can give it to a friend, or sell it, or cut it up and make paper mache out of it. With an ebook... the publishing industry, like the recording industry, has worked very hard to convince people the digital equivalents of these actions are illegal. (Some other time, I'll post about copyright law and ebooks. It's a mess.)

But some ebook publishers offer books without DRM--"digital rights management," sometimes called Digital Restrictions Management. They offer books, usually in several formats (because without DRM, it's a minor matter for them to do so), that you can reformat, or read on any device you have handy. You can also give them away to someone else; some publishers tacitly encourage this (Baen); others tell you it's forbidden (Fictionwise).

Inside: List of some non-DRM publishers I've found )


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