Saturday, December 11, 2010

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel, Kobo

 It is the Christmas season and everyone is buying presents.  One of the hottest presents for 2010 (I’ve heard) is the Kindle or a Kindle-like e-reading device. I will tell you everything I know (not even remotely comprehensive or maybe even true) about e-readers, e-reading services and e-bookstores.

When I uploaded my books on Amazon, I formatted them to be read on the Kindle, the most popular and well-known e-reader. I also uploaded all of the books on a site named Smashwords.  Smashwords not only helped me to format my books with their excellent free Guide, but they agreed to convert, distribute and manage sales of my books for other e-readers or e-bookstores. I am the bookstore owner over at Amazon but at Smashwords I only supply content.  Skipping Amazon, Smashwords distributes my books to the following:

Amazon:  Amazon’s Kindle is by far the most prevalent e-reader.  It is sold on Amazon and now (I hear) available elsewhere. It is about $139.
Barnes & Noble:  This big traditional bookstore elbowed in on Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) and created it’s own e-reader:  The Nook.  The Nook takes different formatting than the Kindle.  If I had to rank e-readers, the Nook would be Number 2.  I’ve sold four books on B&N in about eight weeks.  Since they have millions of offerings and many of them free, I consider those four book sales a miracle.  Recently B&N instituted Pubit, an entity that lets authors create and manage their own virtual bookstore just as they do on Amazon.  I haven’t done that yet.  I saw the Nook for sale at Wal-Mart.

Apple:  There is an Apple iBookstore and I’ve sold one book there but I cannot navigate the site and cannot find my books.  Steve Jobs tell me why.  Most digital books can be downloaded on the iPad, the iPhone or the Mac.  I have sold one book over at Apple.  I believe my friend Jeff bought it.

Sony: Sony has it’s own e-reader.  They simply call it a Reader Pocket Edition and they claim it is the thinnest and lightest e-Reader.  It is $179.99.  They also have a Touch Edition and a Daily Edition. (I don’t know why.) All of my books were at the Sony e-bookstore but were drastically reduced.  I’ve sold 4 books at Sony.

Diesel:  Diesel is an eBook Store based in Richmond Virginia but not really.  As they say it “only exists inside your computer.”  They also say: “you may be surprised to hear that we don’t view eBooks as our core business.  Yes, we sell them by the boatload.  That’s the product.  Our real business, however, is to provide a fun, positive, engaging customer experience." They offer an “intuitive way to break your e-Book search down.”  I don’t know what any of that means but good luck.  My sales there: 0.

Kobo:  Kobo is a global e-reading service that delivers content (books, etc.) and allows you to read it on the device of your choice be it e-reader, tablet, smartphone, computer, etc. The e-reading applications are free.  Kobo also offers the Kobo e-reader starting at $149. I looked myself up on Kobo and found my oeuvre sharp, neat and complete.  Sales? 0

In recent weeks, Borders and Google have announced e-book subsidiaries for authors and publishers.  Borders wants to charge authors to put content on their site.  No thank you.  Google, because of its astonishing reach (and it is free) is more interesting but until after the New Year, I don’t have the energy to begin uploading and creating a shop over there.  It looks as if we are going to have an explosion of e-reading.

Please do your own research because it is cold in my house and I may not be thinking clearly.

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