View Full Version : how do you find stuff?


sic
11-03-2006, 02:59 PM
As a Canadian being locked out of the Connect store I've bought the SONY Reader so that I'll be able to read all the classics and out-of-copyright books on a paper like display.
I also download computer books sometimes.

I'm wondering how people are getting the content for their readers...
Are you purchasing books? If so do you use SONY's store or are you buying it elsewhere and then trying to get it to the correct format?

Are you taking advantage of the "warez" sites and download PDF ebooks? (Of course only if you have a paper copy already :) )

How about collections?
I find that collections are great for browsing when you don't exactly know the title. e.g. When I'm looking for a children's book for my daughter I'd never find it by author or title, but I can find good ones if I browse some collected works.

thanks for your comments

Sic.

NatCh
11-03-2006, 06:18 PM
I've got quite a lot of material from Baen (http://www.baen.com) publising, myself, but that's only good if you like the sort of SciFi they sell.

I think I'm pretty likely to continue to use the Connect store (even after my $50 'taste' is gone), as I find things there that I want to read. They do need to continue to work on the listings though -- almost 11k titles sounds great, but it doesn't translate to a very large number of titles per catagory. :sad: Though they have added almost a thousand in the first month, so that's a good sign.

I know you can't get to it from Canada, but I'm hoping that once they get the U.S. release settled they'll look to other areas. They have said "no" about Europe, but I don't think they've said anything official about Canada. :shrug:

sic
11-03-2006, 07:36 PM
well... it's a bit off topic but anyways...
in my opinion SONY is trying to ride two horses with one ass and at the end will arive on the floor
you cannot sell a device and the content because there's a conflict of interest there
IMO they could have cashed in with a better device that is an open system, and only focus on selling the device.

The reason I was asking the initial question is because my post about the ebook search I created on my website did not revice any positive feedback...

regards

Sic.

NatCh
11-03-2006, 08:29 PM
You have a point about the device & content thing. But looking at it from the other side, part of what people have been skeptical about e-readers in the past is lack of content (which goes back to your original point :) ), and the Connect store is an attempt to address that, as the Reader itself is an attempt to address the issue of no good reading hardware. :shrug: Kind of a catch 22 situation.

sic
11-03-2006, 08:51 PM
re: availability of content it's a Yes-And-No kind of a thing.
e.g. I'm a software engineer. I can find most computerbooks online. I can even download them for free (as in warez :) )
can I read it on the reader?... sometimes
I agree with the TeleRead folks about the great need for an open universal ebook format.
On the other hand I've been trying to find The Slave from I.B. Singer and I couldn't...
A good bilingual Bible for the reader... also couldn't
I guess it greatly depends on what you're looking for.

I expect to see college textbooks and language books (with embedded audio) in the future formatted for the reader and similar devices.

sic.

Jack B Nimble
11-06-2006, 03:31 PM
you cannot sell a device and the content because there's a conflict of interest there

Unfortunately, the iPod success tends to contrdict you there, and that is the model Sony seems to be looking to emulate.

Could the hardware be better? Of course it could. We have all heard / talked about the shortcomings of the Reader, but again, they are following the iPod -- keep it simple and easy. And it does emulate the basics pretty well. It does not do some of the features I use in my PDA ebook software, but the basics are all there and easy to use. By basics, I mean simple interface, good battery life, resizeable text, standardized external media, good content at a (some would say) reasonable price, and handles several non-proprietary formats (though I wish basic HTML was one of them).

Now, if they would just make their content available to Mac users, it might be enough to make up for the features it is missing for me.

Jack

tcv
11-06-2006, 04:07 PM
I thought sic meant you can't sell the device and be a publisher of the content. In other words, it wouldn't work is Baen sold an ebook reader and locked out every other publisher.

Jack B Nimble
11-06-2006, 05:09 PM
I thought sic meant you can't sell the device and be a publisher of the content. In other words, it wouldn't work is Baen sold an ebook reader and locked out every other publisher.

Now I am really confused. In that case, why would Sony have a conflict? They are not a publisher.

in my opinion SONY is trying to ride two horses with one ass and at the end will arive on the floor
you cannot sell a device and the content because there's a conflict of interest there

tcv
11-06-2006, 07:21 PM
I didn't say it made sense, I just thought that was what sic meant. ;)

Cthulhu
11-07-2006, 10:48 AM
@tcv:

To answer your original question, if you are looking for public domain content (i.e. plain text, non DRM protected), the two best sites are gutenberg.org & manybooks.net. Both are set up to allow people to download classics with no copyrights remaining, for free. So anything written before 1921 is fair game & most likely available there.

The Reader will handle .pdf,.txt, .rtf. The most popular, in terms of ease of use and readibility(sp) is .rtf. PDF's do not transfer well to the device because the document thinks it is being displayed on a screen that simulates 8.5x11", so it shrinks quite a bit on a 6" screen.

As long as you purchase a supported format from other e-book sites, like fictionwise.com, ereader.com, ebooksmall.com, &tc, the file will work on the device.
How much you will pay for the file is a matter of contention in a number of threads here. ;-

Madam Broshkina
11-07-2006, 08:18 PM
When I download a book on manybooks.net on the select format box I choose Sony which will download your book into a .lrf file. This works for me a lot better then a .rtf file. Of course your mileage may vary.

sic
11-07-2006, 08:36 PM
if I sell ebook readers then pirated ebook copies that people can download for "free" are good for me.
(just like all the mp3s out there were boosting iPod sales)
So I'm not so interested in all the DRM, copyright protection etc.

If I sell ebooks then I want to sell on every device, not just one. If people want to read it on a 2 line cellphone screen... I don't care as long as they are buying my content.
I want DRM because I'll lose sales if people can just freely copy my stuff (actually... this is proven to be false... but that's a different story)

so what does SONY want?
are they publisher or just middle-man?

and... noone really answered the original question :)

Madam Broshkina
11-07-2006, 09:12 PM
Original question: I'm wondering how people are getting the content for their readers... Are you purchasing books? If so do you use SONY's store or are you buying it elsewhere and then trying to get it to the correct format?

My answer: I have purchased about 9 books from the Sony Store. I have not tried to buy any books from anyone else.

Original question: Are you taking advantage of the "warez" sites and download PDF ebooks?

My answer: I have not tried taking advantage of the "warez" sites to down load a PDF ebook. For me the trouble of converting a PDF that can be read easily in my Sony Reader is not worth the trouble.

Original question: How about collections?
I find that collections are great for browsing when you don't exactly know the title. e.g. When I'm looking for a children's book for my daughter I'd never find it by author or title, but I can find good ones if I browse some collected works.

My answer: The Sony Connect site has categories, for example; Biography, Horror, Romance, History and many others which you can browse and hopefully find something you will like.

sic
11-08-2006, 05:43 PM
thanks for your answers!
interesting... looks like they got you hooked in :)
re:formatting PDF
I was attempting to reflow a pdf... then I just started using the "landscape" reading mode, when you turn the device on the side, and it's quite all right.
Compared to the effort I need to put into reformatting the PDF it's definitely the better choice.

Sic.

johnnaryry
11-09-2006, 05:58 PM
There's a lot of interesting free :D stuff here, available in several different formats:

http://memoware.com/

:cool: --ryan

Steven Lyle Jordan
11-09-2006, 11:01 PM
I confess I have a hard time finding NEW e-book Sci-Fi that 1. sounds interesting, 2. is written well, and 3. isn't insultingly pricey. I usually find 2 out of three, and far too often 1 out of 3. So I'm selective about what I buy. (Let's face it, there really is a lot of stuff out there, but not all of it is professional quality (and being an e-book writer, I say this while making every effort to present a small target myself!). Presently I have more classic SF than new SF in e-book form, and my list of new titles to buy is short.

By the way, I contacted the Connect store back in September, but after 2 e-mails confirming that they received my inquiry, they have not gotten back to me about making my e-books available. I attribute that to the "too small a fish" syndrome at this time, which preserves my ego at least.

sic
11-10-2006, 01:10 PM
Hi Steve,

that's exactly why we need a book rating/review site.
you would go into the "sci-fi" category and see what books are rated good, you'd find reviews and comments.

books stores like Connect.com will only categorize and suggest their own content.

this was leading me when I started working on the ebookmark website (http://ebookmark.digitalreading.net)

re:selling your books
did you try selling elsewhere, e.g. on Amazon/Mobipocket ?
is DRM important for you? (otherwise you could just sell them on your site)
do you expect to see more customers finding your book if you have it on Connect.com?

Sic.

Steven Lyle Jordan
11-14-2006, 12:04 PM
The idea of selling on Connect would be to get more exposure. I haven't tried selling through Amazon or any other p-book seller, since I don't produce p-books, and Amazon seems to be primarily a p-book seller with occasional e-books (but never the other way around).

I haven't contacted Mobipocket or any e-book seller as yet. That's something else I'm looking into, but I have to keep an eye on how DRM and pricing is applied. For the record, I do not approve of DRM as a tool, and prefer to sell at a low enough price to discourage DRM. That's a main reason why I sell on my own site, to maintain that control.

Jack B Nimble
11-14-2006, 12:16 PM
I haven't contacted Mobipocket or any e-book seller as yet. That's something else I'm looking into, but I have to keep an eye on how DRM and pricing is applied. For the record, I do not approve of DRM as a tool, and prefer to sell at a low enough price to discourage DRM. That's a main reason why I sell on my own site, to maintain that control.

You might also try Fictionwise. They have two sections, one protected, one they call 'multiformat.' The multiformats are reasonably priced, and available, as the name implies, in a variety of formats -- sort of like what you do now. :cool:

BTW, you scifi fans, should take a look at Steve's stuff. I am part way through his free book (the first hit is always free, isn't it? Then you need the fix!), and it is good stuff. Trying to decide which one to go to next.

And Steve, for the record, I downloaded in iSilo format... I know you are thinking of dropping it, but I ask you to at least include HTML as an option if you do.

Good luck with the sales!

Jack

Bob Russell
11-14-2006, 02:28 PM
I agree wholeheartedly about Steve Jordan's stuff. I love his views on DRM, and the way he backs it up with his actions, but I also really like his writing. Here's a short article... http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6544. I've read the two books so far (the free one and Encephalopath) and they are great.

In fact, Steve, you should consider selling collections. Say the full collection zipped up in the chosen format... say all ten books, including the free one, for $20? I think a lot of people might jump on that.

sic
11-14-2006, 02:46 PM
back to my original question... suppose I like sci-fi but I've never heard of Steve Jordan before (sorry, Steve)
how would I find his work?
as a reader if I go to the Connect store or anything like that... I'd probably look for names like Asimov in the sci-fi category
maybe it's just me but I find forums like these one convince me better even more than reviews... just by the live nature of the forum

by the way... Steve, could you please discribe -- as an author -- what services an ideal ebook store would provide
I'm thinking of things like
- make it easy to provide the content in different formats so that all popular devices and supported
- branding under own name e.g. stevejordan.some-ebookstore.com
- reviews, ratings
- working with the author to create graphics for cover design
etc.

tcv
11-14-2006, 03:18 PM
Which book is free?

Jack B Nimble
11-14-2006, 03:31 PM
Which book is free?

Onussance Cells -- sorry, I should have mentioned it by name.

Jack

Bob Russell
11-14-2006, 04:34 PM
@Sic,

Sorry for the detours in the thread here. I like your thought about a place to have a book rating/review site. However, I think much of that exists in some form or other, doesn't it. That would seem to mean that the bar is high for something new like that to be useful.

There are a lot of "best books" lists for both all-time and for new books (e.g. bestseller lists). True, many of those don't capture all the good books because they are based on specific types of sales, but it's a way to find good books. Sci-fi, especially, has lots of best books of the year, decade, centure, etc. I wish they were a little more descriptive of sub-genre, but they are still useful.

And after finding candidate books, Amazon is usually my next stop to get more info and reviews. Google provides even more if you really want to know.

But any book ratings are of limited value in my mind because of such different tastes. Usually I want to know what people liked or didn't like about the book. Was it like a thriller/horror type of scifi, or a mystery scifi, or a thoughtful serious scifi, or a light fun-hearted scifi?. What was the basic theme, topic? Were characters developed? Was it dark? Was it uplifting? Etc Etc. Reviews and authors info tend to provide some of that, but not always a lot.

So, I'm all in favor of more info that helps point us to books we would like. It's still a challenge to find the good ones.

sic
11-14-2006, 05:24 PM
Bob,

There are different recommendation algorithms that are supposed to address these issues. The idea is that they try to hook you up with likeminded individuals -- meaning users who rated the same content similarly to you -- and then find something that they liked but you didn't try yet.
I think it's a good idea IN THEORY... I wonder how well it works in practice.

re: reviewing the topic, the mood the deailedness etc. it's possible to set up a review system to support reviews along different axes
-- I don't personally like the expression, but that's how they call it anyway
I just find that it too cumbersome for anyone to post a review in such a system.

In a brick and mortar book store I can sit down and start reading the book, even read it till the end if I'd like to... can I do the same in an ebook store? Probably not :)
Even though that would be the best way to convince me to buy it...
how about this wild idea:
I'd pay 1 cent per page to start reading the ebook online
at some point it would be just worhtwile in terms of price and convenience to just buy it and read it on a dedicated device.
at this point my money spent on "browsing" would be credited back to my purchase.
It'd be some sort of micropayment solution.

re: the bar is set high
I know exactly what you mean :)

Madam Broshkina
11-14-2006, 06:30 PM
There is a new site out now called Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/ In which you add the books that you have read to virtual book shelf. Then it matches the books you have read with others in the site that have also read that book and you can look at what is on their shelf. I find it a great way to find out books that I have never heard of before. The following comes directly from the site and explains what "Shelfari" is all about:

"Welcome to Shelfari!

Books are such a powerful medium. Sometimes with all of the technology that has come in the last century it is easy to forget how revolutionary the printing press was. Books are not going away and Shelfari is here to make your experience with books even better!!

Why do I love Shelfari? I love it for three reasons.

You are what you read!

Express yourself through your book collection! Why just show off the books you identify with in your living room when you can post them on-line for all your friends to see them when they want too!

Listen to your friends!

Most of us buy a book because someone we know recommends it to us. Shelfari makes this easier by linking you with your friends and their bookshelves on the Internet. All done on your own time whenever you feel like exploring the world of books.

A good book demands a Response!

Love it. Hate it. Books are crying for two way interactivity. Shelfari is a great place to rant and rave about why you couldn't put a book down. Or if you can do the world a service and save your friends from wasting their time!

Happy Reading!"

Check it out, its a pretty cool site!

sic
11-14-2006, 07:07 PM
i think there is a problem with the motivation... why on earth would I publish my bookshelf online?
Compare this with successfull web2.0 sites... what service do they offer me?
but then again... librarything (similar stuff) is quite popular

tcv
11-14-2006, 07:50 PM
sic, I don't understand your question. Are you saying that you've no idea why anyone would want to put the list of books they've read online? It seems to me it's to find other books to read. I'm not sure what you object to here....

sic
11-14-2006, 08:09 PM
tcv, let me explain myself more clearly

Shelfari wants to follow the on the success of other web2.0 websites but in my opinion they missed the point.
The idea of web2.0 is that they provide you with a free service that is attractive to you; then you along with lots of others will start using their site. By aggregating lots of people they can offer other kinds of services that are basically data mining.
Look at successfull web2.0 services:

del.icio.us: manages your list of bookmarks (better than your browser)
then they have a lot of bookmarks from a lot of poeple, so they can start suggesting you sites in a topic

Flickr lets you share your digital photos with friends and family
By making your pictures public they can be shown to other users, you can also see their pics etc. etc.

In the case of Shelfari they want to build on aggregating lots of users to find related content, but I don't see what is the attractive free service they are offering. Compare my motivation to use their site versus using del.icio.us or flickr...
So in my opinion they will not have a large user base and they will vanish. :(

Steven Lyle Jordan
11-21-2006, 10:41 AM
Just thought I'd respond to a few comments directed at me:

You might also try Fictionwise.

Yeah, I haven't looked at Fictionwise. Thanks for the tip... I'll check them out!

by the way... Steve, could you please discribe -- as an author -- what services an ideal ebook store would provide
I'm thinking of things like
- make it easy to provide the content in different formats so that all popular devices and supported
- branding under own name e.g. stevejordan.some-ebookstore.com
- reviews, ratings
- working with the author to create graphics for cover design
etc.

Actually, you described the ideal bookstore quite well! About the only things you missed were a great searching function, so visitors can find books and authors by story type, or by similar books they've bought... and advertising help, to draw customers in the first place.

In fact, Steve, you should consider selling collections. Say the full collection zipped up in the chosen format... say all ten books, including the free one, for $20? I think a lot of people might jump on that.

That's not a bad idea... I'll have to work on the best way to package that! And BTW, thanks for all the kind words, everyone... it does make my effort worthwhile. (and Hey, sales help!)