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Old 09-08-2010, 11:23 AM   #1
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No Product and Support Info. about Ebook Reader on Astak' Web Site

Today, I suddenly find that all product and support information about ebook readers disappeared from the on Astak' Web Site. What happened?
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:40 AM   #2
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Perhaps Astak are pulling out of the eBook business. Or perhaps they're just updating their web site.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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Interesting... on theezreader.com all of the ebook readers are out of stock.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o0-0o View Post
Today, I suddenly find that all product and support information about ebook readers disappeared from the on Astak' Web Site. What happened?
You guys are quick! Our eBook reader support and products are down for about a week or so for system maintenance and some technical gobbledegunk I'm not qualified to understand. We aren't pulling out of the eBook business, I promise!
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jenifer.ezread View Post
You guys are quick! Our eBook reader support and products are down for about a week or so for system maintenance and some technical gobbledegunk I'm not qualified to understand. We aren't pulling out of the eBook business, I promise!
Let the web-techies know that the pages should say "temporarily down for maintenance," not "out of stock!"

"Out of stock" is a *bad* message, especially considering how many ebook device makers are dropping out of the business altogether.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:43 PM   #6
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I think it's been like this since yesterday, right when I was about to make a purchase! I was really worried, because I can't find these E readers (the new ones) anywhere else.

So they're not really out of stock?

Last edited by jnarasim; 09-08-2010 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Let the web-techies know that the pages should say "temporarily down for maintenance," not "out of stock!"

"Out of stock" is a *bad* message, especially considering how many ebook device makers are dropping out of the business altogether.
Oh so true. The longer a site is unavailable... The more rumors fly AND then they STOP visiting.

Hang a "Remodel" or "under Repairs" sign, but that is not really the best.
A minimal page, or better yet
a "Bug Hunt", find and report, challenge page.
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jnarasim View Post
I think it's been like this since yesterday, right when I was about to make a purchase! I was really worried, because I can't find these E readers (the new ones) anywhere else.

So they're not really out of stock?
No, we're definitely not done selling eBook readers! We are currently having some changes made to the site, as WELL as ordering more stock after the recent sales. Everything should be back to working order (and hopefully better than working order!) by next week or so. Just keep checking back.

Also, I agree with theducks and elfwreck, I need to tell our tech to put a much more comforting "Remodeling" sign on the pages.
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:53 AM   #9
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Hate to beat a dead horse, but it is this lack of thinking from the customer's point of view that keeps getting bad raps in the forum -- keeping in mind that, statistically, for every one person who complains, there are 26 who are effected and say nothing.

It is good that we had Robert, and now have Jenifer, who can readily assure those of us in the forums, but failure to think like the customer effects more than those of us in the forum -- who are willing to cut a little slack waiting for an answer.

I suspect (or at least hope) the result will be the "knock your socks off" ebook website about which Robert was so excited, and about which we have heard minimal reference since his departure.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:45 AM   #10
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I suspect (or at least hope) the result will be the "knock your socks off" ebook website about which Robert was so excited, and about which we have heard minimal reference since his departure.
I wouldn't hold out too much hope. When Robert claimed that they had the lowest prices anywhere, I did a random search for a number of books, and found that they were typically 2-3x the price that Amazon were charging for the same books.
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:17 PM   #11
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I really can't speak for the Astak site and technicians working on it right now. It is of course incredibly negative and counter-intuitive for a company to close their eBook sector for repairs, but fortunately, these changes will be short lived and result in an improvement to the site's presentation. I was informed by my boss that Buy.com will carry and sell the brand new 6", and I will create a new thread to direct you there.

To be honest, I almost exclusively work on, represent, and interact with customers regarding the eBookstore. That is why I am constantly having to 'ask the office' when you all ask questions, and often get technical or FW details incorrect. The eBookstore is my area of expertise here, so I can say that the revamped store will look incredible.

The new site has great navigation for book browsing, a better looking layout than even Kobo's, and tons of fun features to come. More staff reviews, interviews, and book recommendations are on the way. The new site is going to be mind-blowing, trust me. I have been personally working on the development every day. The EZ Read Team are more than busy.

As far as prices, we already know. We beat the prices on Books on Board in shocking numbers, but Amazon is still hurting us. The publishing industry, I can promise, is really complex and back-stabby at the moment. We are negotiating to try and work directly with publishers and bypass our pricey wholesaler, who is essentially charging us paperback prices for eBooks.

However, I'd still pick our indie selection over Amazon's any day.

Anyways, price is an issue, our current Astak site issues are an issue, and our old eBookstore is an issue. Luckily, all of these issues are being handled right now, as I type. We just don't have the army of Amazon engineers at hand, and it takes longer than the speed-of-light Big Corporations.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:21 PM   #12
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My experience with web techies is most, if not all, need to go back to basic error trapping 101, assuming they took it. Most error trapping I've seen on websites direct you to a message that rarely is relevent to the actual problem. It's a lot of work to write error trapping routines with the correct error message. By the time the web page designer gets through with the site itself, error trapping, which generally gets left for last to avoid having to do it over if a design had to change along the line (and it usually does), tend to wind up being a hurry up job. I've had websites throw me into an endless loop because I'd blocked their cookies and the programming merely has the site retry to insert the cookie without a limit on the times it would retry. A properly written error trap would have limited the number of retries, then put up a message saying that cookies have to be enabled to use the site. Then I know to send the site back to level of hell it belongs in. I've had sites say the webpage was unavailable when in fact the cookie was blocked.

Whether that is the case here I don't know but putting up the wrong reason a website is down seems typical of most website designers. This can cost you all a lot of money in lost cutomers since most people vistiting the site would not know to come here to find out what was really going on. If after a few tries to get something they continue to fail, they will go elsewhere and not go back.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
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The new site has great navigation for book browsing, a better looking layout than even Kobo's, and tons of fun features to come. More staff reviews, interviews, and book recommendations are on the way.
Forget reviews, interviews & recs. People don't visit a store to see its rec lists. They visit because they can find what they want--you need a good *search engine.*

Get someone working on metadata for your ebooks--titles, authors, keywords, prices, date originally published, genre, filesize/page count, filetypes, series-or-not, and so on. Make all those searchable somehow; let people use the site to find "sci-fi books originally published between 1985 and 1995, under $10" and you'll have a feature that *nobody* else offers. Let them filter *out* unwanted results... "give me sci-fi but not erotica" and filter *in* what they do want "give me sci-fi and historical"--and you'll sell a lot more books.

Quote:
As far as prices, we already know. We beat the prices on Books on Board in shocking numbers, but Amazon is still hurting us.
Then pitch that you have the lowest-price ePubs, or whatever the relevant fact is.

Quote:
The publishing industry, I can promise, is really complex and back-stabby at the moment.
We know that. Oooh, we know that. And we don't hold it against small companies trying to set up competition for the monolithic mega-corps like Amazon that can afford to run at a loss for years in an attempt to drive out other companies.

But:
1) Don't make claims that are easily checkable as not-true, and
2) Figure out what you can offer *instead* of lower prices, and pitch that service *hard.*

Maybe offer sample bundles--15 sample chapters from books of genre-of-your-choice, all wrapped up in 1 file so you don't have to download & delete them separately. (Could someone read that, then go buy from Amazon? Sure. But they can read Baen samples & download them from Fifth Imperium, and yet Baen continues to sell ebooks.)

Maybe offer a great search engine. Maybe offer personalized layout of the bookstore, so people can view only the things they care about. (If I could get FW to *never* show me DRM'd books, I'd buy more there.) Maybe make the site accessible--let it work with screen readers, with javascript turned off, with all sorts of browsers. Maybe connect to articles about your ebook philosophies.

You don't have to pretend not to be out to make money. Baen is very up-front about "here's our e-ARC, for which we intend to fleece you for $15 *on top* of the final $6 for the book. Please, pay us for access to the unfinished, typo-laden, glitchy-prose version, and pay us again for the final version!"-- and it works. Be *honest* about how you're trying to make money, and the people who want those services will buy, and those who don't, won't be warning their friends about a scam.

Quote:
We are negotiating to try and work directly with publishers and bypass our pricey wholesaler, who is essentially charging us paperback prices for eBooks.
You cannot, reasonably, claim to have "lowest prices" when you're selling many books *above* the recommended list price:

http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780823231195
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780823229574
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780823230358
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=2370002733809
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780982219911
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=2370002720809
http://www.ezread.com/book.asp?EAN=9780978000646

Either drop the "ends in .99" rule, or drop prices to the next lowest dollar value, because saying "list price is $5, but we'll sell it to you for $6!" is not going to win customers. It doesn't matter how many books are sold under list price; customers who notice even one at higher than list are going to feel that the store is out to cheat them.

(I don't feel the store is out to cheat me. I do think it's more interested in its formulas than my business. Which is irrelevant, because I don't buy DRM, and if there are non-DRM'd books, they're not marked.)

Quote:
However, I'd still pick our indie selection over Amazon's any day.
For indie, I shop Smashwords & Fictionwise. Can you beat FW's indie selection & prices? If not, why should I shop there--FW not only has good prices, it has several formats and no DRM.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:54 PM   #14
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Forget reviews, interviews & recs. People don't visit a store to see its rec lists. They visit because they can find what they want--you need a good *search engine.*


Maybe offer a great search engine. Maybe offer personalized layout of the bookstore, so people can view only the things they care about. (If I could get FW to *never* show me DRM'd books, I'd buy more there.) Maybe make the site accessible--let it work with screen readers, with javascript turned off, with all sorts of browsers. Maybe connect to articles about your ebook philosophies.


(I don't feel the store is out to cheat me. I do think it's more interested in its formulas than my business. Which is irrelevant, because I don't buy DRM, and if there are non-DRM'd books, they're not marked.)

I think the Elf hit the key points Allow me to set "My Profile" and have you remember it for next time.

I will use Amazon's recommendations as a BAD as an example:

I don't buy HB, so don't bother me., let me know whe paper is available.
I don't buy "Kindle editions (Hmmm, I wonder why ). GO AWAY with a proprietary format.

I have the xyz version, so don't try and sell me the abc version of the same thing.

I bought the red one, don't try and sell me the "blue, green or black" one.

(did you catch on to my tone here?... They are ANNOYING THE CUSTOMER.

I don't cancel recommendations.

I want recommendations .

I just want GOOD ONES, that are relevant to ME.
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:25 PM   #15
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1) Don't make claims that are easily checkable as not-true, and

You cannot, reasonably, claim to have "lowest prices" when you're selling many books *above* the recommended list price:
You've given me a lot to consider (and report back to the Big Bosses) in your last message. But I want to specifically address any claims of "lowest price" you may have found on the web.

Admittedly, I am new to this company. Can you please post or send any claims that have been officially announced on the web/websites which state our prices are the lowest, cheaper than our competitors, etc.? Admittedly, there are instances where our books are cheaper. I want to weed out any statements online that might suggest ALL of our titles our cheaper.

Send any links you have found to jenifera@ezread.com

I will check up/change the prices on the titles you sent me. These are all titles provided from the metadata that our wholesaler gives us. We often cannot change this. I will report all of your findings to them right now.
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