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Old 01-23-2013, 01:49 PM   #31
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Social networking is an interesting one. I enjoy Goodreads and I like that I can use it to keep a record of my books, make reviews and check out others' books and opinions, and maybe make friends that way. I'm not sure how much I want that to be integrated with a reader/app/bookstore. I've never set up the social networking side on any of my devices. I do take the point about Goodreads probably launching a store soon.

I think the other thing about social networking is that it seems to promise a solution to the so-called "discoverability" problem. However my experience has been it's generally no better (nor much worse) than the other attempts to solve this problem. I don't think we're there yet on this but I think whoever first solves this problem is probably going to make a lot of money. The thing is it's really two problems - the reader wants an effective filter but the seller wants a promotional tool.

Anyway that's a big topic but I think what I'd like is a better way to discover new books that I might like given the massive over-abundance of choice, but that I don't really believe that anyone has that yet.
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:45 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ereadingdotcom View Post
My take on breaking DRM is that it's illegal.
As far as can currently be sorted out: Breaking DRM for personal use is not illegal (by the same legal standards that allow time-shifting VCR use); however, distributing DRM-cracking tools is illegal... in the U.S. Customers in other countries face other laws, and any statements about what is/is not legal should be made with the international market in mind.

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The fact is, no one is "required" to buy ebooks; they can always buy paper books.
As long as the books are currently in print, or available used (I'd think publishers would like to discourage purchases of used print books over new ebooks), and in a typeface large enough to read, and the person's hands can deal with print books... ebooks have been a great resource for many people with disabilities, and blithely saying "buy print" is a statement that people with some types of disabilities just don't need to read, or don't need to read anything recent.

(Sorry; bit of a rant there. I have several friends who've started actively reading again after decades of mostly not doing so; ereaders help compensate for shaking hands or poor eyesight in ways that print just doesn't.)

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As for authors, I think some kind of protection is needed (such as watermarking) to help prevent unfettered piracy.
There is no protection against unfettered piracy. Anyone with a keyboard can type in the text of a book and share it with millions; this was being done online before the WWW became active. (Well, not millions at the time. Thousands who read whatever usenet group was doing the booksharing.) *Casual* piracy can be discouraged but not prevented; rampant piracy can't be stopped.

What authors need is a way to encourage people to buy instead of read for free. Books have *always* been available to read for free for those who went out of their way to do so; there is nothing in the digital age that's going to change that.

However, most readers want to support the authors they like -- students move from book-borrowers to book-buyers when they have the resources to do so, as long as books are available in the formats they want for a price they find reasonable. Treating all customers like incipient criminals isn't a great way to encourage long-term support.

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Authors make precious little money as it is, on average. If an individual buys 1 copy of a novel from a so-called "midlist" author and allows it to be distributed to the point that there are 10,000 or more illegal copies out there, it just might destroy the digital market for that novel.
Only if those 10,000 illegal copies are in the hands of 10,000 readers who would otherwise have bought it.

I'm not saying that piracy can't harm sales. I'm saying that *digital copies* aren't what harms sales; people not-paying harms sales. And "read a free copy" doesn't cost the author any more money than "chose to buy a different book instead." Authors don't make money by preventing piracy; they make money by increasing sales. Discouraging piracy can be a method they use for that, but it doesn't directly lead to more money.

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** Re-downloading your books: You should always be able to do this. Who does not allow it?
Fictionwise switched from a "download forever" policy to "you must download within two weeks; otherwise your book *might* go away" to "download with 48 hours or we don't promise it'll be there when you get around to it."

Most customers understand that maybe downloads won't be available forever--publishing contracts change; file hosting systems get upgraded, and so on--the important thing is to notify customers long in advance of any changes, and be supportive of their interest in keeping access to what they paid for.

The "Fictionwise is Closing" thread here at MR is a great example of how NOT to change your downloading policy.

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** Owning your books outright: Not possible because of the contract between the bookstore, the distributor, and the publisher/author.
Depends on the publisher. Baen's been very solid about "you bought it; you own it." They're aware that there's some openings for abuse there; mostly they've said "just don't be jerks about it" and that seems to have worked well for them. It may be that this is because Baen's readership is mostly a small niche, but the fact is, owning a digital purchase isn't innately incompatible with a successful ebook business.

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** Browser downloading: I see things moving more this direction, but it will be a while. While I know some people don’t like readers, I’d have to say that the average customer does like a value-added, non-intrusive app for managing their libraries and other reading-related tasks.
They may. I'm not one of them. I've yet to see an ebook library program I liked (including Calibre), and I don't want a separate program installed for every store where I shop for books. (Currently, I avoid this by not having any of the apps; if I can't buy it through a standard web browser and download it directly, I don't need to shop at that store.)

Re: Social Networking--I wouldn't expect to use it. I have an account on Goodreads that I don't touch; I don't have a Facebook account; my Twitter languishes with one or two posts a month. Like wifi and DRM, I don't care if it exist; I just don't want it to be in the way of my interactions with the site.

I'm not adverse to social networking features, but I don't expect a bookstore to provide ones I'd enjoy.

REVIEW NOTE: You'll have to decide if you allow reviews/ratings by non-purchasers. One of the ways Amazon developed its rich (and problematic) review culture was allowing people to review products bought in other places. If you limit reviews to on-site purchases, people who've read that book in print or bought it elsewhere won't be participating with that part of your site.

If you allow non-buyers to review, that brings up its own squirm of tentacles; talk with your marketing and site management people (or person, or whatever) in trying to sort that out. Allowing non-buyers to review means someone has to be available to remove problematic reviews, whatever you define those to be.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:39 PM   #33
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Regarding goodreads, I don't use it as a social networking site (meaning discuss books with other people etc there) but I do use it to find books, series of books, sometimes reviews etc.
It would be convenient to have a shopping link next to the book as a link or something, which it DOES have already anyway, but as the original question asked, my "dream ebook store" ought to have it as well.

But it's not a big deal, I'm quite capable of tracking a book down on the various online ebook shops myself.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:03 PM   #34
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So, if you could have some "dream features" built-in to a new bookstore, what would you like to see?
An excellent, flexible search feature. For example, when I pick through science fiction books I really, really don't want to be faced with all those Star Trek and Star Wars novels.

Direct download to a PC via a browser. If a store wants to have an application to "assist" some customers, fine, but don't make it mandatory for the rest of us.

No DRM. I get rid of it now, but I'd rather not have to.

A range of formats to keep everyone happy. Epub should be one of them.

My library on the company's website should pesist. I should be able to re-download the books as many times as necessary.

Samples would be greatly appreciated. I'll buy books by some authors right away, and other authors I'll buy after reading a short description of the book. For others, I can be convinced to spend money if I can read X number of pages and decide that the book is intriguing.

So, what about social networking? 'Absolutely zero interest' is an understatement. I'd like it to be available for people who want it, but it shouldn't be slapping me in the face at every turn.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:23 PM   #35
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ereadingdotcom,
About the "no-DRM" request that several people have mentioned:

Most of us are very aware that a store would be severely limiting its market by not carrying any DRM'd ebooks, and we don't expect you to do that. But you can support readers and authors who are anti-DRM by
  • Clearly marking which books do and don't have DRM,
  • Encouraging, or at least not discouraging, authors/publishers who eschew DRM,
  • Giving clear descriptions of how DRM works, rather than the blithe "oh, just click here to install before you can read your books"--leaving customers to be dismayed when they change devices and discover they can't transfer their purchases.
If you *really* want to support DRM-free books, you can offer sales/discounts/promo features focused on DRM-free works. But we don't expect that, either. We'd just really like a store that acknowledges that DRM exists and some people consider it troublesome enough to affect what they buy.

Last edited by Elfwreck; 01-24-2013 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:59 PM   #36
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** Re-downloading your books: You should always be able to do this. Who does not allow it? Fortunately, I’ve never had to re-download any of my books from any of the stores I frequent, so I’m curious about other people’s experiences.
I was just reminded of another example -- Kobo. I manually DL all my Kobo purchases and absolutely do NOT want to auto-sync. However, the only way I have found to stop my Kobo Touch eReader from trying to sync is to -delete- the books from my purchased/to-read list (whatever they call it.) *poof* They are gone for good into some vanishing black hole and no longer listed in my account library. AFAIK there is no way to move them from the 'to-read' list and there is no way to mark them as 'don't sync' or something similar, and there is no way to re-download these books. For all I know there may not even be a way to track that I own them period without some serious customer service hoops and my original purchase confirmation email.

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:15 PM   #37
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I don't mind DRM, but I do wish that a bookstore would allow you to download whatever works for the device you have (so it would have a variety of formats) and then if you switch to a different e-reader, you would be able to download another copy of the book to the new e-reader in whatever format that new e-reader uses, without an additional charge. Like you could register your device, whatever it is, with that seller and then download books to that device in the format that works for it.

Also, I know when I worked for a newspaper, we knew through marketing how many people on average read each printed copy of the newspaper. I feel confident that publishers know how many people read each hard copy book that is printed, at least roughly, and I would like to see sharing available similar to how some books can be shared on the Nook, but I'd like to see it for all books and allowed for a number of shares comparable to how many people would have most likely read each hard cover book. Either that, or I'd like to see ebook prices decreased pretty significantly. I buy a lot of $12-range books and if I'm paying that much, I'd like to be able to share it at least generally as much as I would a hard copy book.

As far as the sharing goes, I have family overseas, and I would like to not be limited to sharing with people in the US.

I personally buy from my iPad and then have the books downloaded to my e-reader. I'd like to continue to be able to do that.

Also, I have two children and a husband who read with me. I'd like to be able to have a family share an account and send an e-book to whichever devices you want, as with the Amazon store. I don't like how the Barnes and Noble store handles families with more than one e-reader.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:15 PM   #38
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The most important factor to me is access to multiple formats. I prefer reading PDF (formatted as the paper book) on a tablet, but read the same books in EPUB on other devices. Ebooks.com allows download in multiple formats on the same purchase and I often pay a premium (ebooks.com rarely offers discounts) for the privilege. Closely related is that the bookstore offer PDF editions; few do and I'll pay more for a PDF than for an EPUB.

The next criterion is that the seller not alter the publisher's formatting. For that reason, I won't buy from Google Play at all nor from Kobo if the book is only available as "kepub".

Third is lack of DRM. I still buy DRM books, but if it's available without, I'll buy that way, even at a premium. Christianbook offers many books without DRM that others put DRM on and in that case, I'll preferentially buy from them.

Finally, I don't want a "one-click" interface. Despite owning and actively using a Kindle, I stopped buying from Amazon entirely when they switched to the one-click interface for ebooks.

If a book is available in EPUB only and is non-discountable (Agency), then I buy it from whomever I've "bought" the most free books from lately. For anything that doesn't fit any above categories, I buy from whichever store is cheapest (usually Kobo with discount codes).

One more thing that I want to mention is that, while most people seem to think ebooks must be cheaper than pbooks, I disagree. I gladly will pay (and have paid) a premium for an ebook over a pbook.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:44 PM   #39
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For Peter David I'm not seeing books available on his web site. I went to check it out (and was sorry to see he's suffered a stroke), but what I see on his site mentions Crazy 8 Press, Amazon or B&N. Was Crazy 8 the site you mean when you mention Peter David's site?
Yes, that's it. Peter is part of the Crazy 8 writer's co-op

Sorry, only had a couple of moments to post the comment and succumbed to laziness.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:48 PM   #40
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Elfwreck:

I'm curious how people feel about social networking/social interaction integration for online ebookstores and their apps?
I like message boards such as here at MobileRead and KindleBoards...traditional message boards are a great way to talk about subjects and titles of interest without dragging us into the FacTwitMySpace-vortex of doom.

(At first I typed "KindleBards"...now that would be a fun site just on name alone.)
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:15 PM   #41
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(At first I typed "KindleBards"...now that would be a fun site just on name alone.)
Love the name!
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:25 PM   #42
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Here is a few of mine:

1. No DRM
2. ePub format
3. Download to PC
4. Download directly to device if I choose
5. Synchronized meta data - if I rate a book, I want my rating to be visible to me on my PC, ebook reader and android smart phone
6. Night vision option on the Android app - choice of night colours
7. Offer some free ebooks - perhaps #1 in a series. If I like it, I will buy more in the series.
Ditto.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:56 AM   #43
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I have the same basic wish list as danskmacabre for an ebook retailer.

I'd also like a retailer to offer ALL the books by a given author. Its really annoying to find that there's one or more title available that your preferred retailer is not offering. And a Wish List facility. I have a fixed monthly budget for buying books so its helpful if I can keep track of everything I want.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:16 AM   #44
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The biggest problem I have with most stores is the way they show and filter their books.

I can never find a book I may like unless I know the author or title.

I want to be able to search by category
I want to be able to see the cover, but I also want to be able to turn off the cover (so more books fit on a page)
I want to be able to read a short part of the book
I want to be able to manage my library within the shop

Nice to haves are:
Books I might like, based on books I have bought (not based on books I have looked at!)
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:07 AM   #45
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I miss Fictionwise's ability to set new book alerts for authors I'm interested in. It resulted in a sale about 99% of the time so why don't they all do it?

I also miss their customized weekly new book alerts. I'm more likely to check out some new science fiction authors if I don't have to scroll past pages of horror, and mysteries, and the latest self help book.

Ability to customize and sort my wishlist how I want it. My bookshelf too.

Stop hiding the wishlist button. Just because I don't want to give you money right this moment doesn't mean I won't buy it later. Help me do that.
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