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Old 09-14-2008, 11:21 AM   #1
mimrie
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What are Waterstones up to?

Just got my Sony reader and while it will take me several years to work through the back catalogue of classics I've omitted to read I thought I'd browse the Waterstones site to see what they were offering to encourage the uptake of e-books in the UK; here are a couple of examples...

Karin Slaughter FRACTURED; ebook list price £17.99, sale price £14.39. The paperback edition has the same list price but is on offer for £8.99!

Sadie Jones OUTCAST; ebook list price £12.99, sale price £10.39. The paperback has a list price of £7.99 and a sale price of £5.59.

The story is the same for most recent releases. How do they expect anyone to invest in DRM protected ebooks that make it difficult to lend to friends and impossible to donate to charity shops if they are going to charge these ridiculous prices?

I've read the various threads about pricing of ebooks and the bottom line is that it is cheaper to produce and distribute them than their paper counterparts. It seems to me that Waterstones has too much invested in traditional publishing to be entirely committed to ebooks.
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Old 09-14-2008, 01:34 PM   #2
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Perhaps you should look elsewhere for your eBooks? Eg "Fractured" is currently US$9.84 (£5.50) at Fictionwise. Buy in Microsoft Reader format and it's trivial to convert for the Sony Reader.
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Old 09-14-2008, 01:58 PM   #3
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Harry is absolutely right. The secret of contented ebook reading - especially for people in the UK - is to gather the tools for format shifting and keep all your stuff in a neutral format you'll be able to shift onto all your subsequent liseuses.
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:15 PM   #4
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Don't worry, I've no intention of buying from Waterstones given their current pricing policy and as I said I've got a large (free) back catalogue of stuff to read. I just can't get my head round what Waterstones are trying to achieve; do they want part of the ebook market? Their pricing suggests not.

I assume books from Fictionwise are DRM'd; does that make format conversions problematic? I have Calibre and have used it to convert some public domain MS reader files, is that all that is required?
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimrie View Post
I assume books from Fictionwise are DRM'd; does that make format conversions problematic? I have Calibre and have used it to convert some public domain MS reader files, is that all that is required?
For various formats, tools exist to strip the DRM before converting it. Microsoft LIT is such a format. ConvertLit is the tool of trade.

Note that while doing so may likely fall under the Fair Use clause, but you should still check with your local laws first.
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:42 PM   #6
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I'd happily by from Waterstones If their library were bigger and their prices more reasonable. But until them I'm going to protest by taking my business elsewhere.

I thought converting books bought else where was a bit of a pain, until I realised it only takes a few minutes per book and then I don't need to do it again until I'm ready for the next one.
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:14 PM   #7
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I'd like to suggest that everyone that has an issue with Waterstones pricing and catalogue sends them an email.

Unfortunately for us, large companies like Waterstones don't notice if we object by buying elsewhere - they won't think they're in the wrong they'll just think there's no market for eBook and will stop selling them.

I've complained by email (awaiting response!) and if everyone that has an issue does too then it might just flag up that in the global electronic market there are thousands of people willing to spend money on eBooks but Waterstones are well behind other companies in attracting custom.

Of course, nothing might happen and they'll just ignore everyone but I know for a fact that just moaning and staying away definitely won't change anything.

Cheers,
Terry.
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Old 09-14-2008, 04:24 PM   #8
mimrie
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Thanks everyone for the info.

GingerTez : Which email address did you use for Waterstones. I note from their website that the only address they give out (service@waterstones.com) is specifically for website orders. For more general topics they give a snailmail address. Obviously they're not very interested in customer feedback.
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Old 09-14-2008, 05:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimrie View Post
GingerTez : Which email address did you use for Waterstones. I note from their website that the only address they give out (service@waterstones.com) is specifically for website orders. For more general topics they give a snailmail address. Obviously they're not very interested in customer feedback.
I used the services@waterstones.com email address because eBooks can only be ordered online through their site so it's a relevant query / complaint.

I am sorely tempted to put it in writing via snail mail as well because after shelling out for the Sony Reader I really don't want the UK to be "unrepresented" in the eBook arena.

Cheers,
Terry.
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