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Old 09-25-2009, 06:27 AM   #1
Seventh Son
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eBook shops in EU

I'm kind of puzzled how to buy eBooks in EU. There's no single good store. And the book I've searched for tend to cost about the same as paper counterparts. What gives? What's the point of them then? Aren't they supposed to be cheaper to make and sell? Am I missing something essential here?
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:34 AM   #2
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You're spot on, Seventh Son. Quite honestly the high cover price of ebooks in Europe -- from Waterstones for example -- seem way out of reason. Mind you, I still buy them because I've come to prefer ebooks to treebooks at any cost. If you want some free ebooks, though (and you can't get much cheaper than that), check my signature line below and take your pic. Cheers. Neil
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:56 AM   #3
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And the book I've searched for tend to cost about the same as paper counterparts. What gives? What's the point of them then? Aren't they supposed to be cheaper to make and sell? Am I missing something essential here?
eBooks are worth more than paper books, since they do not occupy precious physical storage space. I am personally, therefore, happy to pay the same for them as a paper book. I can't take 100 paper books away on holiday with me as I (easily) can with eBooks.
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:39 AM   #4
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SeventhSon,

I agree with you that this is a problem -- not so much on price, but on availability -- or, rather, the sheer difficulty of finding what you want.

The Waterstones site is terrible; it's almost impossible to browse ebooks in a specific genre, or to do multiple ebook-specific searches. Other retailers and publishers offer ebooks from their sites, but they suffer from the same difficulties with searching and browsing as Wasterstones (Penguin Books is a good example).

In short, there's nothing remotely as convenient as the Amazon Kindle store (which is the main reason I bought a Kindle, although I admit that's not an easy thing to do in the EU).

Like Harry T, I'm not so bothered about the price issue, although I'd be happy not to have to pay so much.
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Old 09-25-2009, 12:09 PM   #5
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WHSmith have a site ... http://ebooks.whsmith.co.uk ...a large percentage of formats are ePub (even PDFs) .... it seems there is poor choice on 'this side of the pond'.
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Old 09-25-2009, 01:04 PM   #6
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WHSmith have a site ...
And it's improved a lot since I first saw it. It's now quite easy to navigate and search, and each title is clearly flagged with the formats in which it's available. Best of all, it is dedicated to ebooks (but including audio books), so you don't get the search results crowded out by paperbacks and hardbacks (as you do with Waterstones).

The range of available titles isn't brilliant, but it's a start.
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Old 09-25-2009, 01:06 PM   #7
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And it's improved a lot since I first saw it. It's now quite easy to navigate and search, and each title is clearly flagged with the formats in which it's available. Best of all, it is dedicated to ebooks (but including audio books), so you don't get the search results crowded out by paperbacks and hardbacks (as you do with Waterstones).

The range of available titles isn't brilliant, but it's a start.
I agree, they have improved a lot and in some ways their navigation is better than FW (fer instance) ... often pricey though ...
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:23 PM   #8
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It does seem like there's quite a few ebookstores that are ok like waterstones, whsmiths, borders etc. but there just isn't one you would class as really good. Beyond the iffiness of searching the worst thing with waterstones is that you can't redownload books from them, which seems a fairly pointless restriction.

It's just a shame that there isn't a proper sony site and merely links to these sites inside the ebook library.

One thing I do like about whsmiths is that the people that run the site do seem responsive to feedback e.g. I emailed them about pre-orders being confusingly mixed in with other books and now they do list which books are pre-order which helps a bit.

Last edited by Crowl; 09-25-2009 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:12 AM   #9
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I too have found WH Smith's customer service folks helpful, Crowl. I still think their prices are out of line, though. N
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:58 AM   #10
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French sites FNAC and Numilog aren't that bad- if you don't try the advanced search, that's it
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:45 PM   #11
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And if you don't mind the price !!
The books I checked were available in "poche" (paperback ?) as pbooks and still priced as much as the hardcover for the ebooks !
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:46 PM   #12
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And if you don't mind the price !!
The books I checked were available in "poche" (paperback ?) as pbooks and still priced as much as the hardcover for the ebooks !
In which market? Fnac usually irks me this way... is she the culprit?
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Old 09-27-2009, 04:04 AM   #13
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Part of the high price in Europe is the stupid notion of the EU that ebooks aren't books, but electronic services. The VAT on books is generally lower than the rest, but as ebooks aren't books, they mostly have the high VAT rate. Which is why books in the Netherlands are on average 80% of the pbook price (they are cheaper, but as pbooks have a 6% VAT and ebooks a 19% VAT, they are more expensive than necessary)
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Old 09-27-2009, 04:07 AM   #14
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In which market? Fnac usually irks me this way... is she the culprit?
I think that's the publisher's stupidity...
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Old 09-27-2009, 04:33 AM   #15
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I think that's the publisher's stupidity...
Yes, but in France the price of the pbooks is also determined by laws. (Example: reductions can't be over 5%.) I was wondering if there was some problem also on that side.
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