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Old 05-11-2007, 01:43 PM   #1
nekokami
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Petition Amazon to enable customer votes for e-book conversions

Sent to digitalrights@amazon.com:

Quote:
Dear Amazon,

I have been buying books through Amazon since the website first opened in 1995, and I have always been impressed with Amazon's forward-looking attitude when it comes to using technology to enable good customer service. I particularly like the "recommendations" features that match purchases with other similar books. I've found a number of "new" authors to read that way. I'd like to make a suggestion that I hope could grow into another Amazon innovation:

When I look at books on your website, I see a link that says "Are you the publisher or author? Learn how Amazon can help you make this book an eBook." However, there are still far too many books for which there is no ebook version available. The titles available through Amazon's Mobipocket (or even other vendors) are only a small fraction of the number of books still in print, and the situation is worse with out of print books. Perhaps the publishers really don't understand yet how huge a market this could be, and how it could extend the "long tail," particularly with older titles that would require further investment to reprint.

I suggest that you also create a button that says, "Click here to notify the publisher and author that you would like to buy this book as an ebook!" The clicks could then be tallied by Amazon, and even displayed on the page. And Amazon could then forward that data to the publishers and authors using an automated system, because Amazon already has publisher and author info on file for each book. (The author correspondence could be sent care of the publisher, which would reduce the amount of address/contact data Amazon would need to maintain.) Publishers might specify the threshold level at which they would like to be notified. This could not only help publishers to understand how large the ebook market is, but could also help to direct their efforts toward the most desired ebooks first.

If/when an ebook version becomes available, the customers who "voted" for it while logged into their Amazon account could be notified via email or notices on their next visit to Amazon. As a special incentive, Amazon could offer discounted retroactive ebook conversion -- if a customer bought a book from Amazon, and it later became available as an ebook, Amazon could offer a discount on the ebook version. This could encourage customers to go ahead and buy a paper version of a book from Amazon while they wait for the ebook version to be produced (and of course, those customers might also sell their used paper copies through Amazon, generating even more revenue).

My storage space for paper books has become limited over the years, and ebook reading technology has improved substantially. I'd really like to be able to buy all my new books in ebook format, and I know I'm not alone. But too few of the titles I want are available. I hope a program like this could help change that.

Best regards,

[signature block]
I encourage others to do the same. I considered an online petition via one of the websites for that purpose, but I think a swarm of emails to the digitalrights email address will be more effective.
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Old 05-11-2007, 04:04 PM   #2
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Excellent idea, nekokami! It's the publisher after all who must learn that there is an increase in demand for e-books.
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Old 05-11-2007, 05:27 PM   #3
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Well, amazon.com at least offers ebooks at all, look at amazon.de and you'll see that there is no mention of ebooks anywhere...

But it's a great idea to make a big player like amazon aware of the demand...maybe it'll also cause them to give out some more information about the Kindle...
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Old 05-11-2007, 05:52 PM   #4
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Great idea. Sent my email!
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:07 PM   #5
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maybe the publishers are the ones who understand that ebooks will be killing them...
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Old 05-11-2007, 08:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic
maybe the publishers are the ones who understand that ebooks will be killing them...
Nimble publishers could survive the change. Those who try to preserve the status quo will fail.

I started to write a whole rant about Amazon's power in the publishing industry and why it would be useful to get their backing on this, but I think we all know about that already. Suffice to say that while this approach is not the only valid one for trying to get more ebooks out there, it seems like a good piece of the overall strategy.
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Old 05-12-2007, 11:30 AM   #7
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I don't think they're not in to it at this point. They might be resolving the legalese considerations across the world at this point. Just like Sony is doing. My idea is that they're going to launch a complete offensive, Apple style, where everything is going to be available at once; ebooks, reading device, worldwide availability and support by third party developpers. It's the only logical conclusion to this 'immobility'.

They have clout and they can move. Something is just slowing them down and it must be BIG. But I agree that their push to the wheel will make the ebook more popular ie. successfull.
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Old 05-14-2007, 02:01 PM   #8
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Although I think that Amazon is "probably" moving in the direction we wish, it is still a good idea to give them a little support message. Quite like the stings from numerous insects sends big ruminants moving faster.
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Old 05-14-2007, 03:49 PM   #9
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Got this "form" letter in reply to my email.

Quote:
Hello from Amazon.com Digital Text,

Thank you for your interest in eBooks. We are continually working with publishers to expand the selection of eBooks available to customers. We hope to have as many eBooks available to our customers as we possibly can. As our eBooks program continues to grow we will consider adding new features. This idea sounds like a good one and may become part of our features in the future.

Thank you again for your interest and support of Amazon.com’s eBooks program.

Sincerely,

The Amazon.com Digital Text Team
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:51 PM   #10
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If it is a form letter, it's a remarkably good one. It actually reads like they're responding to what you actually wrote.
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:32 PM   #11
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I got the same note today. I don't think it's exactly a form letter-- but I think they did notice that they got the same suggestion from multiple people, and sent the same response to all. (And now they're probably wondering where this secret society is meeting... )
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:45 PM   #12
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Somehow, your signature quotation seems even more appropriate at the moment.
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
If it is a form letter, it's a remarkably good one. It actually reads like they're responding to what you actually wrote.
You are being nasty!


P.S. I would send such email to the UK amazon if they had a digital department over there. Anyone knows?
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astra_lestat
P.S. I would send such email to the UK amazon if they had a digital department over there. Anyone knows?
Just send it to their regular customer support. They read those, too. (At least sometimes!)
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astra_lestat
Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
If it is a form letter, it's a remarkably good one. It actually reads like they're responding to what you actually wrote.
You are being nasty!
I meant that sincerely, as it happens.

But ... I can see how you might think I wasn't -- it is a lot more funny if you thought I wasn't.
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