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View Poll Results: What is your #1 method of ebook discovery?
I browse book covers, and if it grabs me I investigate further 22 6.98%
I browse paper books at brick and mortar bookstores, then search for the ebook online 11 3.49%
Recommendations from fellow readers on online forums, blogs, message boards 82 26.03%
Personal friend/family member recommends it to me 13 4.13%
I look first for my favorite authors 56 17.78%
I read free ebooks, and if I like the author I buy their other titles 18 5.71%
I browse randomly then look at reviews 26 8.25%
I'll sample anything, and if it grabs me I'll download/buy it 12 3.81%
Bestseller lists for my favorite genres/topics 16 5.08%
Retailer recommendations (incl "people who bought this bought that") 16 5.08%
Reviews/recommendations from traditional media (newpapers, television, magazines) 11 3.49%
Other (please elaborate in comments!) 32 10.16%
Voters: 315. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-21-2011, 03:35 PM   #46
Elfwreck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyR View Post
Yeah, it's pretty silly that Amazon will accept epubs (run through KindleGen), but Smashwords doesn't...
Amazon has a budget that allows them to spend thousands of dollars designing software to convert files--and potentially catch problems in badly-made epubs.

If Smashwords accepted epubs, they'd get a rush of botched-conversion files and a bunch of angry posts from authors demanding to know either "why won't your system take my wonderful document?" or "howcome the version that's made available looks so crappy and has the wrong metadata and has page numbers and headers getting in the way?" (Ans 1: because you didn't run it through an epub checker; Ans 2: because you got an auto-OCR'd PDF of your out-of-print book from a friend, and you ran it through Calibre's convert-to-epub without looking at the results.)

They'd *also* get a number of wonderfully-formatted epubs with features that SW doesn't currently support. But they don't have the resources to tackle the headaches and complaints from the ones who botch the process.
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Old 09-21-2011, 03:37 PM   #47
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I read professional reviews a lot, but I am still in catching-up mode with my ereader so at the moment it's favourite authors.
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Old 09-21-2011, 03:52 PM   #48
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I chose other. I look at the new ebooks the two digital libraries I belong to add each month. And I glance at the Costco book table as I go past. I also accidentally pick things up - I was reading a People Magazine at the hairdressers and saw a blurb about "Bed". I stopped at the library on the way home, and put a hold on the book. I got it when the library got it. I haven't seen it on the digital collections yet - maybe it was published by Macmillan.
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Old 09-21-2011, 04:03 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Amazon has a budget that allows them to spend thousands of dollars designing software to convert files--and potentially catch problems in badly-made epubs.

If Smashwords accepted epubs, they'd get a rush of botched-conversion files and a bunch of angry posts from authors demanding to know either "why won't your system take my wonderful document?" or "howcome the version that's made available looks so crappy and has the wrong metadata and has page numbers and headers getting in the way?" (Ans 1: because you didn't run it through an epub checker; Ans 2: because you got an auto-OCR'd PDF of your out-of-print book from a friend, and you ran it through Calibre's convert-to-epub without looking at the results.)

They'd *also* get a number of wonderfully-formatted epubs with features that SW doesn't currently support. But they don't have the resources to tackle the headaches and complaints from the ones who botch the process.
Aren't they already getting that with MeatGrinder, though? Only the question is "why won't your system take my wonderful WORD document?"

Given epubs (easy to validate) and Word documents that have to adhere to a strict set of rather arbitrary "easy-to-transform" rules, I know which one I'd rather deal with.
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:51 PM   #50
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It's all a mix of hitherto known authors, book covers at book stores, stories that catch my fancy, or books I hear about, from other people. Or sometimes Just looking around the web too.
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:45 PM   #51
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I picked #3: online forums, blogs, message boards. I follow a lot of SF/F bloggers through various media: blogs, podcasts, Twitter, etc. If they mention a book several times (even just name dropping it, not necessarily an all-out indepth review), I'll check it out myself. Perhaps it's not a surprise that I'm a book blogger too.

My second source probably would be through friends, but meat-life friends don't read as voraciously as the people I know online, so my recommendations from them tend to be older SF/F classics rather than new releases. In many cases, my friends just confirm that I should check out the classic books that these online SF/F personalities have already mentioned (I read 5 different posts discussing Gormenghast, it was mentioned on Twitter several times, and it's name-dropped weekly by a friend. Huge sign I should read it).

Unfortunately, trad publications are pretty dead to me. I respect a lot of genre trad media, but I see them as "a bigger blog" rather than an end-all-be-all source of authority. I subscribe to zero print media, they all just go straight to the recycling box anyway. I read a lot of media, but it's all online-based, and unless it has a strong online presence--I'm not aware of it.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:25 PM   #52
Audrey Driscoll
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Ebook discovery

I picked "Other." As yet I haven't read a lot of ebooks, but when trolling through the offerings at Smashwords, I look at titles first, then read the description of the book. If it's intriguing, I have a look and go from there. One thing -- if the description is badly written or has typos, it's an instant skip.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:49 PM   #53
John Carroll
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I'll admit it, I'm a cover kind of a person. Even when I went to the library as a kid and bookstore before the internet, I'd look at covers first. I still do with ebooks.

The one qualification is that I have I prefer fantasy first and Sci-fi second, so I look for covers in those genres.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:56 PM   #54
DianeJCornwell
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Favorite authors first, then check out "people also bought" recommendations, closely followed by samples in the genres I read. If the sample draws me in, I purchase the book.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:49 AM   #55
Falbe Publishing
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Although I am susceptible to book cover art, I am also very attuned to the actual title of a book. I scan titles both online and when I'm at the library. A nice title will catch my eye in fiction, and with nonfiction I am looking for what the book is actually about. Titles are very important to me.

A pet peeve: A book that has a title and then it says "a novel." I see this more and more and it's a constant turn off. Yeah, I figured it was "a novel." Duh.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:30 AM   #56
John Carroll
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Quote:
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A pet peeve: A book that has a title and then it says "a novel." I see this more and more and it's a constant turn off. Yeah, I figured it was "a novel." Duh.
This could be because so many people are publishing short stories and novellas. Those who write novels want to be certain to clarify to the reader that it's a full book.

Still, that should be put in the description, not the title.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:31 AM   #57
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This could be because so many people are publishing short stories and novellas. Those who write novels want to be certain to clarify to the reader that it's a full book.

Still, that should be put in the description, not the title.
It usually means that it is a literary novel as compare to a genre novel.
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:02 PM   #58
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As a writer and reader, I check out the cover, but this is really a matter of taste, what one might like another might not. That's why I don't rely on reviews, as friends review the book, or enemies, whatever And it's only one person's opinion. If a book is recommended to me, I check it out, doesn't mean I'll buy it. I like to read the blurbs and the firs page of the book. If I like their style of writing, I might buy the book. A little humor can go a long way too. There's no way of really knowing if you'll enjoy the book yourself unless you red it. It's all a matter of taste.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:44 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
Aren't they already getting that with MeatGrinder, though? Only the question is "why won't your system take my wonderful WORD document?"
The Meatgrinder does tolerably well with minimally-formatted Word docs. (It falls apart on complex Word docs that haven't been made according to the stylesheet.) Most authors today are at least somewhat practiced with Word; encouraging them to submit epubs would get a higher number of submissions from people who have no idea what they're handing in; they just got told that "epub is better than Word" and ran their Word doc through Calibre before sending it to Smashwords. (Which is still better than most of the ones who'd try to tweak the epub first.)

Quote:
Given epubs (easy to validate) and Word documents that have to adhere to a strict set of rather arbitrary "easy-to-transform" rules, I know which one I'd rather deal with.
Me too--but I *like* doc formatting, and getting each filetype optimized separately. (I really, really miss ereader pdb.)

I'd love Smashwords to support user-created ePubs & mobi files; I can understand that it'd take putting resources towards recoding the Meatgrinder (would you rather they worked on fixing the submission docs, or the search engine?), and that they'll need to have customer service in place to be ready to deal with a new style of complaints.
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:08 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
The Meatgrinder does tolerably well with minimally-formatted Word docs. (It falls apart on complex Word docs that haven't been made according to the stylesheet.)
Right.

So I'm guessing that the book I'm working now -- that has a character portrait per chapter -- is likely to hit a snag in conversion.

And the book I'm working next year -- a Choose Your Own Adventure style book that has dozens of pictures and hundreds of links and cross-links -- will probably not convert cleanly either, no matter how closely I follow the guidelines.

The guidelines that is AN ENTIRE BOOK. Full of prose trying to scare you into not messing up. And which is not easy to follow as a reference material, imho. Because it's AN ENTIRE BOOK OF PROSE.

I've used Word all my life. My familiarity with it does NOT mean that a conversion service that doesn't let the author tweak the output manually is a good way to run a business. Word is a powerful tool, but conversions are always, ALWAYS given to gremlins in the system.

I should know, my day job IS writing conversions. You always provide a "tweak at the end" option for special cases. Otherwise, you're a hammer who thinks the whole world is nothing but nails.

Quote:
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(would you rather they worked on fixing the submission docs, or the search engine?)
As an author and as someone who buys from Kobo more often than I do from Smashwords, I would prefer they fix the submission process.

As a buyer, I would PREFER THEY FIX THE SUBMISSION PROCESS. Nothing makes me run to B&N faster than the realization that the indie books on Kobo are conversions from a Word document that the author wasn't able to hand-tweak for accuracy.

Indie e-publishing already has enough "ew, the books are badly formatted!" bad press. Word conversions aren't going to help that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
they just got told that "epub is better than Word" and ran their Word doc through Calibre before sending it to Smashwords. (Which is still better than most of the ones who'd try to tweak the epub first.)
I've been using 2epub.com (which uses Calibre to convert Word to epub) for awhile now to get a quick cut of old Word documents before booting Sigil to fix them. The results can't be worse than what Meatgrinder is getting now from non-specially-formatted-for-Meatgrinder material.

You can't have it both ways -- you can't assume that in the Meatgrinder process, all the authors conscientiously format their Word document perfectly for conversion, but with a "and epubs are allowed too", the authors will universally be careless idiots. Either the idiots exist in BOTH processes, or NEITHER.

I think the Smashwords controversy boils down to users and authors. If you USE Smashwords, you think Meatgrinder is groovy. If you're an author staring down the possibility of having your baby beaten black and blue because you tried to put some nice pictures and links and not just text in your book... yeah. Less cheerleading overall over here on this side of the fence. :/

Last edited by anamardoll; 09-22-2011 at 07:20 PM.
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