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Old 12-22-2008, 05:14 PM   #1
Drezin
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Places to buy E-Books

Hello,

I just got a Sony PRS-505 Digital Reader as a gift, and was wondering if there were other stores to purchase books than Sony's Ebook store, because the selection, while good, doesn't have certain books I wanted to buy. Also, does anyone know of any good sites to download free books, as in books no longer copyrighted? Sony's store has a "Classics" section, with books like Dracula, A Tale of Two Cities, etc, but they still charge two bucks. Seems silly to pay for these titles when they are probably out there somewhere for free.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:16 PM   #2
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You can get lots of great classics here at MobileRead - just follow the E-Books link.

Two of the main sites for buying e-books are www.fictionwise.com and www.booksonboard.com. I can recommend both.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:30 PM   #3
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Do they offer books in the format for Sony Reader? I'm having some problems with PDf files. . .

Don't get me wrong, though, thanks a lot for the suggestion.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:43 PM   #4
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Fictionwise sell multiformat books in Sony LRF format but only DRM PDF books for Sony reader.
Books on Board sell books in both PDF and EPUB for Sony readers.
EPUB is much preferable to PDF and I try to get EPUB where possible but I have had very few problems reading purchased PDFs. Its mostly the free PDFs that can be badly formatted.
WH Smiths ebook store in the UK has also a large range of EPUBs but are usually a little dearer than the popular US stores.
Finally apart from the large library of free books here at mobileread, feedbooks and munseys.com have a large free library also available in epub.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:48 PM   #5
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Books on Board sells both Adobe PDF and Adobe ePub ebooks. However, relatively few ebooks are currently available in ePub.

If you don't like Adobe PDF ebooks, an alternative (if you have a Windows PC) is to buy MS Reader (LIT) ebooks and use "ConvertLIT GUI" to strip the DRM. Then Calibre can format shift the DRM-free LIT to LRF or ePub for you. Note that stripping DRM may not be legal where you live. The same approach is also possible with MOBI (mobidedrm) and eReader (ereader2html) ebooks.

For classics, I suggest trying in order: a) here, b) feedbooks.com, and c) manybooks.net.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:53 PM   #6
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Is it just me, or do downloadable books cost more than just buying the paperback?
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drezin View Post
Hello,

I just got a Sony PRS-505 Digital Reader as a gift, and was wondering if there were other stores to purchase books than Sony's Ebook store, because the selection, while good, doesn't have certain books I wanted to buy. Also, does anyone know of any good sites to download free books, as in books no longer copyrighted? Sony's store has a "Classics" section, with books like Dracula, A Tale of Two Cities, etc, but they still charge two bucks. Seems silly to pay for these titles when they are probably out there somewhere for free.

Thanks for the help.
You get 100 of those classics for free when you register your Reader. It'll then show up under "My Account," so when you check out, the price comes up as zero. Those never expire, and they keep track of how many you've used.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drezin View Post
Is it just me, or do downloadable books cost more than just buying the paperback?
Usually, yes. It seems strange to us as consumers since we're not getting that physical item that took resources to create, ship, store and sell. We can't usually transfer ownership or our ebooks as we can with the physical item and, if they're DRMed, we may not even have access to them permanently. Most folks feel that they should be paying less than the paperback price. However, the publishers seem to approach it more from the perspective of what the traffic will bear. Personally I think they could sell a lot more ebooks with lower prices and still have way better margins than they had with paper books but they didn't ask me.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drezin View Post
Hello,

I just got a Sony PRS-505 Digital Reader as a gift, and was wondering if there were other stores to purchase books than Sony's Ebook store, because the selection, while good, doesn't have certain books I wanted to buy. Also, does anyone know of any good sites to download free books, as in books no longer copyrighted? Sony's store has a "Classics" section, with books like Dracula, A Tale of Two Cities, etc, but they still charge two bucks. Seems silly to pay for these titles when they are probably out there somewhere for free.

Thanks for the help.
Visit the Wiki here for a list of stores:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_stores

And other free sites:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Free_eBooks

The key formats you are looking for are LRF/LRX, EPUB, and PDF. TXT and HTML should be useable too.

After you have settled into your Reader, I would suggest you check out Calibre. It is software for managing your ebook library, and it can covert books into formats that your reader can read (if the book doesn't have DRM on it).

The is even a forum here just for Calibre discussion.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drezin View Post
Is it just me, or do downloadable books cost more than just buying the paperback?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alisa View Post
Usually, yes. It seems strange to us as consumers since we're not getting that physical item that took resources to create, ship, store and sell. We can't usually transfer ownership or our ebooks as we can with the physical item and, if they're DRMed, we may not even have access to them permanently. Most folks feel that they should be paying less than the paperback price. However, the publishers seem to approach it more from the perspective of what the traffic will bear. Personally I think they could sell a lot more ebooks with lower prices and still have way better margins than they had with paper books but they didn't ask me.
I also have wondered why eBooks aren't priced much less. I found one explanation here, post 54, quoted below:

Quote:
What are the incremental costs to a publisher to publish an ebook. Since the galleys are all electronic, I would think that they would be very low. If this is the case, why aren't there more ebooks?

Because it's not as simple as you think. Firstly, they need to update their sales and accounting systems to handle sales, royalties, discount rates, user licenses for DRM'd sales, and a host of other options. (I gather Hachette's ebook repository system set them back a double-digit millions of euros in programming and development costs: this isn't unusual for the larger publishers.) Then they need to run the galleys through a converter to produce ebook output -- in some formats (e.g. Mobipocket) this is an external for-pay piece of software, in others (Adobe epub) it's a bolt-on output formatter for InDesign. They need serialization software to brand DRMd copies (yes, I know this is stupid and adds to the cost) and they need to check the ebook edition for errata and rendering glitches before they start selling it. Finally, publishers don't sell direct to the public, any more than you buy CDs direct from Warner or Sony: they sell into ebook storefronts like eReader or Fictionwise or the Kindle store, all of whom demand a gigantic cut of the cover price.

The only respects in which an ebook edition is cheaper than a paper one -- to a big publisher who is not willing to junk their entire fulfilment side and start from scratch -- is the saving in paper and ink, which amount to about 5-10% of the cover price.
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:54 PM   #11
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Oddly enough, Stross completely fails to account for the costs of shipping, storing, and pulping printed books—costs which I had always heard account for the lion's share of overhead in the print publishing industry, but which would be completely nonexistent for e-books.

I wonder what the difference would look like with those taken into account?
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Old 12-25-2008, 05:35 PM   #12
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If you like science fiction and/or fantasy, Baen Books has been offering e-books direct to the public for many years now. And one of the formats they offer is specifically for the Sony e-book readers. Baen has a free library and also a webscriptions program that offeres a bundle of books every month for about what one hardback costs. Overall they have a very forward-thinking e-book strategy. The web address is http://www.baen.com/.

And please remember that some of the things that are categorized as "science fiction" or "fantasy" might surprise you.
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:27 AM   #13
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Did you try Audible.com ?
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drezin View Post
Is it just me, or do downloadable books cost more than just buying the paperback?
Actually, that depends on where you live. For me, ebooks are much, much cheaper than printed books. I now pay the same price as when I'd bought the "real" book, but in dollars instead of euros (so, 17 dollar instead of 17 euro).
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