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Old 07-13-2005, 09:51 AM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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eReader Promo done wrong?

Noel L. Griese is not happy with the current eReader Everyday in July promotion. In the ebook community he lists several points of what he thinks went wrong with the promo:

Quote:
  1. Difficult to find the free eBook offer because poorly promoted on site home page.
  2. Even at the free eBook page, it's difficult to find the hyperlink to the offer.
  3. Offer requires a convoluted registration process.
  4. Requirement for a credit card number to download the book likely to make customers leery.
  5. Download won't work if you've set your browser to block cookies.
  6. PR person who wrote the announcement took a week's vacation immediately after the release was issued, leaving no one to answer queries form the press or customers.
  7. The free eReader version doesn't automatically open the downloaded eBook when the eBook is clicked.
  8. Unlocking and opening the free eBoook requires another convoluted process involving credit card entry.
  9. Neither the free nor the premium eReader is anywhere near as good as the Microsoft or Acrobat readers. Biggest defect in my opinion is lack of powerful justification. Regardless of what legible typestyle used, many lines of type leave big gaps that slow down the reader.
  10. Process for downloading the free version of eReader is not easy to find or understand.
My comments:
  1. Promo shows in the first top banner on the eReader frontpage. It was also previously announced in a press release.
  2. A click on the book cover brings you to the offer.
  3. Any suggestion to make the registration process easier?
  4. Requirement for credit card is necessary for publishers to enter the promotion. The downloaded e-books are tied to the hash code of your credit card, which makes it less likely for someone to pirate them later.
  5. It's easy to enable cookies for selected sites.
  6. Cannot comment.
  7. I am glad it doesn't. Took me a while to find out how I turn off Adobe PDFs inside my browser when attempting to download PDF files.
  8. See my comment in 4. why this is necessary.
  9. Many users would disagree with you here. I don't know of many who use Microsoft Reader or Adobe Acrobat on their e-book reading devices and prefer the two over eReader. Anyways, what does this comparison have to do with the promotion?
  10. A pair of reading glasses might help. Also see my answers to 1. and 2.

Don't forget that Mobileread offers a RSS feed for the current eReader Summer Promo.
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:26 AM   #2
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Didn't you make it to the meeting? The word "Free" has been redefined to mean "Enter your credit card number here" instead.

Seriously, how many "free" offers have you seen that require this? Plenty. How many "free" subscriptions end up charging you after the subscription runs out, without letting you know (or authorizing those charges).

These companies need to make money by "upselling" you to non-free parts of their site. Its how they can promote the "free" stuff that draws customers to their site.

Its like if I said "Every customer gets a free $5.00, no strings attached, as long as you purchase over $50.00 in material from my website."

Its a dead business model, and there are several people involved in putting plans in place to make sure these kinds of companies wither away in the corner like dust. Its happening, just slower than we'd all like.
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Old 07-13-2005, 09:10 PM   #3
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eReader's DRM is credit cards. To get your free DRMed book, you need a credit card. I already have one on file with eReader so no real big deal for me. If you don't want the free DRM book, don't enter a CC

Your second point is somewhat mystifying. eReader is not going to charge you after the subscription runs out, because there is no subscription. eReader is trying to make money by getting you to their site and getting a credit card on file. They are HOPING you will buy more books. You certainly don't have to.

I also don;t understnad how your last two points apply whatsoever to eReader. If DRM is a dead business model, why is iTunes so successful?

One other thing, I think the selection of books has absolutely sucked!
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Old 07-13-2005, 09:34 PM   #4
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CitiBank has a neat service... "virtual credit card numbers". Basically for each online purchase, you can log into citibank.com and request a 'virtual' credit card number for that specific transaction. Need another? Fetch another virtual number. This way, no online service can abuse your credit card number for unauthorized purchases. Pretty slick service.
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Old 07-14-2005, 04:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hacker
CitiBank has a neat service... "virtual credit card numbers". Basically for each online purchase, you can log into citibank.com and request a 'virtual' credit card number for that specific transaction. Need another? Fetch another virtual number. This way, no online service can abuse your credit card number for unauthorized purchases. Pretty slick service.
That is the first time I hear about it and it sounds great. Here is a link to their service:

http://www.citibank.com/us/cards/tour/cb/shp_van.htm

Although I don't use it anymore, I still have a CitiBank account somewhere. Perhaps I should refill it just for online transactions.
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Old 07-14-2005, 03:34 PM   #6
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If you use that service with eReader, each book will be encrypted using a different card number so you have to keep track of them plus type in a new number every time you want to open the book. I ended up with having my books under 3-4 different credit card numbers and then decided to never again buy eReader (well, Peanut they were called in those days) books. It becomes a nuissance.
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Old 07-14-2005, 11:33 PM   #7
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I am a avid ereader purchaser. Some of you have a very big misunderstanding on their policies. There is only a couple of reasons that you would need to remember your credit card: 1.) You initial purchase and registration of the book into your handheld. If you do not change the credit card that you use to purchase a book. You never need to worry about. 2. As for the July Free Books, yes you probably need to purchase an initial book, but after that all you have to do is use your log-in and password.

This is not the only ereader book distributor who has a system like this, Fictionwise Secure books woking under almost the same procedure. The only thing is that you don't have to be a registered user to get their free books.

Last edited by jd22hunt; 07-14-2005 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 07-15-2005, 07:37 AM   #8
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Seems like I'm the exception, but I'm quite enjoying the giveaways for July. While I don't care for some of the books, I think they are legitimate free offers, and the idea of giving away a good book with the hope of selling a bundle with more similar books sounds good. I am hoping that it works and people buy the bundles so we can see this again.

I have the same problem with multiple credit card numbers (and names) on my ebooks because of the older books through Peanut Press. But newer purchases can be re-DRM'd so they all line up with the current credit card. You just go to your library of purchased books and do it from there. You do have to re-download them, but that's not too bad. And that only works as long as eReader.com supports it.

eReader is still my favorite book reader and DRM, and I like the integrated dictionary. Funny - you would think I'd prefer MS Reader DRM because you can unlock it with ConvertLit, but the eReader DRM is so much more flexible that I don't mind it as long as we're talking about novels so I don't mind if I eventually lose access after I've read it (e.g. if eReader ever goes bust, or I move to a platform they don't support).
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Old 07-15-2005, 09:33 PM   #9
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I have no problem with eReaders DRM. I simply have not been interested in any of their free books. Well half the month still to go. Hopefully they've saved the best for last
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Old 07-16-2005, 12:03 AM   #10
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There are some good books there...

The Paris/New York guides, Zelazny's book, Agatha Christie's, John Updike's...
At least it is a *real* promotion with copywrighted books, not like the past ones where you had one or two new releases and tons of public domain stuff...

On DRM, there *is* a program I posted about, called PDBshred that will unDRM older eReader/Peanut Press books (provided you still have the Credit Card number used). It sometimes works on newer books.

I have some books I bought from peanut press that I could change to my current credit card... I just used the same account over and over.
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Old 07-17-2005, 07:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bspline
I have some books I bought from peanut press that I could change to my current credit card... I just used the same account over and over.
There is a way to do it. Peanut Press became PalmDigitalMedia which is now eReader. I've been an account holder since the Peanut Press days, and when I go to my eReader bookshelf, EVERYTHING I've ever purchased or downloaded is STILL there!

Try this: Log into your eReader account. Go to your bookshelf and search for the titles in question; you can organize the files by either title or by purchase/download date. At the bottom of the bookshelf page is a button labeled "RESET UNLOCK CODES" beneath a message reading "Resetting your unlock codes will change the unlock information for all of your previous purchases to use the name and number from your current primary credit card..."

Give that button a push and all should be well.


--ryan
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorgen
If you use that service with eReader, each book will be encrypted using a different card number so you have to keep track of them plus type in a new number every time you want to open the book. I ended up with having my books under 3-4 different credit card numbers and then decided to never again buy eReader (well, Peanut they were called in those days) books. It becomes a nuissance.
It looks like they figured this out now, and if you use the Citibank "virtual" card number or Discover Card's one-time-use cards, eReader will recognize it and reject the purchase. Nice.

Now their intentions are much more clear, it isn't about giving you product in exchange for the required funds to purchase it, its about locking you into a specific card for your reading materials. Unfortunately for them, one-time-use cards and virtual credit card numbers are going to be the norm soon, not the exception. If they don't want to evolve with the progress of security and technology, then they lose.

No thank you, I'll be staying away, as well as many of my colleagues.
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Old 07-21-2005, 11:24 AM   #13
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Thanks for the info Hacker. That's too bad.

I can't say I'm too surprised that they eliminated virtual CC number coding. Like I've said before, DRM means I only buy an ebook if it's a quick read and then good enough if it's into the trash. But fortunately a lot of books fall into that category, and eReader is still my favorite.

I was going to change to a virtual number at the eReader site, though, because of all the data theft concerns. I don't mind if eReader has my info and ties books to my (hashed) number, but I don't want my permanent number on their servers which can potentially leak out. So now I'm stuck between wanting to be an eReader customer and wanting to keep my cc# off their servers.

Of course that's a big part of why the ebook market is so small. If DRM wasn't oppressive (and readers were decent, and formats were established enough to guarantee permanent support both for big and small screens), then maybe more people would start to prefer purchased ebooks over paper or free ebooks. Mobile device popularity will help. I've mucho $$s on paper books, but if the above issues were taken care off all that money would have gone to ebooks and I would have preferred it. I would also have saved me from my bulging bookshelves and overflowing garage!

But the bulk of my books spending is over and I've finished building the "library" I wanted, so I'm not likely to spend too much anymore. Like I said, free books are around, people keep giving me second hand paper books, and I don't want to assume that DRM'd ebooks (or even un-DRM's ebooks not in txt/rtf/pdf format) are really permanent anyway.
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