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Old 09-19-2009, 03:29 PM   #1
lybrary
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Ebook retailer seeks advice

We, Lybrary.com, are seeking advice, suggestions and recommendations regarding your needs and wants when it comes to ebook retailers.

What can an ebook retailer do better? Which features are you looking for in an online ebook store? We are very keen to hear your opinions and very motivated to listen and act.

A few things you should know about us:
  1. We hate DRM. All the ebooks we publish ourselves are DRM free, simple PDFs. We try to convince other publishers to drop DRM because we are absolutely convinced that it would be better for everybody. (However we do sell DRM ebooks from other publishers if there is no other option available.)
  2. We have the resources for significant inhouse development. One example is our one of a kind search engine for the magic community. It combines textual and page image responses in a unique way. (For more info see http://www.lybrary.com/magic-knowled...-help-a-6.html)
  3. Besides ebooks we offer download audio and video products and hope to be offering download audiobooks in the near future.
  4. We take customer feedback serious. This is not just empty talk. We have proven this many times over the past years. (For example our whish list feature was a customer request.)
A bit about Lybrary.com: We are in business for a decade. We offer ebooks in all categories from non-fiction to fiction, and we specialize in three subject areas: magic (as in tricks and illusions), gambling (poker, blackjack), games (bridge, chess). In these three areas we offer exclusive contents you won't find anywhere else.
http://www.lybrary.com/
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:31 PM   #2
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Offer ePub.
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:38 PM   #3
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Offer PDFs, for your own sake... since your books seem rather of the sort that many people even without an eBook reading device would buy and read on their computer or print out for personal use.

If you offer PDFs sized for eBook reading devices too, all the better. Certainly nobody in their right mind should purchase letter size PDFs for reading on a 6" screen.

But, as already eloquently stated, well more than 90% of people on this board will not bother with you unless you offer ePub.

Probably would be best if you permitted, after purchase, your customers to download the book in all the formats you offer.

- Ahi

Ps.: With the name/domain you have... one wonders why you don't go general, instead of focusing on what are admittedly fairly niche markets. Best of luck to you either way though!
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:52 PM   #4
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A pdf file, especially the one formatted for A4 or Letter page, is not a good format for majority of e-book reading devices.

You could make pdf file usable with an e-ink reading device if you prepare pdf file for page size 90x120mm.

Have a look at our wiki at various devices.


There are file formats that are better suited for use on portable reading devices. Formats such as epub, mobi, lit. For more information see:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_formats

For creating / converting have a look at Calibre software. It has nice GUI and also powerful commandline tools for batch comversion.

Have a look at other e-book publishers what formats THEY are using. Have a look a Baen - a DRM free, very polular and successful e-book publisher. Have a look at Fictionwise
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Old 09-19-2009, 03:58 PM   #5
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Create your eBooks also in ePub (following the molibe ADE/ePub spec), LRF, Mobipocket, & eReader so you can satisfy your audience.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:05 PM   #6
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Folks, thanks for the great advice. We do offer currently more than 3000 ePub ebooks (example: http://www.lybrary.com/27913.html

However, it is true that we don't do that for our own publications. We do already have the capability to offer downloads in all available formats to our customers, but we have not yet gotten serious in converting all of our publications into ePub or other formats.

If we wanted to keep it simple for now and only choose one other format besides the PDFs we already offer, would ePub be the best choice? Or should we rather go with another format?
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahi View Post
Ps.: With the name/domain you have... one wonders why you don't go general, instead of focusing on what are admittedly fairly niche markets. Best of luck to you either way though!
For all practical purposes we are a general ebook retailer. We have not yet loaded all available ~200,000 titles into our catalog but we have about 50,000 of the most recent titles in all categories available. (If you scroll to the bottom of the home page you will see the latest additions in non-fiction and fiction.) And in a few months we should have most available.

But we don't want to be simply another fictionwise or whatever other general ebook retailer comes to mind. In order to differentiate ourselves we have chosen three somewhat related subject areas in which we are truly world leaders. In magic for example, you will not find anybody even coming close to our ~2000 download products. I guess it is a matter of strategy and positioning. But I am always open for suggestions.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lybrary View Post
If we wanted to keep it simple for now and only choose one other format besides the PDFs we already offer, would ePub be the best choice? Or should we rather go with another format?
I would have thought that if you offered ePub & Mobi, you'd cover the majority of readers. Take a look at Baen, who I understand use Calibre to support a range of formats. I'd expect they're all generated from a single source format.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
We hate DRM
vs

Quote:
we do sell DRM ebooks
That's like saying I hate drugs (while taking a swig of alcohol). So how do you hate DRM exactly? As an abstract idea only? I find it hard to see the message here. "It's okay to do something you hate if you get money for it"?
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:40 PM   #10
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Probably 'hate' was too harsh a word.

Yes, we are a for profit business. If we would only offer non-DRM ebooks we don't think we could grow the business the way we want to grow. Nevertheless, for the ebooks we control we are strictly non-DRM. We are not religious zealots when it comes to DRM, but I wanted to state our position and our support for non-DRM.

Expressed differently, if I could decide all ebooks would be DRM free.

Last edited by lybrary; 09-19-2009 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:49 PM   #11
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I put you in our wiki E-book stores. Welcome to the site.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lybrary View Post
Folks, thanks for the great advice. We do offer currently more than 3000 ePub ebooks (example: http://www.lybrary.com/27913.html

However, it is true that we don't do that for our own publications. We do already have the capability to offer downloads in all available formats to our customers, but we have not yet gotten serious in converting all of our publications into ePub or other formats.

If we wanted to keep it simple for now and only choose one other format besides the PDFs we already offer, would ePub be the best choice? Or should we rather go with another format?
for one additional format, ePub would be best. ePub can be read using Windows, OS X, and a variety of readers like Sony 505, 700, 300, 600, Bookeen Opus, the different V3 & V5 clones and even the Jetbook. Just make sure that no flow is more than 300k and it will work on all devices.
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:04 PM   #13
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I would like to see a retailer offer a strong 'Library' offering in which members could 'rent' rather than purchase ebooks. I know Overdrive provides this for some library's but not any I can get a library card to access. FictionWise has a similar feature, but I think their resolve to support it went south when they sold to B&N.

For fiction reads, I'm willing to pay a subscription to a large library of content that can only be checked out for a finite period of time and then expires. If its a classic in my estimation, I'll buy after I read it in order to keep access from then on. But much fiction is read and then never read again, and I'd like to 'rent' those one-time reads instead of owning them. I know this request will be controversial, so I include the following disclaimer.
Disclaimer:

This message does not reflect the thoughts or opinions of either myself, my company, my friends, or my alter ego; all rights reserved; you may distribute this message freely but you may not make a profit from it; terms are subject to change without notice; this message has not been safety tested for children under the age of 3; illustrations are slightly enlarged to show detail; intended solely for the private use of our audience; any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is unintentional and purely coincidental; do not remove this disclaimer under penalty of law; hand wash only, tumble dry on low heat; do not bend, fold, mutilate, or spindle; your mileage may vary; no substitutions allowed; for a limited time only; this message is void where prohibited, taxed, or otherwise restricted; caveat emptor; prices may vary in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico; message is provided "as is" without any warranties; reader assumes full responsibility; past performance does not predict future results and people can and do lose money; an equal opportunity message; no shoes, no shirt, no message; quantities are limited while supplies last; if any defects are discovered, do not attempt to read them yourself, but return to an authorized service center; read at your own risk; parental advisory - explicit lyrics; text may contain explicit materials some readers may find objectionable, parental guidance is advised; keep away from sunlight; keep away from pets and small children; limit one-per-family please; no money down; no purchase necessary; you need not be present to win; some assembly required; batteries not included; instructions are included; action figures sold separately; no preservatives added; slippery when wet; safety goggles may be required during use; sealed for your protection, do not read if safety seal is broken; call before you dig; not liable for damages arising from use or misuse; for external use only; if rash, irritation, redness, or swelling develops, discontinue reading; read only with proper ventilation; avoid extreme temperatures and store in a cool dry place; keep away from open flames; avoid contact with eyes and skin and avoid inhaling fumes; do not puncture, incinerate, or store above 120 degrees Fahrenheit; do not place near a flammable or magnetic source; smoking this message could be hazardous to your health; no salt, MSG, artificial color or flavoring added; if ingested, do not induce vomiting, and if symptoms persist, consult a physician; may cause drowsiness, alcohol may intensify this effect; use caution when operating a car or dangerous machinery; possible penalties for early withdrawal; offer valid only at participating sites; slightly higher west of the Rockies; allow four to six weeks for delivery; must be 18 to read; objects in mirror are closer than they appear; disclaimer does not cover misuse, accident, lightning, flood, tornado, tsunami, volcanic eruption, earthquake, hurricanes and other Acts of God, neglect, damage from improper reading, incorrect line voltage, improper or unauthorized reading, broken antenna or marred cabinet, missing or altered serial numbers, electromagnetic radiation from nuclear blasts, sonic boom vibrations, customer adjustments that are not covered in this list, and incidents owing to an airplane crash, ship sinking or taking on water, motor vehicle crashing, dropping the item, falling rocks, leaky roof, broken glass, mud slides, forest fire, or projectile (which can include, but not be limited to, arrows, bullets, shot, BB's, shrapnel, lasers, napalm, torpedoes, or emissions of X-rays, Alpha, Beta and Gamma rays, knives, stones, etc.); other restrictions may apply; contest ends 12-31-98; contents measured by weight only, contents may settle in transit; May cause random outbursts of extreme violence, epileptic seizures, or whatever; actual message may differ from illustration on box
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:11 PM   #14
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The library-rent business model is quite interesting. It would certainly fit to our name. Let me ask you, how much would you be willing to pay subscription if all fiction available as ebooks today would be available in the library offering? And would you be fine with some kind of upper limit of titles you can rent per month depending on the subscription price?
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Old 09-19-2009, 06:07 PM   #15
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talk to publishers like Schiffer as well as Collector Books (as well as others) to see about getting their reference book catalogues moved to ebook formats. It would be huge to the antiques & collectibles market, both for collectors and dealers) to have reference libraries on a portable device. I would sense DRM is a must on these books simply because of the mindset of those both in the business as well as collectors...these people are always looking for "deals" and sharing books would not bother them one iota.

Color devices ARE coming so the sooner the catalogues are moved the better. Even today I would buy a dedicated tablet PC just to be able to carry our reference library around wherever I go...once a color reader using something like eink is out I would pretty much offer up rum to JoBoo in order to not hit a curve-ball but to get these references!
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