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Old 11-01-2009, 02:29 PM   #1
Tony Hoyle
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Where to find sony compatible ebooks in the UK?

I finally talked myself into getting a Sony Reader and am somewhat disappointed.. not in the device, which seems to do the job just fine, but in the availability of ebooks.

Firstly, the device ships with software that - despite selecting UK when installing and in preferences - tries to get me to register with a US only download site (is it too much to get Sony to support a product they sell?)

I thought I'd catch up on some of the Terry Pratchett books, as I'm missing a lot of them. My results:

Borders: Only 5 books.
WHSmiths: 0 books
Waterstones: 8 books, at £45 each And take two weeks to 'deliver'
Amazon: 0 books.

So.. almost a complete blank there. Maybe I'm being too specific? Try the science fiction genre.

Borders: 33 books, mostly TV series. Very poor.
WHSmiths: 3671 books (although half of these are audiobooks, so the number is inflated).
Waterstones: 1012 books.
Amazon: Don't provide sufficient search tools for a total.. was unable to find ebooks for any scifi authors I could find.

It looks like I'm going to run out of stuff to read pretty quick at this rate.. I haven't had any luck on any of the US sites so far, even though they seem to have a lot better stock. What are others doing? I'm not really interested in hitting the torrent sites unless I really have to.

Edit: I did manage to find a small collection of Asimov and Niven on fictionwise.com, who were happy to take my money despite me not speaking with a funny accent.

Last edited by Tony Hoyle; 11-01-2009 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:53 PM   #2
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:37 PM   #3
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The following stores provide Adobe ePub format, which will work with the Sony Reader, providing you start up the evil, awful Adobe Digital Editions software to activate the device

http://www.booksonboard.com
http://www.diesel-ebooks.com

I used to use Fictionwise ( I bought eReader books for my the ipod touch) but sadly about three months ago, Barnes and Noble bought them, and promptly whacked the 'you can only by books if you're in the US stick on them, so it's of limited use now.

Waterstones seems to have plenty of books, but the prices are more than paper based, and their search engine needs scouring with bleach before it's any good.

For now, I'm relying on diesel and booksonboard.
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:43 PM   #4
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:30 PM   #5
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Try looking at your local library, we're behind the US, but slowly more & more are coming online. They use EPUB format too.
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:08 AM   #6
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If you want the Pratchett books Books On Board's UK site has them IIRC. Not sure how they can sell the Harper Collins versions on their UK site when AFAIK the UK publisher hasn't done much to put the ebooks out in the UK and IIRC Harper isn't the UK publisher, but someone from the UK mentioned being able to get them there in another thread.
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raphaelnonsenso View Post
Try looking at your local library, we're behind the US, but slowly more & more are coming online. They use EPUB format too.
I can't wait until our library gets this facility - I wasn't aware any UK libraries did this yet but just knowing it is round the corner is a boost.

I wonder if there's a list online somewhere showing what regions have this?
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:19 AM   #8
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I can't wait until our library gets this facility - I wasn't aware any UK libraries did this yet but just knowing it is round the corner is a boost.

I wonder if there's a list online somewhere showing what regions have this?
As far as I know it's only Essex and Luton libraries that have ebook downloads at the moment. I emailed my library in Hampshire to ask if they had plans to do them , sometime in November was the reply!!
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:24 AM   #9
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Waterstones seems to have a reasonable selection suprisingly - back catalog books are around £6. You do have to use the evil ADE to download it, but then with the help of INEPT it is pretty easy to get them into Stanza on the iPhone.

I have bought close to 500 books from Fictionwise over the years but they have shut the door on foreigners, so once my final $25 of Micropay is used up I won't be buying from them anymore. While you can pretend to be in the USA and buy with Micropay you can't make use of 100% rebates and suchlike as they have to be paid with a credit card. So, I too am looking at UK based sellers, and went to Waterstones last of all, figuring that they would have the worst selection but they have many titles that Books on Board don't and their website is slow but simple, whereas Books on Board is hideous to behold and slow to navigate.
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:36 AM   #10
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Hmm.. ok bookmarked books on board for later perusal. Looks pretty week stocked

Fictionwise didn't seem to mind me being in the UK, but I didn't try to get their discount membership or anything.

The local library stocking ebooks would be great. Not sure how that would work - they have no website and I can't see them handing out USB sticks.. but will wait to see if there's any news on that front.
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:20 AM   #11
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Fictionwise has 'Geographical Restrictions' on books. There are still plenty you can buy, but...

They say less than 10% of their books are affected - however it tends to be the 10% that they're currently adding within the last year; so new, bestselling books are restricted from being bought if you're in the UK - there's a little note saying 'Geographic Restrictions' at the bottom of the book description. I've done a quick check, and out of the 'top 10 bestselling books of the last 6 months' only 1 is available in the UK - and it's in the Romance\Erotica category. (So, we can't buy Dan Brown, but we can read softporn - nice! Although to be honest, softporn may be more fun than his latest book, but I digress...)

Of course, there may still be many books on Fictionwise that you'll buy, but I'm using my ereading device to replace books I'm buying FROM NOW, not books that came out years ago, so for me, Fictionwise is not an option.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:04 AM   #12
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I've been pleasantly surprised at just how many ebooks are available especially with all the free books on places like manybooks, project gutenburg etc. Maybe it is a little harder if you want newer books but I thought whsmiths had a fairly good range. Surely it will improve over the next year or so anyway.

Then I just discovered today that some places sell ebooks direct - I've been looking to purchase all the Agatha Christie novels and just found that I can do that by going direct to the UK Agatha Christie website. So that is one example. I only discovered that when I was looking up a specific Christie ebook novel on google.

So I guess if you have time to spare looking up individual books in google, you might be surprised at what you can find out there.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Fictionwise has 'Geographical Restrictions' on books. There are still plenty you can buy, but...

They say less than 10% of their books are affected ...
I think that bit of help is woefully out of date. Pretty much every secure title on the site is now geographically restricted, and while there are ways around that, they are not 100% reliable and you also cannot take advantage of some special offers.

However, I found half a dozen books at Waterstones that aren't available at Fictionwise, so it turns out to have a sliver lining for me.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:43 AM   #14
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As far as I know it's only Essex and Luton libraries that have ebook downloads at the moment. I emailed my library in Hampshire to ask if they had plans to do them , sometime in November was the reply!!
Hmm, at least they've got plans - as far as I can find out, Gloucestershire don't even have them...

It is possible (or was, at least) to join the Essex online library without needing to physically visit a library in the county - Their stock is a bit limited, but they do have the occasional feed of new books added although they've also managing AudioBooks through the same system, so that can lead to disappointments unless you look carefully at the listings!
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:03 AM   #15
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I enquired locally and received the following.


Thank you for your enquiry about e-books. This is certainly a medium
libraries will need to get into over the next few years but at present
there is no coherent offer from any of our contracted suppliers. I
believe that the library services which have gone down this road have
used an American company which mostly offers rather academic texts. I do
not believe this would be right for Cornwall, or that there is yet
sufficient demand to justify the high level of investment that would be
required.

We will, however, be launching a new downloadable audio book service in
November. Details will appear on our website in due course.



As the County Council is already utilising a server system for it's website I can't imagine it would be too difficult to attach a system for lending ebooks. If audio books are downloadable why not ePub etc?
Do American libraries have all forms of books available or are they generally reference books as suggested above?
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