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Old 12-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #1
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A Glimpse into how B&N handles digital textbooks

I just found something rather interesting on The Daily WTF, a blog I follow.

From the blog post:
Quote:
"There is something so fundamentally wrong with this," David Daniel notes, "I bought an 'eBook' from the Arizona State University bookstore. At checkout, I wondered why they wanted me to choose a 'shipping address' and a 'carrier'... and now I know. They FedEx'ed me the eBook."


I'm sure you're scratching your head, but I find it fascinating. Look at the image. Do you see the hole in the top of the cardboard square? I think that little piece of cardboard is supposed to be hanging on a hook in a college bookstore. Obviously the hook is supposed on the shelf next to the paper version of the digital textbooks.

In case you're interested, the link in the image leads to www.digitaltextbooks.com. This site is owned by MBS, a textbook disitributor (both paper and digital). MBS is a business partner of B&N College, and currently handles digital textbook sales for B&N. MBS has been in digital textbooks (and ebooks in general) longer than B&N, so don't interpret that to mean a subordinate relationship.
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Last edited by Nate the great; 12-04-2009 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:08 AM   #2
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I wonder if this approach can be used to do an end run around geographic restrictions. If the nexus of the sale is the card, then they can be shipped worldwide and geographic restrictions apply to the source location not the recipient's location.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
I wonder if this approach can be used to do an end run around geographic restrictions. If the nexus of the sale is the card, then they can be shipped worldwide and geographic restrictions apply to the source location not the recipient's location.
It may still get ya when you try to reclaim the book.

On the other had it would make it easier to purchase an eBook as a gift
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:22 AM   #4
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I just checked out the site in the link - wow, they are a pricey (some of their ebooks are pricier then the print varieties), and some of their books expire after 180 days. Caveat emptor.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:36 AM   #5
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Is the intent to give you a physical proof of purchase which you might then be able to sell when you're done with it? If not, then what purpose might it serve?
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:47 AM   #6
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This is similar to buying prepaid phones voucher cards. Nowadays most carriers allow you to buy a top-up at a shop - the voucher number is printed out on the receipt!
There is no reason this couldn't be done here as well.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:52 AM   #7
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i hope they don't have that book number exposed so that people can steal it in the store.

this could be a mechanism for buying and selling the digitalbooks

i think firms would be suicidal if they allowed the reselling of digital ebooks. there is no degeneration in the ebook and thus the reseller can sell it at the same price as the original...andit can transmitted over the internet...thus there is very low transaction cost. this would mean that ebooks would actually make the secondary market even larger and more dangerous for the ebook firms.

Last edited by markbot; 12-04-2009 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:03 AM   #8
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This doesn't surprise me. It's another version of the strategy to tie the e-book to a physical container of some kind--in this case, the delivered package. I wonder: If something happened to your e-book or laptop, and you'd thrown away your package, would you have to buy the book again? Hopefully not...

I see on their website that the e-book is non-returnable, even if not installed on your PC...

Apparently you have to create an account of fairly detailed info in order to use the book, obviously to prevent others from accessing the same book.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 12-04-2009 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:42 AM   #9
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Is this yet another proprietary ebook format & reading SW?
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slayda View Post
Is this yet another proprietary ebook format & reading SW?
It appears that the ebooks they sell come in one of five different formats: Adobe DE, CourseSmart, VitalSource, AspenLaw Studydesk, and eVOLVE SELECT. I didn't see a single book where you had a choice of format. So I'm guessing this is "one stop shopping" for textbooks that are sold by these vendors.
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:01 PM   #11
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:24 PM   #12
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I have long hoped for adoption of this type of technology for buying e-books in the b&m bookstores.

I love going to the bookstores and want them to have my business.
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:37 PM   #13
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It seems weird at first glance, and a pretty interesting idea after thinking about it. As iTunes and other voucher cards, this can be an alternative to keep physical bookstores selling books, even in ebook format. However, sending a physical card like that when you buy something using the internet is a complete non-sense for me.

Regards

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Old 12-04-2009, 01:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pedgarcia View Post
It seems weird at first glance, and a pretty interesting idea after thinking about it. As iTunes and other voucher cards, this can be an alternative to keep physical bookstores selling books, even in ebook format. However, sending a physical card like that when you buy something using the internet is a complete non-sense for me.

Regards

Paulo
I agree. I love browsing in bookstores, but after I started reading ebooks I am very reluctant to buy paper books if I can avoid it. So when I find a book I might like, I have to go home and check if it is available as an ebook. I would love to have the opportunity to buy an ebook in store. But then, sending an ebook by post is just anachronistic and a waste of resources and time.
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Old 12-04-2009, 01:54 PM   #15
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this would be the type of thing to draw consumers into the independent stores again. have tree books and then a variety of these ebook "cards" to purchase while you are browsing. sticking with the mailing of the actual book sucks though. letting the customer do a download right there, or even having a special code for the wifi download to complete the transaction
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