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Old 06-06-2010, 05:39 PM   #1
Fbone
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Which format has the lowest prices?

In general is there one particular format that is less expensive?

A quick look on Inkmesh seems to show Kindle and BN having the same prices. Is that basically true?

Are the iPad prices the same as iPhone?

My library is facing a 74% budget cut and I'm anticipating reduced materials and services. I may be forced to go electronic although I hope not.

Thanks.
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:39 AM   #2
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I have not really noticed that one format is less expensive than any other. This seems to be even more true now that the agency pricing model is in place.

You can still find savings with coupons or promotions (if they are available for whatever you are trying to buy), but the coming of the IPAD seems to have pretty much leveled the playing field for pricing, and not really in favor of the consumer.

This has been my experience, I am sure there are other opinions/experiences out there.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:30 AM   #3
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You're confusing formats and stores.

Some devices whose sellers are trying to tie them to their company ebookstores have "official" formats.The Kindle, for instance, uses azw, which is a slightly tweaked mobi. The Sony Reader uses epub (used to be lrf). I'm not even sure what the Nook uses -- epub, isn't it? (Don't quote me on that). Others whose sellers are not also selling ebooks are store-agnostic, and can display any format they support, DRM permitting of course. Independent ebookstores (Smashwords, for instance, or Webscriptions) supply ebooks in a variety of different formats, particularly epub, which can be read by most ebook readers.

So what you need to be concerned with is platform lock-in, DRM, and compatibility. One big question is how these ebooks are going to be used, and on what device(s). If you tell me that, I might be able to toss some actually useful advice in your general direction, instead of nattering on about formats.


(and yes, I'm using file extensions as shorthand for their formats; I'm lazy and my finger hurts where I skinned it on a particularly ferocious bucket)
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:30 AM   #4
koland
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B&N (nook) uses a tweaked version of epub or a tweaked version of ereader, both of which require a credit card to unlock their DRM schemes. Which means (so far), that their books can be read on their device and their reader software, only. The same as in the Kindle store. iBookstore books can only be read on the iPad (and only shopped for, from there).

So far, Sony and Kobo have standard DRM on their epub files (so, you are locked into Adobe, instead; with B&N you need Adobe, as well, I suspect). If you are avoiding lock-in, you have to pick non-DRM only, but that means you'll skip most mainstream titles, for now.

If your library is adding ebooks instead of paper, so far it appears that the nook, Sony and Kobo (can anyone confirm) are your best choices, providing they pick the epub format (the most common, lately, and most likely).
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koland View Post
B&N (nook) uses a tweaked version of epub or a tweaked version of ereader, both of which require a credit card to unlock their DRM schemes. Which means (so far), that their books can be read on their device and their reader software, only. The same as in the Kindle store. iBookstore books can only be read on the iPad (and only shopped for, from there).

So far, Sony and Kobo have standard DRM on their epub files (so, you are locked into Adobe, instead; with B&N you need Adobe, as well, I suspect). If you are avoiding lock-in, you have to pick non-DRM only, but that means you'll skip most mainstream titles, for now.

If your library is adding ebooks instead of paper, so far it appears that the nook, Sony and Kobo (can anyone confirm) are your best choices, providing they pick the epub format (the most common, lately, and most likely).
The IrexDR800SG can also read B and N books (both epub and eReader formats). Any device that can handle eReader DRM (such as the Jetbook Lite or the Foxit Eslick) will be able to read Barnes and Noble books in the eReader format.

Also, the Pocketbook devices are good for reading library books, as well (you can read both Epub and PDF books simultaneously, unlike with the Sony). The Bookeen Cybook devices have multiple firmwares that allow you to read both Mobipocket and ADE drmed library books (but not both at the same time).

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Old 06-07-2010, 09:24 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies.

I'm looking for a reader that generally has lowest e-book prices. I'm not so concerned about format although I thought (incorrectly) that one format may be less expensive to produce due to lower production costs and licensing fees, etc. So I can assume that a third-party e-book retailer will charge the same amount regardless of format or device?

I have to correct something I wrote that caused a misunderstanding. My library isnt going to e-books. The opposite is occurring. Budget cuts will force them to remove the internet, interlibrary loans, online database, and reduce working hours and materials by up to 50%. To feed my reading habit I was hoping to purchase a device for reading only and it's e-books the cheapest way.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fbone View Post
So I can assume that a third-party e-book retailer will charge the same amount regardless of format or device?
If the publisher is one of the Agency 5 (Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Penguin, Hatchette or MacMillan) or of of their labels then you can expect the books to be the same price everywhere. The exception to this is that it appears some Penguin titles were discounted lower in Apple's iBooks store at first. Also Sony and Kobo add "tax" to the price of their books where other retailers will charge you tax based on where you reside.

With titles from Random House (and it's labels) and smaller pubs the pricing will vary depending on store as stores are free to discount or not as they see fit.


Quote:
To feed my reading habit I was hoping to purchase a device for reading only and it's e-books the cheapest way.
I'd think used paperbacks would be cheapest after the library. With ebooks you're buying a "new" book which will often mean the same price as a new print copy or sometimes slightly less than a discounted paper copy and on occasion the pubs are actually charging more (like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead).
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:49 PM   #8
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Five of the size largest US publishers now set their own prices, and we assume they will charge the same "Agency" price from all ebook stores. This has not always been the case, but it isn't clear if the variable price is a policy or incompetence on the part of these publishers. It has been reported that both Amazon and Apple have contracts that require them to get the lowest offered ebook prices from Agency publishers, with the possible exception of Penguin on Amazon.

For ebooks from most other sources, Amazon tends to have the lowest price. Overall, if you don't want to shop around, the Kindle Store is your best bet.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:09 PM   #9
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If you're just looking for something to read for yourself, have you considered the classics at Project Gutenberg et. al.?

That's actually why I bought an ebook readers: so I could read Project Gutenberg in bed. Actually, what I was reading in bed last night (Ashton-Kirk, Secret Agent) was from right here on MobileRead; PG isn't the only source. True, I don't have the latest bestsellers, but the bestsellers of decades ago haven't gotten worse in the interim. Personally, I think that's one of the best uses for a dedicated ebook reader: making libraries full of free ebooks portable.

It's not economical when it comes to new books -- you pay a couple of hundred dollars for the device, and then the publishers try to charge you more for an ebook than for a physical paperback. For that you get a book you can't lend to your mother, can't donate to the church rummage sale, can't trade in at the used bookstore, and often can't use anymore if you decide to get a different reader. For the price of a Kindle, you can buy an awful lot of used books! If what you want is to be able to carry multiple books around with you in an object the size of a trade paperback, an ebook reader is great. But if you want new books, at least from the Agency 5, you'll end up paying more.

Of course, there are publishers like Baen that sell ebooks at sane prices, and indie authors (some of whom hang out right here) who sell books for quite reasonable prices through their own websites or BVC, etc. However, most of the people planning to buy ebooks for their devices are talking about buying them from the big-name ebookstores.

But if you're looking for something to read -- and to read some really great books, which are classics for a reason -- get an ebook reader and stuff it full of Project Gutenberg's finest.
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Old 06-07-2010, 11:04 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone.

Sigh. At least I have options. Neither of which support the "5".

Used books. And/or inexpensive reader with free ebook classics.
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:44 AM   #11
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Smashwords and FeedBooks are both worth a look, whatever reader you go with. FeedBooks are all free, and a lot of indie authors publish on Smashwords. You won't tend to find your mainstream authors at either, but I've discovered some great new ones.
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