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Old 09-16-2008, 06:41 PM   #1
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Posts: 92
Karma: 630
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Device: Kindle Voyage, obv.
Seeming lack of UK content - disappointing!

Hello, all.

Sorry to have my first post as a bit of a downer, but I'm really dismayed by the seeming lack of ebook content in the UK.

Now, doubtless some of you will be quick to say that there's a lot of content. There is, in a numerical sense...but by God, I've not been impressed the variety of it so far.

I am extremely enamoured of the Sony PRS-505, and would love to get one, but I think Waterstones' selection of ebooks is frankly poor. At the moment, I'm not sure I could justify shelling out 200, when so few books I already own and would like to purchase in ebook form, or new titles I fancy, are available.

I don't wish to generalise, but I'm not keen on reading Star Trek novels or obscure fantasy/horror series, thanks. Nor do I want to read "The Other Boleyn Girl", which seems to be in every bloody ebook store I visit!

I'm of course aware that this is in part a subjective issue - there's a lot of content not to my taste - but I have to ask when (if ever) more varied stuff is going to come.

Take the following example - my girlfriend and I both loved the Reader when we saw it in Waterstones. We also love to travel. Here, we thought, was something we could make incredible use of when we're away. Resolving to buy one each (!) if we could find ebook equivalents of most the paper books we owned, off we went. A few hours later, we both admitted defeat after furiously checking many different book titles to see if ebook versions existed.

As a Michael Marshall (Smith) fan, I was pleased to see that you can buy The Straw Men in ebook form, but not the next two books in the series, which strikes me as spectacularly pointless. Also, arguably his biggest and best novel, Spares, is entirely unavailable. Ditto for One of Us and Only Forward, two wonderful and (as far as I can tell) popular novels.

Where, as an example, is an ebook version of The Beach by Alex Garland? It was hugely popular, as I recall, and keen travellers like my girlfriend and I loved it. Well, I can get hold of a pirate copy, but no legal ones. Ditto Shantaram, a great non-fiction book about an escaped Australian convict's time in India (pirate version, but no legal ones).

Hell, the 505 (or other ebook reader for that matter) would be ideal for the Rough Guide series - all the holiday info you need in a truly portable form...particularly handy if, for example, you're going to India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos on the same trip. Are you really going to carry all those Rough Guides with you? No...but you could easily do so on a Reader. So, can you get any of them in ebook form, then? Well, you can, direct from Rough long as you are planning on going to the continental US, London, Italy, Spain or Greece, by the looks of things! With respect, my personal experience is that these are places that are much easier to navigate and get around than those I listed above, and where a Rough Guide is nowhere near as useful as it is in, say, South East Asia or South America (where it becomes almost invaluable).

My girlfriend and I even considered buying the books we wanted and then converting them to ebook format ourselves, but what a hassle that would be!

Am I forlornly hoping that things will improve in this regard any time soon? After all, it's a vicious circle, surely - not enough of the "right" sort of content means not enough people buy the readers, which means demand drops, which means less content is released, etc etc etc.

Why can't they just push the content hard for a while and see what happens? Honestly, I actually want to spend money with these companies and they seem determined to put me off!

Sorry that my first post has developed into such a rant - I'm just so, so disappointed at the situation thus far that I can't help but feel it's an opportunity missed.

I'll welcome any corrections, opinions, or whatever, but I have been looking hard for some of these titles, and if I haven't found them, it only serves to underline another point - that we need a more cohesive place to go to buy titles.

Would love to hear your views/advice.


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