Help with book e-tailers–what are the strong points?

I tend to shop all over the place for books, mostly because I was reading PDFs on my laptop. I also have Kindle for PC in case the urge overtook me at Amazon, and Adobe Digital Editions, for random stuff, and I kind of liked that one–I could make notes in the margins.  These e-reader substitutes work, they’re not great, and although I read a lot, I also miss a lot because of the limitations of something as clunky as a computer. No reading a quick five pages in line, or in the bathroom, and Eek! What would happen during a leisurely soak in the tub?  One good splash and I’d resemble a pale blonde Angela Davis–a great look for her, but not so much for me. Plus I’d kiss hardware, software, and files goodbye.

For an author who writes a lot of ebooks, I was really behind the curve. Mostly because I couldn’t make up my mind on what sort of ereader I wanted. Just when I thought I had a decision made, and my long-suffering husband could place an order, I’d find out about this feature or that, and change my mind again.

I was all ready for a Kindle Fire, until I heard about the battery life. My cell phone dies on a daily basis–I needed something that could survive away from a plug more than seven hours. Then I was all ready for a Nook, until I hit the fine print about always having a credit card on file just to read your Barnes and Noble purchases. Um, don’t like that, that’s snoopy. I didn’t consider how often I shop at Barnes and Noble online, which is pretty much never, although I’m a die-hard bricks and mortar shopper there. But that’s paper and not an issue. Kobo sounded really good until I considered that I don’t especially want the last cover to show when I’m not reading. What if it’s not worksafe? Heck, my own books’ covers aren’t always worksafe.

Consequently, my birthday present was a long time in arriving, because I couldn’t stop dithering. I finally ended up with a Kindle Touch, which, is riding on a neighbor’s unsecured network because we can’t seem to recall the  passkey to get into our very secure network. *cries* But the battery life has been good for about 6 books worth of reading so far, the funny little case with the built in light takes care of low-light situations, and I can’t stop to play Angry Birds.

So now my preferred format is MOBI and I need to figure out how to sideload the Kindle, because I don’t want to be tied to one vendor. The Dreamspinner site, and several publishers’ sites, include all sorts of formats in one purchase, and that supports the authors best. But that’s not necessarily where I and other readers always shop.

Amazon has most publishers of m/m under one roof, but the selection is a bit shy on shorts, which I like. Maybe my tastes will run longer now that I have the reader. Fictionwise also has a wide selection of publishers and some great sales, which I never seem to hit. I used to get emails, wonder what happened. A reader who needs MOBIs doesn’t have a lot of reason to shop Barnes and Noble unless she’s planning to run it through Calibre, which seems like unnecessary work, although folks who want EPUBs are in clover. All Romance Ebooks carries a lot more shorts, plus about everything else in the genre. 1 Place for Romance is very friendly toward self-publishing authors, but I find it a little hard to browse, and same with Rainbow eBooks.

Here’s where I confess that all of those links will take you to one or more of my books, but Fire on the Mountain and The Rare Event etc belong on your reader, really.

So help me out here: tell me what kind of reader you use, and where you like to load it up, and maybe why. My new Kindle needs to know.

19 responses to “Help with book e-tailers–what are the strong points?

  1. You definitely need to follow Jase’s weekly author news & monthly discount threads in the GRs M/M Romance Group – he posts the FW discount codes (I stopped getting the emails, too) and links to the free m/m reads on Amazon.

    I have a Nook Color that’s never been used as a Nook Color – it’s running Android. I don’t use it that much now, as the processor is slow. I also have an HP TouchPad that’s running Android – it’s my primary device. Love it, although I can see myself switching to a 7″ tablet (the TouchPad is iPad-sized) someday when the TouchPad dies. And I just got my first smartphone, which is, unsurprisingly, also Android. I haven’t read anything on it, but since the phone is always with me and has access to the same Dropbox ebook library that my other devices do, I can see myself doing some reading on it (waiting in lines, etc).

    I mostly shop at FW with the discounts and at ARe (buy 10, get 1 free). I shop directly at the publisher sites for publishers that have great first week of sale discounts (like Amber Allure and Samhain).

    • I haven’t figured out how that buy 10 get one works out for the author of the one. Any thoughts? I just self pubbed a story at ARe and it’s getting some action, so other folks must agree with you.

  2. Like Chris said Jason’s thread is a major source of glee for me and unhappiness for my CC! 🙂
    I read on my iPad and love it, but outside the glare is annoying and the battery life is about 8-10 hours depending, so I bought a Kobo, I liked that I can put the books on a micro SD card and it is compatible to my mostly ePub and PDF books and as opposed to the iPad no bells and whistles, just for reading.
    Again, like Chris I shop mostly at FW, ARe and on tuesdays at Rainbow, but will shop at publishers if there is a new release discount or special sale going on.

    • Tuesdays at Rainbow? What’s going on there that I don’t know about? There’s a big sale going on at Dreamspinner today and tomorrow.

      • They have a sale on new releases 15% on tuesdays at Rainbow! 🙂
        Yes, I know about DSP, I went, I saw, I shopped! lol

  3. Last summer, I went through a process much like you described, of comparing and contrasting e-readers. Finally I settled on Kindle (3? — can’t remember — it’s a basic B&W, which I prefer — like you said about not getting sucked in to Angry Birds, or email, for that matter). I am addicted to it! Of course, it limits me to Amazon, or libraries that work through Amazon to lend books. Well, I can also read PDFs and other docs I email to my Kindle.

    And yes, I agree wholeheartedly, “The Rare Event” and your “Mountain” books BELONG on readers’ machines!!!!!

    Oh, BTW, Amazon does have “Kindle Singles”; would your shorts fit into that category?

    • We can load MOBIs onto Kindles (once we figure out how, that’s today’s project) from our computers, and then we can both take advantage of all these sales Chris and Mandy are sharing. and then I can get my own On Call file onto my Kindle!

      I have a pair of shorts uploaded at Amazon just as a book, and that’s been working pretty well, so I’ll upload the other On Calls soon. Editing and formatting take me a while. I think the Kindle singles program is a little different.

  4. And the current FW discount code is 50% off: 062212…

  5. I came to Kindle becasue I had been buying print from amazon titles which weren’t readily available in Australia and the digital option saved me money on postage. I still prefer print but am forever practical. I like the one stop shop idea, but as I got to investigate publisher sites, and writers views/opinions, discovered that amazon wasnt loved by all!
    I am now also discovering that publishers who have their own e-retail are holding back from a simultaneous amazon release, At least some are now offering Kindle readable files.
    So for me it’s a Kindle device (2nd generation) and mainly amazon product but will buy elsewhere if I need it NOW! (or it’s offered free LOL)

    • I have experience with two publishers: one does a simultaneous release at their site and at distributors, and one that held back but has since gone to simultaneous release. MOBI and PRC should be readable on your Kindle.

      I don’t hate Amazon for anything–they’ve been good to me so far, but Fictionwise! I’ve been given new information about them that’s made me change my mind on shopping there ever again. Discounts be damned. Details to come.

  6. So I’m a little late to the party, but if I let that stop me I’d never do anything. 🙂

    I researched and dithered on ereaders for a long time, too. I started out reading ebooks on my netbook, then eventually got a Pocketbook 360 for its store- and format-agnostic properties, customizability, and form factor. That was great until I wanted a touch screen, and the process started all over again.

    I was this close to getting a Kindle Touch, but at the time they didn’t offer the option to read PDFs in landscape mode. I’ve read they’ve since added that functionality, but I’m happy with the Sony PRS-T1 I got instead. I chose it for many of the same reasons I got the PB360. It’s not quite as format-friendly, but Calibre is awesome. And, technically, it has its own store, but I’ve never connected to it. I prefer to keep my ereader independent of any one vendor.

    My favorite place to buy ebooks has always been Fictionwise, with their multi-formats and big sales. ARe is next, followed by various publisher sites. I also – very occasionally – will buy an ebook at Amazon; but that’s very much the exception.

  7. Fictionwise was bought out by Barnes and Noble. So I am asuming that BN is gong to let the site drift like Amazon has done with Mobipockets. Boyhood sites were awesome pleases once apon-a-time.
    I have been converted to an iPad for my book reading, long battery life, device can do multiple tasks, and I can read the books on my iPhone.

    But that said I use iBook but would switch if the mobi format of reading would show up in another app. None of the apps , kindle, nook, stanza, iBook are compatible or as easy to read.

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