So I saw…more than a few complaints from Sony reader users that “Kindle exclusive” authors were shutting themselves out of a rather large opportunity. Apparently Sony is fairly popular in Europe and other countries, especially since the Kindle isn’t yet available over there unless you can provide a US credit card and/or address.
The problem for authors and readers is the lack of a cohesive storefront. There are many sites for ebooks (and the formats range from RTF to Sony, to EPUB to .MOBI). Some of these ebook stores require and use DRM, some accept self-published, some do not. If a reader wants to buy a book at any of these stores, she has to create an account. Remember a password. Browse it occasionally to look for new books. The selection on the sites varies from a few thousand to many thousand. Some of the sites have a lot of public domain books (and not enough newer stuff), some have taken more time with making sure that uploaded formats are clean and formatted nicely.
For authors…same thing. Uploading multiple formats, stores all over the internet, accounts to keep track of, rules to keep track of, forums galore…it’s a distribution nightmare. Which ones to choose? All? None? The royalty paid to authors is different on each site. The price rules are different.
But we’re all about experimenting here at BMBooks. Gulp.
It’s hard to say which of these sites will garner a lot of market share. I was pleased to read that Smashwords signed a distribution agreement with Barnes and Noble. Right now B&N doesn’t seem to have much of a reputation for ebooks at all. So it could be slow going and an uphill battle.
If anyone has a Sony reader and has an opinion or likes/dislikes, where you shop for books–I’m all ears. Or eyeballs in this case!