Friday, November 12, 2010

Where do you buy your ebooks?

When I started reading ebooks a few years ago I didn’t have an ereader. I didn’t even have a laptop, so I downloaded Microsoft Reader onto my computer and used that to read the books I bought. My first ebooks were purchased from Ellora’s Cave. I learned about Ellora’s Cave because of author Toni Blake, who I’d discovered and whose back list I had devoured. Then I learned she wrote under the pen name Lacey Alexander for Ellora’s Cave, so I went and bought every book she had there too.

I learned more about ebooks as an author when I started researching digital publishers to submit my books to. I bought some books from different publishers because I wanted to see the kind of books they published. I always bought those books directly from the publishers’ websites.

Then I started to learn about on-line bookstores, like All Romance Ebooks, Books on Board, Fictionwise, Amazon. I didn’t buy anything from them, though, until I bought my Sony reader. Then the whole digital world opened up to me and even the books I saw in the "bricks and mortar" bookstore by my favourite authors could be purchased digitally and read on my reader.

Now, the majority of my books are purchased at the Sony Store. I still go to the publishers’ websites sometimes, but the only reason I do it is because I know the author generally makes more in royalties from a purchase there, than from a purchase from a third-party vendor. But I love the Sony Store because it’s so easy – they have all my info, I log on, find the book I want, click, and it’s in my library, perfectly formatted. One more click and it’s on my reader. Even at My Bookstore and More, I have to enter credit card information, save the file somewhere and import it into my library. I’m sure the process is equally easy when buying from Amazon for a Kindle.

I don’t even do a cost comparison because it’s just so easy at Sony.

I suspect I'm not alone in this. I suspect that most people like to go to a "book store" even if it's on-line, and look at the selection of books from a variety of publishers, rather than having to search publishers' websites.

As an author I’ve been thinking about this a lot, as the Naughty Nine will know from my recent ranty posts. It’s no secret that sales of digital books at Amazon have grown tremendously over the past year. Apparently lots of people are buying their books there and I’m benefiting from those sales as an author. Publishers have different deals with Amazon. With one of my publishers, I earn a little less from sales at third party vendors than sales at the publisher’s site, but the volume of sales more than makes up for that. With another publisher I earn the same regardless of where the book is purchased and yet sales are so much smaller –which makes me wonder why?

So readers – where do you purchase your ebooks? Do you shop for the best price? Do you look for ease of purchase and download? Do you buy at Amazon because you have a Kindle (or B&N because you have a nook, or the Sony store because you have a Sony)? Do you automatically check out new releases by your favourite digital publisher? Do you look for specific authors or genres? Inquiring minds want to know!


Anonymous said...

I own a Barnes & Noble Nook so I do a lot of my shopping there. But I also shop two publisher sites - Carina Press and Loose ID. I'll buy my Samhain books from My Bookstore and More. I'm an instant gratification sort of girl and sometimes it takes a while for books to hit B&N. Also I'm not a huge fan of B&N's check out system for ebooks (you buy each book ONE AT A TIME!) so you end up with many different charges to your card (my last shopping trip had 6 different books and it's a PITA to go back into your wishlist and then check out again and back around and again and again...)

Carina Press is a seamless buying experience. They save your CC info and you are able to check out your entire purchase at once. Same with MBaM.

I have purchased from AllRomance and OmniLit with no problem at all.

I organize all my books in Calibre and it's a breeze. If I happen to get a book in PDF I can easily convert it to epub.

For me it's what is easiest an where I can get my books most quickly. I love wish lists so I can shop my little heart out but buy in small batches so my husband doesn't have a stroke!

Meg Benjamin said...

I buy from Amazon because I use a Kindle and it's just easier to have it instantly downloaded to my reader. I've occasionally bought elsewhere, though. Amazon doesn't carry everything!

PG Forte said...

Ooh. This is a topic I can really sink my teeth into!

I never buy ebooks at Amazon (shocking, I know) and it's not because my sales there suck (really it's not!). It's because I can't. I buy almost all my music there, so I'm sure the process of buying ebooks would be equally effortless IF their ereader program would recognize my Mac, but for some reason it doesn't.

*shrug* that's okay. I buy most of my books via the publishers anyway (go authors!) as well as a few online stores, eg ARe, B&N.

FWIW, MBaM is my favorite place to buy books. They have all my info (cc and personal) on file, making purchases effortless. I can download whichever format I want depending where I want to read it--pdf for my computer, epub for my nook. And my Bookshelf is easily accessed from whichever computer I happen to be using.

I'd buy more books directly from B&N if they had more books available, and if they were available as soon as they're released, and if I wasn't limited to one very specific type of file.

Sure, I can read my B&N purchased books on either my nook or either of my computers, although I'm not sure what will happen if I someday want to borrow my daughter's laptop to read on, but I worry about what would happen to all those books if I one day buy a different ereader?

I've downloaded Calibre--mostly to convert pdfs to epubs--but I haven't tried converting a B&N book yet (I haven't had any reason to). If I find out converting B&N books works, I might buy more from them.

Interestingly, I recently learned that the Pandigital Novel lets you buy books through B&N, which is very exciting since that's such a cool little tool. But I still love my nook.

Milinda said...

My first eBooks came from Baen Books--they have had a free (yes, free) library since about 2000 or 2001. Since discovered eBook publishers like Samhain, etc., and have been buying directly from the source.

I like to buy through MBAM because it is easy and they do keep my books on their server. I buy from Ellora's Cave but am very careful to make a couple of backups to those purchases. I wish that they kept eBook purchases on their server but understand their decision. Amazon also keeps eBooks purchases alive on their servers.

For the record, if you're into pinching pennies, don't buy EC's books through Amazon. Amazon takes the 15% discount (that they give on all eBooks) from the publishers suggested price. EC's suggested price is always much higher than they actually charge. I have also seen Amazon charge for some of EC's free reads.

Cara Bristol said...

I buy most of my e-books from Amazon. I bought a Kindle because I used to buy a lot of print books from Amazon. I buy EC books direct from EC, and I buy books from my publisher, Black Velvet Seductions.

Since I got my Kindle in July, I almost never buy print books. The instant gratification of getting a book right away is too compelling to pass up. And I like being able to read samples.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! I'm taking all this in...

Debra St. John said...

If I'm buying an e-book, it's usually to support a fellow author, so I tend to buy from the publisher's web-site.

For my regular reading, I have to admit I'm still a bricks and mortar person who likes to hold an actual book in her hand. I know, I know...I'm way behind the times.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Debra, I was too for a long time, but once I got my reader I can't tell you how much I love it! Mostly I love thinking hmmm I need something to read, and going to the computer and within minutes I have new book! Instant gratification!

Victoria said...

I'm still somewhat new to ebooks, so my habits are still changing. And I don't have an ereaer yet (xmas...), so I have the programs on my pc.
We are an one income household, so the cost is still important for us. Yes, that means I check prices and do buy cheaper or where I get promos. Like All Romance offering buy 10 get 1 free. That if one of my prefered so far. Also like My Book Store and More, but they don't have as much as say Amazon.

As others have said, have to watch Amazon prices (but still often better that mass merch stores).

Mikala said...

I have a kindle so most books I buy come from Amazon. I look for specific authors and when I've read all their books I search Ellora's Cave or Samhain for new authors.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Thanks for that Victoria and Mikala!

Zina said...

I shop mostly at Samhain and MBAM. I like MBAM because they keep my books in a library and if something happens to my files I can recover tham, not so with some other pubs. I get some books from somewhere else, don't remember the name, and I didn't download them right away and when I remembered a week or so later and tried they said my access had expired, not a happy camper about that. I somtimes shop for the better price but I really like MBAM, I wish they carried non Samhain writers again.
I like easy download, again I love MBAM.I do have the Kindle for your PC app but I don't buy to many there. I do always check out the new realeases at MBAM, Samhain and ARE and Elora's Cave and yes I do look for specific genres and my favorite writers.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Thanks Zina! That happened to me once too at one site where my access expired - not happy!

Tinkerbellz22 said...

I mostly buy from the publisher's website, usually Ellora's Cave and MBAM, because that is where most of my favorite authors are. My Bookstore and More is great since they keep all my books in a library just in case something happens and they have my account info on file.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Good to know Tinkerbell!

Kimmie said...

Amazon - I bought a Kindle in Feb. 2010 and I absolutely love it. Kelly, that's where I learned about your books and got all that was available!