Tag: eBooks

Giftcards & Apple eBooks follow up

by on Nov.15, 2010, under Articles, Books

Is Apple Using Gift Cards to Prop Up a Sagging iBookstore by Sarah Weinman (DailyFinance)

So coming fast on the heels of my article about gift cards and eBooks, now there is talk about an iBooks specific giftcard.

Let me stress to those who read my article and think that is a good idea for me, no, it isn’t. A normal iTunes card is far more versatile and I would definitely prefer that.

Some of the numbers that come up in the article are interesting however. the iBookstore isn’t even in the race for book sales with the other mobile eBook platforms. I wish I could say I was surprised. Given the limitations I found regarding the iBook app in terms of gift giving, plus that there no accessing books on the primary buying platform for the iPad: The iTune Store, plus no web purchasing or browsing for the iTunes store. I think all of these are major hindrances to purchasing.

Somehow though I don’t see Apple fixing any of these problems. =

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Gifting: Part 4, eBooks, iTunes, Wishlists and Gift Cards, oh my?

by on Nov.11, 2010, under Articles, Computers, Novels, Opinions, Roleplaying Games

So in Part 1, I started this way too long article about eBooks and gifts.

In Part 2, I rambled about Amazon and iTune’s ebooks and asked a question that I didn’t really answer.

Around Part 3 I stated that this article would finally finish next post.

The end!

Okay not really. But I’ll restate the issue I am puzzling out.

How do I communicate to the people wanting to purchase books for me what particular eBook vendor or file format to use and are there methods for them to actually gifting these books?

My problem seems to be that I have conflicting interests, based upon what I’ve written so far. I wish to have people gift me eBooks for my iPad. However Apple hasn’t seen fit to support this model of economics for it’s eBooks in it’s service. Amazon’s wishlist is useful but its interface means that directing people to purchase something in a way that is more than ‘click here and buy’ is difficult and risky.

So my proposed solution is gift cards.

Solution: Giftcards

Gasp! You say. I would never stoop so low as to give my near and dearest Nojh a gift card. That is for estranged family and no so close friends. To which I say in a fake european accent, poopy weenier!

Heh. Poopy weenier.

I actually heard/read/watched an article last year regarding the economics of gift giving and that the actual ratio of happiness to money spent ratio is significantly hire when giving gift cards than actual gifts over the long haul. IE that people who receive gift cards very specifically go out and buy what they want and like, as it isn’t rent money or savings money, its extra money they can spend on themselves. I think this kind of assumes that you get them the right gift card, of course. For example giving me gift cards to clothing stores? Not so much.

Additionally gift cards are supposed to be better, economically, for stores. Meaning that if everybody gave gift cards, and the occasional gift they were sure someone else wanted, then economically it would be better for all, including stores, as the massive return lines associated with the day after new years is actually economically detrimental. Supposedly. I might be remembering wrong. It seems counter intutitive.

That being said, I’m still going to guess gifts for my friends because I like gifts but I think, for my e-Book solution, I’m actually going to put gift cards up on my Amazon wish list, with the note that I plan to purchase books with the cards. And maybe the occasional iPad game.

Final Thoughts

Obviously this isn’t optimal. My friends want to purchase something specific for me. And this also doesn’t cover independent distributors or gaming PDFs, although gaming PDF webstores have built in wishlists so I could go fill that out and then perhaps put a link to it in my Amazon wish list.

I guess ultimately this basically required me to have some faith that the people who are interested in purchasing things for me are willing to look at the details of the items I’m asking for.

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Gifting: Part 3, More about eBooks vendors

by on Nov.11, 2010, under Articles, Computers, Novels, Opinions, Roleplaying Games

So in Part 1 I talked about what started this endless series of articles.

In Part 2, stated some questions about eBooks and never really answered them.

In this part I’ll continue analyzing the four different avenues of eBooks that I’ve selected from the perspective of others giving me eBooks as gifts for the coming holidays.

Gaming PDFs

So unlike the rest of the publishing industry, the gaming industry has a history of not really getting the money. It is a niche hobby with only a small set of actual commercially viable games, and a plethora of independent games. For a really cool indie game, click here! Because gaming books are largely text and art affairs, the only format that really supports them well is the PDF, which has poor DRM controls. Because of this, it is possible that the more commercially viable game publishers have taken hits in sales due to pirating. On the other hand the indie community has embraced PDFs as a way to get their games actually seen. Gaming PDFs are largely available through two distributors: RPGNow and DriveThruRPG.

Both sites sport their own versions of the WishList system and therefor also have a gift giving system. Setup your wish list, point it at your friends, and they can purchase the PDFs or other downloads for you. Plus since they are web based, they can interface with Amazon’s wishlist. The biggest issue with doing that is getting your friends or family to understand the idea of eBooks/PDFs and that they need to especially gift the product, rather than just purchase it, although the files are sharable so that isn’t as horrible as it sounds. But linking a download to your account allows you to download updated PDFs at no cost.

And that brings us to:

Independents

Independents are probably the easiest since they’re almost assuredly going to be selling directly from their website. So they interface with with the Amazon Wishlist. But there is no guarantee that the independent will support a download for someone else, or a gift version, rather than you just purchasing it.  There are also independent game companies that like to sell bundles of both PDFs of their game, and the physical product.

And now that I’ve all but finished rambling, in Part 4, I’ll discuss the solutions I’ve come up with and ask you all for opinions.

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Gifting: Part 2, Wishlists and eBooks

by on Nov.10, 2010, under Articles, Computers, Novels, Opinions, Roleplaying Games

In Part 1, I discussed what led me to the following questions:

How do I communicate to the people wanting to purchase books for me what particular eBook vendor or file format to use and are there methods for them to actually gifting these books?

The question is a bit of an issue because I really have access to three different type of eBooks. Well four. Amazon, iTunes, Gaming PDFs, and independents. Yes I know there is more but for various reasons I’ve decided to ignore them. I’m going to analyze each of these four avenues to eBooks, then sum it up with direct answers to these questions. Since I am currently using Amazon wishlist, so I might as well start with Amazon.

Amazon

Amazon only sells Kindle eBooks. No other versions or retailers. I don’t own a Kindle, and while I know I can download the Kindle app for my iPad and my computers, I’ve already starts a small collection of novels using iTunes book store. Do I really want to split my digital library?

This new question is actually a little off topic but I want to discuss it. With the exception of my gaming books, which we will talk about later, I think I’ll be treating my eBooks as a kind of rental. Meaning if I like the book, I’ll probably pick up a physical copy or multiple so I can loan them out like I do with Dresden Files. But I’ll be using eBooks as a way to purchase and read books while not having to store them on my shelf constantly. This is because it is very hard for me to determine if any of these digital copies will actually stay around for an reasonable length of ownership. I’ve lost a lot of data over the years, and each type of DRM available is just another way to make sure I don’t get to keep what I bought forever.

So with that in mind I suppose splitting my digital library is not that big of a deal but my personal sense of aesthetics say that I’d prefer to keep my books in one place as much as possible.

iTunes

iTune’s iBooks app and store is nice in that it uses the public file format .epub. This format can support DRM and I imagine most books sold through the iTunes store do have DRM. But the app will display non-DRM .epub files as well. The app will also display PDFs, which are the other most common type of eBook file type out there. These were the primary reasons why I bought my first eBooks from the iTunes store.

iTunes, however, has a flaw in that it has no web interface. Meaning that I can’t point an Amazon wish list entry at a webpage and say ‘buy that for me!’ The entire store is encased with the iTunes application. Actually it worse than I thought, a casual look through shows that the iBooks portion of iTunes is completely encapsulated within the iBook app and the app doesn’t even appear to have a gift giving capability, like the normal iTunes store, which you can send an app to a friend.

Bummer.

More coming in Part 3!

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Gifting: Part 1, Wish Lists and eBooks

by on Nov.10, 2010, under Articles, Computers, Novels, Opinions, Roleplaying Games

So it is the time of year where I start to think about gifts. I like gift giving, especially if I can think of a good gift for someone. The end of the year is about the only time I can give a gift without people giving me a weird expression. Plus I have this awesome scheme where I get one of my best friends to wrap them all for me. It’s sweet.

And since it is that gifting time of year, This means that I usually need to make a gift list since my friends and family also want to give me gifts. I know, it’s strange.

Wish lists

A few years back I tried an independent website called Wishlist that worked alright, except half my friends couldn’t figure out how to mark something bought. But what is the holiday without a few returns, right?

Lately I’ve been using Amazon’s built in wish list. Since it can support non-amazon things. I’m not sure I like using amazon, but it’s interface is streamlined enough that I don’t have to worry about people getting confused.  Although the amazon wishlist puts a lot of emphasis on the product, and a lot of screen time on the notes the user adds to the product.

eBooks

Which leads me to the topic of e-books in a very round about manner. I’ve recently started collecting  eBooks, or iBooks, or whatever. Electronic files which contain the written word, and sometimes images, usually to present a story or information. You see I have an iPad, and I am a gamer, in the more traditional pen and paper type as well as lots of board games. The iPad has actually proven a decent way for me to carry my gaming library around and read the games whenever I like although I’ll admit I still prefer to have the physical books for reference. For board games, it is awesome to have more than one copy of the rule book at the table.

I’ve also tentatively tip toed into actual eBook novels, with Jim Butcher’s Side Jobs, which was amazingly priced in hard back when it released, that I was able to afford the iTunes eBook version so I could read it immediately while I waited for the physical version to arrive int he mail. The eBook version proved to have somewhat more poorly formatting than I was hoping from a commercial eBook file but I digress.

The reason why I bring up eBooks is because I think I would like to continue receiving eBooks. With the holidays approaching, I have two questions; How do I communicate this to the people wanting to purchase books for me and are there methods for them to actually do so in an electronic form?

How do I communicate to the people wanting to purchase books for me what particular eBook vendor or file format to use and are there methods for them to actually gifting these books?

Continued in Part 2. Stay tuned!

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