Feeds

WTF is... up with e-book pricing?

Price rises coming

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Paperback priority

One way of saving money is – as with printed books – by waiting for the paperback. When it was first published, Margaret Attwood’s The Year of the Flood had an e-book RRP of £18.99, matching that of the hardback, and was discounted at Waterstones to £13.59. The Kindle edition now sells for a publisher-set £6.99, while the paperback is discounted from £7.99 to £5.16 by Amazon.

Project Gutenberg

Good Gutenberg: your first port of call for free out-of-copyright material - and not just the familiar classics - in all the key formats

Complicating matters still further, WH Smith tells us that they’ve only signed up to agency pricing for Hachette and Penguin titles. However, Year of the Flood, despite being from a member of the Hachette group, is still selling on WH Smith for £4.59, compared to Amazon’s £6.99.

Want to shop around for e-books? Get a smartphone

Shopping around for e-books may be becoming less advantageous, thanks to the introduction of agency pricing, but it's nonetheless becoming easier to do.

The main barrier to seeking the cheapest supplier for a given e-book is DRM and file format. Amazon's Kindle has a format all of its own, with the .azw suffix, while other e-bookstores use the ePub format.

But while many protected ePub e-books use Adobe's Adept DRM, part of its Digital Editions system, Apple's iTunes bookstore uses the company's own Fairplay DRM.

Fortunately for smartphone owners, apps are appearing that allow you to hold multiple e-book libraries alongside each other.

On the iPhone, for example, in addition to Apple's iBooks, you can download a Kindle reader from Amazon, and there are a number of readers that support Adept, such as Bluefire Reader, Txtr and Stanza.

Sony Reader app

Sony is developing an e-book reader app for iOS and for Android. Hopefully it will bring Adept support to Android. While there are a fair few e-book reader apps in the Android Market - notably Kobo and Aldiko - none appear to support Adobe DRM.

All this is great news for smartphone and tablet owners, but the fixed nature of dedicated e-book reader devices means they're unlikely to gain support for formats and DRM schemes not favoured by the manufacturer.

This advice will annoy E Ink fans, but it's true nonetheless: if you want access to the broadest range of e-bookshops, you need a smartphone.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.