Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Take on the B&N E-Book Foray

Promises, promises.

Once upon a time Barnes & Noble said it would have an e-book store. Then, in 2006, it backed off from the idea. But it’s b-a-a-a-ck!

It’s talking e-books again, probably because it acquired digital-minded Fictionwise for--are you ready for this? 15.7 million. And probably because competitior Amazon is going after e-book sales. The bad news is that B&N says their downloads won’t be compatible with either Kindle or Sony. And downloads from some other devices won’t work with Blackberries and iPhones (though B&N promises theirs will!).

B&N says they are working with another handheld called Plastic Logic. So that’s one more handheld device publishers and self-published authors will have to deal with.

Except for the e-book part, they’re all on the wrong track. Readers are customers. They just want access and they want it easy. They aren’t much interested in the petty competitions between giants. That’s what made the Net great. Access by all. Shouldn’t we be able to count on the smart guys to care about the end customer? Especially with one of the most successful models in all of history as a model?

Go figure.

PS: All my HowToDoItFrugally books are available on Kindle. (See www.budurl.com/FrugalEditorKindle.)I'm struggling to find time to get them ready for Sony and may never do it (I'm not that techy!). And now this. It's the cell phone snafu all over again. That's another column, but Europe's cell phone system beats ours by a long shot. Looks as if they'll have to take the lead in regularizing the e-book phenomenon, too.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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