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second eBook column, New Media author marketing

From: Mark
Sent on: Monday, November 1, 2010 6:45 PM

Hi All!

Oops! I've left this until very late, so I blame Halloween. Not me. Uh huh.

But if you want to hear about author marketing, tomorrow night is dinner with New Media specialists Gail DiRe and Diane Duthweiler. Details are here:

< >

directions are here:

 < >


. . .and now for Part Two of the eBook showdown, in which a certain local company gets. . . well, slapped around and taken to task:

Don���t Make an eBook Mistake

Second in a three-part series

by Mark W. Hennon

The eBook market is extremely complex. None of the big eBook manufacturers tell you that their books will not play on other eBook machines. So the eBooks you buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony have to stay on the eBook machine with which you bought them.

The result: You accumulate a library of eBooks, but they���re ���locked in��� to that eBook���s company. You won���t be able to switch those eBooks to a different brand of eBook reader. Nor will you be able to get much money for them.

Over time, your eBook investment will probably be many times the cost of your eBook machine -- so it���s very important to start with the right machine.

This month���s column compares the Sony Reader with the Amazon Kindle. A year ago, they were the undisputed eBook champions. Amazon and Sony have recently ramped up their hardware and software to excel in different ways.

Sony Reads Beautifully

Because of Sony���s lack of advertising and reluctance to compete on price, I went into the Sony Store prepared to dismiss the Sony Reader as a has-been, a dinosaur, a relic.

I could not have been more wrong.

Sony���s basic Reader, the Pocket edition, is a sleek, solid, intuitive device that pretty much rocks the house. Its touch screen makes it effortless to see and choose what you want to do. It���s easy to read and turn pages, and is especially good at viewing PDF files, which it can split into columns for easy viewing -- taking you from the bottom of one column to the top of the next with a swipe of your finger instead of having to scroll around.

Sony���s three-machine lineup is clearly for the long-term reader -- with options for larger screens and more features.

Kindle is Easy to Use and Buy

The Kindle���s screen is as easy to read as the Sony���s. Both have E-Ink Pearl technology and anti-glare screens that look similar to paper and can be read in sunlight.

Kindle has no touch screen, which makes it more awkward to enter commands. On the other hand, it has a small keyboard, which is great if you have small fingers.

The Kindle also has built-in Wi-Fi and its bigger brother has 3G connectivity to the Amazon eBook store, whereas only the top Sony model has Wi-Fi and 3G.

So it���s simpler to buy eBooks with the Kindle, and easy to read them.

Free My eBooks!

Here in Seattle we can borrow free eBooks from both the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library System. You don���t have to go to the library, just download them online. There���s never a late fee and you don���t have to take the eBooks back, because they simply disable themselves after three weeks.

But we can���t read them on the Kindle.

As we go to press, the Seattle Public Library has eBooks for nine of the top-ten bestsellers on The New York Times fiction list. However, they���re all in ePub format, which Amazon���s Kindle does not read.

It���s one thing for a manufacturer to protect its own eBooks. It���s quite another to block library books.

That���s not just an inconvenience, it���s a deal-breaker. Everybody else handles ePub format -- so it must be that Amazon just wants you to buy its books.

Sony Reader by a Knockout

Trusting my future eBook library to a company that prevents me from reading books for free seems pretty stupid. Show me how I���m wrong about that and I might change my mind, but for now, the Sony Reader beats the Kindle hands-down because the Reader supports free library eBooks.

Yes, the Reader costs $40 more initially than the Kindle, but Sony has been including $50 in eBook store credit with Reader purchases to more than wipe out that difference. And you���ll save hundreds of dollars in free library eBooks.

Also, you can create your own discounts before you buy any eBook reader by placing holds on as many printed books as you want at the library, and putting $10 a book aside for an eventual eBook reader purchase. Or put the same money aside when you read library eBooks on your computer. More about that next month.

Next Month: The Final Choice: Which is Best for You?

Mark W. Hennon is a writer and editor who���s currently working on a science-fiction trilogy and fixing Mac and Windows computers. His email is [address removed]; phone is[masked] or[masked]-9244.

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