Pretty big news in the e-book world today, as J.K. Rowling’s hit (super-mega-hit is more like it) series Harry Potter is finally available as e-books. Grab them on Amazon here:
The good news is that the prices are fairly reasonable, ranging from $7.99 (for each of the first three books) to $9.99 (for each of the remaining four).
This fills an important gap in the e-book world, and was probably the reason that a sizable chunk of people was holding off on buying Kindles or other e-readers. I have no doubt that this announcement alone will result in a noticeable bump in Kindle device sales. I would expect it to especially impact younger readers, who are now more likely than ever to start reading e-books.
The full series list:
- Book 1: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone ($7.99)
- Book 2: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets ($7.99)
- Book 3: Harry Potter & the Prizoner of Azkaban ($7.99)
- Book 4: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire ($9.99)
- Book 5: Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix ($9.99)
- Book 6: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince ($9.99)
- Book 7: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows ($9.99)
The reason these books have taken so long to finally become available on the Kindle (and other e-readers) was a simple one: the author didn’t want her works read as e-books; she preferred everyone to have the “paper & ink” experience. With all due respect to how Ms. Rowling prefers to read for herself, many millions of readers have already decided that we prefer the convenience, portability, and other features of e-books. (As an author, I’m always grateful for anyone to want to buy and enjoy my work, whether it’s on paper, on a Kindle, iPad, or inscribed on parchment scrolls. But she’s sold a few more books than I have, so I guess she wasn’t concerned about missing out on a few million sales here and there.)
In any event, I’m sure these e-books will do quite well (better late than never), and this announcement will make many of her fans quite happy. Welcome to 2012, J.K. Rowling!
Please excuse my excitement as I share a personal milestone with you: I just sold the 10,000th copy of my novels.
I would like to sincerely thank each and every person who made one of those 10,000 purchases, along with everyone who has helped me edit the novels, or supported me along the way. And a special thank you to anyone who left an Amazon review, or told your friends about the books — without you, I never would have gotten to 10,000 sales.
For anyone who’d like to become the first of my next 10,000 readers, you can find excerpts, reviews, and information about my three novels here:
- Right Ascension: a space opera, science fiction epic that combines action & adventure with the exploration of ethical dilemmas.
- Declination: the sequel to Right Ascension.
- The Twiller: a humorous, satirical romp across the Universe that just might remind you of some comical situations on our own planet.
Thank you again for the support, and happy reading!
In celebration of “Read an E-Book Week” (March 6–12), I’m running a sale on my e-books at Smashwords this week. My e-books at Smashwords are DRM-free, and are available in multiple formats, including MOBI (for the Kindle), ePub (for the B&N Nook, Kobo, Sony, and Apple iPad), PDF, and more. You can also read a lengthy sample (25%) of any of my books there.
Until March 12, you can get Right Ascension or Declination for 25% off — just click the links below and use the coupon code “RAE25” at checkout:
- Right Ascension (25% off!)
- Declination (25% off!)
And, just because I’m feeling cheeky and wanted to get into the “Read an E-Book Week” spirit, I’ve knocked 50% off the price of The Twiller. Just use coupon code “RAE50” through the link below:
- The Twiller (50% off!)
I hope you enjoy them if you decide to give them a shot this week! Happy e-reading!
This collection of blog posts from this Always Write Blog covers developments pertaining to e-books, e-readers, the publishing industry, and my own writing endeavors. It includes all blog posts from the year 2010, a total of 103 posts spanning over 65,000 words, plus pictures.
The posts cover a variety of topics, but the main ones include:
• E-Books: e-book sales figures, availability, reviews, and features (such as lending, text-to-speech, and DRM).
• E-Readers: news, tips, and info on e-book reading devices, focusing on Amazon’s Kindle (mainly the Kindle 2 and Kindle 3), with coverage of Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Sony’s E-Readers, the Kobo E-Readers, and Apple’s iPad.
• Publishing: commentary on the state of book and e-book publishing, and its future, including discussion of e-book pricing, the agency model, and the future of bookstores and printed books.
• Writing: details about the self-publishing “indie” movement in general and my own writing endeavors in particular, including tips for fellow authors on formatting, retailing, and marketing.
Please note that these blog posts are available for free here (www.davidderrico.com/blog). However, these e-books are formatted and proofread specifically for the Kindle and Nook, and includes a table of contents, chapter waypoints in the locations bar, all images, and the links to other included blog posts have been changed to internal links for your convenience. It’s a much more convenient way to read all this info on your favorite e-reader.
You can purchase the e-book for just 99 cents here:
Thanks for checking it out! I hope you find it useful! As always, comments are welcomed below.
Finally, after announcing its intent over a year ago, Google arrived on the e-book scene today with Google E-Books (formerly “Google Editions,” formerly the “Google Partner Program”). Before today, Google’s book service (“Google Books”) existed as a place to locate books and search the text therein, where Google would merely provide links to other retailers that sold the books you found, but now Google is selling e-books itself. So, how does Google compare with the existing e-book retailers (Amazon, B&N, Sony, Kobo, Apple, etc.)?
Google E-Books probably fields the world’s largest single e-book library, of 3 million titles or so. Perhaps you’ve heard about the ongoing Google Books class-action lawsuit and settlement? Essentially, Google grabbed up a bunch of library books and scanned them into its archives, where users could find them using Google’s search engine tools (search results could find not only book titles and author names and other metadata, but could actually find passages from within books). In collecting books for its archives, Google essentially grabbed every book it could find unless the rights-holder (the publisher or author) learned about it and complained to opt out. So, Google captured large numbers of out-of-copyright public domain books, in-copyright books where publishers explicitly gave permission, and a whole gray area of books of indeterminate copyright status. This enabled Google to scan and have access to about 3 million texts, more than any other platform; however, over 2.5 million of those titles are public domain, leaving only a few hundred thousand modern, in-copyright titles (for comparison, Amazon has over 750,000 mostly in-copyright titles available in the Kindle Store, and Apple has only 30,000 in the Apple iBooks Store).
Another interesting feature of Google E-Books is that it is device-independent: Google doesn’t make an e-reader (like a Kindle or Nook), but allows you to read e-books purchased from Google in multiple ways. First, you can read e-books online, through a web browser (accessed through your computer or smartphone). Second, you can download PDFs to read on your computer or tablet computer. Third, you can use the Google for Android or Google for iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad) apps to read from your smartphone or tablet. Finally, you can use Adobe Digital Editions to read e-books in DRM-protected ePub format on compatible e-readers, including the Nook and Nook Color, Sony E-Readers, and Kobo E-Readers — but notably not the Kindle (which uses the MOBI file format and does not support Adobe DRM). Google E-Books has a “buy once, read anywhere” focus, and touts how you can read e-books purchased from Google without downloading anything — just start reading right in your browser. Personally, I prefer to download and own the e-book files I purchase, but the simplicity may appeal to some people who enjoy reading on LCD computer or smartphone screens.
The ability to download and read purchased Google e-books (some public domain titles remain free) on various e-reader devices is the most interesting feature to me — I have no interest in reading novels off my computer screen (let alone a tiny smartphone screen). But being able to use Google E-Books as a source for content, and reading that content on an e-Ink based e-reader has a certain appeal, especially since you can switch from a Nook to a Sony to a Kobo and keep reading from your same e-book library. Of course, Amazon and all the other e-book retailers already offer apps for various platforms (PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android), allowing you to read your e-books in multiple ways and sync your progress in each of them, but this adds another level of interoperability.
So what does this mean for readers? Well, if you have a compatible e-reader, or feel like reading off a computer screen, you may want to give Google E-Books a try. A quick check showed that most books are similar in price to Amazon and B&N, but a few are slightly more or less expensive. On the plus side, you’d be able to read any e-books you purchase on almost any e-reader you eventually decide to buy (other than a Kindle — although Google says they “are open to” eventually being compatible with Kindles). There haven’t been many details yet, so we’ll have to wait and see how well the e-books are formatted, if they allow returns, or how many new releases show up for sale through Google. (I uploaded my books months ago, and they are now available through Google E-Books at launch.)
Google also eventually plans to allow third parties (other websites, or independent bookstores) to sell Google e-books and keep a cut of the revenue. That might be an interesting twist, and forward-thinking independent bookstores might jump at the opportunity to suddenly have a full-fledged e-book store through their own websites.
As for the balance of power in the e-reading world, it remains to be seen if Google will make crossroads into the market. While the interoperability is impressive, it doesn’t include Amazon, which owns roughly 75% of the market. That cuts both ways, of course — but I think it hurts Google more than Amazon. Amazon doesn’t have much incentive to make it easier for its millions of Kindle users to start buying all their e-books from Google instead of Amazon.
On the one hand, Google is a well-known brand with lots of money and talent, they have a huge library of e-books, and they offer unprecedented interoperability amongst multiple e-book devices (for anyone out there who happens to own a Nook Color, a Kobo, and an old Sony E-Reader, you’re probably off buying e-books from Google already). On the other hand, Google is very late to the e-book game (which started way back in the late 1990s, and really took off in earnest with Sony and Amazon in 2007), and I can’t help but think that a whole lot of avid e-book readers have already started building an e-book library and have allegiance to someone else. Not having a dedicated device may also hurt Google, as it’s definitely easier to shop on Amazon from a Kindle, or on Barnes & Noble from a Nook. Another demerit: while Google search and Maps are pretty user-friendly, every other Google service I’ve used (especially Google AdWords, AdSense, Analytics, and the Partner Program set-up) are incredibly difficult to use and the help documentation is confusing and contradictory — they have a long way to go to match Amazon’s ease of use and customer service.
I also wonder how seriously Google will take the e-book business: they still can’t even seem to figure out their own name (the website will bounce you from Google E-Books to Google Books to the Google Partner Program with a tab for Google Editions), they haven’t yet announced lots of details (like how rights-holders will get paid), and you have to wonder what took them so long and why they don’t have their own e-reader. My advice: keep an eye on them, but I’d take a wait-and-see approach on this one for a while.
Target announced today that the iPad will be available in nationwide Target stores starting on October 3. Target will have all 6 iPad models (the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G configurations). Pricing will be the same as Apple’s official pricing, although it appears Target store credit card users can get a nice 5% discount on the iPads, starting October 17.
Target also carries the Kindle 3 and Sony e-Readers, so you can compare and contrast them with the iPad there. (Note: Best Buy has — or will soon have — the Kindle 3, Nook, Sony e-Readers, and iPads all in one place.)
I’ve been hearing reports around the Internet of new Kindle 3 demo units available in some Best Buy and Target stores. While Target has carried the Kindle 2 for a while, it appears some stores now have the new, lighter Kindle 3 in stock.
I had also heard about Kindles being scheduled to show up in Best Buy as well, but I didn’t expect them to be available so quickly. I’ve heard multiple reports of the new Kindle 3 at various Best Buy locations around the country (although I can’t say for sure if they’ve arrived at all locations yet). Of note, you can now visit a Best Buy to see the Kindle 3, Nook, the Sony line of e-readers, and the iPad, to compare all the major e-readers in the same place.
Two caveats: first, the Kindles at both Target and Best Buy are only demo models, which are set to run through a fixed presentation. So you can see the e-Ink display and handle them to see the size and weight, but you can’t access the menus or play around with it to get the full experience. Second, don’t be surprised if the employees at your particular Best Buy have little or no accurate information on these new Kindle arrivals: the best place for info is still directly from Amazon.
If you’re quick about it, you can grab a new Kindle 2 at woot.com for just $149.99 (plus $5 shipping). But if you’re interested, I’d act fast since (a) they’ll probably sell out quickly, and (b) Woot.com is known for “One Day, One Deal,” and they have a new deal up each day at midnight (Central time). So this deal will only last until the end of today (July 1) at the latest.
Considering that the Kindle was $259 just a week or so ago, and is currently $189 at Amazon, this is a pretty phenomenal deal. Remember, the price includes free 3G wireless coverage (for e-book downloads and basic web browsing) for life. If you’re an avid reader, or know one with a birthday coming up, this post is for you.
Apparently, Amazon bought Woot.com yesterday, and this is how they chose to celebrate.
P.S.: In somewhat related news, the larger Kindle DX 2 was also announced today, with a graphite casing, better screen contrast, and a price cut down to $379.
UPDATE: It sold out 5,000 units in only 8 hours! But Amazon has been listing refurbished K2s for only $109 lately … but they sell out quickly at that price as well.
I am extremely excited to announce that my third novel, The Twiller, is available now from Amazon for just $2.99!
I am hoping for a great launch that shoots it up into Amazon’s Top 100 overall bestseller list for Kindle books. I just hit #400, so I’d be extremely grateful for your support!
I’d also like to take the time to thank all my readers who have bought any of my three novels, and those of you who have posted reviews on Amazon or commented on this blog. Your support means a great deal to me, and my success is all thanks to you.
I am extremely excited to announce that my third novel, The Twiller, is complete and the e-book will be available from Amazon tomorrow for just 99 cents!
[Update: Available NOW! Click here!]
Unlike my first two novels, The Twiller is a comedy, a much more casual and fun read that I hope you’ll find entertaining. I drew inspiration for the book from my own experiences, so you may very well find a character you recognize (maybe even you!), a city that seems a bit familiar, or a scene at a law firm that you can relate to. A brief description:
The Twiller is a comedic novel that follows Ian, our hapless hero, as he’s whisked around the Universe after his abduction from Earth. His companion, the Twiller, is about the only alien being who treats humans better than toenail lint. Ian is faced with a series of humorous and bizarre experiences on the worlds he visits, utterly failing to realize the slight similarities to places here on Earth.
I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me in the past by buying my books or e-books, leaving a review on Amazon, or telling a friend. Thanks to you, my first novel broke the Top 500 (out of over 600,000 titles) in the Amazon Kindle store, and reached #1 in the “Technothriller” category.
Moving up the Amazon bestseller charts does a lot to increase a book’s visibility and sales, and I’d sincerely appreciate your help with my virtual e-book launch of The Twiller. Amazon’s rankings change hourly, and a good hour or two can shoot an e-book up the lists. So I will be eternally grateful to anyone who helps me out by purchasing The Twiller, for just $0.99. If possible, the closer each purchase is to the launch tomorrow (Jun 18) at 6 PM Eastern, the more it will help my ranking. Each sale really does make a big difference when they’re clustered together. I’ll update this post with a link tomorrow when the e-book is available.
If you’d like to read a few excerpts while you wait, please click here. And, if you need any help setting up an Amazon account or downloading the Kindle app for your computer, iPhone, or Blackberry, I’ve posted some instructions here (or just shoot me an email). Thanks again for your time, and thank you VERY much in advance for helping me out!