E-Books Beyond Amazon and B&N

Hello Scriblers!  Happy Saturday to you again!  J here.  Wow, this day comes around fast.  I’m going to change things up a bit – here’s today’s secret, right at the beginning: You can buy e-books for your Nook or Kindle (or other e-reader) in more places than just Barnes&Noble or Amazon.  You might already know about this, but whenever I’m out and about talking about e-books (often, very often) people I’m talking with have never heard of Smashwords.com.

In case you are one of those people, let me tell you about Smashwords.  Smashwords is an author driven publisher of e-books.  The authors set the prices and the authors get a higher percentage of the purchase price as a royalty.  Lot’s of authors set their prices at $0.00.  Yes, that’s FREE!  I love free stuff, don’t you?  And there are lots and lots of authors with books out there for less than $5.00.  Since traditional publishers are charging a teensy bit less for e-books than for print books (highway robbery if you ask me since there’s no paper, printing, shipping or storage costs) you can really feed your reading habit on a budget using a site like Smashwords. 

Of course, shopping at Smashwords is like shopping at Marshalls or TJ Maxx.  You can find designer stuff at wicked cheap prices if you take the time to look through all the…well, let’s call it less than designer quality stuff. 

For example, I recently “discovered” author Sharon Gerlach.  She has written a few books, the two I’ve read were women’s fiction/romance stories. These were “designer” quality – for sure.  They were very good, well written, well-edited, intriguing stories with compelling characters.  Office Politics is $1.49.  Very reasonable!  She could easily be charging more – perhaps you could ask her about that when I interview her in a few weeks.  I’ve read, well started, a book by a different “unknown’ author and it was terrible.  You win some, you lose some.  But if it’s free (or practically free!) who cares if some of them are less good than others.  Most of the books I’ve bought at Smashwords were great.

When you buy books at Smashwords, you do need to have your computer handy.  Once purchased, you download the file type you need (I need mobi for my Kindle) and save it somewhere.  Then you plug your e-reader into your computer with that handy-dandy cord they give you when you buy it and drag and drop the file to the device. 

It does take a couple of minutes more than ordering from Amazon through Whispernet, but since the books are so cheap, you can load up a bunch at once.  Also, if your Kindle 2 is nearly dead like mine (I can’t use Whispernet to download books anymore, I have to use a computer – I understand this is a somewhat common problem for the older Kindles) you can still use it if you buy from Smashwords.

There are also many new digital publishers popping up these days and a couple of our very own Scribes are publishing with some established ones.  Perhaps Casey and Katy can tell us a bit about buying books through those sites. The point is this: E-book buyers, you have options when it comes to choosing a place to purchase your books.  Shop around.

Today’s Question: What new authors or book stores have you discovered lately?

Just for fun: here’s a bit of eye candy to get you through the rest of the day.

 

he-he    :)

 

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9 thoughts on “E-Books Beyond Amazon and B&N”

  1. Darn it, J! You had me with the eye candy. Imagine my disappointment this early in the morning when I expected to see a superhunk, and just got a creepy eyeball. Sigh. I haven’t had time to read much at all lately (except with audiobooks), so I haven’t discovered anybody new in a while. I’m hopeful somebody here will give me some suggestions! As for Smashwords, I have a Nook and it’s supereasy to download books (just choose the ePUB version), pretty much as you described for the Kindle. I love all the new options out there for us book junkies — and I like a bargain too!

    1. he-he-he…I was gonna put up a sinfully hot fella, but then when I googled eye-candy (don’t do that with the kiddies near you, by the way!) and this picture popped up I had to go for it. :)

  2. Hi J,
    I think I’m the only person alive who doesn’t have an e-reader. I find it very difficult to read a book on my laptop, so I guess I’m going to have to bite the bullet and give in and buy a Kindle. I want the Kindle Fire, I think. I read at least a book per week, so I guess it would be a good investment. All this is new to me, so I may have to pick your brain once I finally get an e-reader.

    1. I love my kindle. The only thing I’m unhappy about is that it’s nearly dead. I’m sure it was my kids banging it around or some such. I deciding right now between a kindle fire and an ipad…but I’m getting another e-reader, no matter what. I don’t like reading on a computer screen either, but I do love my kindle. So convenient!

  3. Smashwords is an awesome alternative to buying through the major retailers. It might interest our readers to know that one of the reasons many indie-pubbed authors use Smashwords is because it allows authors to put their books up for free or download a coupon code for easy giveaways and promotion. Amazon (unless you publish with their Select program) does not allow authors to put their books up for free. They will, however pricematch, so if you put it on Smashwords for free, eventually (like several weeks later), Amazon will show it available for free. Why would authors choose to give away their book? Promotion, pure and simple. By offering a book for free, an author may get hundreds or even thousands of free downloads of their book which will hopefully gain them a readership, drive the title up the Amazon best seller charts, and create lots of buzz for their book. It might also help sales of any other books the author might have out. The free promotions have worked very well for many authors. And readers get treated to great books for free! Win-win!

    Thanks for bringing this to light, J.

    1. The free thing is so true…once I’ve got a couple more of my Livingston-Wexford series out there, I’m going to put the first one up for free…

  4. J, thanks for this wonderful post! In fact, I love it so much I’m just gonna have to include it on my blog this week. I’ve tried to explain Smashwords to friends outside of the writer/publishing world, but nowhere as simply and thoroughly as you did here.

    For those stil debating which e-reader to buy, I finally bit the bullet and purchased one a few months ago. I love my Kindle Fire and it’s no problem reading on it (anywhere but in direct sunlight outdoors) I can adjust the background and text size to my preferences.

    1. Thanks! You feel free to repost me as much as you’d like! :) The outdoor reading thing is one of the drawbacks for me with the Kindle Fire. My kindle 2 is wicked easy on the eyes out side, but alas…I think the ipad has the same outdoor issue…

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