Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Control on ebooks

It seems that ebooks have changed the way publishers control their books. I feel like publishers are taking this new technology and reevaluating their control. I’ve noticed a big change in restrictions from the time I began buying ebooks to now. Initially, coupons were available for all books and now fewer publishers are allowing coupons to be applied to books. Why is this not the case in physical bookstores? Personally, I’ve figured out which publishers allow coupons and I will more than likely buy books from those publishers over the others. Kobo releases coupons almost weekly, and I will seek out the books I want from the publishers that allow coupons. The publishers who don’t allow coupons are normally put on the backburner. I do purchase from those publishers, but I’m more likely to purchase an ebook that allows a coupon to be applied.

I’ve also noticed that not all ebooks are available on purchase date at all the online ebook retailers. Some are available on Kindle before Epub or Nook books are released, or vice versa. Why would publishers want to limit their books? I wonder what the logic is behind that. Do retailers bid for these new releases?

Ebooks are still a new technology, and I keep wondering how it will evolve. I would love to be able to lend ebooks to other users, I do not have this capability on my readers. I do believe Kindle users have this feature. I’m not sure how restricted it is. I would also love the ability to have an ebook copy when I purchase a hardcopy, similar to a digital copy when buying a movie. Often I buy both the ebook version and a physical copy. How do you feel about the restrictions on ebooks?


ECW Press is providing free ebooks, for those who pruchase hardcopies.

Buy one of our Spring 2012 books, and get the eBook for free!

We have some pretty exciting news for those of you who, like us, love print books — the aesthetic, the weight in your hands, even the smell — but also enjoy the ease of eBooks.

We are pleased to announce that when you purchase any of the books on our Spring list, you can get the eBook version for free! We're also honouring the deal for new purchases of backlist titles going forward (as long as we have the eBook files and the rights to distribute).

ECW Press co-publisher, David Caron had this to say about the free eBook promotion:

“When readers pay top price for one of our books, we feel they should be able to read it in the way that fits best with their life: a printed book in a comfy chair, an eBook on their phone on the bus, whatever. We also wanted to find a way to include bookstores that don’t sell eBooks, so that both the store’s customers and the bookseller feel that they are getting good value from an ECW Press book.”

Visit ecwpress.com/ebook for more details.


  1. I thought I was the only person who often buys both the ebook and physical copy of the same title. I love the convenience of the ebooks, but like to show off my books on my shelf and thumb through the actual pages. I'd love to get a digital version along with buying a hardcopy, but I don't see that as happening because I think most people would just give away one version and keep the other, so in a sense, the publisher would be giving away two books for the price of one.

    The lending on Kindle is very limited--you can't lend any of the books from the big six publishing companies (S&S, Harper, Penguin, Random House, etc.) because the publishers won't allow it, and most of my ebooks come from those publishers. I don't think you are missing much with the lending aspect!

    1. You're not alone. I prefer reading on my ereaders but I love collecting books for my shelves.

  2. As a major consumer of ebooks I have felt for a long time that as technology progresses ebooks will become the major way readers will consume books and eventually publishers will have to catch up and realize that.

    I love print books, and like you I find myself purchasing both the ebook and hardcover for a book I really like. Sometimes even the audiobook. I love the premise of the digital copy and would love to see this in the future.

    As far as restrictions, I believe at this point it's only Amazon prime members and Nook users that have the ability to lend books at the moment. That too I believe will change with time.

    The availability of kindle books over other formats has pretty much convinced me to use the kindle platform almost exclusively when it comes to purchasing books. With the recent overhaul the iPad kindle app has gotten, it is also how I view eARCs at the moment.

    Yesterday Apple announced iBooks 2.0 and an iBook creator app that allows anyone to create and publish an iBook. I believe this will be major in the way textbooks will be published. Already 2 major textbook publishers have jumped on the boat and it's only a matter of time before you will be able to get all your textbooks right on your ereader for a much cheaper price. In a not so distant future I foresee every student needing an iPad or similar device just to go to class. It's already happening with my 6 year old son, where all his textbooks are online, what I believe is an effort for public schools to save money.

    1. I really like the Amazon Kindle app for the Ipad. I have it on my Kobo Vox, and it doesn't allow the transfer of documents. I hope that changes. I use Overdrive or Bluefire on my Vox.

      I think it's very interesting that the textbook industry is jumping on board. It would be must easier to have all textbooks in ereader format. I would have loved that in school.

  3. I work in the cell phone industry, and I know that there are many times where one carrier exclusively releases a new phone for about a month prior to any other carrier. They pay big bucks for the rights to this exclusivity, but I'm assuming that it must work out for them - there's a lot of people who won't wait for the other carriers to catch up, because they want the newest thing right now.

    I would guess that it might be the same with eBooks. Maybe Amazon pays more to have the eBook formatted for the Kindle before it's formatted for any other reader? It's a way of controlling the market, and from what I've seen elsewhere, it's a tactic that works.

    I'm just entering in to the world of eBooks, and I'm interested to see if I notice what you've mentioned. So far, most of my purchases have been free or $0.99. I'd also assume that I'd pick up a hard copy of the eBooks I read that I love - I love the idea of having a library in my future home ( a girl can dream right?)

    Radiant Shadows

    1. I agree, I think it's a market competition. I find it interesting that ebooks have gone in that direction. It's probably to sell the devices. I've also seen books available in epub and not Kindle. It goes both ways.

  4. I'm so out of the loop when it comes to ebooks. I have a Kindle and now a Kindle Fire, but I really haven't looked into anything regarding the features they offer or the free or discounted books that are available for them. Epic fail. Super interesting that ebook release dates would be staggered, I didn't know they weren't available for all readers at the same time.

  5. I try not to double buy my books. But though I love the ease and convenience of ebooks, I will always love the traditional print books. I've often wondered why certain retailers have such restriction on their ebook formats. You would think each company with their different devices would try to get business anywhere they can.

    I love amazon, but prefer the Nook as an e-reading device. It's a bit frustrating I can't get amazon ebooks on my Nook. Luckily my Mom got me an Ipad2 for Christmas, so getting e-books from Amazon is no longer an issue. But I would like the option of being able to download them on my Nook as well.

    PS...I'm not sure exactly what device you have, but I have the Nook Color and I can lend books.

    Nice post!

    1. That's mostly why I buy epub books, I have the Ipad 2, Sony Touch and Kobo Vox. I can use epub on all devices. I'd love to see the Nook but we don't have it available in Canada. None of my devices allow to lend books, maybe someday.

  6. I haven't noticed too many problems with restrictions, but that may be because I am not as observant as some are. I rarely go looking for deals or use coupons, but if I discovered that some publishers and sellers were not allowing them for the e-books I wanted to read, I might protest by getting a copy of the book from the library. I am going to have to pat closer attention to these things, so thanks for sharing this post with us!

  7. Ohhhh!! I never knew any of that! Since I don't usually buy many e-books (I'm a Team Paperback kind of girl LOL), I didn't know that there were so many restrictions on e-books! LOL but I'm totally the same way, except in the opposite sense: If I have an e-book that I like, I usually have to buy the physical copy! x)

    And I find that really weird how different e-book places have different release dates too! Wouldn't that mean that the source that sells them later will get less sales, because most people (or at least bloggers!) will probably want to get their copies as soon as possible. Although I guess that really depends on what kind of reader you have. :P

    Awesome post, Mrs. Q! Thanks so much for letting me know about all of these e-book restrictions! Hopefully they'll bring the lending feature to Canada soon, because that would really rock! :)

  8. I'm also the person who often buys both the eBook and physical copy of the same book. However, the e-book restrictions are news to me. Thanks for sharing this great post.

  9. I hate it when the publishers won't release ebooks on the same days as physical copies. That drives me crazy! I guess they think you'll run out and buy a physical copy instead of waiting. lol

    Getting a digital copy of a book when you buy the physical copy would be awesome!

  10. I actually plan on buying an ebook and hardcopy of a couple of books. I like having them in my nook for travel but I like having them on my shelf for not only people to see but I like to look at my books too. Who walks around with their ereader going "Look at the new books I got!!" It just isn't the same.