waterstonesebookstore-300x216.jpgThat is the point that is being made by British author Adrian Graham on his blog today. And I agree.

One of the things that makes the Kindle such a good reading experience is that it is so convenient, and easy, to order books from Amazon – be it on line or directly from the Kindle itself.

 Here’s what Adrian has to say about the new Waterstone’s e-book store:

So when they teamed up with Sony this year and jointly released the Sony Reader I was pleased that maybe this time they’d got in there in front of Amazon.co.uk and there was none of this, ‘it’s a niche we won’t bother with it’ talk. Unfortunately, my experience of the Waterstones eBook store was pretty underwhelming. So I thought I’d go back and take another look. … The problem is that the content comes mainly from the regular bookstore. It doesn’t feel like they’re serious about doing eBooks. The range is still shockingly small and there’s no direct way to search for eBooks. The advanced search does provide the ‘eBook’ option but when I searched for Nam Le’s ‘The Boat’ … no luck. They don’t have it. They have it in paperback. They have it in trade hardback – but not in eBook. Am I being too obscure in my taste or something? Maybe British publishers are being sluggish cranking out their eBooks? Maybe they aren’t interested at all?

Thwarted by my obviously niche market taste, I head over to Amazon.com to see what the US gets that the UK doesn’t. I type in author, title and bang: there it is. It’s the first choice and there’s a Kindle edition as well.

One of Sony’s priorities here in the US was to revamp its e-book store. How has it gone? Gotten any better?


  1. The Knopf ebook of The Boat is restricted to US/Canada only. This kind of restriction has not been uniformly enforced in the past. It also isn’t clear if the reverse will also be enforced (UK ebooks not sold to US and Canada). My impression is that UK publishers often only sell in Adobe format, US publishers usually sell in many formats.

  2. When the Internet first entered public awareness, many of us believed it would represent the end of intermediatization–customers would be able to buy directly from suppliers, eliminating the economic friction involved with retail.

    That has not been the case, to date. Many publishers, including BooksForABuck.com do sell our books directly (indeed, Harlequin has sold books directly for decades through its book clubs), but I know I’m not alone in selling the bulk of my books through distribution. Customers find the convenience of having all of the books they want at a single location, being able to make multiple shopping cart purchases, accessing a trusted rating system, and receiving discounts based on total purchases to offset any price savings they can get from direct purchases. Of course, our distributor contracts don’t allow us to undersell them.

    Bottom line, yes, the store matters. With eBooks, the store may be different, but the store itself is still critical.

    Rob Preece
    Publisher, http://www.BooksForABuck.com

  3. I agree that the store experience is still very important. Plus I am a big supporter of Independent Book Stores and want to see them evolve to sell e-books as well.

    What the Kindle did for purchasing books was key to where E-books are going as much as an Epub standard will be.

    If bookstores took what Feedbooks and Smashwords offer in terms of a “straight-to-your-device” tech-structure and polish it up with a http://www.bn.com or http://www.indiebound.com type of front for the devices, I think purchases would increase. If from my device I could go directly to Powells.com and buy the e-books I want wherever I am, then I would be more than likely to do that all the time and support my local independent book store.

    It’s not possible to completely emulate walking into a book store, but it certainly should be the goal to emulate the visceral feeling of buying a book. It’s the ease of use that really matters.

  4. I have sent multiple emails and indicated in surveys that Fictionwise needs to have a version of their site optimized for use on phones and PDAs. It floors me that they don’t recognize the importance of allowing customers to easily access their store on the same platform with which they will be reading their e-books.

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