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  1. #1

    E-Book Prices

    Anyone noticed the rising prices lately? I was unaware of the new Apple bookstore and this group of publishers forming an alliance to set prices across the board.

    Here is an article on the subject:

    Will E-Book Prices & Restrictions Lead to E-Book Piracy?
    By Audrey Watters / March 7, 2011 7:30 PM / 21 Comments

    Last week, Random House agreed to the agency price model, the last of the top six publishing companies in the world to do so. The move allowed the publisher's books entry into Apple's iBookstore, something that Steve Jobs touted on stage during the iPad 2 announcement as giving customers a better, more complete e-book catalog from which to shop.

    But as many customers have noticed, that more complete e-book catalog doesn't contain a lot of price variation. Indeed, the agency price model lets the publishers set the pricing for their books (rather than allowing retailers to determine the price) and, according to a story in The Guardian, investigations are underway in Europe to determine if the agency model and its highly uniform pricing structure may actually constitute price-fixing and the work of an illegal cartel.

    The Uniformly High Price of E-Books
    It isn't simply the lack of differentiation between publishers that has some consumers frustrated. It's that that price for e-books - typically around $9.99 - is often a lot higher than other book formats. A thread on Reddit, now boasting almost 300 comments, makes the case:

    The Book Thief
    Kindle $9.99
    Paperback $7.79

    A Thousand Splendid Suns
    Kindle $12.99
    Paperback $9.40

    The Kite Runner
    Kindle $12.99
    Paperback $7.81

    The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
    Kindle $11.99
    HARDCOVER $11.89

    There's no paper, no binding, no shipping, no storage necessary for an e-book. So why the higher price?

    A Question of Ethics
    As Reddit threads are wont to do, the discussion of spendy e-books quickly changes direction as the first commenter asks, "Is it morally wrong to purchase a paper copy of the book and torrent the ebook?"

    That's a good question, I think, and one debated not just by a bevvy of Reddit users in the thread, but answered by the ethicist Randy Cohen in The New York Times last year, who (in case you were wondering) said that pirating a copy of an e-book, one that you already own in print format - was not unethical.

    Illegal, yes. Unethical, no.

    Before the lawyers unleash the hounds, here's Cohen's justification for his statement: "Author and publisher are entitled to be paid for their work, and by purchasing the hardcover, you did so. Your subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod. Buying a book or a piece of music should be regarded as a license to enjoy it on any platform. Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology. Thus you've violated the publishing company's legal right to control the distribution of its intellectual property, but you've done no harm or so little as to meet my threshold of acceptability."

    Cohen was roundly taken to task for his response. But his sentiments seem to be echoed by many consumers who are beginning to feel as though that $9.99 price-tag for e-books may be set too high.

    A Question of (Digital) History
    Randy Cohen's comparison of e-books to MP3s is an interesting one as publishing companies are no doubt loathe to tread what seems to be generally accepted as the historical path that the record industry traversed, in which the move to digitized content meant a downward spiral of profitability (whether that was the result of piracy, as they'd like to have us believe, or of lousy artists signed to recording contracts or of some other factors altogether).

    But as someone who owned certain records on LP, then in some cases paid for these same albums again on cassette so I could play them in my car, I admit, I do remember balking when I was expected to purchase the same music a third time around, just to have it on CD, just so I could easily convert it to MP3 or put it on my iPod. Adding to my displeasure, this new medium - the CD - was almost twice the price as the cassettes and records. That, not my wanton desire to destroy the members of Metallica's ability to earn a decent living, was what made piracy appealing.

    I have to wonder if we are we headed down this same course with digital books. It isn't as though most book lovers want to deprive authors from earning their keep. "I buy the real book" say many Reddit commenters on the aforementioned thread, "but then I pirate the e-book."

    But when we find ourselves, yet again, paying more for a digital copy - one that has none of the materiality of a paperback or hardback, one that has none of the benefits of being able to share this work of art freely with our friends and family - it may be no surprise that we look for other ways to read or watch or listen. When we already own a copy of a beloved book and want a digital copy to tote about on our iPads, the demand for another $9.99 seems all the more ridiculous.

    Are We Buying the Content? Or the Content Delivery Mechanism?
    Many of the participants in the Reddit thread on e-book pricing question whether, when we buy something, we're buying the content - the novel or the album, for example - or whether we're buying access to a sanctioned content delivery mechanism - a DRM version of that book or record. The publishing and record industry may want to keep those intertwined, but I'm not sure consumers see content the same way.

    Artists and publishers are no doubt looking for new business models as we move to digital books and music. The question remains whether or not these models will meet everyone's needs - artists', publishers', consumers'. But it seems just as significant to watch whether or not these new business models work with consumers' ethical codes of conduct, for art, literature, music they feel they should be able to get for free or for cheap or that they already actually own.
    I read another article detailing why putting books into electronic format doesn't save publishers as much as consumers think it does...Not sure how much I believe that.

    I know people have bitched about e-book prices since the beginning but I always felt that the prices were generally lower than their paper counterparts. However, now it just seems to be getting a little ridiculous.

  2. #2
    Found this little blog interesting from a website for writers, publishers, etc.:

    Price Your Ebook too High? Get Ready for One-Star Reviews

    Following is another interesting item today from cnet that I just re-tweeted.

    Passive Guy predicts we’re going to see the rise of pricing enforcers for Kindle and Nook ebooks. Somebody will start a Twitter stream and someone else will start a blog. When the group feels ripped off by the price of an ebook, it will swarm the book and deluge it with one-star reviews.

    Since not everyone understands the author/publisher relationship and few readers pay attention to who publishes a book, a bunch of negative reviews will not only impact sales, they will adversely impact the brand of the author.

    We can have debates on what the proper price of an ebook is, but Passive Guy’s iron rule for paper/ebook pricing is that the ebook always has to be cheaper than the paper book.

    Here’s the excerpt from cnet:

    Kindle and Nook users share one thing in common: a number of them are rather upset about high e-book prices and are voting their displeasure in their user reviews.

    Case in point is Michael Connelly’s new legal thriller, “The Fifth Witness,” which is getting hammered in both the Kindle and Nookbook stores despite strong reviews from “real” reviewers. “The Fifth Witness” costs $14.99 while the hardcover currently runs $14.28 on Amazon and $14.73 on BarnesandNoble.com. Sure, $15 is a lot to spend on an e-book but the even bigger insult that people take issue with is the higher cost of the e-book versus the hardcover.

    “I was about to purchase this e-book and then noticed the price is GREATER than for the hardcover,” writes one reviewer named Teri, who is among the over 60 people who’ve posted one-star reviews on the on Amazon–and that number is growing by the hour. “The reason I bought my kindle two years ago is that I didn’t have to wait for paperbacks to buy books at a reasonable price. This is ridiculous!!! I like Michael Connelly, but I’ll wait to buy until this is priced rationally.”

    The reviews on BarnesandNoble.com are just as indignant.

    “Greedy publishers is the only thing I can see at this point,” writes Al57, who threatens to get rid of his or her Nook before paying more than the hardcover. “Will go back to the library and place Connelly along with R Patterson, Sanford, and Woods on the do not buy list.”

    I’m just citing a couple of user reviews, but most of them sport similar themes: rage at the publisher, an unwillingness to be ripped off, and a feeling of injustice given the fact that an e-book costs much less to produce than a physical book. Some even encourage Mr. Connelly to have a talk with his publisher; they hold him personally accountable.

  3. #3
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    first of all the apple ebook reader for the iphone $#@!ing blows. I had to use it for the one Clancy book I couldn't get from amazon. It sucked giant green balls, bad format, highly irritiating lameass page flip behavior, no page count worth a $#@!, it sucks. second the raised prices are $#@!ing evil, I like the 1 star idea.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluttered View Post
    I read another article detailing why putting books into electronic format doesn't save publishers as much as consumers think it does...Not sure how much I believe that.
    If you can find that, please post it, I'd like to read it. I can imagine for smaller scale circulations (say maybe 50k or below) that might be true because so much of the cost goes into editing and rewrites, but if its true of larger scale distributions, its probably because they seem to be spending a $#@! ton of money these days on advertising books. If that's the case, screw them.

    I know people have bitched about e-book prices since the beginning but I always felt that the prices were generally lower than their paper counterparts. However, now it just seems to be getting a little ridiculous.
    Yeah, I'm in the camp that isn't buying if its more than the paperback. Thankfully my Sony Reader can check out titles from the library and the Queens and NYPL libraries seem to have a very good selection with new releases showing up pretty quickly.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Hellraiser97 View Post
    Yeah, I'm in the camp that isn't buying if its more than the paperback. Thankfully my Sony Reader can check out titles from the library and the Queens and NYPL libraries seem to have a very good selection with new releases showing up pretty quickly.
    I've used OverDrive through the Arlington Public Library, but never tried Queens and NYPL. What are the rules? Do you have to live there?

  6. #6
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    Yeah, you have to live here unfortunately.

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    They should also realize with the drm, people aren't reselling their books. So if they are charging those prices, they should allow Amazon and others to allow people to loan books longer and stuff like resell them "used" where they bought them. Hopefully it will change when enough people get fed up with it like they did on itunes.
    Last edited by bnb; 07-14-2011 at 08:47 PM.

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    Thanks for posting. I was curious how the prices compared and was just having this discussion this weekend with my mom. I tend to stick with paperback/hardback books. Something about an actual book does something for me. Always love having a good book lying around the house or on the self.

    I don’t mind reading an e-book though, but this article helps me (my wallet) justify my paperback purchase a little more. For some reason, I kept thinking e-books were quite a bit cheap than paperbacks…but guess not often.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by feed_the_horse View Post
    Thanks for posting. I was curious how the prices compared and was just having this discussion this weekend with my mom. I tend to stick with paperback/hardback books. Something about an actual book does something for me. Always love having a good book lying around the house or on the self.

    I don’t mind reading an e-book though, but this article helps me (my wallet) justify my paperback purchase a little more. For some reason, I kept thinking e-books were quite a bit cheap than paperbacks…but guess not often.
    The Ebooks used to be 5 or 6 bucks so they were cheaper for the most part then their paperback counterparts. If the Ebook is the same price as the paperback I don't mind getting it, but I am pissed that they raised the prices.

    Somewhere there has to be a price difference because you have to pay a premium for purchasing the device in the first place, so if the electronic versions aren't cheaper then there is almost no incentive to buy an electronic reader because you can never recoup that cost.

    The only reason I continue to buy ebooks is because I don't want to store the books I buy because I keep my books and don't resell. That is about the only thing that keeps me buying ebooks that cost the same as paperbacks.

  10. #10
    Ebooks are worth what people will pay for them. Capitalism 101.

  11. #11
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    Appropriate price is where total profit is maximized, economics 101. They could make every ebook $25 and then bitch and whine when 95% of the people are pirating a copy. Or they could make them all $5 and the majority of the people won't go through the hassle of pirating.

  12. #12
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    Apple, publishers conspired against $9.99 Amazon e-books, says lawsuit

    "Terrified" by Amazon's Kindle e-reader and discounted e-book pricing, five major publishers allegedly acted together to increase e-book prices and compel Amazon to abandon its discount sales strategy. That's the gist of a new class action antitrust lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California by the Hagens Berman litigation group.

    The five book sellers named in the suit are HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, Penguin Group Inc., and Simon & Schuster Inc, plus one more defendant: Apple.

    "Fortunately for the publishers, they had a co-conspirator as terrified as they were over Amazon's popularity and pricing structure, and that was Apple," charges Hagen Berman attorney Steve Berman. "We intend to prove that Apple needed a way to neutralize Amazon's Kindle before its popularity could challenge the upcoming introduction of the iPad, a device Apple intended to compete as an e-reader."

    The essence of the claim is that these publishers, in coordination with Apple, conspired to nix the low price e-books that Amazon launched in 2007. Amazon wanted to quickly gain market share with its Kindle, the court filing observes, the first version of which sold out in less than a quarter of a day. And so, capitalizing on its "first mover" advantage, Amazon sold e-books at prices conspicuously lower than physical books—many titles were made available for $9.99.

    This had to be stopped, the class action charges.

    "What is most loathsome about the behavior of Apple and the publishers is that it is stifling the power of innovation, the very thing Apple purports to champion," Berman's press release observes. "A few big business heavyweights are taking a powerful advancement of technology that would benefit consumers and suffocating it to protect profit margins and market-share."
    Glad to see someone taking this seriously, though I doubt anything will really change. It will likely end up similar to the CD lawsuit from a few years back. Consumers get nothing, prices don't change, and the attorneys involved get a nice pay cut.

  13. #13
    I can't speak for everyone but I'll rarely buy a new book now if the prices stick and they definitely won't be impulse buys. Heck, I've only bought 3 or 4 songs from iTunes since they raised the price to $1.29.

  14. #14
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    I'm getting a Kindle. I'll buy a ton more books if they are cheaper than paperbacks. Hell, I'll just let them sit on my e-shelf.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by longhrnfan View Post
    I'm getting a Kindle. I'll buy a ton more books if they are cheaper than paperbacks. Hell, I'll just let them sit on my e-shelf.
    Thats just the thing though....While they used to be cheaper, they are no longer. Now, one benefit is all the authors out there that independently release their books on ebooks for free or discounted prices.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Cluttered View Post
    Thats just the thing though....While they used to be cheaper, they are no longer. Now, one benefit is all the authors out there that independently release their books on ebooks for free or discounted prices.
    It seems like Publishers are kind of useless now, anyway. It should go from author, to editor, to ebook separate from the bloodsucking middle men. High prices would be more tolerable if I knew the majority of the profits were going to the creative minds behind the thing.

  17. #17
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    I'm not a fan of the stranglehold that the big publisher have, but that's a bit short sighted. Publishers are the ones that arrange for advertising, negotiate for placement, sending out pre-release copies for reviewers, etc. They usually work heavily with the editors as well. Now, I do think that many books are over publicized (do we really need TV advertisements for books?), but still getting exposure is important to building a following, even online, unless you just want apple and amazon to decide what we should read.

  18. #18
    I buy Kindle stuff just because it's easier to take with me and use across multiple devices. I use the iPad app and the iPhone app, but am seriously thinking about getting the device. I like being able to read a book on the plane on my iPad, and then read it in the $#@!ter at work and it's automatically at the right page. Plus, I have about 5 books right now that I'm in the middle of. Depending on what kind of mood I'm in, I'll read a different book. Can't carry that many with me everywhere. I'm not concerned about the prices yet since, for me, I'm paying for convenience. Although, I have bought some books hard copy when it was cheaper on Amazon for new releases, what with Prime and all.

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    As an avid Kindle user I have noticed this as well. As a traveler, the e-book is still worth it to me. I enjoy being able to switch books on a whim based on my mood since I'm usually reading several books simultaneously.

  20. #20
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    I loved the kindle, I am getting pissed about the high prices though and will at any chance buy it at half price or flat out "find" it for free

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by skipperj View Post
    I buy Kindle stuff just because it's easier to take with me and use across multiple devices. I use the iPad app and the iPhone app, but am seriously thinking about getting the device. I like being able to read a book on the plane on my iPad, and then read it in the $#@!ter at work and it's automatically at the right page. Plus, I have about 5 books right now that I'm in the middle of. Depending on what kind of mood I'm in, I'll read a different book. Can't carry that many with me everywhere. I'm not concerned about the prices yet since, for me, I'm paying for convenience. Although, I have bought some books hard copy when it was cheaper on Amazon for new releases, what with Prime and all.
    get a Nook Color skip, they are pretty cheap and easy to root

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by rage-a-holic View Post
    get a Nook Color skip, they are pretty cheap and easy to root
    Is there a nook app for iOS? I don't know, haven't checked yet. Also, I have about $100 in unread Kindle books. I could probably do both, though, until those books are read. My iOS devices ain't going away. I'll check it out.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by skipperj View Post
    Is there a nook app for iOS? I don't know, haven't checked yet. Also, I have about $100 in unread Kindle books. I could probably do both, though, until those books are read. My iOS devices ain't going away. I'll check it out.
    Once you root the Nook, you can load the Kindle App. You can read kindle on the Nook Touch or Color, but it's the Android Kindle app.

    Another option is to just download Calibre and change the format to epub.
    Last edited by Yuk-Monkey; 08-19-2011 at 11:41 AM.

  24. #24
    If I'm just rooting it to use a Kindle app, I might as well just continue with my iPad. I was thinking of getting the kindle device for something light that I can read in sunlight and not really have to worry about it at places like the pool since it's relatively cheap.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by skipperj View Post
    If I'm just rooting it to use a Kindle app, I might as well just continue with my iPad. I was thinking of getting the kindle device for something light that I can read in sunlight and not really have to worry about it at places like the pool since it's relatively cheap.
    I missed the part where you have an ipad, thought you were looking to buy something. Ignore, move on.

  26. #26
    Lol.

  27. #27

    possible cretin

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisApplewhite View Post
    Ebooks are worth what people will pay for them. Capitalism 101.
    That's bull$#@! when publishers are colluding on prices. That's not a free market, that's gouging.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by skipperj View Post
    Lol.
    well hell if you want something light...the Kindle is what, $125? You can get a refurb Nook Color for about $180 and make it do a hell of a lot more than the kindle can.

  29. #29
    True. I'll look into it.

  30. #30
    Head White Devil rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? rage-a-holic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skipperj View Post
    True. I'll look into it.
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/29/c...ands-on-video/

  31. #31
    I wish Amazon would include a free kindle edition with hard copy books, like how DVDs/Blu-rays often include a digital edition.

  32. #32
    asshat longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan slams and goes hard. longhrnfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mizzou415 View Post
    I wish Amazon would include a free kindle edition with hard copy books, like how DVDs/Blu-rays often include a digital edition.
    This is what needs to happen. I think it will come.

  33. #33
    Apple and five of the six largest publishers in the U.S. colluded to fix the price of e-books, costing readers tens of millions of dollars, the feds charged Wednesday.

    A lawsuit brought by the Justice Department accuses the iPad maker and the publishers of driving up the price of e-books from $9.99 to around $12.99 and $14.99.

    The complaint says Apple and publishers Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group and Penguin violated anti-trust laws.

    "Defendants' ongoing conspiracy and agreement have caused e-book consumers to pay tens of millions of dollars more for e-books than they otherwise would have paid," says the complaint.

    The lawsuit says the publishers, concerned by Amazon's prices of newly released and bestselling e-books at $9.99 or less, agreed among themselves and with Apple to raise the retail prices of e-books by taking control of e-book pricing from retailers.

    The complaint seeks injunctive relief to restore competition in the marketplace.

    "In recent years, we have seen the rapid growth - and the many benefits - of electronic books. ... For the growing number of Americans who want to take advantage of this new technology, the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that e-books are as affordable as possible," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

    Upon the filing of the lawsuit, the Justice Department announced it had settled with Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

    Court papers say that in private meetings among their executives, the publishers complained about the "$9.99 problem."

    The publishers feared the erosion of hardcover book prices and declining profits if e-books were sold for $9.99 or less.

    Apple's entry into the e-book business provided a "perfect opportunity" for the publishers to raise e-book prices, say the court papers.

    Amazon dropped the price of e-books to promote its Kindle reader.

    It now faces competition for e-book readers from Apple's popular iPad and Barnes & Nobles Nook.

    A spokesman for Apple Tom Neumayr declined comment.

    HarperCollins said in a statement that "it made a business decision to settle the DOJ investigation in order to end a potentially protracted legal battle."

    Macmillan CEO John Sargent said in a message on its website that “it did not act illegally. Macmillan did not collude."

    Sargent added that the terms DOJ demanded to settle were "too onerous," favoring Amazon and negatively impacting booksellers "from the largest chain stores to the smallest independents."

    Hachette said in a statement that it "reluctantly" agreed to settle.

    "Hachette was not involved in a conspiracy to illegally fix the price of e-books and we have made no admission of liability," it added.

    Messages for Penguin and Simon & Schuster were not immediately returned



    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...#ixzz1rlc27XCw

  34. #34
    asshat jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus can play the whole course with a 4 iron. At night. jose_medina_de_jesus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by longhrnfan View Post
    This is what needs to happen. I think it will come.
    a lit professor (and published novelist) i talk with occasionally, said that this is absolutely already in the works.
    it is not a if, but when type of question at this moment.

  35. #35
    asshat DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV grows his own roses DemosZTV's Avatar
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    Well that is some serious bull$#@!.

    The only reader I have is on my iPhone, and I don't read on it hardly at all (still prefer an actual book), but when I do, I just get things from Project Gutenberg (lots of classics on there for free).

  36. #36
    asshat DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah Shaggy Gold Club DoobieWah's Avatar
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    I bought a Kindle Fire around Thanksgiving and I love it.

    However, I have yet to "buy" a book for it. I have downloaded about three dozen for free though, through Amazon. Mostly classics, but that's what I'm reading anyway.

    I recently bought a hardback from Amazon and it was cheaper than the eBook. That's just stupid.

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