Mobileread
Ebook retailer seeks advice
#1  lybrary 09-19-2009, 04:29 PM
We, Lybrary.com, are seeking advice, suggestions and recommendations regarding your needs and wants when it comes to ebook retailers.

What can an ebook retailer do better? Which features are you looking for in an online ebook store? We are very keen to hear your opinions and very motivated to listen and act.

A few things you should know about us:
  1. We hate DRM. All the ebooks we publish ourselves are DRM free, simple PDFs. We try to convince other publishers to drop DRM because we are absolutely convinced that it would be better for everybody. (However we do sell DRM ebooks from other publishers if there is no other option available.)
  2. We have the resources for significant inhouse development. One example is our one of a kind search engine for the magic community. It combines textual and page image responses in a unique way. (For more info see http://www.lybrary.com/magic-knowledge-base-help-a-6.html)
  3. Besides ebooks we offer download audio and video products and hope to be offering download audiobooks in the near future.
  4. We take customer feedback serious. This is not just empty talk. We have proven this many times over the past years. (For example our whish list feature was a customer request.)
A bit about Lybrary.com: We are in business for a decade. We offer ebooks in all categories from non-fiction to fiction, and we specialize in three subject areas: magic (as in tricks and illusions), gambling (poker, blackjack), games (bridge, chess). In these three areas we offer exclusive contents you won't find anywhere else.
http://www.lybrary.com/

#2  Moejoe 09-19-2009, 04:31 PM
Offer ePub.

#3  ahi 09-19-2009, 04:38 PM
Offer PDFs, for your own sake... since your books seem rather of the sort that many people even without an eBook reading device would buy and read on their computer or print out for personal use.

If you offer PDFs sized for eBook reading devices too, all the better. Certainly nobody in their right mind should purchase letter size PDFs for reading on a 6" screen.

But, as already eloquently stated, well more than 90% of people on this board will not bother with you unless you offer ePub.

Probably would be best if you permitted, after purchase, your customers to download the book in all the formats you offer.

- Ahi

Ps.: With the name/domain you have... one wonders why you don't go general, instead of focusing on what are admittedly fairly niche markets. Best of luck to you either way though!

#4  kacir 09-19-2009, 04:52 PM
A pdf file, especially the one formatted for A4 or Letter page, is not a good format for majority of e-book reading devices.

You could make pdf file usable with an e-ink reading device if you prepare pdf file for page size 90x120mm.

Have a look at our wiki at various devices.


There are file formats that are better suited for use on portable reading devices. Formats such as epub, mobi, lit. For more information see:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_formats

For creating / converting have a look at Calibre software. It has nice GUI and also powerful commandline tools for batch comversion.

Have a look at other e-book publishers what formats THEY are using. Have a look a Baen - a DRM free, very polular and successful e-book publisher. Have a look at Fictionwise

#5  JSWolf 09-19-2009, 04:58 PM
Create your eBooks also in ePub (following the molibe ADE/ePub spec), LRF, Mobipocket, & eReader so you can satisfy your audience.

#6  lybrary 09-19-2009, 05:05 PM
Folks, thanks for the great advice. We do offer currently more than 3000 ePub ebooks (example: http://www.lybrary.com/27913.html

However, it is true that we don't do that for our own publications. We do already have the capability to offer downloads in all available formats to our customers, but we have not yet gotten serious in converting all of our publications into ePub or other formats.

If we wanted to keep it simple for now and only choose one other format besides the PDFs we already offer, would ePub be the best choice? Or should we rather go with another format?

#7  lybrary 09-19-2009, 05:15 PM
Quote ahi
Ps.: With the name/domain you have... one wonders why you don't go general, instead of focusing on what are admittedly fairly niche markets. Best of luck to you either way though!
For all practical purposes we are a general ebook retailer. We have not yet loaded all available ~200,000 titles into our catalog but we have about 50,000 of the most recent titles in all categories available. (If you scroll to the bottom of the home page you will see the latest additions in non-fiction and fiction.) And in a few months we should have most available.

But we don't want to be simply another fictionwise or whatever other general ebook retailer comes to mind. In order to differentiate ourselves we have chosen three somewhat related subject areas in which we are truly world leaders. In magic for example, you will not find anybody even coming close to our ~2000 download products. I guess it is a matter of strategy and positioning. But I am always open for suggestions.

#8  gwynevans 09-19-2009, 05:32 PM
Quote lybrary
If we wanted to keep it simple for now and only choose one other format besides the PDFs we already offer, would ePub be the best choice? Or should we rather go with another format?
I would have thought that if you offered ePub & Mobi, you'd cover the majority of readers. Take a look at Baen, who I understand use Calibre to support a range of formats. I'd expect they're all generated from a single source format.

#9  acidzebra 09-19-2009, 05:32 PM
Quote
We hate DRM
vs

Quote
we do sell DRM ebooks
That's like saying I hate drugs (while taking a swig of alcohol). So how do you hate DRM exactly? As an abstract idea only? I find it hard to see the message here. "It's okay to do something you hate if you get money for it"?

#10  lybrary 09-19-2009, 05:40 PM
Probably 'hate' was too harsh a word.

Yes, we are a for profit business. If we would only offer non-DRM ebooks we don't think we could grow the business the way we want to grow. Nevertheless, for the ebooks we control we are strictly non-DRM. We are not religious zealots when it comes to DRM, but I wanted to state our position and our support for non-DRM.

Expressed differently, if I could decide all ebooks would be DRM free.

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