$1 ebooks from Orbit

Book publisher Orbit and a bunch of ebook vendors have moved solidly into the 21st Century and started a promotion offering one ebook a month for just $1.00. At the end of the promotional month the cost of the ebook returns to its normal price and a new one gets the discount. You can learn all about it here.

Books included are The Way of Shadows by new author Brent Weeks, Empress by Karen Miller and science fiction classics including Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks. This isn’t just a half-hearted sales pitch. Use of Weapons is a great book and I’m currently reading The Way of Shadows and thoroughly enjoying it. (I’ll write more about it when I’ve finished). The first ebook for a dollar will be Brian Ruckley’s Winterbirth in April.

thewayofshadowsusepofweapons1

Orbit’s Tim Holman said, “We believe that this promotion will give readers a great opportunity to discover new writers. Most of our consumer marketing has an online focus, and the digital marketplace offers the perfect platform for price-promotion initiatives such as this. It will be very exciting to see how effective it is. The range of titles chosen for the promotion includes a mix of frontlist and backlist, from both new and established authors, and we will be monitoring the performance of every title very closely.”

Nice going, Orbit. Now we just need a really, really good e-reader…

EDIT: Be sure to check the comments for a bit of discussion on e-readers.

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8 thoughts on “$1 ebooks from Orbit

  1. Ask and you shall receive…

    http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/reader-ebook

    Apparently this is a great bit of kit and has even made hardcore book readers I know say ‘Yeah, actually that’s pretty good”. It uses e-ink, which is basically a change in display type so it actually looks like ink on a page rather than text on a screen, making it much easier on the eyes.

  2. I’ve seen the Sony reader before – looks like it’s been updated since I last looked. The main competition for it is the Amazon Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Amazons-Wireless-Reading-Device/dp/B000FI73MA

    The Kindle is ugly in comparison, but the Sony doesn’t have the wireless capability. Personally, I’d rather have a smaller, nicer looking device like the Sony and hook it up to the PC whenever I want to juggle my e-library.

    Both of these are pretty decent products, but neither are yet really, really good. It’s only a matter of time, naturally.

  3. Incidentally, I should clarify that a really, really good e-reader would be one that supports all file types. For example, the Kindle uses Amazon’s own DTP format (essentially HTML) while the Sony uses its own lrf format. Then there’s Mobipocket, Palm Doc, DropBook and on and on. As with everything these days, there’s competing formats.

    The ideal reader would have the capability to read all formats until the industry eventually settles onto a single universal format (which may never happen, of course).

    In the meantime, e-publishers are having to offer their e-books in a variety of formats which is problematic and time consuming. We are slowly heading in the right direction, however.

  4. One more point worth mentioning – the Amazon Kindle is only available in the US. While it operates wirelessly without the need for a computer, which is excellent, it’s irrelevant for non-US folks.

  5. The current Sony Reader can handle the following formats making it a pretty strong contender…

    EPUB eBook, BBeB Book, .PDF, MS Word, .txt and .rtf

    Also it will take .mp3 and .aac audio plus .jpg, .png, .bmp and .gif picture formats (though these will only be black & white due to the nature of the screen).

  6. That’s true – it is a strong contender. And Epub is starting to come through as an industry standard, so we could see all ebooks in that format and all readers supporting it before too long. But there’s still quite a few formats that the Sony doesn’t support which makes changing a problem if you’ve been using a different reader until now, like Kindle, for example. Kindle has a unique format that is unlikely to change.

    The trick is for publishers to make sure their books are available in all formats and make sure people can download multiple format versions when they buy a book. The customers then need to download a variety of formats and store them in case they ever change readers. A bit messy, but the best option currently.

    Mind you, I do like that Sony reader now. Very cool indeed…

  7. I remember reading, many years ago (and I can no longer remember where) a futuristic view of the book, which was a blank bundle of chemical treated pages that when an electrical signal was sent, the pages wrote the text of whatever new manuscript had been sent to them. A more romantic version of these new ebook readers, but a remarkably accurate prediction of them none the less.

    It is all rather reminding me of the change in the music industry, from tapes and records, to CDs and onto iPods 9and their ilk), on which you can download songs cheaply.

    If the publishing industry does go down this road more, then it does open up exciting possibilities (as long as it can be standardised.) It is certainly much cheaper than publishing a solid book (not that demand for them will die out – the old vinyls are still around and popular to lots of people) which, we can hope, will inspire more people to buy them and read them. $2 for a cheap ebook or $50 for some monster door stopper?

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