How do I communicate to the people wanting to purchase books for me what particular eBook vendor or file format to use and are there methods for them to actually gifting these books?
The question is a bit of an issue because I really have access to three different type of eBooks. Well four. Amazon, iTunes, Gaming PDFs, and independents. Yes I know there is more but for various reasons I’ve decided to ignore them. I’m going to analyze each of these four avenues to eBooks, then sum it up with direct answers to these questions. Since I am currently using Amazon wishlist, so I might as well start with Amazon.
Amazon only sells Kindle eBooks. No other versions or retailers. I don’t own a Kindle, and while I know I can download the Kindle app for my iPad and my computers, I’ve already starts a small collection of novels using iTunes book store. Do I really want to split my digital library?
This new question is actually a little off topic but I want to discuss it. With the exception of my gaming books, which we will talk about later, I think I’ll be treating my eBooks as a kind of rental. Meaning if I like the book, I’ll probably pick up a physical copy or multiple so I can loan them out like I do with Dresden Files. But I’ll be using eBooks as a way to purchase and read books while not having to store them on my shelf constantly. This is because it is very hard for me to determine if any of these digital copies will actually stay around for an reasonable length of ownership. I’ve lost a lot of data over the years, and each type of DRM available is just another way to make sure I don’t get to keep what I bought forever.
So with that in mind I suppose splitting my digital library is not that big of a deal but my personal sense of aesthetics say that I’d prefer to keep my books in one place as much as possible.
iTune’s iBooks app and store is nice in that it uses the public file format .epub. This format can support DRM and I imagine most books sold through the iTunes store do have DRM. But the app will display non-DRM .epub files as well. The app will also display PDFs, which are the other most common type of eBook file type out there. These were the primary reasons why I bought my first eBooks from the iTunes store.
iTunes, however, has a flaw in that it has no web interface. Meaning that I can’t point an Amazon wish list entry at a webpage and say ‘buy that for me!’ The entire store is encased with the iTunes application. Actually it worse than I thought, a casual look through shows that the iBooks portion of iTunes is completely encapsulated within the iBook app and the app doesn’t even appear to have a gift giving capability, like the normal iTunes store, which you can send an app to a friend.
More coming in Part 3!