E-book Retailers and Formats: A Quick Guide

E-books are awesome. You can load them on your computer, smartphone, tablet, palm pilot, wristwatch, microwave, television, and (I’m pretty sure) dedicated e-reader. And, while some of the devices I’ve listed may not actually display your e-book accurately, or at all (even though they can cook a mean bag of popcorn), of the ones that do so accurately and certainly (namely the portable ones that you can’t wear on your wrist), they generally display the book using dedicated formats including .epub, .mobi, .pdf, and other relevant text and HTML types, and do so according to the device’s specifications. They also, hopefully, allow you to read them anywhere: at home, at the park, in the line for your driver’s license photo, etc.

But how do you decide which format to use or which store to purchase the book from? Well, that would depend on your preferred device. For example, if you have an Amazon Kindle e-reader, then you’ll need a .mobi file. What about the Kindle app? Yep, you’ll still want the .mobi format. It’s Kindle, so, you know, get the type that Kindle can read. Where’s the best place to get a Kindle-compatible e-book? Amazon, maybe? What about Smashwords? Maybe that, too. Is Amazon the better source? Probably.

What about the Nook e-reader? Android? PC? Each device reads a specific format (with PC in particular having access to nearly every format), but the good news is that every retailer that’s paired to a particular e-reader will connect a buyer’s purchased books to his or her respective e-reader. So, deciding which storefront (and format) to purchase really comes down to deciding which reader or device you want to read your book on (hopefully not the microwave because I don’t think that’s actually possible…yet).

Now, there are many, many retailers that sell e-books, many of which are region- and format-specific. And, if you’re looking for a popular e-book (the latest James Patterson perhaps?), you’ll probably find it at any of them. But, if you’re looking for one of mine (maybe the one you were viewing before you clicked to this page), you’ll find that your options (and mine) are a bit more limited. However, the good news is that most of the larger storefronts do carry my books, so if you don’t mind throwing your money at Big Box Bookseller (or maybe just your time, as some of my books are free at most retailers), then you can acquire my books from one of them (hopefully your favorite).

The following section will provide you a short list of the major retailers who carry my books and some general advice on how to access your new files once you acquire them, as well as some justifications for my pricing strategies.

Amazon Kindle

Your Amazon Kindle e-book library can be linked to your Kindle reading device, your Kindle app for Androids and tablets, and your Kindle for PC app. Downloading a book directly from Amazon will place it in your cloud-based library and make that book accessible from any of your Kindle-supported devices or apps.

A Quick Note on Amazon Pricing:

Amazon requires me to set an initial price for all e-books, even those that I’d normally price for free everywhere else. It may end up price-matching for free at the time of purchase (it’s happened before), but I cannot manually set the price for anything lower than $0.99 USD. If you’d like a guaranteed free version (for those books that are supposed to be free), check out one of the other retailers listed below.

Alternatively, if you do purchase a copy at Amazon that’s normally free elsewhere, it means I may get paid for my work (and it may incentivize me to keep publishing my work).

Note: Amazon can sometimes be swayed to offer an e-book for free if customers manually request a price match with other major retailers (Apple iTunes in particular). Consult the following graphic for details:

Amazon Price Match Card

Apple iTunes

Works on iTunes and Macintosh computers via Apple iBooks (I believe). I don’t have any Apple hardware devices of my own, so I cannot confirm exactly how this works, but it’s the second most popular e-book provider, behind Amazon, so I imagine it works just fine.

Barnes & Noble

Requires the Nook e-reading device or reading app. I believe it uses the .epub format.

Rakuten Kobo

Requires a Kobo e-reading device or the Walmart eBooks App. Uses the .epub format.

Note: This is my favorite app.

Smashwords

Smashwords gives you the option to download in a number of formats including .epub (for most devices), .mobi (for Kindle), .pdf, and others. Download samples prior to purchase to make sure they work on your device(s). If nothing else, everything you download should work on your PC. I’ve also found success with the Moon+ Reader app for Android.

Scribd

Scribd operates on a monthly subscription service.

Other Retailers

My books can also be found in additional markets around the world. Stores and distributors include:

!ndigo (Canada), Angus & Robertson (Australia), Mondadori (Italy), and Tolino (Germany). If you’re in any of these non-U.S. markets, check the Universal Link attached to each book’s description (on this site) or your e-reader’s built-in store page for respective links.

Additional Notes:

According to Smashwords, my books are also, supposedly, available at Gardners Extended Retail (England), but I cannot confirm a storefront. They have also been sent to library distributors like Overdrive and Baker & Taylor, but they are not actually available at any library that I know of. Maybe at some point that will change.

Finally, my e-books use Smashwords and Draft2Digital for distribution to libraries, wholesalers, and foreign markets. Check the Universal Links often for new or expired links to each storefront.

Reminder: Each of my books has its own Universal Link listed on its description page (or will, if I haven’t yet converted all of my descriptions to the new format at the time you’re reading this). This link will connect you to all available storefronts where the book is sold. I recommend using this link when choosing your preferred storefront as it will also take you to your region’s equivalent store page.

Also Worth Considering:

If you’re looking for pricing information about a specific book, your best option is to click on the link to your preferred book title. Consult this page for a quick list of all of my active e-books and print books, or, if you’re viewing on a wider screen (on PC, for example, or on a smaller device in horizontal mode), you can click on the cover image in the side panel for the book you’re interested in, or, if you’re using a phone or tablet in vertical mode, the cover image at the bottom of the page.

Alternatively, you can consult my Policies page for the standards I try to adopt when pricing e-books and print books, though they may become out-of-date at any given time. This page also describes my publication plans, if you’re interested. Sometimes my plans change. Take the information here with a grain of salt.

Finally, please be sure to check out the Promotions page for any special deals I’m running or for any discount coupons I may have available to readers of this blog (redeemable at Smashwords). Note: This particular page is updated infrequently, so you’re better off getting promotional information through new blog alerts (via subscription).

Don’t forget to visit my Contact page if you have other questions. The best way to reach me is through e-mail.

Also don’t forget that you likely came to this page while you were reading the description for one of my books. Now that you’ve read this page, please return to that book’s description and finish what you started. Thanks!

Cover Image: Pixabay

 

The stuff that keeps me awake at night.

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