Ebook frustration - lack of availability rant

TraceyS/FL

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 11, 2007
4,064
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North Central Florida
UGH. I was just looking for ebooks for my daughters English class. Of the 4 books scheduled, only ONE has an ebook available, and that is a kindle version.

We aren't talking funky books either.....

A Wizard of Earthsea (ok, I haven't read this one nor hadn't heard of it so maybe it is funky)
Animal Farm - available in kindle form
To Kill a Mockingbird
Out Town

What the heck??? So much for cutting down on "clutter" and making it easier for her. I should own 3 of these, but i think Animal Farm is the only one i can put my hands on at the moment.

Are we going to run into this all 4 years of high school?
 

mixvio

macrumors 6502
Apr 12, 2009
388
0
Sydney, Australia
To be fair, those are all older books. Despite their popularity and relevancy, the older books are going to be the ones lagging behind the most, as the only way to get them in ebook format is to scan the pages and run OCR over the images to get a text output that has to be cleaned up by hand afterward.

Books released recently (in the last few years) have the advantage of already likely coming to print on the back of some digital form somewhere, so there's no need for things to be scanned in.

I find that the Kindle store has the best selection of anything and it's rare that there's a book on other stores that I can't find there. I am a heavy sci-fi/fantasy reader though, so selection is an even bigger issue than if I wanted whatever was on the NY Times bestseller list.

Still, it's improving quickly. I've bought about $300 worth of ebooks for the Kindle iPad app in the past two months and there was only really a handful of titles I couldn't find.
 

tekchic

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2010
1,462
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Phoenix, AZ
What format would you like them in? Epub? I physically own Animal Farm & To Kill a Mockingbird in both paperback and epub. I'd be happy to loan you the DRM-free epub (if that's allowed).
 

TraceyS/FL

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 11, 2007
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North Central Florida
So you don't think the publisher doesn't have these in digital format already? I would disagree.... I'm assuming they aren't storing the plates to print them on and using that for a rerun when needed. I'm guessing they produce plates for the run from a digital file. Maybe I'm naive on that expectation.

I just "assumed" with the push for ebooks in schools (trial of kindle and ipads) that "classics" would be the easiest to find..... She just made a face when i told here only ONE was available in an ebook.

Of course, this could be another reason my kids don't go to public schools either. Down with the classic lit..... :eek:

I didn't check BN, but I'm going to assume it will be the same.... Going there now.
 

TraceyS/FL

macrumors 601
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Jan 11, 2007
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North Central Florida
What format would you like them in? Epub? I physically own Animal Farm & To Kill a Mockingbird in both paperback and epub. I'd be happy to loan you the DRM-free epub (if that's allowed).
Thanks for the offer, I'm just going to end up buying the package from the school since I'm going to need some of them anyway. Their prices are about the same as amazon too, except they are using an older version of a text and it is $20 more than the newer one. Hmph.

Wizard of Earthsea has a kindle version
http://www.amazon.com/A-Wizard-of-Earthsea-ebook/dp/B003EY7IG8

I know they are not iBooks, but in my mind I don't really care which reader I use on my iPad
It looks like it isn't out yet, the pricing is unknown and it shows a December 2010 publish date. Figures, this is the first one she needs for the year too! LOL!
 

alaskahill

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Jun 18, 2010
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It looks like it isn't out yet, the pricing is unknown and it shows a December 2010 publish date. Figures, this is the first one she needs for the year too! LOL!
ooops, you would think I would actually read the details of a link I send :)

By the way I loved that book (and most of Ursula K LeGuin's books).
 

Full of Win

macrumors 68030
Nov 22, 2007
2,615
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Ask Apple
Classic Chicken/Egg issue.

Publishers: There are not enough eBook readers to justify making ePub versions of all these books

Consumers: There are not enough ePub titles available to make an eBook reader worth a purchase


I too have been really disappointed in the iBook store. I think part of it is from the publishers not wanting to give up the amount of control that music publishers initially did when the iTunes store when live.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,073
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I just keep clicking the "I want to read this book on the kindle" links, on the off chance that it'll actually get the publishers to do something.
 

nixiemaiden

macrumors 6502a
Jun 21, 2010
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0
It looks like they have cliffsnotes type of things at all the major ebook stores (bn, kindle, borders). I would think these books would be important to get. Half of those books have been on the summer reading list since I was a kid.
 

avaloncourt

macrumors 65816
Oct 18, 2007
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Make sure there are no issues of version and her class. When I was in college we were assigned "Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep" (loosely aka Blade Runner). Some people didn't buy the assigned bookstore version and there were textual differences in that printing. Those who didn't got burned on several questions.
 

TraceyS/FL

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 11, 2007
4,064
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North Central Florida
ooops, you would think I would actually read the details of a link I send :)

By the way I loved that book (and most of Ursula K LeGuin's books).
I was just impressed you found something over me! LOL!

Glad to hear you loved the book, it sounds like she will and I will be reading it ahead of her. I think it will be a good one to start off the class with too.

Classic Chicken/Egg issue.

Publishers: There are not enough eBook readers to justify making ePub versions of all these books

Consumers: There are not enough ePub titles available to make an eBook reader worth a purchase


I too have been really disappointed in the iBook store. I think part of it is from the publishers not wanting to give up the amount of control that music publishers initially did when the iTunes store when live.
That is how it seems, but dang it, it still is frustrating.

I figured when i didn't find them on the iBookstore I'd at least find them in kindle form.... Sigh....

I just keep clicking the "I want to read this book on the kindle" links, on the off chance that it'll actually get the publishers to do something.
I've done that for a variety of things, just not these yet. But i will, i wonder if it works from my iPad?

It looks like they have cliffsnotes type of things at all the major ebook stores (bn, kindle, borders). I would think these books would be important to get. Half of those books have been on the summer reading list since I was a kid.
Her teacher won't let her use the Cliff Notes. Mean teacher :cool:

I may need them though as a refresher! lol!

Make sure there are no issues of version and her class. When I was in college we were assigned "Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep" (loosely aka Blade Runner). Some people didn't buy the assigned bookstore version and there were textual differences in that printing. Those who didn't got burned on several questions.
That is why i figured if i couldn't get the ebook version I'd just buy from the school. I have all the assignments already and they are chapter based - so it should be ok, but since there isn't a lot of savings over amazon, might as well order from one place.

Now comes the fight for getting the money from her dad.... Joy. I'd rather scan them in myself than do that i think.....
 

tekchic

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2010
1,462
546
Phoenix, AZ
Y'all are lucky. My 18 year old daughter can't bring electronic devices to school. Last year of dealing with stupidity.
Wow! Are you in a mining town or something? (just kidding, folks).

I thought kids were practically taking laptops to school from middle school forward these days. Hate to pull out the "back in my day" but all we had were two computers at the library. I finished high school in 1991 though ;)
 

TraceyS/FL

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 11, 2007
4,064
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North Central Florida
Project Guttenberg started years ago, before amazon, digitizing public domain titles. Maybe you can find what you need here.

http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
I don't think any of them are old enough to qualify. I might be able to find them outside of the US, but haven't checked yet. My quick search didn't turn up any of them on the main Gutenberg page.

They are just somewhat mainstream in our educational circle that I assumed all kids were still reading them! Silly me :eek:

Our library probably has a variety of them sitting unread too... Normally can keep the classics as long as you need them! LOL!
 

TraceyS/FL

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 11, 2007
4,064
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North Central Florida
Rent the books from a library. :)
The paper versions?

I could, but the package deal with her text isn't that bad with the books. Then she has them on the timeline she needs them on. Some of them actually have decent waits from what I just saw. We love books anyway, so having copies of the aren't a big deal.

But still, the main goal was to cut down on things to carry around. Having ebooks would certainly help in that area.

As for borrowing ebooks, our library doesn't offer that service... Which is a bummer.
 

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