Apart from free ebook sites such as Smashwords, we also have the internet equivalent of High Street Book shops, which sell a wide range of commercially published ebooks such as Books on Board. For those of us who want to read thrillers and other mainstream writings written by authors we have heard about, these sites are a safe haven.
Note added later:
Sadly Books on Board have gone belly up, yet another victim of the really big ebook sellers….. I shall leave this post as a sort of memorial tribute to what was a very good ebook site… The world of commerce is a hard one.
Books on Board, one of the oldest online ebook stores.
I have used them since I first started to use an ereader, as I didn’t find what I wanted to read on the Sony ebook store (I was using a Sony ereader), so I went hunting and found Books on Board quite quickly, and liked their offerings.
As with ordinary book stores on the High Street, Books on Board offer a reasonably wide range of ebooks for us to read, but tend to lean a bit heavily on the more popular types of ebooks, thrillers, mysteries, romance and similar. In fact they are really simply a bricks and mortar bookshop that happens to be on the internet rather than just down the road from you.
Browsing with them is simple enough, once you have narrowed the choice down to the type of ebook (or author) you are looking for, it will offer you a range of possible ebooks, with small images of the cover and the price. Hover your mouse pointer over the image brings up a short synopsis of the ebook, and links to add the ebook to your cart or directly go to the check out. It also offers you the chance to read a bit of the ebook, to see if you like the way it is written.
Being independent of the main ereader makers, they offer ebooks in a variety of formats, but generally they come in Mobi (for the Kindle range), e-Pub for almost all other ereaders, and PDF for, well I am not sure who would want to read a book in PDF…….
And more to the point just after Christmas, they offer a very complete set of guides on how to work with these file formats, and how to install and work with Adobe digital Editions (a form of annoying copyright protection that all ereaders have to use in order to read ebooks from most commercial publishers – the dreaded DRM).
They have actually gone to considerable lengths to make it as easy and simple as possible to find, buy and then install your ebooks on your ereader, starting from the point that their customers are not all computer whizz kids. So, a well organised and thought through online ebook store for you to buy popular ebooks regardless of what sort of ereader you happen to have.
Payment is easy too.
As well as all the normal credit cards, they also allow you to pay using your PayPal account, should you have one, which is great for those of us who are nervous about spreading our credit card numbers far and wide (not that in reality the internet is more dangerous than your local restaurant in that respect).
As you may have gathered, I rather like this online ebook store, as apart from one major grouse (Below) I have always had good experiences with them, and their prices are pretty well in line with others as far as I can tell.
This is in no way the fault of Books on Board or similar online ebook stores, but a set of rules from the ebook publishers or author’s agents which define which parts of the world a given edition of an ebook may be sold to. So you will often find that as you go through the ordering process for an ebook you have chosen, you are suddenly faced with a message which says something like “this ebook may not be sold to your country“, and that is as far as you can go.
It is because publishers and agents want to make different deals in different parts of the world to maximise their possible profits and also to release their books at different times for a range of reasons and is a hang-over from the days of only having paper books to sell. In a way it made sense for paper books, but in the age of the internet it makes no sense at all, and the only effect it has is to encourage the spread of illegal download sites, who are simply filling a hole created in the marketplace by this policy.
It also produces fury on the part of customers who if they do not live in the USA (where Books on Board are), but in perhaps Australia, who may then discover that they can buy that ebook in Australia from an Australian online ebook store, but at a much higher cost. But at least in a country such as Australia you may at least have a chance to buy that ebook legally. Should you live in the Philippines, Angola, the Congo, and a whole slew of countries around the world, you will only have recourse to illegally obtaining that ebook, as there is no one who will sell it to you legally, nor will there ever be.
Stupid, stupid stupid policy on the part of publishers and agents as far from protecting their revenue, it costs them money, and of course online ebook sellers such as Books on Board hate it too, as it costs them sales too.
End of rant.
Share with us:
Have you used Books on Board? And if so, what is your feeling about them? Positive? Negative? Do share any thoughts you might have with the rest of us here.