Wednesday, March 24, 2010

E-books and e-readers have come up a couple of times recently. Between the 150+ Baen e-books and 95+ Amazon e-books I’ve purchased for Kindle, I strongly suspect I’m in the top 1% or so of book purchasers, so I’m going to use myself as the target market for what I’d want out of an e-reader. So, what would get my money?

1) Early access. I already pay Baen an extra $15 per book when I can get it early. This is free money for any publisher who wants it, and Baen has gotten a lot of mine.
2) Automatic purchases by series and by author. I follow dozens of series and until they start sucking, I will always buy the next book. Why not automate that for me? I’d even pay a small amount for the service, but at the very least you stop losing money when I fail to notice a new release. Ditto for authors I follow.
3) DRM-free. Baen’s received far more of my dollars than Amazon, despite the Amazon purchase process being quite a bit easier. Why? DRM-free means I can move the book where I want it, read it how I want. I’m happy to vote with my wallet on this one. Didn’t the book industry learn anything from iTunes and DRM-free music?
4) Social features for my books. Give me an e-reader that makes it easy to record comments and thoughts, to share those thoughts with friends, recommend books, buy books for friends, etc.

None of these are difficult features, either technically or from a licensing standpoint. Who’ll do it first?

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