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eBook Goodness from FictionWise.com

posted in Media, Tech Talk on January 6th, 2005

The idea of eBooks has been around for some time now, I’m guessing 10 years at least, if not longer, but “the thing” never really gained any momentum, at least - that’s what I thought. Luckily though, I turned out to be wrong …

In the beginning, eBooks were plain text files - no formatting, no links to a dictionary, no enhancements like sounds / images. Fast-forward to 2001: Microsoft introduces the “Microsoft Reader”, a tool that enables users to read eBooks in the .lit format. Adobe joins the market not long after, trying to sell PDF as the perfect eBook format and naturally there are other companies, like eReader (James loves them) and a few less known alternatives.

Long story short: eBooks are anything except a dying market. There are quite a few shops out there that sell works in the different formats and since I had a bit of money on my PayPal account and didn’t want to bother with all the fees they charge you to have the money transferred to your bank account I went out on a shopping frenzy and bought eBooks worth $100 at my new favorite store, Fictionwise.

It’s been some time since I read an eBook - to be honest - the first eBook I read was also the last one I read. It was a short story, written in German by Marcel Sommerick. The author’s story was awesome, but since it was no real .lit file, the “read” was not as pleasant as it could have been: no chapter marks, no images - no nothing…

Well, I felt it was in order to give eBooks a second chance and hence bought a few interesting works from well known authors such as Dan Browns (I only read Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code), but also some books from rather less known authors.

The thing I like about Fictionwise is their cyberguide, basically a tab that shows you what other buyers of the same book read. Yes, amazon.com has the same feature, but it just happens that amazon’s suggestions never do it for me. Fictionwise’ suggestions on the other hand are spot on 1 out of 2 times. Sure, the feature is there to turn first time-buyers into returning customers and to keep returning customers, but I like it.

I’ll certainly make sure to post something about the eBooks in the future. I’m interested to see how it will turn out - positive or negative?!