So you have an e-reader. Where do you find books to put on it? There is the default store: just about every e-reader comes with a default store, easily accessed from the reader itself, or from the program installed on your computer when you set up the e-reader. You don't even have to have a e-reader to visit and buy from these stores, as most will give you a program that will allow you to read their programs on your computer. Some, such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon, will give you versions that will allow you to read your books on other devices: iPads, iPhones, and Android Phones. You can even (if you your eyes are good) read books on a TI calculator.
However, there is an active war in the industry. Two competing formats, ePub and .prc*, are striving to dominate the market. In time one, like the VCR format, will become standard and the other, like Betamax, will be forgotten. In ebooks, the .prc format can be read by Kindles, and is used only by Kindle.** The ePUB format is read by all other ereaders. It would seem that the ePUB is the natural choice to win the fight, except for two things: Amazon has a lion's share of the market, and .prc's are easier to create than ePub's.
There are, however, other places to buy ebooks than at these major marketplaces. There are a host of small publishers who are unhappy that they cannot set the price of their ebooks independent of their print books, and so are selling their ebooks directly from their own sites. Other publishers prefer that they are not under any "content control." Buying directly from the publisher benefits the author in that he or she usually receives a larger roylaty than if the publisher sells the book through Amazon. Therefore, for those who are interested in supporting the small publisher and/or authors, and for those looking for unconvential or previously out-of-print books, I am creating a list of alternative places to buy ebooks. Most offer their books in a variety of formats.
* .pdf files are read by all ereaders, as well. It's more difficult, however.
** The Mobipocket Reader, a computer application, reads .mobi files. These are essentially the same as .prc files. Kindles read .mobi files.
Formats: ePub, lit, lrf, mobi, PDF, prc, HTML, at least. Authors are responsible for providing thier own download files.
Authors carried: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Chaz Brenchley, Patricia Burroughs, Jay Caselberg, Amy Sterling Casil, Brenda Clough, Chris Dolley, Shannon Donnelly, Gregory Frost, Laura Anne Gilman, Lois Gresh, Harper, Sylvis Kelso, Katherine Kerr, Katherine Eliska Kimbriel, Sue Lange, Julianne Lee, Ursala Le Guin, Kelly McClymer, Sean McGuire, Vonda McIntyre, McGuire, Nancy Jane Moore, Linda Nagata, Pati Nagle, Steven Harper Piziks, Phyllis Irene Radford, Patricia Rice, Madeleine E. Robins, Deborah J. Ross, Sherwood Smith, Jennifer Stevenson, Judith Tarr, Tiffany Trent, David Trowbridge, Susuan Wright, Sarah Zettel
This site is currently in the midst of a massive renovation. As is usual in such situations, various pages and features and pages will be temporarily disabled.
Authors carried: Ben Bova, Norman Spinrad,Robert Silverberg, Jerry Sohl, Harvey Jacobs, Will McCarthy, Bug Jack Barron, Herman Maurer, John Flint Roy, Robert Qualkinbush, and Biff America.
Purchasing: By Paypal
This press specializes in previously out-of-print books by well-known authors. The store is easy to navigate and the selection is good. These books are also available from the Amazon Kindle store, but it you buy directly from the publisher you will have access to different formats.
Weightless Books declares itself to be a marketplace for interesting small presses.
Formats: ePub, PDF, or Mobi. Select your format when buying.
Purchasing: By Paypal
This site has a large stable of authors, and offers magazine subscriptions, individual issues, and short stories as well as books. It allows you to buy a book with Paypal without registering. You will need to register to get continual access to the book, and I found registration was easy to mess up.