Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ebooks at Green Apple

LinkThe 21st century has arrived at Green Apple Books. Sigh.

Green Apple now offers ebooks for sale on our newly redesigned website.

If you're interested, here's our take on the whole ebook thing.

We love books printed on paper and bound with stitches or glue or whatever they use these days. We like their feel, their smell, their heft, their air of legitimacy. And so on. Preaching to the choir, I know.

Still, it's clear that ebooks have their place in this crazy world. We get it: great for traveling or buying a book while sitting at your desk. It's not the same as browsing Green Apple, sure, but a great book is a joy, no matter the format. (Formats we offer vary book to book, but include Palm eReader/iPhone, Adobe Digital Editions, Microsoft Reader, and more.)

We do take issue with Amazon's Kindle (for a more complete essay on the topic, may we recommend Nicholson Baker's New Yorker piece?). We bought a Kindle a few months ago, tried it out (secretly fearing we'd love it), and made a series of videos pitting the Kindle against a real book. Results are here and Round 5 is below. Frankly, we think the Kindle is lame for many reasons, and that it will be the "8-track" of e-readers in a few years (or months). It does nothing but display books (no web browser, can't make phone calls, etc.). Its "text-to-voice" feature is laughably bad. And Amazon can and has unilaterally removed books from customers' Kindles. And the books you "buy" from them are only yours and readable as long as you have a working Kindle--no other formats are supported. And no one else can sell you a book for the Kindle except Amazon. Which can/could/will limit your choices in the marketplace. And Amazon has bullied publishers pretty hard into reducing prices at great risk to the industry's overall viability. . . .and so on.

Phew. End of rant. Sorry.

It is also worth noting that the whole ebook thing is still evolving. Publishers, the initial gatekeepers between writers and readers, are presently trying to figure out a sustainable pricing model, when to release ebook versions, etc. So the selection is spotty. For example, some Murakami books are available as ebooks, and some aren't. Prices vary widely, too. We'll do our best to keep up with the evolving marketplace, and we've done our best to discount ebooks from their "list" prices to compete well.

So now you can read ebooks and support your favorite locally owned independent bookstore. With your support, we'll be here for all your reading needs for years to come, "e" or otherwise. Remember, if you buy a Kindle, you can't buy your ebooks from Green Apple (or anyone but Amazon).

But now at last, with non-Kindle ebook readers, you can support Green Apple, so that when you're on your way to a birthday party and need a quick gift, one that can be felt and read and passed on to others, we'll still be here for you. In person.


stacy said...

I'm missing where you can buy ebooks on the website?

Pete said...

@Stacy: the search box in the top right corner of the site covers ebooks and real books. Or you can click on the ebook tab on the main menu beneath our logo.