Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: The Truth About Ebooks

It shocked me a bit to know from reader Fiona that she was unaware that Harper Collins was releasing many of its prints books in ebook format. Jayne and I began to brainstorm about all the ebookstore vendors out there and whether we could provide a comparison chart to help ebook novices and veterans alike. Unfortunately, we haven’t bought books from all these vendors but in the coming weeks, we will. Just for your benefit (and ours of course). We want readers to let us know what their experiences are as well (so we can save some $$). From now until whenever we run out of content, every Sunday, we will be blogging about ebooks from devices (which we blogged about previously), to content, to readers, to vendors.

Today’s article is just a list of all the ebook vendors we can find and links to their pages. On each Sunday, no matter what the ebook topic we cover, we’ll profile an ebook store and let you know what we like and we what don’t like about the store (kind of like we did here). In the end, we’ll make an exhaustive comparison chart available for download. Next Sunday’s article will be about formats and what it all means. Stay tuned and let us know what topics you want to hear about.

Harlequin is a publisher who releases ebooks but it does not sell directly from its site). I also excluded any stores/publishers or solely non fiction like McGraw Hill’s textbook ebookstore.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

50 Comments

  1. Fiona
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 06:52:58

    Oh wow! Thanks so much Jane and Jayne! The rock I’ve been under was apparently a little bigger than I imagined. Of course, now my wallet will be a little smaller!

    …Fiona

  2. Jayne
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 07:22:10

    Did we miss anyone? If so, let us know and the site can be added to the list.

  3. AngieW
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 08:10:43

    Inara Press, Whispers, eXtasy, Silk Vault, Chippewa and a whole slew of others are all ebook publishers. You can check out this link for a more comprehensive list:

    http://www.hipiers.com/publishing.html — Piers Anthony lists basically every epublisher known to man, lol. He also accepts feedback from authors about how the companies are to work with. My only caveat about this site is that authors use it as a threat “I’m going to tell Piers Anthony on you”. And the information is not always correct, but can be damaging :( But it’s a good resource for authors and a comprehensive list of epublishers. I don’t know of a list anywhere that’s more comprehensive

  4. Cece
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 09:28:25

    I think eXtasy is still down for whatever that’s worth. I swear I read somewhere that one of their sr. eds (stefeanie?) was going to start an epub with some other editors, but I’ll be darned if I can remembe where….

  5. Tilly Greene
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 09:54:40

    What about Whiskey Creek Press Torrid [www.whiskeycreekpresstorrid.com] and the new minx on the block, Samhain Publishing [www.samhainpublishing.com]…yes, admittedly I am biased, but when acting as a reader, still think they are fabulous publishers.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking on this project. Recently I tried to explain the whole ebook thing [readers, formats, ease of use, etc.] to a friend and it just wasn’t working, now I will point her in your direction :-)

  6. AngieW
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 10:19:07

    That’s fact, Cece, Stef is starting a pub with two others. I think Jaynie had it on her blog, but I heard it elsewhere before that. They haven’t chosen a name, last I heard, and I’m guessing it will take at least a short while to get up and running, get contracts and website, etc in order.

  7. sybil
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 10:40:54

    Very nice! One thing I was thinking about after the Avon eppy thing… was what is a good price to page?

    And how do you figure e page count to print page count. Doesn’t it depend on what type of format you choice as to what the page count will be? What do you think is a good price?

  8. Cece
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 10:46:34

    Angie thank you! I knew I’d read it somewhere, then couldn’t find it and thought maybe I’d lost my mind along the way.

    Sybil I think most epublishers format differnet so maybe tough to answer but I recall Fictionwise posts the wordcounts if that helps.

  9. AngieW
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 10:48:22

    You can’t go by page count in ebook because every format has different page count. And every publishing company uses different margins, font size, line spacing, etc (or if there’s a lot of short line dialogue, that requires a new line each time, that’s going to fill pages more quickly than longer paragraphs). Actually, most readers don’t realize the same is true for print.

    Every publishing company has different font size, margins, etc. So page count is a difficult thing to base on, no matter what type of book you’ve got. Open any two books, print or ebook, and the page count might be the same but the word count could be vastly different. That’s why epublishing goes by word count (actual computer word count).

    In reality, page count doesn’t mean much, because there’s no standard of printing. As an example, a 250 page chapter book, meant for 4th to 6th graders, is actually going to be much shorter than a 250 page book from Harlequin. Because the chapter book uses larger font, more line spacing–there’s more white space on the page. Yes, they’re both 250 pages, but the word count could be 20,000 words difference.

  10. Fiona
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 11:38:31

    But do most publishers display the word count? I’ve been looking and can’t find it on several sites.

  11. Jane
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 12:38:17

    Word count is the most accurate way to tell how long a book is but many, many publishers don’t provide word count. (probably because word count is getting shorter and shorter). For comparison, you can look at the following numbers:

    Desire 50-55K (192 pp)
    Intimate Moments 60-65K (256pp)
    Special Edition 60-65K (256pp)
    Bombshell 70-75K (304pp)
    Love Inspired 60-65K (256pp)
    Everlasting 70-75K (304pp)
    American Romance 60-65K (256pp)
    Blaze 60-65K (256pp)
    Intrigue 60-65 (256pp)
    Superromance 70-75 (304pp)
    LI Suspense 60-65 (256pp)

    Hmmm, new topic idea.

  12. Shannon
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 13:36:13

    They’ll give you a range, usually. Like Samhain’s:

    Short Stories: $2.50 12,000 to 18,000 words
    Novellas: $3.50 18,001 to 35,000 words
    Category: $4.50 35,001 to 60,000 words
    Novel: $5.50 60,001 to 100,000 words
    Plus Novel: $6.50 over 100,000 words

    So you can tell a specific book falls within a certain range, but not the exact word count.

  13. Jayne
    Jun 04, 2006 @ 18:57:20

    New Concepts has a similar range chart as well.

    BOOK LENGTH:

    Full Novel = 90,000 words and up; 360 pages and up (double-spaced)
    Mid Novel = 61,000-89,000 words; 244-356 pages (double-spaced)
    Category = 40,000-60,000 words; 160-240 pages (double-spaced)
    Novella = 20,000-39,000 words; 80-156 pages (double-spaced)

  14. Jenny
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 03:31:37

    How about booksforabuck.com? They are fairly small but they have an excellent philosophy that deserves support and I’ve read some wonderful gems at great prices there.

  15. Jane
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 08:49:39

    Added:
    BooksforaBuck
    Extasy Books
    Chippewa Publishing
    Inara Press
    Silk Vault
    Venus Press, LLC
    Whiskey Creek Press

    I did not add Whispers Publishing because there is no books for sale other than 1.

  16. AngieW
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 08:54:04

    I had to look because I didnt’ think that was quite right, though they are small right now. They have 12 books for sale. I’ve included the link to their products page. http://tinyurl.com/lxfjn

    home page is: http://www.whispersstore.com/index.php?main_page=index

  17. Jenny
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 09:18:25

    Jane, try this link. You can see all of Whispers’ releases better.

  18. Nonny
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 09:48:56

    Freya’s Bower is a new erotica / erotic romance epublisher. :)

  19. Jane
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 10:15:40

    I googled Whisper Publishing and it came up with something completely different. Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

  20. Jenny
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 10:16:24

    Just thought of a few more: imajinnbooks.com (Lilith Saintcrow, Keri Arthur, Angelique Armae), midnightshowcase.com, mundania.com (Elaine Corvidae, Piers Anthony), wings-press.com (Shiloh Walker)

  21. Melani Blazer
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 12:30:08

    I didn’t see it on the list, and yes, I know quite well that they are a part of Ellora’s Cave, but their offerings are different, so they deserve their own link- Cerridwen Press…
    http://www.cerridwenpress.com

  22. Tina Burns
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 14:51:39

    Hi Jane, one of our authors posted a link to your blog and I thought I’d offer any assistance if you have any questions about Liquid Silver Books. I’m their PR Liaison as well as an Acquisitions Editor for them. I was unable to find a contact for you so I decided to look “like I’m pimping my publisher” and post the offer in a comment. LOL. Feel free to contact me.

  23. MobileRead
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 15:23:43

    "Dear Author" list of e-book publishers and vendors…

    Dear Author has compiled a list of e-book publishers and vendors that includes many of the mainstream publishing houses that we complain so much about. They may frustrated us with formats, DRM and high prices, but at least they’re in the game and……

  24. AngieW
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 15:26:11

    I was on Romance Divas today and found that they also have an excellent and very nicely laid out list of e-publishers

    http://www.romancedivas.com/divaforum/index.php?showtopic=8683

  25. Catherine Hodge
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 19:16:58

    DPPstore is still somewhat new to the eBook vendor game, but you may want to keep an eye on http://www.DPPstore.com.
    We are the only eBook vendor who is dedicated to exclusively distributing content from independent authors and presses.
    We started with 7 books in January, and we now house over 100 titles…we will be adding about 100 more in the next few weeks. And thousands more are in the works by the end of summer. Keep us in mind for your next list.

    -Catherine Hodge

  26. Jane
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 20:42:56

    Added:

    imajinnbooks.com, midnightshowcase.com, mundania.com, wings-press.com, and DPP Store. Cerridwen Press already there.

    Tina Burns, will email you. Note to self: make contact button.

  27. Cece
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 20:50:31

    Lord ya’ll got your work cut out for you!

  28. Catherine Hodge
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 20:54:14

    Thanks for adding us to your compendium of eBook retailers!

    – Catherine Hodge (of the DPPstore)

  29. Pauline Jones
    Jun 05, 2006 @ 21:07:12

    Hard Shell Word Factory (www.hardshell.com) is one of the early epublishers and still very much in business.

  30. Miki S
    Jun 06, 2006 @ 00:29:53

    You may want to add:

    DLSIJ Press (http://www.dlsijpress.com/)
    Double-Dragon (http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/)
    Phaze (http://www.phaze.com/)
    Twilight Times (http://twilighttimesbooks.com/)

    And another freebie site with LOTS of formats:
    Manybooks (http://manybooks.net/)

  31. AngieW
    Jun 09, 2006 @ 06:11:25

    Here’s another epublisher. Siren Publishing. I’m not familiar with them, but I thought I’d add them to your list: http://www.sirenpub.com/

  32. John
    Jun 14, 2006 @ 17:43:55

    You have the link to WhiskeyCreek wrong:
    http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/www.whiskeycreekpresstorrid.com
    this won’t work this way!

  33. Jane
    Jun 14, 2006 @ 19:28:23

    Thanks for the nice heads up, John. I had forgotten to put the “http” in the “a href” tag

  34. Jennifer Lewitt
    Oct 01, 2006 @ 18:42:59

    I just wanted to give my input on Baen Publishing. I have been buying their ebooks for almost 7 years now and I am more than pleased. They use a more open format than most other sellers which allows me to put my books on an ebook reader for better enjoyment. They even sell the ebooks already formatted for my device! If I switched to a different device, I could download the books I’ve already bought from them in text and format them to my new device – if they didn’t have a version already formatted for my new device!

    I have a REB1100 ebook reader and consume several books per day. I wish I could entirely dispense with paper books but too many publishers do not cater to those of us with ebook readers. The so-called “secure formats” are not very secure anyway and only prevent those of us who aren’t hackers from buying the books. I’d love to see other ebook sellers use Baen Publishing’s model.

    Thank you for listing all of these sources of ebooks, I’m currently hunting through them for those that sell open format or RB format books.

    Sincerely,
    Jennifer Lewitt

  35. Angiew
    Oct 01, 2006 @ 18:47:48

    Jennifer, Samhain Publishing’s publisher, Christina Brashear has the same feeling that you do about secure formats, that they just irritate readers like you and I, lol, so she’s always said Samhain’s books will remain in unsecure format.

    I think quite a few of the epublishers do REB friendly formats, including Samhain Publishing (who also does the Ebookwise specific IMP format as well as the .RB format). I know Ellora’s Cave does .RB format, as well. Others may be able to specify other publishers which do the same.

    From what I’ve encountered, most online bookstores seem to favor LIT, PDF (in secure format) and Palm format. I wish they’d at least branch out to HTML, which is easier to convert.

  36. Steven Womack
    Oct 23, 2006 @ 01:56:16

    Whiskey Creek Press actually has two web sites for our customers, our all-genre site at http://www.whiskeycreekpress and our Torrid Romance (erotica) site at http://www.whiskeycreekpresstorrid.com. We have been in business since early 2003 and have over 200 authors under contract and 350 published titles. We publish about 15 titles per month at the combined sites, in both ebook and paperback formats.

    We always invite new customers to come by our sites and discover our great books by our many outstanding writers!

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

    Steven Womack
    Whiskey Creek Press

  37. Glenda Dinkins
    Nov 28, 2006 @ 14:36:09

    Jane,
    As a first time writer, I need some direction.
    My story is 50-55,000 words, 10 chapters with 106 pages in Microsoft Word format. I have converted it to HTML format using the NVU free program. Is this format acceptable with most publishers?

  38. Steven Womack
    Nov 28, 2006 @ 19:45:43

    Hey, thanks for including Whiskey Creek Press on your ebook list! Of course, we actually have two divisions/sites, the general all-genre line at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com and Whiskey Creek Press Torrid, our Erotic Romance line (where you have our link above going) at http://www.whiskeycreekpresstorrid.com.

    We work really hard to publish a quality producr, and we have some OUTSTANDING authors at both sites. w We make both sites customer friendly too and we certainly welcome new customers.

    Thanks again for the support!

    Steven Womack
    Whiskey Creek Press

  39. Anna
    Dec 18, 2006 @ 13:15:19

  40. Katrina Cardway
    Jan 14, 2007 @ 18:55:14

    We have a new eBook store with over 70,000 titles in 4,000 categories – perfect for browsing by subject – or use our quick search function to leap right to an exact title or your favorite author…
    Think it, Click it, Read it – Find Exactly What You Are Looking for at:
    ebooksabouteverything.com

  41. Art Parham
    Mar 20, 2007 @ 01:21:20

    Jayne, Both entries you have for Baen books point to the Free Library.
    http://www.webscription.net/ is the “Pay” library which contains LOIS McMaster BUJOLD’S VORKOSIGIAN SERIES as well as many, many other fine books at $4 to $6 each. The newer books are searalized until one month before publication and often come in blocks of five for $15 but after publication the whole book is available. You can also buy ARCs for more if you just can’t wait. This sounds more complicated than it really is. They also have a page of links to where you can get e-book software. They don’t support Adobe but do provide HTML, RTF, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket, and Rocket e-book formats. You can try different formats at no add’l charge. The new Sharon Lee& Steve Miller collections are $20 for five books now but will go up to $5/book soon…Still a heck of a deal!
    p.s., I don’t work for them. I’m just a satisfied customer.

  42. Sandy
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 18:27:05

    [quote comment="1136"]Did we miss anyone? If so, let us know and the site can be added to the list.[/quote]

    Yes, you missed Writers Exchange E-Publishing. We have been around for the last seven years, but have just moved our ebooks to our “new” bookstore Readers Eden.
    http://www.readerseden.com

    Our old site still exists but the shopping cart is faulty, hence the move, the old site will be a small writing resource site when the change over is complete.

    We currently have 420 books put into the new system, with the rest due to be up in the next week.. The old site, which still shows all our books is http://www.writers-exchange.com

  43. Idiotprogrammer » Archive » Ebook Creation Links
    Apr 21, 2007 @ 00:14:56

    [...] DearAuthor list of ebook stores and free sites.  (definitive) [...]

  44. Stephanie Kelsey
    May 23, 2007 @ 12:06:18

    I felt my ears burning… Yes, I started Mojocastle Press after I was told my services were no longer needed at eXtasy. We’ve been open since September of 2006. All information is on our site at http://www.mojocastle.com . Any questions, feel free to email me!

    Thanks for this resource..I really appreciate when folks do this sort of posting.

  45. Marjorie Jones
    Jun 06, 2007 @ 01:36:12

    Stephanie is the backbone and public face of Mojocastle Press. The CEO, Carrie A. King, and I bought the domain mojocastle.com together early in 2006, but didn’t do anything with it. Carrie is a bit of a ‘mystic’ for a lack of a better word, and just had a feeling that we should buy it before someone else did. Lo and Behold, Carrie sponsored my attendance at the Daytona RT convention, where I met Stephanie in person for the first time. She was my editor when I wrote for Extasy breifly. So one thing leads to another and a few weeks later, we knew EXACTLY what to do with mojocastle.com. Carrie had even thought of opening an ebook company like a whole year before all of this. All the chips fell into place. It would have been bad kharma not to move forward when the Universe so graciously provided all the pieces, ya know? I second Stef’s thanks, as well. This is a great resource. Hugs, Princess M

  46. Monte Eagle
    Nov 09, 2007 @ 18:37:47

    I noticed BooksOnBoard is not on the list on this page. It alway has either the best price or something very close to it. They also have a couple hundred thousand ebooks.

  47. Jules
    Jan 09, 2008 @ 22:30:26

    I couldnt see my site up there …

    Publisher and Seller.

    regards
    jules

  48. Doug
    Feb 20, 2008 @ 13:52:40

    I don’t recomend The Writers Exchange or Readers Eden.

  49. De
    Jun 30, 2008 @ 19:51:18

    Just browsing around the site and found this list. It’s made of awesomeness, thank you!

    I noticed that Torquere isn’t on the list.
    http://www.torquerebooks.com/zencart/

  50. Jane
    Jun 30, 2008 @ 20:58:09

    De – My list is abysmally out of date. Must address that at some point.

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