Where are the uncrippled ebooks? 0 comments

In the last few years I have begun to read more and more books from a screen. It began in 2000 when I received a hand me down Palm IV from work. I managed to hook it up to the Siemens phone I had at the time to browse the web, for the most part it was a toy, I would only fire that up to show off and that was about it. On September the 11th 2001 planes started hitting tall buildings and I was in the office. The boss gave us the rest of the day off and I was facing an hour long commute home on the bus. I simply could not handle not knowing what was going on, so I fired up the palm and the phone and read from that small screen jumping from report to report. That was the first time I saw reading from such a small screen as anything other than a gimmick.

Then came mobipocket, they make an excellent reader for the Palm , and a reasonable amount of free texts where available on the web. From there came my Zaurus and JustReader, my 7650 and ReadM, and lately my 6630 and back to Mobireader (As soon as ReadM works on it I will probably switch back). When I get to stand still for any amount of time, I switch from small screens to the Thinkpad. The last 5 years have seen me become perfectly comfortable with reading long texts from the smallest of screens and I would guess that about 70% of my recreational reading is now done from one portable device or another.

At this point I read a variety of ebooks regularly , on a variety of platforms and devices.As a result if I purchase an ebook I want a format that I can convert easily. At the moment I prefer HTML or PDFs that convert to HTML easily. I use pyrite publisher to convert to pdbs for devices that do not handle HTML easily.

Baen books is where I find most of my bubble gum reading for passing the time on bus rides (I do not drive). Their excellent free library is a brave and pioneering move that is about to make them some money from my pocket. I have grown fond of a number of their authors (1632 and its sequels are fantastic fun reads) and I am browsing their Webscription service right now credit card in hand.

My gripe is this (and I always have at least one), Baen is the only ebook provider I can find that does not peddle DRM crippled ebooks. My preferred reading tends to be popular history and science, and while I enjoy fiction occasionally, thats all Baen provide. So I went hunting today to try and find somewhere I could purchase something along those lines.

A quick google for ebooks brings up some pretty interesting looking stores. ebookmall.com support open formats, but precious few of the books they carry are actually available in them. ereader.com only supports their own reader software, ebooks.com, fictionwise.com and powells.com all only provides DRM formats. All of these stores are carrying books I would buy right now if they would provide them to me uncrippled. None of these formats will go everywhere I want to read them, so my money stays in my pocket.

Listen up guys, Baen wins , you lose. You have the books I would prefer , but Baen have my money. I like your product but the packaging is so appalling I cannot bring myself to buy it. If that is not setting off alarm bells for you I do not know what will.

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