I’ve been reading eBooks for at least ten years – starting on an early model palm. Back then the selection of titles was pretty poor – but you always had the Gutenberg project which had digitized a number of the classics into the correct formats.
Sometime in 2001 I started using a website called FictionWise and one called Peanut Press to download some popular and new books. Peanut Press was eventually bought/renamed to eReader.com, and FictionWise was acquired by Barnes & Noble. From 2005 until recently I was able to find a pretty good selection of books on these sites – most notably the science fiction magazines “Asimov’s Science Fiction” and “Analog Science Fiction and Fact” – which kept me pretty entertained.
This week we bought my mom a kindle and I helped her set it up on the Amazon site and my eyes were opened to their eBook catalog – which recently has completely blown away any other site I can find.
And the sad part – the FictionWise and eReader site seem to have fallen apart in the realm of having the latest titles available. My biggest problem with this is that I have about 10 years of my bookshelf available on those sites – and now have to switch to a new vendor/platform. Does this story sound familiar? It’s a good lesson for me as I’m moving all our music and movie media to digital and considering what platform/vendor to trust – or going it alone the hard way and ensuring all formats I use will forever be under my complete control.