Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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April 21, 2010 • eBooks, Editorials

Is Fictionwise About to Walk The Plank?

Teleread has an interesting editorial about the future of Fictionwise/eReader (or lack thereof). Yes, there’s the elimination of the buywise program, and there’s the slow death of the PDB format in favor of ePUB. The really bad news: There’s no intention to release an iPad-specific version of eReader. So your choices are either blow the app up to 2x size, or skip making use of the gorgeous iPad screen. Or, of course, just buy your books through Barnes and Noble instead.

It’s a shame, really. Many, many ebook fans started their reading on Peanut Press, which turned into eReader and then from there was bought by Fictionwise before being snapped up by Barnes and Noble. Unfortunately for eReader, they were hit where they couldn’t compete; price. Amazon (and then Sony) came in and started charging $9.99 for most new ebooks, while eReader was still offering significantly higher prices. Adobe and ePUB became quasi-default standards for many dedicated ebook readers.

Plus, the iPhone’s popularity was both a blessing and a curse. While it opened up eReader to a huge audience, it also meant eReader was going head to head with Amazon’s Kindle and Stanza apps AND eReader’s cousin the Barnes and Noble eReader. Gear Diary’s own Doug has documented his trials and tribulations with being unable to add eReader books to the B&N app.

And as ebook popularity has ramped up by triple digits, the big names have been dominating. People know Barnes and Noble’s nook, they know Amazon’s Kindle, and when they go looking for an ebook reader for their iPhone, they’re looking for B&N and Amazon. But not even updating for the iPad is just an admission that B&N wants eReader/Fictionwise to die a slow, quiet death. The B&N app, of course, will be updated and available in glorious fullscreen. That kind of obvious favoritism shows where B&N thinks the future lies, and it’s not with Fictionwise.

So here’s my question for you: When did you last buy a book from eReader or Fictionwise? Did you start buying from them and then switch to another store, or have you been loyal from the start? Does the lack of an iPad HD app bother you? Let me know below!

7 Responses to " Is Fictionwise About to Walk The Plank? "

  1. navid says:

    Is Fictionwise About to Walk The Plank? http://bit.ly/9gq8OH

  2. Christopher Gavula says:

    I have been an eBook fan from the Peanut Press Days as well. I started being disappointed when Fictionwise bought eReader and then maintained 2 separate systems, essentially with different product offerings and account systems, but no real explanation about the differences really. That just seemed confusing to me.

    Then B&N stepped into the mix and released their reading app based on eReader, and I thought – good, they will make some clarity from this mess. But they didn’t – now you had all 3 “entities” still in the business, still with separate logins – still with separate accounting and separate catalogs/selection. Their pricing was higher than their competitors, but not even consistent within their 3 stores! And to top it all off they were NOT completely cleanly interoperable. So I have to ask – why not?

    Amazon, on the other hand, has a reasonable app available on lots of platforms and a large catalog and had a lot of the best pricing (at least on mainstream fiction titles, so-so on other titles). Even though the Kindle app isn’t as feature-laden as some of the competition, they made up for it via ubiquity and price. McDonalds does not have to be filet mignon because it’s always inexpensive and readily available. People will go for price, especially if convenience is also attached.

    B&N seems to have lost this somehow and I think it will hurt them in the end. I would love to see B&N round up and consolidate their stores and pricing, and give us a decent way to bring our Fictionwise, and eReader, and B&N libraries together. And get the iPad version of the App out there and spead to other platforms as well! That’s what they need to do, I think.

  3. I’m with Chris–what I really want is to have my library consolidated for one reader. Having a separate B&N and fictionwise reader software seemed silly to me–I still wonder why B&N didn’t provide an upgrade path or library consolidation option for the Fictionwise folks, and just kill of the eReader cleanly.

    And to answer your question, I don’t think I’ve bought a book from Fictionwise since the B&N app came out, whenever that was. The B&N app has some additional features, which make it preferable, at least to me.

    If Amazon continues to outstrip their competition in this arena, I hope that either they make the Kindle app more feature-rich, or there ends up being some way to consolidate libraries–under the iBook software, say.

  4. melvynadam says:

    I’ve only ever bought books from Fictionwise and eReader. Nearly all of my ebook purchases have come from FW and my last round of purchases were when they were having a huge sale a few months ago. I spent a LOT!

    Until this post I didn’t know that Buywise had died. I was a buywise member but hadn’t been notified. I see that I can continue getting my discounts but cannot renew my membership. I hear a bell tolling.

    This post has me very worried that the company might die – what would B&N do to honor the purchases already made? I have exactly 150 items on my bookshelf. About to do a batch download…

  5. melvynadam says:

    In the first sentence of my previous comment, replace “books” with “ebooks”. I’ve bought “books” in many places :)

  6. fromamerica says:

    I’ve been buying books from peanut press and the successive companies for many years and tend to buy from FW from ereader.com. I participate and buy from most of their sales, and have felt like I have gotten great deals, especially with the rewards program. Although the selection isn’t as good as Amazon or B&N, I still have credit with them and continue to get books. I don’t mind the different apps on my iPod Touch, works well for me.

  7. jaimilyn says:

    I’ve got 247 books purchased on FW. I use my phone as a reader, started with an HTC StarTec, then 3 blackberry variations. Finding out they’re likely going under is pretty distressing, I wish B&N would make their software compatible with loyal customers of FW. Off to back up my database…