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Lesson 5: 

BUYING E-BOOKS

 

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by Candida Martinelli of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

SIX LESSONS

Introduction

1 HELPFUL COMPUTER SKILLS
Browsing Your PC
Making Directories
WinZIP
Desktop Shortcuts

2 FREE E-TEXTS
The Public Domain
The Archives
Downloading E-Texts
E-Texts in MS-Word

3 FREE E-BOOK READER
Readers Available
Downloading One

4 FREE E-BOOKS
The Archives
Downloading E-Books
Your Own PC Library

Reading E-Books

5 BUYING E-BOOKS
Stores and Sites
Making Payment
Downloading E-Book
Your Own PC Library

6 BUILD A LIBRARY
Encourage Others
Your Favorites
WinZIP It
Distributing E-Texts/Books


Notice:

These lessons in whole or in part, can be printed, reproduced and distributed, but not for profit!

Candida Martinelli
September 2003

 

Disclaimer:  

Please understand that you follow these lessons at your own risk.  I am not to be blamed for anything and everything that happens with your computer.  If that sounds serious, sorry, but it has to, otherwise its not legal!  Having said all that, If you follow these lessons you will no longer be a computer novice, and a whole new, wonderful world of books will be opened up to you, your family and friends.  

Candida Martinelli
September 2003

 

 

[I update this periodically, but the technology is rushing along, with new readers, new formats, new everything.  I try to update things only when they are available worldwide, but I will not feature specific readers.  If you own one, it is best to consult their manual to understand which formats you can read, and how to download them from the sites I mention in these lessons.  Ciao!

Candida 2010]

 

Thank you to RadSmart.com for their technical assistance.  Check out their Auto Trader Program.

 

Note:  On this page, you can click on either the store logo or name to connect with a site.  Since this lesson does not require you to download or install any software or e-books or e-texts, you do not need to print out this lesson and follow it on paper.  If you CLICK through to one of the sites on this page, just use the Browser's BACK button to return to this lesson.  

 


Stores and Sites

Where do you buy e-books?  The Internet.  But there are various places on the Internet from which you can purchase e-books:

  • Bookstores:  All the on-line bookstores sell e-books, usually in a parallel section where you can search through genres and by author, title or topic, just like you can in the printed book section.
  • E-Bookstores:  There are special e-bookstores that sell only e-books.  These sites generally offer more information on the titles, authors, publishing houses, and provide e-book news and reviews.
  • Publishing House Sites:  Some publishing houses have set up sites to sell directly to you both print and electronic books.  These include the Print-on-Demand publishers who print a copy of a book only after you've paid for it.  They almost always offer electronic editions of these books, too.
  • Smaller publishing houses:  These companies sell the works from one to often a few dozen authors.  They sell via Bookstores and directly from their websites, both print and electronic editions of their books.
  • Authors' Websites:  Many authors maintain websites from which you can purchase their books, both print and electronic editions, sometimes at a discounted price making it less expensive than buying it from a Bookstore.  And some authors' work is available only through their websites.  

 

Bookstores:

Amazon.com is the top Internet bookstore.  They have a large e-book section that offers a wide variety of e-books in various formats, almost always for immediate download.

Powells.com is the top Internet bookstore for new, second-hand, and collector's editions of books.  They have a wide selection of e-books almost always for immediate download.  They also have a wonderful free newsletter full of book / e-book news and interviews with authors.

BookLocker sells print and e-books, exclusively PDF e-books, in a wide variety of subject categories, for immediate download.  They boast that they specialize in the 'unique, eclectic and different'. 

 

E-Bookstores:

eBookAd is a top e-bookstore offering immediate downloads, e-books that you can transfer without encryption codes to any other computer or portable device you own, and they offer a unique virtual library of your own.  Every e-book you purchase is "shelved" in a virtual library that you can access from anywhere in the world and re-download at any time to any computer or device.  Ideal for vacation reading or business e-books for business travelers. 

Fictionwise is one of the largest e-bookstores on the Internet offering a wide variety of e-books in various formats for immediate download.

Clay Tablet is a site that allows authors, those with publishers and those self-published, to list their e-books so e-book readers can search through the subject categories to find e-books that may not be available at the larger e-bookstores.

 

Publishing House Sites:

Simon & Schuster offer all their publications at this site, in most formats imaginable, including e-books.  Check out the newsletters they offer for every subject category you could imagine.  The newsletters let you know about new releases and sale books, including e-books at greatly reduced prices.

Xlibris is affiliated with Random House Publishers.  It offers authors assistance with self-publishing and distributing their books, both print and electronic editions.  They host this bookstore that promotes their authors' work.  The e-books are generally one-third the price of the hard-copy editions and they provided immediate download.  They also let you read an excerpt of a book to see if you like it (many e-publishers allow this, and include interviews with the authors). 

 

Smaller publishing houses:  

KnowBetter.com provides hyperlinked lists of over 200 e-book publishers.  There are three lists:  in alphabetical order, by e-book format offered, and by genre of books published.  If you are looking for a highly specialized subject, this is a good place to start.  

  • Publishers sell directly to you, and allow for download either immediately or within 24 hours.  
  • Most allow you to read either the first chapter or an excerpt from the book for free.  
  • Many also provide interviews with the authors and links to the author's web-sites.
  • Many offer newsletters to keep you informed of new releases by their authors, which is helpful if you've formed an attachment to an one of their author's work, or are especially interested in the genre of books they publish.

Just to give you a sampling of publisher sites, I've listed four below.  The first one publishes books by women writers, the second publishes comics, the third is a general publisher, and the fourth publishes books on magic and gambling. 

DLSIJ Press publishes and sells both fiction and non-fiction e-books in a variety of formats.  The e-books are available for download with prices starting at $4.95.  Several titles are available in paperback.  DLSIJ Press specializes in publishing women writers in all genre.    

Cartoon Ebooks.com publishes cartoons and comic books that you can download for reading on PDAs.  They offer a variety of subjects and cartoon formats, and have a wide selection of authors and styles, with new cartoons published regularly.  

Design Publications Online Bookstore publishes and sells original works by a variety of authors in a variety of genre.  Their books are available only from their website.  They release a new book each month.

Chris Wasshuber's Lybrary.com offers literature in the art of magic (sleight-of-hand, mentalism, illusions), gambling and related fields (chapeaugraphy, shadowgraphy, juggling) in electronic format on custom manufactured CD-ROMs, or to download.  Their HTML e-books come with a powerful search engine and built-in text-to-speech capability (see: Speaks For Itself).  You can listen to their HTML e-books!  Some of the books have embedded video to demonstrate the magic they describe.  They currently offer a selection of 154 e-books.

 

Authors' Websites 

Many authors today have set up websites to market their books, provide a contact point for their fans, and to give a more detailed biography than what appears on the back-flap of their books.  

You can always just enter your favorite author's name and the word "website" in a Search Engine Search field, or you can check out these on-line lists.

Authors on the Web provides a list of authors' websites on the Internet.  It is part of the bookreporter.com collection of sites providing lots of information about books for all audiences, including a reading group guide site.

Bookwire is a site aimed at the publishing industry, but this link is to their listing of authors' websites.  

The Literary Times has a listing of women's fiction and romance writers' websites.  

St. Martin's Press provides a list of their authors' websites.  


Making Payment

Like all Internet purchases, you can pay for e-books on-line using your credit card.  All sellers use secure servers to protect our data during the transactions, and very few actually store the data anymore.  The credit card companies I've dealt with all offer immediate refund policies if there are problems with your purchases.  This acts as an extra guarantee for on-line purchases.  They get the money back from the on-line retailer by using their economic clout to back them up.

Another form of payment accepted by some retailers is the PayPal system.  PayPal is an system for on-line payments and transfers of money.  The way it works is, you can register your credit card data with them in a PayPal account, securely of course.  Then you give retailers the PayPal account information for payment.  This means you don't have to give out your credit card data to all the retailers you buy from on the Internet, reducing the risk of the card information getting into the wrong hands.  Or you can pay by credit card through PayPal without registering your information permanently, but on a per transaction basis.

PayPal is not a bank and does not have the oversight protection and account guarantees provided by the FDIC and other agencies.  For this reason, it is best to keep your PayPal balances low, and to use it only for payments of small amounts like for e-books, low cost internet retail items, and E-bay purchases.  E-bay, by the way, owns PayPal.


Downloading E-Book

The process of downloading an e-book is similar to the other downloads you've done during these lessons.  I am not going to have you buy an e-book as part of this lesson.  What I will do is cover some of the things you may encounter if you purchase and e-book on-line.

E-book Location

One thing you should realize is that only when your purchase is completed are you given the location of the e-book file for download.  You may be given the location immediately when the purchase is completed, or it may be sent to you in an e-mail message.  Either way, just CLICK on the hyperlinked LOCATION you are provided, so your Internet Browser opens and goes to that location.

Password

You may be asked to enter a password to access the download page.  If this happens, a PASSWORD BOX appears, and it will look something like this:

You should TYPE in the PASSWORD that you were sent in the e-mail message, or when your purchase was confirmed, then CLICK on the OK button.  

List of Formats

The download page may offer you only the format of the book that you selected at the time of purchase, or it will show you a list of the formats available and ask you to select one for download.  For example:

Compressed E-books

If the e-book is compressed with WinZip or another compression program, you are presented with the DOWNLOAD FILE box.    

CLICK on the SAVE button to continue with the download.  That is when the SAVE IN box appears.

OPEN the folder where you want to store the e-book.  To locate the LIBRARY folder, you may have to DOUBLE-CLICK on the drive C:, then the MY DOCUMENTS folder, then the LIBRARY folder, and then the library category folder where you want to store your new e-book.  

When you have opened the folder where the file is to be saved, CLICK on the SAVE button.

Once you have saved the file to your PC, you have to locate it in WINDOWS EXPLORER, and DOUBLE-CLICK on the file you just downloaded.

Self-contained Compression Program

If the e-book is compressed with a self-contained compression program, it will extract itself automatically and the PDF will appear in the directory.  Sometimes a password is required to extract the file.  This would have been given to you either at the time of purchase or in an e-mail message.

WinZip Compressed E-book

If the e-book was compressed with the WinZip program, when you DOUBLE-CLICK on the file in WINDOWS EXPLORER, the WinZip program will start-up immediately, and present you with their very threatening looking message.  

This is normal.  They want to remind you that you are using an Evaluation Version of the software, which is okay.  Click on the USE EVALUATION VERSION button.

The program window appears with the name of the compressed file showing.  The file in the sample window below is, of course, not the file you clicked on.  This is just to help you through the process.

CLICK on the EXTRACT icon on the tool-bar:

WinZip now prompts you to identify where you want the e-text stored.  The program does not automatically assume you want it in the same folder as the ZIP file.  So you need to locate your LIBRARY folder again.  You do this using the FOLDERS/DRIVES box.

  • DOUBLE-CLICK on the C: drive to show what it contains.
  • DOUBLE-CLICK on the MY DOCUMENTS folder to show what it contains.
  • DOUBLE-CLICK once on the sub-folder LIBRARY.
  • CLICK once on the category where you want to store the e-book.

Now CLICK on the EXTRACT button in the top right-hand of the box.

WinZip is very fast.  Within seconds, you should see the e-book appear in your category folder.  CLICK on the CLOSE X to close WinZip.  

To Read the PDF E-book

Once you have the PDF e-book in the category folder, all you have to do to read it is DOUBLE-CLICK on the file.  The e-book Reader opens and loads the e-book for you to read.    

Non-Compressed E-books

If the e-book is not compressed, once you DOUBLE-CLICK on the e-book in WINDOWS EXPLORER, your e-book Reader should open in the Browser window and load the PDF e-book.  

Once it is loaded and the cover is showing in the reading window, you can SAVE A COPY of the e-book to your PC.  Just CLICK on the SAVE A COPY icon.

The SAVE AS box appears.

OPEN the folder where you want to store the e-book.  To locate the LIBRARY folder, you may have to:

  • DOUBLE-CLICK on the drive C:, 
  • then the MY DOCUMENTS folder, 
  • then the LIBRARY folder, 
  • and then the library category folder where you want to store your new e-book.  

When you have opened the folder where the file is to be saved, CLICK on the SAVE button.

Troubleshooting

If there are problems, many retailers let you access the download page again, and others will even send the e-book to you as an e-mail attachment if you continue to have problems.  


Your Own PC Library

Part of your growing electronic library can be made up of e-books you purchase.  This may be the case if you are a big fan of contemporary works that are only available for a price, or if you are a business person who needs the latest technical or specialist documents.

A Few Restrictions

A few restrictions may apply to purchased e-books, as opposed to free e-books.  Generally these restrictions are being eliminated, but you might want to read the retailer's Product Details carefully before you purchase an e-book.

  • In many cases you are not able to print e-books that you have purchased. 
  • Some e-book publishers only let you install the e-book on one computer
  • Some publishers and some distributors restrict the use of he MS-Reader's Speech-to-Text feature.  Sometimes this restriction is placed on the e-book by the e-book's distributor, which means that if you purchase the e-book directly from the publisher, you will not have this restriction.

 

E-book Review Sites

To help you decide which of the new releases is for you, there are many sites that offer reviews of both fiction and non-fiction releases of e-books in various formats, both free and to purchase.  The list below contains a few of them.

EbookReviews.net provides reviews of new e-books, both free and to purchase, in many non-fiction and fiction categories.  You can sign up for their newsletter that has regular free giveaways along with the e-book news.

  

ElectronicBookReviews provides e-books reviews, many written by e-book readers.

KnowBetter.com is the e-book industry's top information site offering ebook reviews, industry news, a huge directory of ebook listings, an e-book lending library, and more.

EbooksCafe offers listings of recently released e-books and information about e-books, as well as regular free giveaways and a newsletter.

 

That's all for this lesson.  You now have access to lots of sites that sell e-books.  They are generally much less expensive than printed books.  Why not check out the list of e-book publishers or e-book sellers (the links are above) to see if there are some that specialize in a genre that interests you, and then go to their sites to see what they have to offer.  Or visit the e-book dedicated on-line stores and see if any of their reviews tempt you.  

 

In Lesson 6 I will show you how to distribute your e-books (those not copyrighted).  An electronic library is a special sort of library because the books never leave.  You copy the books for distribution.  Once you've built up your library, it is fun to share your collection with others.  And the more friends you get interested in e-texts and e-books, the faster you can build your library, because they will send you copies of their favorite e-books, too!

 

Click here to go directly to Lesson 6