Ebook Reseller Wishlist/Scorecard

I spend a lot of time talking with companies that want to resell O’Reilly ebooks. Some are large companies you’ve certainly heard of, others are small startups that haven’t yet launched. But what’s remarkably consistent is that few of them offer many of the options and features we at O’Reilly consider critical for customers.

Because I’m sure these will come up again, I’ve prepared a handy table outlining what we look for in an ideal ebook reseller, and provided a simple scorecard showing how several current ebook resellers stack up:

Table title here
Reseller Carries O’Reilly ebooks? Multiple ebook formats DRM-free option Labels which are DRM-free ebooks Provides free updates if provided by publisher EPUB support Notes
Multiple DRM-free formats, free lifetime updates, and an easy way to come back and download your ebooks again any time are some of the reasons our direct ebook sales are strong and growing.
iPhone App Store
Technically possible, but not currently available for our ebook apps
Extracting the EPUB is a bit of a hack but it’s possible, and updates are both easy and familiar since the ebook apps update just like any other app.
Android Market
Technically possible, but not currently available for our ebook apps
Our Android ebooks use the fantastic Aldiko Reader for rendering, exporting the EPUB is just the push of a button, and like the App Store, updates are easy.
Kindle Store
While I’m happy to give credit where it’s due to Amazon for putting in a process so we can sell O’Reilly ebooks without any DRM restrictions, the Kindle 1 rendering was (and remains) a real disappointment, and the lack of updates means customers miss out on our frequent updates, corrections, and enhancements. It’s also unfortunate Amazon doesn’t label which books have DRM/device restrictions (and which don’t). Amazon says they support EPUB as an ingestion format, but if I can’t add my own EPUB books to my Kindle (device or app) then I don’t consider that ‘support.’
Sony Reader store
Don’t know
It’s been more than 18 months since we told Sony we can’t be in their store unless our books don’t have DRM, and they still won’t give us (or any other publisher) that option.
Apple iBooks
It’s a bummer that updates aren’t an option, especially since it’s been part of the App Store for years. O’Reilly books aren’t (yet) available in the iBooks store, but if you buy direct from us, it’s easy to load the EPUB file onto your iPad via iTunes, and our books look great in the iBooks reader.
Barnes & Noble
Don’t know
We expect to see O’Reilly ebooks available on the nook soon.
Word on the street is that Scribd will be supporting EPUB, but they’ve been saying that since they launched the store. Their recent move from Flash to HTML5 was significant news among Web developers.
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