Friday, November 16, 2012

So Long, Fictionwise and EReader

On December 4, Fictionwise and EReader will no longer be offering ebooks for purchase, and customers will no longer be able to access their bookshelves after December 21.  They'll be missed.

Fictionwise and EReader (simply FW for the rest of this post) got all my ebook business from the time I started purchasing ebooks in 2000 until 2010, a bit after the sites were acquired by Barnes & Noble and fewer selections were made available in multiple formats or secure ereader/mobipocket.  Even though I didn't purchase from them nearly as frequently after that, I still checked their new release listings religiously every Monday.  I can recall few real problems with purchases from FW (2 or 3 in 10 years, and I bought a lot of ebooks there) and never had a problem that wasn't fixed quickly.  It was a pleasure to do business with FW, and I hope every member of their staff that wants to keep working in the ebook world either has another gig lined up or finds one quickly.  My best wishes to their whole crew.

And about those bookshelves going away after December 21: there's an option out there to move your purchases to a B&N Nook library account if you like, so even after FW closes down, you'll still have access to your books.

One more thing: the ereader format.  Some people didn't care for it.  I don't recall that it handled illustrations particularly well, for instance.  But that format had the most wonderfully customer-friendly DRM you could want.  If you wanted to read your book on more than one device, fine.  If you wanted to read it on 173 different devices, fine.  If you wanted to put it on your friend's PC so he could read it, you could do that too even though you shouldn't.  The DRM wouldn't stop you.  But before you could open that ebook on any PC or handheld device, you had to enter the ebook's unlock code.  The unlock code for each ebook was the name and account number on the credit card that you used to purchase it.  Neat, simple, easy for the customer.  And how many people were going to "share" their ebooks and the unlock codes on the internet if it meant giving their credit card number to thousands of strangers?  It was a DRM method that assumed that the customer was honest -- nice attitude for a company to take; if there had to be DRM, this was a nice way to handle it.

Bests again to the gang at FW.

 UPDATE: It's being reported in posts at MobileRead and KindleBoards that B&N isn't importing all the titles from Fictionwise/EReader bookshelves.  So if you're a Fictionwise/EReader customer with a large bookshelf, make sure you download your titles and the software you use to read them on your PC & handheld devices.

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