L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

26 January 2008 Blog Home : January 2008 : Permalink

eHarlequin - How Not to Sell eBooks cont'd

So a couple of days ago I broke my blogging drypatch by noting how eHarlequin charges 3 wildly different prices for the same set of electrons depending on how you get there. Well I posted that on Baen's bar and then discovered that it is worse.

Firstly if you go for the print edition of the book as opposed to one of the electronic editions you get an excerpt. Not as good an excerpt as the Baen "we give you a quarter of the book so you really get hooked" but what looks like the first chapter more or less. I dunno whether it is just me, but to not make the excerpt available for the electronic version but yet make it available for the dead tree one seems pretty stupid.

And then there is the utter inconsistency of whether there is a link between the dead tree version and the electronic one. The print edition link above notes that the book is available as an Audiobook but not as an eBook. This is not an isolated error. One of the two dead tree editions states that the sequel is available as an eBook the other doesn't and the same applies to a number of other authors that I have looked at.

It seems possible that this is deliberate obscurantism and that the ebook link only shows up when it is cheaper than the paper version (although that isn't 100% correct seeing as one Poison Study ebook is less than the price of the dead tree book) but it looks to me more like a website which is in chaos and not properly thought out. An impression that is added to when you serch for a book (print or ebook) are are told that if you are interested in "this" version you might also be interested in "that" version - where that version is a different price or imprint.

So eHarlequin's ebook site has three problems
  1. Price
    1. high (mostly over $10 per book)
    2. varied with the same book available at different prices
  2. Lack of exceprts
  3. Inconsistent/lack of links from print edition
    1. Bizarre links between imprints and book types
It is clear to me that the problem is that eHarlequin essentially treats each item on its own without thinking clearly about whether they are related. Moreover the hierarchy goes
Whereas is should go
Fuckwits. I see no reason to ever visit the site again even if they do have some Catherine Asaro fantasies that sounded vaguely interesting