Thursday, May 26, 2011

Further Deceit by

In my previous post, I detailed what is doing wrong with ebooks. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The Lulu response is enlightening--an ebook from Lulu is not, in fact, and ebook. Except, it might be. You, the consumer, have no way of knowing before you buy it, and after you buy it, you're screwed, because if you didn't get what you expected, it's the author's fault. If you're the author, you can't fix it, because of how Lulu runs.

In the publishing wizard, the author selects 'make available as ebook.' The wizard asks nothing further of him, gives no information, and proceeds to complete the book. The author thinks he has made an ebook. No. All he has done is authorize Lulu to let you download the document that was used to make the interior of the book. However, on the website, it is advertised as an 'ebook' and it shows the cover. You, the buyer, believe you are buying an actual ebook, not an ordinary electronic document. You believe you are getting an ebook with a cover. But you aren't.

If the author wants to make it available as an actual ebook, he has to create a second project and set it up differently. Nowhere does Lulu explain this -- expect in response to a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. As a separate project, ebooks won't have the same project number as the print book; therefore they will not be associated with one another when you're shopping. If you see a title, you will only see print, or ebook, and you won't know the other format is available, unless you happen to stumble over it in browsing. This is inconvenient for the buyer, and therefore likely to diminish sales.

If the author does go to the trouble of making an actual ebook, it will look just like a document sale. Therefore, when the consumer is browsing the Lulu catalog they have no way in advance to know if they're buying an actual ebook, or just an electronic document.

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