The God Engines Available on Kindle; Other Electronic Formats Soon

The headline pretty much says it: TGE is available on the Kindle right now, and it will soon be available in other electronic formats as well. For those other electronic formats, it has to go through the various internal processes on each of the electronic vendors, as I understand it. But in a general sense, if you have an eBook reader, the authorized electronic version will be available, one way or another. The hardcover version is also still available for those of you who enjoy your books in physical form, and as noted by me and others numerous times before, this really is one handsome book by Subterranean Press. Enjoy!

77 Comments on “The God Engines Available on Kindle; Other Electronic Formats Soon”

  1. In addition to being a pretty book, which it certainly is, the words are pretty darn entertaining, too.

  2. I finally got around to reading my copy this weekend while I was out camping. Scalzi does not lie; the book is gorgeous. Tie that together with an interesting and thought-provoking story (go Scalzi!), and it’s worth every penny and then some. :)


  3. Hooray! I await the EPUB version with baited breath – I’ve just bought myself a shiny new Sony Reader. Any chance of a heads up when this format comes out?

  4. Finally! [and at a nice price with TTS and no device limits – perfect – buying now].

    What took so long? :(

  5. I’m awaiting the epub version myself, as long as I can find it without DRM. Otherwise, it’s another dead tree for me.

    Damn you, Scalzi, for writing well enough to cause me to violate at least one of my principles!


  6. You could just download the Kindle version and use Calibre to convert to epub. It kind of looks like John (kept your e-book rights John? :D) had Amazon keep it DRM free when he uploaded it.

  7. I’m also waiting for a DRM-free html or rtf version. Youre saying I could get the Kindle version and this Calibre software will convert it into something I could read on my desktop or my old eee linux netbook?

  8. YES! {hobbles* off to One-Click!}

    * Well, at 76 I am entitled to the occasional hobble, right?

  9. CV Rick:

    In fact an audio version is being negotiated.

    Re: DRM:

    The DRM will be whatever the store hosting it wants it to be, I suppose. If after you’ve purchased it you de-DRM it, I have no objection, just please don’t then drop it onto the torrents. There is currently a non-DRM version available through the Hugo Voter’s Packet.

    As to why it “took so long” — It didn’t; it’s out six months after the original publication. This is the equivalent of the paperback release in my mind.

  10. True, for some reason publishers are making the Kindle release at the same time as the paperback. I refuse to buy hardbacks, they’re expensive and bulky. Why publishers insist on them being released first rather than the paperback followed by ‘collectors ed.’ hardback is beyond me. Okay, it makes them more money. It’s not really beyond me but surely the first rule of retail has to be: make it easy for me to give you my money. Give me the choice of what format suits me.

    I’ll be picking up the Kindle version of your book sharpish…assuming it’s available from the UK Kindle store.

  11. Phillip:

    “It’s not really beyond me but surely the first rule of retail has to be: make it easy for me to give you my money.”

    Well, the first rule is more accurately: release the product in a cycle which offers maximum return. Thus the hardcover release first, which is substantially more profitable both for the publisher and the writer; for example I make $2.50 per hardcover initially, and 80 cents initially for the paperback. As long as there are people willing to pay for the hardcover (and there are), it makes economic sense to address them first.

  12. “As to why it “took so long” — It didn’t; it’s out six months after the original publication.”

    How is the electronic edition coming out six months after publication not taking a long time? The electronic edition should be available the same day it’s published. I don’t see what paperbacks have to do with the release date. E-books have nothing to do with paperbacks.

  13. “for example I make $2.50 per hardcover initially, and 80 cents initially for the paperback.”

    Even with the Kindle versions quite reasonable price of $4.99, if you were self-published you would get $3.50 of that for the e-book version. That is way more profitable than a hardcover or paperback.

  14. Awesome — been waiting ever since the teaser was released to pick up the Kindle version of this. The price is pretty low, though (not that I’m complaining). Is that because it’s not a full novel?

  15. Patrick:

    “The electronic edition should be available the same day it’s published.”

    Well, no. The electronic edition should be available when the people releasing the book decide it should be available. Subterranean Press had its reasons for wanting to sell it in hardcover first, and I agreed with those reasons. That you don’t see how this electronic release is similar to a paperback release is neither here nor there as regards the choice to release the electronic edition when we did.

    Re: your contention that a self-published Kindle edition would be “way more profitable” than a hardcover edition — not to put too fine a point on it, but your determination is based only on a single data point. This is not a particularly intelligent way to estimate what will generate the most profit for a title (and for me, the author) in the long run.

    This is of course one of the problems publishers (and authors) continue to run into with electronic releases, i.e., people declaring that they know the best way for authors and publishers to make their money based largely on their own largely incomplete knowledge of the industry generally and more specifically the business model of that particular publisher.

  16. Purchased! As to hardcover/paperback, I would think you could just price the Kindle (or other electronic) version at something yielding hardcover numbers initially, and then shift to paperback numbers when the paperback is released…

  17. Richard Campbell:

    Yup, that’s something to consider for the future as well. The nice thing about the electronic releases is that the price point does have the potential to be fungible based on demand.

  18. Hm, I just realized in the past month or so, how much I REALLY like e-book formats. So this makes me quite happy.

    Just waiting until it gets into the particular format I want (which is probably the second biggest annoyance about ebooks….).

  19. John, Patrick:

    “The electronic edition should be available the same day it’s published.”

    Any reason Subterranean didn’t make the e-text available the same day at the same price as the hardcover, maybe discounted 10% to remove printing/shipping/shredding costs? Then lower the price to 10% under the paperback cost 6 months later.

    Otherwise, you’re in the same sad situation as we were with music for so long- there’s no way to BUY it legally in a non-DRM format and support the creators and editors, but it’s floating out there free-to-download.

  20. efnord:

    “there’s no way to BUY it legally in a non-DRM format and support the creators and editors”

    The printed version is entirely DRM-free, actually, and entirely legal to buy. And as I’ve noted before, if someone were to have bought the printed edition and then “happened” to find a non-authorized electronic edition online and downloaded it for their own personal use, I would not have griped about it.

  21. Sure John, assuming we *want* the DTB. I no longer buy physical books (for novels at least). If authors and/or their publishers don’t offer me electronic versions, I’ll just find another publisher or author or spend my money elsewhere.

    You also have the authors like JK Rowling who refuse for their novels to *ever* be released electronically on the grounds of ‘piracy’. Ironically, this stance actually encourages it, because it’s the only way to get the books in electronic form.

    John, frankly, based on your view of e-books, I’m wondering if I should just have my Kindle purchase refunded. The only way I can vote is with my wallet, and I don’t want to encourage a view of e-books as second class citizens.

  22. John: Do you make the same amount on paperbacks as you do on the Kindle version? I would hope that you make more on a release that costs the publisher substantially less to print and distribute than a paper book. I would also hope that you make closer to the hardback royalties than the paperback, but again that may be my ignorance of the labyrinthine publishing system.

  23. I’m a big fan of physical books and have been for a number of decades. Having said that, I just packed about 100 pounds of hard and paperbacks off to the used book store.
    As a recent Kindle buyer, I’m betting on an e-book future. It’s hard to imagine anything else in coming years. The question is when, not if, IMHO.

  24. Patrick:

    “I don’t want to encourage a view of e-books as second class citizens.”

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, Patrick. Stop with the whining, would you. You’re no different than any other person; you get the book format you prefer when it makes economic sense for the publisher to release it in that format. eBook preferrers are not special snowflakes in that regard, any more than those who prefer any other format the book might be published in. If for some reason this entirely unexceptional aspect of publishing economics offends you, then by all means have Amazon refund your money. You should know by now my general response to people who try to threaten me economically is to tell them to kiss my ass.

    Roger Weeks:

    The amount I make on any format depends on the particular contract and can vary wildly from contract to contract. However, my agent is very good at what he does, so I make a sufficient amount from every sale regardless. As a consumer all you should worry about is which format best suits your needs.

  25. Dear Mr. Scalzi,

    Just wondering if anyone has told you your awesome today??

    If not let me be the first: YOUR F***ING AWESOME!!! If i’m not the first then enjoy the further ego stroking!!

    Yours Truly,

  26. @32 (Roger Weeks) ” I would hope that you make more on a release that costs the publisher substantially less to print and distribute than a paper book”

    Actually only ~10% or so of the cost of a book is printing and distribution. See other posts here (about 2 months ago or so) and on Charlie Stross’ blog – for a good bit of information about publishing. It’s quite interesting stuff for those of us who are readers but haven’t worked in the industry.

  27. @ different Steve:

    I bought and direct-downloaded the Kindle version from Amazon, and successfully converted it to .epub in Calibre (version 0.7.0). I tried converting to .rtf, but the output file was corrupt.

    However, the .epub file is just a set of zipped .html files with some extra metadata files. If you rename the .epub file to .zip, you can extract it into a folder, and read it with your favorite web browser. Alternately, FBReader displays it just fine.

  28. Patrick: Wouldn’t getting a refund on your e-book be “voting with your wallet” to tell publishers that people don’t want e-books?

    Thanks a lot. Now I have to buy two e-books to counteract you not buying one. You’re driving me to the e-poor house!

  29. I’ll wait for it from B&N. I’m not a fan of Amazon, and I have a Nook. (Which I love.)

  30. Patrick: Wouldn’t getting a refund on your e-book be “voting with your wallet” to tell publishers that people don’t want e-books?

    Only if I didn’t buy other e-books (of which I buy many). If a publisher were to say, hey our ebook sales suck while others (and the many self-published authors) say theirs are fantastic maybe they’ll connect the dots. If they don’t then it’s fine by me if they go out of business. The void will be quickly filled.

  31. Well, I was pleased to get it so inexpensively. But the thing is, I would have happily paid full hardback price on the day it was released for a Kindle version. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

    I’ll be surprised if simultaneous release isn’t the norm within 3 years.

  32. You know, I’m well and truly on the other side of the ebook pricing debate from Mr. Scalzi. Much more aligned with Patrick on the broad issue. So Patrick, take this to heart: This doesn’t seem the thread to bitch about that particular issue, and seems a bit churlish.

  33. “As a consumer all you should worry about is which format best suits your needs.”

    Agreed. I was more curious as to how well you do when things are published electronically. I’m glad to see that your agent does well for you in that regard. I don’t know if that’s a general industry trend though, so I was attempting to probe about how the economics of e-books work out for authors in general.

    Also, does your mom call you “Mr. Scalzi”? Because that would be a little weird.

  34. Roger Weeks:

    “Also, does your mom call you ‘Mr. Scalzi’?”

    Only when she’s angry with me.


    “If a publisher were to say, hey our ebook sales suck while others (and the many self-published authors) say theirs are fantastic maybe they’ll connect the dots.”

    Heh. As TGE is currently (4:30, 6/14/10) #96 among all paid Kindle books, in this particular case the message may be a little muddled. But this goes to my point that more goes into publishing decisions than a single data point, and additionally the rationale for those decisions may be opaque or even counter-intuitive to the consumer.

  35. That’s cool that your mom’s name is also Penny not a lot of us out there not the most popular name.

    In regards to the physical version vs electronic version of books am I the only one who buys both?? I LOVE having the physical book to read but when I travel I love the electronic version so I also scoop that up to…

  36. As it happens I’ve bought a number of books in both physical and electronic format. I don’t think it’s entirely the usual thing, but I don’t know that it’s tremendously uncommon either.

  37. So I went right to Amazon and bought it. Hurrah!

    Hopefully “Judge Sn” makes it soon. Sorry, I would have bought it already but I have too much paper at home.

  38. Since John mentioned the Hugo Voter’s Packet above, I’ll just note here that it’s really quite the bargain. I just did an informal price survey of the 6 nominated novels on Amazon and here’s what I found.

    For the most expensive DT (Dead Tree) version of each novel on Amazon, you’d spend $81.70 and for the least expensive DT version you’d pay $58.30. The Kindle pricing is $45.16 for 5 of the 6. The Windup Girl wasn’t available for the Kindle when I checked.

    The above prices don’t include all the novelettes, novellas, short stories, graphic stories and all the other nominated works (including The God Engines) that you receive as part of the Voter’s Packet. All in a non-DRM format (mostly PDF) for only fifty bucks! And you also get the right to vote for your favorites for the Hugo!

    To sum up: lots of excellent e-book reading at a more than reasonable price, with no added DRM.

  39. If you do Judge Sn, though, you have to keep the Gahan Wilson illustrations… I thought it was just the cover, but the interior illustrations were awesome.

  40. How long until Subterranean will release the *Signed & Numbered* versions of the E-book?

    …Or will you just have to personally come by and sign my Kindle? (No, that’s not a euphemism…)

    : )

  41. In all seriousness, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation of touchscreen capable e-readers allowed for some form of signing capability.

  42. I want my books scrimshawed on the tusks of Northern Pacific Right Whales, and if authors and/or their publishers don’t offer me those versions, I’ll just find another publisher or author or spend my money elsewhere.

  43. Lonnie @51: Webscriptions has The Windup Girl for $6.00. You can download it in a variety of formats, including mobi, which will work on the Kindle, I believe.

    So, adding $6.00 to your $45.16, it comes to $51.16. :)

  44. Patrick @31- “I don’t want to encourage a view of e-books as second class citizens.”

    Books are not, and never have been, citizens. Even e-Books.

    John: Already purchased on the Kindle, reading now, very glad to have some new Scalzi in electrons. Already had a signed copy in hardback, but don’t often have a chance at home to read, so glad to have it in E also, so now I can actually have a whack at reading it.

  45. Hardcovers, it seems to me, are the publishing industry’s equivalent of a movie’s first run in theaters. The movie has its run in the theaters and then comes out on DVD/BluRay. The unit cost of producing (or buying) DVDs or BluRays vs. the cost of showing it in theaters is irrelevant. The theater run is where the producers make the bulk of their money, so other distribution channels wait until that’s done.

    Hardcovers work in a similar fashion. You put the hardcover out for nine months to a year, and then you release it in paperback. I don’t see any logical reason why publishers shouldn’t treat ebooks the same as paperbacks if that’s what they want to do. Whether they make more or less money doing it that way is their concern, not mine.

    And Patrick @31, you are of course free to take your money elsewhere. You always have been. You seem to think you’re threatening financial ruin on Scalzi and Subterranean Press, but my guess is they’ll both do just fine, and Athena will still get to go to college.

  46. “You seem to think you’re threatening financial ruin on Scalzi”

    Err… what!? No, I just said that I was choosing to vote with my wallet. That’s about all I can do as a consumer and purchaser of e-books in this regard. I’ve enjoyed John’s work but I don’t care for how this particular publisher is choosing to treat e-books (and I guess to an extent John). It’s certainly my free choice to not care for that. I’m not demanding that anyone else feel the same way nor do I particularly care if they do. I simply stated how I felt about the matter and that that some of these publisher behaviors will ultimately harm them. That’s really about it.
    I really don’t understand the hostility. :\

  47. I did enjoy it, thanks to my son-in-law who is a science fiction aficionado and a Scalzi fan.

  48. hoho, this now lives on my iPad.

    I feel a little dirty admitting that I like the Kindle app for iPad better than I like my Kindle. I’m still married to the Kindle but my iPad is a beautiful mistress.

  49. My Kindle is underutilized since I got the app for my Itouch. I read in bed and with the Itouch being self illuminated, no more falling asleep with the light on. A relationship saver…

  50. Patrick @61…. unwittingly perhaps, I think you pushed buttons that a lot of ebook converts push. Many of them are evangelical about their newfound medium and it takes a few forms:

    1) Ebooks should be released when hardcovers are – for the price of paperbacks
    2) “I want my ebooks and any delay is unacceptable and an affront to forward thinking readers”
    3) I’d never deign to buy those nasty paper books (along with rather juvenile references to dead tree products,etc. ). If it’s not available as an ebook, I *sniff* refuse to read it! (Bonus points for refusing to read anything not in one’s particular format)
    4) Because I want this, everyone must do it and refusal just means they’re old, doomed and idiots.

    Any one of these in light doses is only slightly annoying. Many of them, repeated by many ebook partisans, gets tiresome.

  51. Do you know if it is planned to have it available through websubscriptions? If it will be available there I’d prefer to wait for that, otherwise I might pick up the kindle version?

  52. Canadian with a Kobo eReader here … Eagerly awaiting The God Engines ePub! (Other Scalzi books are available through the Kobo bookstore, so I’m optimistic we can get TGE at some point, too.)

    I’m still pretty new to the eReading thing (was resistant initially because I love traditional books so much!) but it looks like different publishers are opting for different strategies with releasing the e-versions of books. Some books currently only available in stores in hard cover format (e.g., S. Larsson’s “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”) are available electronically (at prices similar to hard cover). I might consider buying more of these to encourage this practise (although, again, my one data point may not be all that significant in the bigger scheme of things).

  53. I don’t want hardback release date with paperback prices. Anyone who does is, at a minimum, not very good at math.

    But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want hardback release date with hardback pricing.

  54. John, I have no doubt that there are people willing to pay for the hardback. I also hear and understand the economics of it, thank you for clearing that up. I would of course always want the author to receive more rather than less per unit but must equally balance that against my own needs.

    There is still one more mystery, why is the book not in the UK Kindle store? I remember reading the extract you put up and it struck me even then as a damn good read. Oh well, I suppose patience is a virtue I must continue to work on. I mean eventually they will release it to the UK Kindle store…?

  55. Strangely enough, I picked that up while browsing at Dymocks in Civic (Canberra City) just the other day. Only copy there, so neener neener to any other Canberrans :-)

  56. I keep getting the message, that the book is not available for Kindle.
    Anybody else getting this. Does it have something to do with me being located in Germany?

  57. this book may have the best cover ever
    I had no idea how much I would love this book when I bought it (other than loving everything else that scalzi has written).

    The cover sold me on buying this book in hardback. well worth it. talk about a perfect image of what is in store. how the hell did he get the face just right??

    keep them coming

  58. Petec:

    “how the hell did he get the face just right??”

    Because I talked to the artist about it. And also, the artist, Vincent Chong, IS AWESOME.

  59. Carsten @73: Same thing here, and it’s not even the standard message about unavailability in a certain region, just plain unavailable. Cheers from Switzerland.

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