The Ghost Brigades eBook (Almost Certainly Temporarily) Down on Amazon
Posted on July 28, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 16 Comments
Some folks sent me e-mails over the last couple of days, letting me know that The Ghost Brigades appears not to be available in a Kindle edition at the moment. It turns out they are correct. Why is it not available? Who knows? Being a paranoid person I am, however, it makes me wonder if this, from a few days ago:
Okay, that's weird: Ghost Brigades is current the No.1 SF book at Amazon. Strange for a 6-year-old novel. #ButIllTakeIt http://t.co/ZvQxVVjz— John Scalzi (@scalzi) July 23, 2012
was a glitch that Amazon had to take down the file to fix. Hey Amazon: You’ll still have to pay me. Thank you.
Anyway, the appropriate people have been alerted and I’m reasonably confident we’ll get this squared away soon (factoring in the fact this is a weekend).
However, this does bring up the point that, as all Tor books are now distributed DRM-free, including my own — and including The Ghost Brigades — this is a reminder that you can buy the book at any electronic retailer and then port it into your Kindle (or Nook, or whatever reader you like). The only complication with the Kindle is that Amazon has all its books in a variation of the .mobi format, and everyone else is using .epub. But if you use a program like Calibre, you can buy it in .epub format, convert it into .mobi format, and then pop it into your Kindle. And there you have it. One more reason why it’s nice my work is now DRM-free (in the US, at least).
Update, 12:12am 7/29: It’s back on Amazon.
Bad timing Amazon – I was just trying to buy a digital copy of Ghost Brigades for my flight yesterday. I assumed there was some transitional hole related to Tor’s transition to DRM-free. I had to satisfy myself with a copy of First Colony instead, so no big loss to me or John (I’ll still be picking up Ghost Brigades once it’s available).
It shows up in the search results for me, but is listed as “pricing not available”.
Me too! It was just there a few days ago and downloaded the sample of Ghost Brigades. It was available then. And now I can’t purchase the full version. (Maybe I broke it.)
I have noticed a lot more mis-indexing mistakes at Amazon recently. Just oddities like having the kindle version not linking up to hardcover, or having a TV show not show up when you do a search but finding it when you scroll through “most popular.” I know it’s a huge site, so there will always be those kinds of glitches, but I’ve noticed 5 of them in the last 2 weeks. Seems odd.
This what brings the Galactic Empire to its knees. Incompatible file formats, and link rot.
Sorry, It is my fault Amazon is sold out of the digital copies. I was purchasing a copy of the book and I accidentally clicked on the, “Buy now with one click” button 600,000 times. If anyone wants a digital copy, I have a few extra licenses.
@ itsathought2, I am not sure, however, I don’t think the not linking is a mistake. If an author uses a publishing house to get his book out, then, many years later, the rights revert back and they self epub on Amazon, I don’t think, Amazon links the publisher version with the self published version. They are owned by two different entities, thus they are not the same book.
I don’t think it’s just you or Tor, John. I’ve seen a ton of kindle books go offline in the last few days including:
A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor VInge (Tor)
The Clan Corporate: Book Three of The Merchant Princes by Charles Stross (Ace)
All Tomorrow’s Parties by William Gibson (Berkley)
Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon (Del Rey)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twentieth Annual Collection by Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s Griffin)
Discount Armageddon: An InCryptid Novel by Seanan Maguire (DAW)
Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin (Random House Books for Young Readers)
Night Shift by Stephen King (Anchor)
just to name a few. I have a list of about 50 or 60 of them. I think something is afoot be it technical or otherwise.
Before anyone blames Amazon for having a different format, remember that Kindles were developed before ePub, and mobi has been a documented standard that anyone could implement for over a decade.
WordPress lets you embed actual tweets? Nifty. I never noticed that. I just assumed they were screenshots.
I noticed earlier in the day The Androids Dream, which I’m reading now, didn’t have pricing available but it’s there now. And it looks like Ghost Brigades is back with a price.
I’ve used Calibre to convert my own zine from PDF to epub and mobi. I’m all for the principles behind Calibre but when I used it, there were random changes in font sizes, spelling, grammar and punctuation errors were introduced into my zine. Basically it was a dog’s breakfast, so I decided to continue only offering PDF until I could upgrade to Adobe InDesign CS6.
Sadly InDesignCS6 is not fully compatible with Windows 7, it does not allow large fonts etc. The standard text size for CS6 on my 26 inch monitor is less than 3mm high. I’ve spent $1063 on a product I cannot use – I’m visually impaired – and Adobe has said (and I quote): ‘Adobe has not made any claims via Microsoft’s disability access centre’ after having told me over the phone that Adobe provided disability access via Microsoft Windows 7 disability access processes. Adobe also said ‘However, we have added to our product roadmap the feature to add Hi-DPI support [large text sizes] within InDesign for the Macintosh operating system, with Windows to follow later. At this stage, we do not have an expected timeframe.’ Adobe referred my complaint to their lawyers, one of whom rang me up to tell me he wasn’t happy.
We need another alternative. Any suggestions out there?
Any word on if/when publishers are going to look at Region Free sales?
I love that Tor books are now DRM free, I just can’t seem to find any way to actually legally buy them online from Australia, and from what I’ve read here and on Mr Stross’s blog I have zero confidence I’ll be able to any time soon. :-(
@Michael Kirkland: While it is true that the initial Kindle format was Mobipocket format (a format created at least 10 years ago by a company Amazon bought at least 5 years ago), Amazon deliberately set up the Kindle’s Mobipocket ID so that it couldn’t be used at any other ebook retailer (so nobody else could sell DRM’d ebooks for Kindles), and they have a new format, KF8 that is comparable to ePub, but different, and it was implemented well after the release of ePub V2 and probably implemented after ePub V3 drafts were released. So, yes, I blame Amazon for creating a walled garden to lock in their customers, unlike Barnes & Noble, whose ereaders can read any ePub, but their DRM method is not supported by their ePub ereader competitors (Sony & Kobo) even though B&N made it available to Adobe to be supported by all ereaders using the Adobe ePub toolkit.
The one thing I miss in Kindle books that weren’t bought through Amazon is having them sync’d between my Kindle and other Kindle-capable devices (i.e. my phone and my tablet.) It is wonderful to be able to open the Kindle for Android app on my phone and start reading a book where I left off reading on my Kindle. Then later, pick it up on the Kindle where I left off on my phone. Manually sync’ing is a PITA. But, since I utterly despise DRM far, far more than I value that feature, all my books are converted epubs except for the few given to me by other people who bought Kindle books for me.
Quoth OGH in his update (12:12am 7/29): It’s back on Amazon. …and there was much rejoicing.
Hooray! Here’s hoping the corrected sales numbers are still impressive.