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More Ebook Survey Results


My apologies for not following-up on the promise I made in this earlier post to provide more information in a subsequent post.  I got distracted on a few other things but I finally managed to spend some time with the detailed results spreadsheet.  Here's what I found...

Which ebook format do you prefer?
PDF rules the day.  It wins out for a variety of reasons including portability, how it renders and even the fact that it's so mature.  Epub was probably second on this list, but it was a distant second at best.  And out of the 2K+ responses I only noticed a few references to "Kindle" or "mobi".

What other publishers are doing innovative things with ebooks?
Both Pragmatic and Manning were cited frequently in response to this question.  A number of responses also noted O'Reilly's "liberal and useful ebook policy" though, so our DRM-free approach definitely resonates with this crowd.  I say that mostly because other publishers were criticized in responses here for their use of DRM.  Btw, Pragmatic and Manning mostly got kudos here for their respective "beta book" programs where you get access to the content before the book goes to press.  We offer the same feature through our Rough Cuts program but we apparently haven't communicated it as effectively as we could, at least according to these survey results!

What can we do to improve your experience with O'Reilly's ebooks?
Price was a common theme here.  Customers definitely want to see the prices remain low, but I think that's largely because the products are mostly quick conversions from print format.  I still believe there's an opportunity to increase prices, but only if there's added value to what exists today.  Another popular answer here was the ability to share notes with others.  I'm still blown away by the fact that Amazon built wireless functionality into the Kindle but didn't offer this sort of collaboration option.

What features should the next generation of ebooks include?
Just to show how simplistic today's ebook offerings are, some of the most common responses here were simple things like including links and adding video.  Not exactly rocket science but these are also things that are currently missing in ebooks.  I also liked the suggestion of improving the errata process in books, mostly through automatic updates and/or overlays that show what's changed from one version to the next.  Think of it as version control brought to books.  Again, not revolutionary but it's not something you typically find in most ebooks right now.


Stephen Hamilton

I've used the O'Reilly Rough Cuts offering - I was happy enough with that.

I've got to say, based on you recent (related) post I tried installing Stanza on my iPhone to read some books I've purchased. I gave up - I could probably get it working, but its not worth me spending too long on it. I may be a dummy, but it needs to be an easier process IMO. (not that that is your fault, just raising the point)

Marie Halkjær

>We offer the same feature through our Rough Cuts program but, we apparently haven't communicated it as effectively as we could, at least according to these survey results.

Perhaps this result reflects the wording of the question - it was my understanding that you were looking for initiatives other than O'Reilly's own and I therefore personally left out the great things you have done lately in my answer.


I think PDF is much more easier to use than the other. I haven't tried epub though, maybe I will...just to see if it's good.

Book Calendar

I would like to see better formatting and control of page size, margins, and the ability to change the font size or type inside a book to one which I wanted to look at. There is no reason ebooks should not allow some better control over formatting.

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