eBooks & iPhones oh my!

Ever since I won the Clendon Award in 2006, I’ve been wondering what to spend my prize-money on.

I wanted it to be something special, something that would last, something to do with writing. And I had my heart set on an eBook reader. But alas, ’twas not to be.

You see, living in New Zealand made it nigh on impossible to be able to buy a Kindle or a Sony eReader. To add insult to injury, when I enquired at a Sony store when their eReader would be made available in this country, I was told by the staff that “Sony didn’t believe there was a big enough market in NZ and they wouldn’t be available to purchase here.” Huh? Not a big enough market? What planet are you Sony guys living on???

Oh well. I consoled myself with the knowledge that I could still read my legally purchased eBooks on my PC. And hey, I had even downloaded MS Reader software so the experience was almost like reading a real book! Except for the not-so-small problem of portability. Or, in the case of my ancient old laptop, staying awake until the dang thing powered up and got going. (Not to mention the hot lap!)

Unfortunately, after upgrading my computer and switching to MS Vista, I was soon to discover even that solace was to be fleeting. The new operating system meant that I was obliged to upgrade my MS Reader software….

You guessed it: 75% of my legitimately purchased eBooks were suddenly unable to be opened because of DRM (digital rights management). The only ones I could still read were those purchased from Ellora’s Cave, Cerridwen Press and Red Sage Publishing!

Of course I was incensed by the rude MS Reader message telling me I no longer “owned” eBooks that I had paid good money for, purchased through reputable eBook vendors like Harlequin and Diesel eBooks and the like. And I wasn’t gonna take this lying down. (Diesel eBooks, I must say, were very helpful but couldn’t fix the problem because the problem was with the eBook reader software. And yes, I had downloaded all that extra crap and “activated” everything under the sun as Vista required. DH is a computer whizz. He couldn’t fix it, either.)

So, off to Microsoft…. who were just plain useless. I got the runaround like you wouldn’t believe. Crap from the USA helpdesk about living in NZ meaning I must have downloaded a NZ version of MS Reader so it wasn’t their problem. Oh really? That dot.com MS Reader website that I downloaded the new version from and activated it through sure looks like a US based site to me. But then, what would I know? I’m just the freaking customer. Then, when I finally got through to a “real” person instead of getting automatically generated responses to my emails, I got referred to MS New Zealand…. who referred me to a phone number for MS Australia…. which turned out to be a toll call. I didn’t bother pursuing it in the end. It was just a big ole waste of time.

So then I tried to strip the DRM from my eBooks. But unfortunately I didn’t know enough about it back then, and eventually had to give the whole thing away. Hey, at least I still had an old version of MS Reader on my laptop so I could still read my eBooks on that, right? Because luckily, I’d backed them up onto disk each time I bought a stack – go me!

Except most of the time I really couldn’t be bothered. By the time I’d spent an entire day staring at the computer screen and writing, the last thing I felt like doing was unpacking the old clunky laptop, waiting FOR-FREAKING-EVER!!! for it to power up, and then reading an eBook. Most of the time I *gasp!* chose print books over eBooks, just for sheer convenience.

And ever since June, when I become published in eBook format, the “inconvenience” of reading my eBooks has really irked the heck out of me. I mean, here I was, an e-pubbed author, choosing print books over eBooks for convenience sake? Soooo wrong!

Then a few months back, my DH bought himself an iPhone and downloaded my novella onto it. Wow! Revelation!

I finally decided what to spend that Clendon Award prizemoney on. Well, kinda spend it on. I mean, it’d been banked into the joint account three years ago, so it had been spent on day-to-day living expenses and truly didn’t exist anymore except in my head and heart. But anyway, Santa (aka DH) got me an iPhone for Christmas. And of course I downloaded Stanza so that I could read eBooks on my iPhone . And then Calibre, so that I could convert my eBook pdfs and .lits to .epub and upload them onto my iPhone.

It all worked just the way it should, and Igotta tell you it was such a buzz seeing my eBook on my iPhone! Still grinning over that one.

Even better, I tackled that DRM crap again and through sheer stubbornness, over the course of 2 days scanning blogs and forums on the internet, I figured out that I was missing a crucial step in the process. And after a bit of mucking around I cracked it. Voila! One legitimately purchased eBook I hadn’t been able to read for over a year on my PC, all converted and sitting in my Stanza iPhone library. Yee-ha! Merry Christmas to me, all over again!

So now I’m hooked on the convenience of reading eBooks on my iPhone and frankly, I wouldn’t bother with a dedicated eReader. Who needs a fancy Sony eReader or a Kindle when you’ve got an iPhone?

Yep, here’s one girl who swore she couldn’t see the point of owning a cellphone that was anything but a cellphone, embracing her cellphone as an eReader. Oh, and a GPS locator because I suck at reading maps. Not to mention now I’ve got the Tweetie ap I can now tweet from my phone. Now, if only I could figure out how to download a decent ringtone…..

Here’s my December reading list — a few eBooks there and more to come! *VBG*

December Reads

  • Maximum Ride: School’s Out Forever by James Patterson
  • Black Widow Bride by Tessa Radley
  • Night World: Dark Angel by L. J. Smith
  • Night World: The Chosen by L. J. Smith
  • Night World: Soulmate by L. J. Smith
  • The Devouring by Simon Holt
  • Having The Billionaire’s Baby by Sandra Hyatt
  • Knight Of Grace by Sophia James
  • Solstice by Simon Holt
  • A Lesson In Seduction by Susan Napier
  • Captive Heart by Caroline Anderson
  • Mistletoe Magic by Sophia James
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore
  • Vampire’s Ball by Angela Knight**
  • A Little Night Magic by Allyson James**
  • Sweet Enchantment by Anya Bast**
  • A Christmas Kiss by Lora Leigh**
  • Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • The Kept Woman by Susan Donovan
  • Getting Rid Of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie
  • A Kiss Of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • A Caress Of Twilight by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Seduced By Moonlight by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • A Stroke of Midnight by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Mistral’s Kiss by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Addiction by Lynne Logan
  • Born of Fire by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Baby Bonanza by Maureen Child
  • The Bride Unmasked by Harriet Jones
  • The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
  • The Bride’s Baby by Liz Fielding
  • A Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman
  • Forbidden Fruit by Anne Rainey

**Hot For The Holidays anthology



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5 Responses to “eBooks & iPhones oh my!”

  1. Mark says:

    Check out http://theappleblog.com/2008/08/07/free-custom-iphone-ringtones-using-only-itunes/.

    It’s the easiest way (albeit kinda convoluted) to set a song (or part of a song) from your iTunes library as your iPhone ringtone without extra software or jailbreaking.

    That’s how I got the Doctor Who theme song as my ringtone!

    • Maree says:

      Cool! Thanks for the link, Mark. Guess what I’ll be checking out tomorrow? Hmmm. What to choose, what to choose….

      • Maree says:

        Did I mention the ringtone conversion worked? I already had The Best of Blondie on CD & it’d been scanned into iTunes. So I followed the instructions and converted “Rapture” into a ringtone. Which is rather apt, considering how enraptured I am with this new toy. Thanks again for the link!

  2. Lo says:

    Well Maree guess who is a very dedicated Sony owner and onto her 2nd ereader? lolol. But I must say the sole reason is that my USA friend gave me my first Sony and she and I fought tooth and nail with Sony and their beyond stupid idea that we ppl DOWNUNDER do not make it worthwhile selling books to.

    They finally allowed me to sign up to her USA account and off I went but it does mean she has to trust me as I pay her via PAYPAL for books. The only problem I was told with an iphone is the size of the text. Thus my reason for going to a new ereader rather than an iphone for Xmas…..well apart from the cost difference…..our dollar meant I only paid half for the new version Sony than I would have for an iphone or my son did as he paid for it.

    Sadly without friends I find I need no iphone coz who would I phone? lol

    Don’t tell me I made a mistake Maree. I am one-glasses-wearing-blind-as-a-bat addicted-ereader-user indeed altho I do love my print books.

    I’m glad you finally found your way around everything coz it is one maze of a nightmare isn’t it?

  3. Maree says:

    Whaddya mean, “without friends”, Lo? (Just quietly, I still get a helluva shock when my mobile rings or I get a text, LOL.)

    Glad you got your nightmare sorted, too. “No market Downunder”? What a crock! They have no idea, do they? Can’t believe the lengths you had to go to to! Really annoys me that Australia and New Zealand are the poor cousins in all this drive to make new tech available.

    One of these days I’ll be able to justify getting a dedicated eReader and I hope by then this DRM nightmare will be sorted & it won’t matter where I live!

    But in the meantime, the iPhone works for me because I still prefer to buy the majority of my books in print form, so I can’t see me getting too much eyestrain from staring too much at the teeny tiny screen.

    Mind you, given how fast I read, I CAN see me getting RSI in the finger I use to tap the screen to turn the pages, LOL.