Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Huge changes at

by Rob - December 20th, 2009.
Filed under: ebooks.

I’ve long been a customer of, which was recently purchased by Barnes & Noble. But there’s been a huge change in Fictionwise policy, and the only announcement I’ve seen is a notice at the very end of the pro forma receipt email you’re sent after making a purchase there:

NOTICE: You should download your purchases as soon as possible. Fictionwise will maintain your purchases on your bookshelf for at least three months, and longer if we can, but that is not guaranteed. Make sure you back up your files.

This goes to the heart of two basic parts of Fictionwise’s appeal.

First, many Fictionwise books, including the electronic versions of Analog, Asimov’s, F&SF, and Interzone, are offered in what Fictionwise calls “Multiformat” — you pay one price, and you get the books in all the formats Fictionwise offers, whenver you wish to download them: Mobipocket/Kindle, Sony Reader, eReader, PDF, iSilo, Rocket, ePub, and more.

The beauty of buying Multiformat was that you could go back and get the same book or magazine later in a different format without paying for it again. Except now apparently you either download ALL the formats (14 for each book) within three months of purchase, or you risk losing the very flexibility you paid for.

And there’s a hint that Fictionwise is going to phase out those formats. Fictionwise has changed, again without any fanfare, the description of Multiformat books. Although all the formats are currently available, Multiformat is now described as:

Fictionwise MultiFormat titles are unencrypted eBooks that can be read with the FREE eReader application that you can download by clicking here. The eReader software is compatible with the following devices: Palm OS, Windows Mobile Pocket PC (Professional), Windows Mobile Smartphone (Standard), Symbian Series 60 or Symbian UIQ. You can also read eBooks on a Windows PC/Notebook, Apple Macintosh or an OQO Ultra Portable Computer.

And what about eReader, Fictionwise’s DRM format? It’s tied into your credit-card number — and it used to be that you could go back at any time and update that number, and get a new version of the book that would be unlocked by the new number. But if the book disappears from your bookshelf after 90 days, you won’t be able to do that; you’ll be stuck with unlocking books with various numbers — and I believe eReader software has a limit on how many different credit-card numbers it will accept.

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1 Response to Huge changes at

  1. Wow, thanks for posting. I hdn't seen the announcement before. I guess I will start stopping by more ebook stores in the future instead of sticking so much with fictionswise. Anyway, I'll better start downloading all my stores ebooks now. With 500 plus books this might take a while.

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