In the past few week I’ve learned of a number of ways to access our book’s content. Some are just plain new, others I simply didn’t know about. Here’s a summary of sources I know, listed from lowest to highest price.
- Free: the full first three chapters of Real-Time Rendering is available as a sample on Google eBooks, linked from this page.
- Free: large excerpts of book chapters up through chapter 5 are at the bottom of this Google Books page.
- Free: Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature lets you search, and seems to contain a good portion of the book, maybe 70% or so.
- “Free” if you have a subscription: access the book at Books24x7. For example, this is how the students and instructors for this class at Cornell access the book, as there is a school-wide subscription.
- Rent for $27.06 by buying used on Amazon for $53.43, then when done, selling it back to Amazon for $27.38.
- Kindle version for $58.28 – yes, we finally have a Kindle version, in color, or so we hear. None of us have seen it yet, and our publisher cannot give us one – Amazon controls these.
- Hardcover book for $64.76 from Amazon, 27% off the list price.
- Google eBook version for $69.42. Another new and interesting option, and again we haven’t seen it.
- At this point we enter the bizarro zone: $95.27 on eBay. This is not an anomaly, I see a bunch of listings on eBay, the cheapest at $74.49.
- The high-water mark is a seller in Massachusetts with a used copy for $220. I can only hope auto-pricing robots are involved.
I’ve heard we’ll eventually have a “rent for six months” option for the Kindle version, which makes sense for students. Frankly, the Kindle and Google prices hit me as high: you don’t actually own anything, in the sense that you can’t sell it later. Our publisher says Amazon controls their Kindle price – beats me how that works. On the other hand, electronic versions have the advantages of weight (none extra) and searchability. Me, I love having my own internal PDF version of the book that I can search and copy & paste from. It’s unfortunate that PDFs are too easy to pass on to others.
Personally, I like the Google eBook and Books24x7 concept the best, where you can access the book from any web browser by simply logging in (no installation needed, no need to authorize the device, etc.). This method of access seems to be at a good balance point between reader usability and author/publisher protection.
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