Palm Digital Media Gets a Name Change

Palm Digital Media has released version 2.5 of their popular e-book reader and have given it the new eReader Pro name. The company has also relaunched under the new eReader brand and has a new website.

The Palm Reader software has now become eReader with a new version 2.5. The main changes are the new name and new icons for the toolbar for OS5 machines. The company has also launched a new website at If you take their current survey you get 10% off your next purchase.

Palm Digital Media, began as, It was purchased by Palm Inc in early 2001 and was later transfered to the PalmSource division after the Palm Inc spinoff. PalmSource later sold the company to PalmGear, which in turn was recently merged with Power By Hand Inc.

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$.99 a book sounds better

batmon @ 5/21/2004 4:49:06 PM #
here is an idea... sell all eBook at 99 cents price, just like those download music, then it will be a big hit!! I don't understand why eBook sells more expensive then regualar paper book. I thought usually paper book is around $3.95, right? If $16.99 music CD can sell for $0.99 per soong, then $3.95 book should be able to sell it for $0.99 too. I mean, book's overhead is higher the music CDs anyway, so they sould be able to do it.

RE: $.99 a book sounds better
maven @ 5/21/2004 5:07:48 PM #
Actually, multiply the .99 per song times 12-14 songs on a CD, and you aren't really saving much over buying the CD. PLUS, you have the pain of the DRM to worry about. I can't believe the music industry wants to raise the prices to $1.49+ per song.

Back to the issue of the books: There are many hard costs which still apply even if you aren't printing a physical book. In addition, publishers don't want cheap ebooks taking sales from hardcover editions. Therefore you are unlikely to see really low prices, at least on newer releases.

However, I don't see why older releases couldn't be selling for much less than they are now... say the cost of a trade paperback.

RE: $.99 a book sounds better
bcombee @ 5/21/2004 5:16:00 PM #
In the book world, authors tend to get more royalties, as a percentage of sales... it's not uncommon to get a 20% royalty on the book's wholesale price.

Only a small part of the rest of the book cost goes to production costs. A lot goes to pay for the publishers, the editors, the proofreaders, and all the other parts of the machine that makes the output of an author available in quality form to the reader.

Also, book publishing tends to release a title three times: first, there's the hardcover version. This is slightly more expensive to produce, is a bit more durable, and commands a premium. Part of this premium is an "early-access" fee; people that want to read the book ASAP will pay more. After a while, then comes the paperback version; this can be a trade paperback (same printing as hardback, but with soft binding) or a true paperback (new layout for smaller pages). Sometimes, a book will go to trade, and later go smaller -- this happened for the Harry Potter books. At each size reduction, the cost of making the book decreases, and the price also goes down.

So, how do EBooks fit in. While you save the physical cost of the book, the author, editing, and publishing costs are still there, and need to be recovered. There also is extra cost involved in making the ebook -- the time spent doing ebook layout, clearing digital rights to any materials referenced in the book, testing the ebook to make sure it works in the reader software, and promotion though ebook channels.

I could see $.99 being a fair price once a book gets to the lowest-level paperback stage, or for archive items that aren't in print anymore, but pricing it that low early doesn't make sense, as there is a proven market for good book-length works that will pay more.

Ben Combee - PDA programmer weblog

RE: $.99 a book sounds better
bcombee @ 5/21/2004 5:25:54 PM #
BTW, maven, I have seen publishers like Palm Digital Media and Fictionwise reduce their ebook prices after the intial release of the ebook version, usually around the time the publisher releases a lower-cost edition in print.

Ben Combee - PDA programmer weblog
RE: $.99 a book sounds better
Winter_ @ 5/21/2004 5:59:39 PM #
Regarding the .99$ songs: if you buy a full album that way, you should factor out of your savings the compression quality loss and the fact that you'll have to provide the CD + burning (that is, if you're to get the music out of the computer).

Personally, I don't think they're THAT cheap. Convenient, perhaps...

RE: $.99 a book sounds better
rojo @ 5/21/2004 6:51:06 PM #
They are not more expensive. I buy from them all the time. In fact, just this morning I bought an ebook for $12, while the same book, which is a new release only available in hardback, was $18.50. That's about 40% less. I think they are more convenient and I can read in bed without a light (makes the wife happy). The DRM on them is really easy, and if you already have a book on your palm, it doesn't even make you reenter it. As for loaning them out, I do it to my close friends, by putting the code (CC #) myself.

As much as you think you are buying paper and ink, you are not. It's the information within it you are paying for. Oh, and a bunch of marketing.

RE: $.99 a book sounds better
Haber @ 5/21/2004 10:32:51 PM #
As eBooks can be a bit pricey, why not used book stores, especially for less than the most recent books?

RE: $.99 a book sounds better
HiWire @ 5/22/2004 11:46:51 AM #
I agree that eBooks should be less expensive. I am currently taking a Book Publishing certificate and have worked with several book publishers.

You are not getting the same value for an eBook as you are with a real book - can you transfer your book to a friend? Not unless they also have a Palm Reader. Is the experience of reading, quality of typesetting and "eyes-friendly" equivalent to ink on paper? Not as much as a book. Will this eBook have lasting value? No, because it will become obsolete as newer formats are released - you may notice that you have no rights to updated editions as they are released - these new editions will eventually rival or surpass the printed page, but you will have to pay for them again.

Also, as far as I know, few publishers have issued corrected or updated ebooks (without charging full price), although it costs them little to do so compared with print retractions or replacements.

Palm m505 User

RE: $.99 a book sounds better
Kesh @ 5/22/2004 3:24:23 PM #
Personally, i consider ebooks more valuable than a paperback. They don't get folded up or damaged by reading. I can carry dozens of books in my pocket. And I can read them without anyone seeing the cover and questioning me about how good it is, or why I picked that one. :)

I don't mind paying around paperback price for an ebook, though I rarely will pay hardback price for one.

Is Upgrade to 2.5 Free?

Robotica1 @ 5/22/2004 12:21:35 PM #
. . . . or do you have to pay for 2.5 even if you had PalmReader Pro?
RE: Is Upgrade to 2.5 Free?
bcombee @ 5/22/2004 4:38:56 PM #
From the website, if you already have a PalmReader Pro license, you can get your reg code for eReader 2.5 from your account page at This is a free update for those already registered.

Ben Combee - PDA programmer weblog
RE: Is Upgrade to 2.5 Free?
RSC @ 5/23/2004 3:21:01 AM #
Can anyone tell me what the feature change list looks like from 2.2.8 to 2.5 (I couldn't find any documentation on the ereader site)? I'm not sure there's any compelling reason to upgrade...

RE: Is Upgrade to 2.5 Free?
Haber @ 5/23/2004 9:14:18 AM #
eReader 2.5.0
- The application name has changed from Palm Reader to eReader.
- The default toolbar uses large icons, in color on Palm OS 5 handhelds. Note that this will cause books to be repaginated when first opened after the upgrade.
- Support additional screen orientations on TapWave Zodiac handhelds.
- Fix a bug where soft hyphens were not drawn if full justification was on.
- After selecting text in a book, choose the "Copy Quote" item to copy the selection to the clipboard [Pro only].
- Fix a bug that could cause highlights to be placed on the wrong page [Pro only].
- Requires 400K free memory.

Palm Reader 2.4.3
- Fix a crash in the Font dialog on HandEra 330 handhelds.
- Fix problems with the Invert Screen option on devices with 16 bit color displays [Pro only].
- Requires 335K free memory.

Palm Reader 2.4.2
- Fix an update problem when changing the font smoothing option.
- Fix bookmark colors when the toolbar is hidden.
- Fix support for Sony left/right jog buttons.
- Requires 335K free memory.

Palm Reader 2.4.1
- Fix a crash on Palm OS versions prior to 3.5.
- Fix a problem with pagination when using small or large fonts on high resolution Sony handhelds.
- Requires 330K free memory.

Palm Reader 2.4.0
- The free version of Palm Reader now includes a full demo of Palm Reader Pro. After the demo period expires the application reverts to the free version.
- When copying books to a card when multiple cards are mounted you are
prompted for a target card.
- In the "General Preferences" dialog, you can now change the horizontal
margins of the page to "Small", "Medium", "Large" or "Wide" (the latter
is recommended only for widescreen devices) [Pro only].
- In the "Toolbar Preferences" dialog, you can now turn off the toolbar [Pro only].
- Fix a bug where the Selection Preferences dialog vanishes after
picking a custom color on Palm OS 5 devices [Pro only].
- Fix a bug where the wrong page is shown after changing the screen size while reading a sidebar or footnote.
- Requires 330K free memory.

Palm Reader Pro 2.2.9
- Add support for reading books with the slider closed on Tungsten T3 handhelds.
- Add an option to turn off the underline on links (in the General Preferences dialog).
- Fix a bug where notes and highlights appear in sidebars and footnotes.
- Fix problems with five-way buttons on Tungsten, Zire and Treo handhelds.
- Requires 300K free memory.

RE: Is Upgrade to 2.5 Free?
HiWire @ 5/24/2004 10:17:40 AM #
Getting a bit fat for a Palm application... More RAM please :-P

Palm m505 User


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