Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Link Round Up Tuesday

Borders Group Inc. is trying new things to revive its flagging sales.   The latest is Borders Ink, a department devoted to selling books and merchandise to teens.   By the end of August most of the Borders superstores should have this specialized department.

At a time when book retailing is slumping, young-adult titles and graphic novels are still delivering growth. Albert N. Greco, a professor at the Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business Administration who studies the book industry, estimates that young-adult fiction, fantasy and science fiction will generate $744.3 million in U.S. publisher revenue this year, up 13% from $659.1 million in 2008.

That compares with U.S. publisher revenue of an estimated $9.73 billion for consumer books as a whole, a 4.7% decline from 2008′s sales, according to Mr. Greco.

Via WSJ.

Another article from the WSJ (pay link) was posted last week and pertained to the timing of ebook releases.   Sourcebooks decided to delay the release of the ebook for a big September title, one that they are hoping hits the New York Times bestseller list.   The publisher of Sourcebooks explains more about her decision at Booksquare.   Her position is that publishers need to make sure that authors are adequately compensated for their work and she’s not convinced that the $9.99 price point is the way to do this.

Raccah’s argument rests on the concept that ebook readers will be willing to pay for the hardcover insteaed of wait for the digital version.   I don’t believe that digital reader will buy or wait. Instead, she’ll buy a different book and forget about the one that had the delayed release.

  • We can’t control what retailers charge for books or ebooks. The choices book publishers have are:
    • To make the product available, and when
    • To have a relationship with that retailer
  • So that’s the fundamental decision we get to make. It’s not, what’s the right price for this author-or for a book that he’s worked 10 years on (yes, Michael Malone’s new hardcover  The Four Corners of the Sky is also not available as an ebook)-it’s just do we make it available and when?

Evan Schnittman of Oxford University Press disagrees with the delayed release.

Barnes and Noble announced its ebook store proclaiming 700,000 ebooks available.   500,000 of those books are in the public domain creating a healthy and, somewhat deceptive, padding of numbers.   There is a finite number of copyrighted digital books and for the most part, stores like Amazon and Sony and BooksonBoard have all of them.

BN has it’s own DRM scheme (based on and seemingly compatible with eReader)   even though it says it will sell multiple formats. It will not sell any formats compatible with the Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle.   Thus the ePub version that it claims to be selling in the future will be some different DRM scheme than is readable by the Sony Reader.   BN is not a market leader in digital books and the failure to come out with anything innovative doesn’t make me interested in purchasing from its ebook store.

Editorial Ass writes a post about how many editors are acquisition editors and not so much actual editors which means that submissions need to be as clean as possible.   Barry Eisler, author and all around great guy, told me that he views his editor as a customer, one that he wants to wow with each and every submission.    I don’t think it’s wrong to ask authors to submit the most polished manuscript possible.   Editors are there to fight for your publishing date, best cover, and best publicity for your book.    The less time they need to spend making your manuscript saleable, the more time they will have to fight for your book.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. Kat
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 09:17:54

    Raccah was very careful to emphasise that this was a decision for only 1 book in their list. And I think the question people are failing to ask her is why the decision was right for this book. Because maybe there’s a good reason why in this case she believes the ebook might cannibalise the hardback. (I can’t remember if or where she’s already answered this question.)

  2. TerryS
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 09:43:03

    I read elsewhere the Barnes & Nobel ebook store announcement was made in conjunction with announcement of it’s alliance with Plastic Logic ebook reader. I found that to be very interesting. Finally, viable competition for Amazon.

  3. RStewie
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 09:50:09

    @TerryS

    I think “viable” is the operative word here.

    Am I the only one still without a digital reader? Honestly, I read all this hubaloo, and it makes me put off purchasing one, just because I keep thinking (like an idiot, no doubt) that sometime soon the industry will figure this out, and it will be clear to me which one I should buy.

    …The price is still a sizeable roadblock, as well…

  4. Chris
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 10:30:36

    Have you come cross any discussions about what the lack of an ebook resale market (vs the lively used paper book market) does for authors?

  5. Jane
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 10:32:23

    @Chris – I have not (or in recent memory have not).

  6. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 10:50:36

    I don't believe that digital reader will buy or wait. Instead, she'll buy a different book and forget about the one that had the delayed release.

    I don’t think so. That’s like saying that no one will remember to buy the MM when it comes out . . . Might be true for a few books that die on the vine in HB, but I think most of us who already skip the HB and wait for the MM will be just fine skipping the HB and waiting for the eBook.

    What frosts me is when the MM is out but the eBook is STILL priced as a HB!

  7. Karen
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 12:35:05

    More choice is usually a good thing, so it’s fine with me that BN is doing this. On a practical level, I do all my ereading on my ipod touch, and there are free apps from eReader, Stanza and Kindle already: I go with what’s available and what’s the most economical. For me, BN may give me more titles to choose from, but my touch already gives me more options than a Kindle or Sony Reader.

  8. Randi
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 13:56:57

    @RStewie:

    No. LOL. I don’t have one either and don’t plan on ever getting one. The concept of leasing a book chafes my hide. In paper, if I don’t like the book, at least I have the option of posting it on a swap site or turning it in to a UBS. Also, I can’t mention how often I have found out of print books, that are worth quite a bit, at a UBS, for as low as .25 (Loretta Chase and Sherri Tepper-I’m looking at you). Can’t do that with ebooks. The flip side to this equation is: I am missing out on A LOT of fabulous authors (i.e. Josh Lanyon) because I won’t go digital.

  9. RStewie
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 14:49:31

    @ Randi,
    Yeah, that’s a problem I have, too. I don’t mind reading on my laptop, but I’m in front of a computer 9hrs/day already…PLUS my Facebook Family Time and LOLCat quota. …So reading a book on it is a little exhaustive.

    Plus the DRM and e-reader versions and download this and that and the other thing and now you have a key but it’s not the book so go back and download that too and …blah blah blah from my sole attempt so far at purchasing an e-book–these things seriously hold me back from gooing digital.

  10. DS
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 18:49:18

    C. J. Cherryh has redone her blog and I believe is intending to offer her backlist– as well as that of Jane Fancher and Lynn Abbey– all auto buy authors for me– for sale as ebooks on their own site. I thought that was interesting but I was also struck by some comments made on this post: http://www.cherryh.com/WaveWithoutAShore/?page_id=88 including

    Hachette (aka Orbit) are currently very proud of their ebook provisioning warehouse, where ebooks are “printed”, filed on “shelves”, shipped to “wholesalers” or retailers, and accounted for using exactly the same accounting processes as their dead tree books! Which at a stroke neutralizes the huge advantage of the internet.

    Could this be true? I have no reason to doubt it, but still it has a “This way lies madness” feel.

  11. Seressia
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 18:54:32

    YA will generate 744 million this year, so they’re expanding that section. Romance fiction generated $1.375 billion in sales in 2007. So of course that section of the store gets reduced thanks to the face out policy.

    Smart.

  12. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Secret Kitty Hideout, exposed!
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 02:03:46

    [...] & Noble launched an ebookstore, complete with its own DRM (digital rights management) scheme. According to Dear Author, of the 700,000 books available, 500,000 are in the public domain… so B&N pretty much has [...]

  13. NKKingston
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 03:25:08

    @RStewie & Randi

    I’m pretty much the same. I’ve downloaded multiple eBooks and eZines, and I actually quite like the Adobe Reader Borders forced me to download to read some of them, but after spending all day on a computter at work, then checking my personal emails, blogs, facebook and forums at home, I just don’t want to spend any more time staring at a screen. I can’t afford an eReader at the current prices, and the old adage about low prices implying low quality is putting me off those that are appearing at the bottom end of the market (though I can’t afford most of them either!).

    I’ve probably got £50′s worth of books sitting on my harddrive, waiting for me to find a better solution. In the meantime, I’ve spent the same again on secondhand books from Oxfam (and got more for my money), which I’m plowing through at the rate of knots. If I don’t like them, I donate them back to the same shop for someone else to buy. I want to go digital, I really do, but it’s just out of reach right now.

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