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

Ebook to Print: Does it matter to you?

PrintersJaid Black, owner of Ellora’s Cave, mentioned in her previous interview that she thought the NY move into e-publishing would have difficulties because authors want to see themselves in print. In the Triskelion drama of the past week, one thing was clear and that was Triskelion appeared to over extend itself in attempting to get ebooks into print.

Patty Marks, CEO of Ellora’s Cave, shared with me some changes that are going on at Ellora’s Cave which are addressing the increasing economic difficulties for small print presses, particularly epublishers, finding their way into bookstores. I think the story can be illustrative beyond epublishing and maybe even highlights an issue of internet bookstores because right now, getting in a brick and mortar store is still important. It’s important to note that while much of the discussion centers around Borders Group Inc., it is because Borders was the first national bookstore to really believe that there was a print readership for erotic romance.

Per Patty Marks:

Here’s how Borders’ purchasing and return procedure works:

Borders orders are shipped to one of their distribution centers. It, in turn, distributes X number of books to each store. The stores that do not sell the books or choose not to carry the books (for whatever reason) return the books, not to the distribution center for redistribution, but to the return center. The return center returns the books to the vendor (the distributor, wholesaler, or publisher). The stores that need additional copies reorder through the distribution center, thus the vendor is receiving returns from the return center while the same books are being reordered by the distribution center. More often than not, the books being returned are not in resellable shape (trade paperback books are returned whole, while mass market is stripped and only covers returned), so those same books cannot be redistributed and more need to be printed.

Note from Jane: When a book is returned, the wholesale price is charged back to the vendor (publisher or distributor). When Borders restructured and closed the Waldenbookstores, that meant a number of books were charged back to the publisher. I suspect that in Triskelion’s case, it was not able to absorb such a loss.

More from Patty Marks:

As EC was the first epublisher gone print to acquire a major deal with Borders, we started seeing the indications toward the middle of 2005 and beginning of 2006 – in the form of increased returns and from watching financial indicators. At the same time, NY was getting into erotic romance and Borders began accepting more epubs' print titles. At that time, we began doing some restructuring in the area of print, including limiting the number of titles that we printed, reducing Borders's orders and once again, lengthening the time between ebook and print book. We also began focusing on other means of increasing our print distribution and visibility – while paying our printer vendors and royalties — so as to not have to depend on Borders checks to pay the bills.

Spin it how one will, this is obviously affecting everyone in the book industry — from Borders planning a .com store, to NY publishers pushing ebook lines, to Ingram and Baker & Taylor, to LightningSource, to offset printers competing with digital print. And of course it affects the authors whose promises of print are being put on hold and the readers who are waiting for the books.

We at EC have tried to look at all involved and come up with a solution that will be beneficial in the long run for our company, our employees, our authors, our booksellers and our print readers. So, earlier this year, we decided to invest in our own high quality print equipment. Our first official print title was Maiden and the Monster by Michelle M. Pillow.

The company’s decision to make this investment was based on a lot of very positive factors: 1) Much faster turnaround for getting a book into print, 2) we can “right size” the quantity printed, 3) because we can push books into print on shorter notice, we can get new books available for conventions and booksignings, 4) we can alter priorities easily and quickly, 5) because we can print small quantities and can print quickly, we have the option of printing special or customized editions for special events and such, 6) we can alter books easily, 7) we can alter books easily, 8) books need never go out of print and 9) the operation is expandable and 10) we will be able to print ARCs and catalogs for our print vendors.

Being nosy, I asked Patty to clarify some issues:
Jane: What about Barnes and Noble?
Patty Marks: I just had lunch today with a person who works at B&N here in San Antonio. She said that they have some of our titles, but the LSI titles still show up in their system as POD and non-returnable and thus not orderable by B&N, except I believe as special orders by the customer. All of our books have always been returnable (we get charge backs from LSI on returned books). I know B&N has recently picked up some of our newer titles from Baker and Taylor and our VP of Sales is communicating with B&N corporate to see what we need to do in order to have all of our titles available in the stores that want to stock them.

Jane: Do you have to have print success to be a viable company? I was under the impression that EC was successful primarily at the epublishing level and that print was secondary.
Marks: Jane, this is a question you should probably put out to the authors. As far as the bottom line is concerned, the answer is no. Both EC and our authors make a hell of a lot more money from ebooks than from print. There is much lower overhead which equates to higher royalty percentages. However, the print is another venue to get our authors out to the readers and I believe that right now the answer is yes — if a company wants to attract authors.

Jane: It sounds like the print success was largely because Borders was willing to take stock and other larger bookstores are not. Is that accurate?

Marks: Borders (through Sue Grimshaw) was the first to jump in feet first. Due to the erotic content of our titles, I think many of the romance buyers had been apprehensive to carry them. The independents have also been big supporters of our Romantica. We are seeing increased sales through Baker and Taylor and I know that some B&N stores are ordering some titles. I look for this to increase as erotic romance has become more generally accepted

Jane: Is Borders treating small press publishers, such as yourself, differently than the big 6? (I.e., the return nature of the books in mass market form has always been to strip the covers or at least in recent years).

Marks: I don't think so. I believe that all trade paperbacks and hardcovers are returned intact. This was from our original standard contract with Borders. Trade paperback is also a standard size for digital printing and a lot of niche markets use digital printing.

Jane: You said: “At the same time, NY was getting into erotic romance and Borders began accepting more epubs' print titles–?. I wasn't sure what this sentence meant. Are you saying that Borders is accepting more epublisher's print titles? Or are they accepting more NY erotic romance titles at the expense of small presses like yourself?

Marks: Both, sort of. When we started seeing the onslaught of the returns, both of these other phenomena were taking place. At the time Borders had not announced their strategic plan for restructuring, but we were getting indicators from financial reporting agencies. So, we weren't quite sure if the returns were due to it the increased competition for shelf space or changes at Borders. What we saw was that we were getting more and more returns and that we needed to rethink our print operation. We were already in the process of receiving and setting up our equipment when the news release came from Borders. Now we know it was more from the changes than from the competition, but I am sure that both contributed to an extent. We are sure that being able to print according to our customers needs will be much more efficient and beneficial to all involved, including our authors, booksellers and readers. After Borders completes its restructuring, the competition will still be there, which is okay. We'll still find space on their shelves and will be honored to do so.

We also continue to look at other ventures, such as our mainstream Cerridwen Press (with Cerridwen Cotillion for the Regency niche), Ellora's Cave Exotika and our new age imprint The Lotus Circle (which includes our first venture into non-fiction).

***

Angela James, Executive Editor of Samhain, posted an extensive response as to its decision to lengthen the time between the ebook release and print release. I asked a few follow up questions

Jane: Does every title with the appropriate length get put into print?
Angela James: Yes, every title with the appropriate length goes to print. As an easy answer, we say approximately 50,000 words, but it actually has to do with the page count of the book when it's formatted. It's easiest just to say 50,000 words to avoid confusion and long, complicated answers.

Jane: Are you a POD or do you do print runs?
James: We do both POD and print runs, though the books that get the print runs are based on ebook sales and name recognition for the author. However, changing to this new print format (ebook to print in 10 months) will allow us to do print runs on more books thanks to advance orders.

Jane: I assume all your titles are returnable (as BN only accepts books that are returnable).
James: Yes, our books are returnable. Print on Demand does not necessarily mean “non-returnable” though the definition has morphed in the popular conscience to mean that. Our books are now and have always been fully returnable.

Jane: Is it important for your authors to be in print?
James: I can't speak directly for the authors but yes, I believe it's important to many of them to be in print. For one thing, though ebooks are a valid market, there's also a large number of readers who haven't discovered ebooks yet or who don't care to read the ebook format (someday we'll get them to drink the kool-aid!) and print allows the authors to reach those readers. Also, print allows the authors to have a physical book to sign at book signings, donate to their local library, and stock in their hometown bookstore. I believe that both formats, electronic and print, hold their own advantages and so it's natural for an author to wish to see their book both in ebook and print, though it is not always possible.

Jane: Can you be a profitable company without print titles?
James: Yes, I believe a company can absolutely be profitable without print titles. Adding a print program provides another source of revenue and, as I said, access to a new market of readers and buyers, but it also adds another layer of cost, commitment and responsibility that a company might not have the time or the resources for.

***

I asked recently recognized RWA publisher, Loose ID, about its print publishing plans. Loose ID puts only a limited number of books in print and its selection criteria is confidential according to co-owner Treva Harte. Ms. Harte wasn’t as forthcoming as James or Marks but did share the following:

Harte: [R]ather than “limited” titles, Loose Id selects titles we think readers will buy in print and that will expand our e-book market instead of throwing every e-book we have on the wall as some publishers do. We’d like for all our print titles to stick.
We do accept returns. When determining which books to print, we use a variety of criteria to determine the marketability of the book. The specific criteria are confidential.
We’re carried in Borders and other large bookselling chains as well as independent bookstores.

 

***

The question I have for authors and readers would be the importance of print. Is an author not a “real” author unless they are in print? Do you readers find any of this interesting at all or would you like me to stop with the business of publishing already! Let us know.

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

65 Comments

  1. Eva Gale
    May 19, 2007 @ 23:14:06

    What I want to know-is why are books allowed to be returned at all?

    “I bought this bag of apples. I would like to return them.”

    “But it’s just a plastic bag.”

    “Yeah, but they sucked, and I tried to resell them, but no one bought them, so I want my money back.”

    “But you ate them.”

    ad infinitum.

    Retail is hard, does Macy’s return all of their clothing to the lines after their shredded? No, TJ Maxx buys the lot out and makes me all kinds of happy, happy, joy, joy.

    Why can’t that happen with books?

    ReplyReply

  2. Angelle
    May 20, 2007 @ 03:02:44

    Eva,

    Book retail, for whatever reason, has always worked on the returnable unsold copies basis.

    From what I can tell, it’s so that new authors can get a chance. Obviously if bookstores can’t return books, they are less likely to order books from newbies, just established blockbuster authors, such as Stephen King.

    In case of stripped MMPB (they’re the only book format that get stripped as far as I know — I used to work for Crown and Waldenbooks), the reason is because it costs more to ship MMPB back and warehouse them than to print them new. I may be wrong, but that’s what I’ve been told. Remember that bookstores get about 40% discount on the cover price. Since most MMPB is about $7-8, that means the publishers get about $4.20 – 4.80 / copy. That amount includes all their expenses, author royalties, and profit.

    And sometimes your TJMaxx thing happens. Those are called remainders — you know…hard covers and trades that go on sale for 60 – 90% off, some cheaper than the MMPB version of the same title.

    ReplyReply

  3. Angelle
    May 20, 2007 @ 03:47:57

    BTW — I forgot to answer your question.

    Is an author not a “real� author unless they are in print?

    I don’t think it’s the real issue for me.

    As far as I’m concerned, a good book is a good book. But I’m very unlikely to buy something that’s in e-format.

    Why?

    I don’t have an ebook reader. I don’t have the money to buy one. I don’t enjoy reading hundreds of pages in front of my computer. And even if I have an ebook reader, I want to be able to drop it, toss it around, use it in the bathroom, etc., which I can’t do without damaging the expensive device. Therefore, all the books I buy are print books, except for one or two non-fiction titles I own. And with more and more epublishers putting out print books, I see fewer and fewer reasons to switch.

    Furthermore I like to be able to pass my used copies to other people or donate them to the local libraries, etc. I can’t do that with ebooks. So I find print books more flexible in general, as well as cheaper for me.

    ReplyReply

  4. Alessia Brio
    May 20, 2007 @ 05:47:34

    In my nascent days as an author, I viewed print as a stamp of legitimacy. I’ve since realized that’s bunk. As mentioned here & elsewhere, eBooks are more profitable for both the authors and the publishers. These days, I view print as a means to an end rather than the end itself. I want to use my print titles to lure readers to my eBooks.

    However, I’m not shooting for an agent or for NY. I’m quite happy with a small press, and I believe I can be very successful — both critically and fiscally — with Phaze.

    At the recent BookFair at RT, I sold/signed more CDs containing my eBooks than I did print. That works for me!

    ReplyReply

  5. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 05:50:37

    Brace yourself, this turned into a long post ending with my personal specualton of how the ebook market will evolve over time. Those not interested should move on now. *G*

    Ebook versus print- While the ebook market can be extremely profitable for an author, it is a very small slice of the pie right now, and once an author maxes it out, there’s no way to expand their name recognition unless they have a print option. But, as Patty pointed out and many epubbing companies have found out, the way print distribution is set up pretty much makes going to print a money pit. I know when Samhain started out and everyone was ecstatic about how quickly they were going to print and holding them up as the example of what should be done, I was the wet blanket that said I didn’t see the plan as either financially supportable nor systemically feasible. And unlike most people, I was happy to see them drop back to a more reasonable time frame.

    To survive in small press, companies need to be able to turn on a dime because the slightest shift in the system can hit them like a ton of bricks. While writing for small presses is fun, exciting and a really good time, there is also a lot of risk. For the house and for the author.

    To answer your other question- Do small presses need to offer print to attract authors- Yes and no. To attract new authors, yes. To keep established authors, not so much, since they can find other avenues to satisfy this. I think the problem with small presses right now is that they have lost their attractiveness to established authors because they have adopted big house policies without any of the benefits.

    It used to be (all of three years ago *G*) if an author submitted to a small press, rights were only given for three years. (When epubbs went to print small presses began asking for 7 years (two years ago) to earn their investment back) There was no guarantee the book would go to print, but the publishers were doing their level best, books were distributed through the big distributors and the market was receptive. For the author, granting that longer term was a calcualted risk worth taking.

    Now, the smaller presses are pretty much asking for life of copyright which can be negotiated down, but publishers are trying to hold firm at ten years. This at a time when they are all admitting they’re pulling back and regrouping. Authors who have been epubbing for awhile have to ask themselves what’s the incentive for them to give the longer term? To some being published may be worth anything. To others, money is a concern. And yet others hesitate because, well, we are talking high risk small press with limited distribution and benefits currently attempting to redefine themselves in the shifting market place.

    I’m not saying the benefits there are in e/small presses aren’t good, but they ARE limited comparatively. The benefit of giving those rights to the house is obvious. Authors are their assets and the value of those assets are expressed through the individual’s sell through and the contract. The longer the press has rights, the more attractive they are for purchase, partnerships, etc. This is NOT a bad thing. It’s the business’ responsibility to maintain their attractiveness and maximize it whenever possible. A strong house is where an author wants to publish. It’s the authors’ responsibility, on the other side of the equation, to maintain their attractiveness by looking at the market and establishing their limits when it comes to those contracts put before them. Right now, I think this aspect of the market is out of alignment, but that’s just my opinion.

    Rights aren’t the only consideration. There’s also the fact that epublishers have become a stepping stone in authors’ eyes to the big show of NY. This means a flood of manuscripts for the houses. Good for the houses, bad for the established authors because in the past, the time between submitting and publication was two to three months. Now, with all the bigger e houses, it can take months to get the manuscript looked at, (often incoming authors are pushed through much faster than established) additonal months to get a contract, and then a year to a pub date. Seriously, New York’s turn around time on submissions, contract negotiations etc, in my experience, is about 3 times faster than the busier epublishers right now due to the volume of manuscripts ehouses are handling. And because the ehouses are not reading established author’s work or dealing with their contracts first, established authors are becoming very frustrated. Pretty much, the dynamic of the small press market is good for the house, bad for the author as supply is exceeding demand.

    Traditionally published authors always argued against epubbing because e-houses didn’t pay an advance. The argument that epublished authors tossed back was that since they were collecting their royalty checks before a NY pub author even got their signing payment, an advance wasn’t necessary. However, with the way the bigger epub houses have evolved, IMO and strictly my opinion, there is currently no benefit to publishing through them over NY. (I used to hold the opposite opinon, prefering epubbing) Between the submission process and pubication, a wait of 12-18 months is not uncommon. The same as NY, but with a NY contract there is actually less hassle in the process and a decent advance to flll that huge gap.

    I’m not saying epublishers are evil or bad. I’m just saying the small press market is in a period of evolution and the houses, as the good business people they have to be, are capitalizing on the market energy and excess supply to improve their position. This is what they should do. What any good business should do. And authors, as the good business people they have to be, have to look at their individual situations and decide if they want to participate at the current terms, move on, or wait to see how things shake out over time.

    For me, the beauty of epubbing was the diversity of storyline permitted (now permitted in NY also), the fast turn around which allowed immediate gratification, rapid building of name recognition and income production, the interaction with readers, and the short term comittment which meant everything wasn’t so heavy duty. However, the changes in the emarket in general are what moved me to submit to NY. The same way publishers have to, authors have an obligation to stay one step ahead of market changes. (failing to do so can and will crash their career) What’s occurring now was predictable two years ago. Because I write over 100K, my options in the ebook world are limited. Most e publishers (even though there’s no additional cost to more word count as it’s all digital) won’t touch a book over 100K. That being the case, seeing what was coming, I needed to broaden my horizons. The only other horizon was NY, so NY I went.

    As for me: what would it take for me to epublish again? Print possibility would be nice, but it’s not a necessity. A contract that reflects the reality of small press, a good store front, fast turn around, monthly checks and an epress that will accept manuscripts of 120K- those things would be it. Unfortunately, right now, it doesn’t exist.

    Do I think it will exist again? Absolutely. The one model current epublishers are not following in their duplication of everyhing NY is the understanding that there is value in keeping anchor authors. They are, in essence, relying on the volume sales from new authors to keep the income rolling. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the bottom line stays healthy, but that does leave a large number of popular authors with a guaranteed sell-through disenfranchised. At some point, someone’s going to capitalize on that and offer those authors a home. In essence, the way NY created a niche for epubs to flourish, epubs are creating a niche for specialize epubs to flourish.

    I think eventually, (we’re talking over time here and again this is strictly my speculation based on my interpretation of what I’ve seen) the rather loosely knit desirability of houses in the current e press system will become more structured. Over time, readers’ buying habits will streamline from hit and miss to those houses where they find their favorite authors and consistent quality reads. This will create a move up system for authors within the houses. Different houses will structure their releases by their type of buyer. The houses that end up being starting houses for authors will likely be e publish only. They will do volume business through many authors and probably have the more extreme themes in their books. In essence, they will rely on their reputation to put out a certain kind of book to draw readers rather than the commercial success of their individual authors. This model is self limiting for individual sales, so as authors gain popularity, they will move on.

    At the other end of the scale, the “established” house will probably end up having whomever the current “names” in the business are, and will offer print alongside ebook because they will be able to count on the audience of the authors to guarantee the sales that make the step to print viable. They will not rely so much on being known for a theme and the volume they produce of that theme to stay in the black so much as they will rely on the commercial popularity of the authors they do sign. This house will be a step up house to NY and actually may be the e division or divisions of current NY houses.

    I do think for the authors at both ends of the spectrum the income will be good as long as authors in their rush to be published don’t throw away what they currently have in terms of rights and royalties.

    And again, I’m speaking in complete generalities, consisting of nothing more than my speculation based on what has gone before and how I see things poised to head now.

    ReplyReply

  6. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 06:04:06

    *POUT* I had this really long post full of thoughtful speculation in regard to where things were and where I saw them going in the ebook market, but the post gods must have deemed it to wordy, because though it didn’t give any appearance of rejecting it, it does not show up here. *sigh*
    You’ll just have to take my word for it, I guess. It was good. *G*

    ReplyReply

  7. Charlene Teglia
    May 20, 2007 @ 07:00:03

    How about the short version, Sarah? *g*

    My short version; there are readers who will not try ebooks. Too complicated, too many steps, don’t have a special reader, not an impulse buy. (You have to go out of your way to buy an ebook. A print book can be tossed in the grocery cart while picking up eggs and milk, and doesn’t require technical ability to read.) So while I don’t think that an ebook is any more or less “real” than a print book, I recognize the reality that print will reach those readers and ebooks, no matter how good, won’t.

    I think both are important. Ebooks are profitable for me and my publishers. So are print books. If a title doesn’t go into print, from my perspective that’s income lost as well as readers lost, because they might not know to look online to find my latest title.

    Are there real problems and challenges with print distribution? Yes. Although the same can be said for ebooks. I personally think the more options readers have, the more ways there are to reach readers, the better.

    ReplyReply

  8. Kristie(J)
    May 20, 2007 @ 07:18:37

    I’m not as a rule an ebook reader. I have some – about 5 or 6 sitting on the computer. I guess I’m too old fashioned in this regard – I tend to like to hold them and since I don’t have an e-reader. That’s not to say I won’t get one in the future sometime and totally change my mind. One ebook I did read and loved – I had to get the print copy of it.
    As to continuing this series – yea, I think you should. Although I tend to skim read them – I know a lot of readers are ereaders and are probably really enjoying them.
    As for authors just in eform being a “real” author – yea, to me they are. Though I may not read most of them unless they get signed by NY publishing, I think they are very real authors.

    ReplyReply

  9. Nora Roberts
    May 20, 2007 @ 07:21:48

    Ebooks are real books. Ebook authors are real authors.

    I don’t read ebooks. I work at the computer all day, and I don’t want to read for pleasure where I work. I’m not interested in an ebook reader, though I can certainly see the advantage for those who are inclined. All those books stored for travel instead of loading down the luggage, for instance. But there are a lot of us not inclined. I certainly think it’s a growing market, and will continue to grow. And as Charlene said above options are a good thing.

    As for profitability, I can only speak for myself, and that my ebook sales are a small, even miniscule portion of the whole. And when I read in Northman’s letter here that they hold royalties until they reach $25.00, it stopped me dead. Do I have that right? I don’t want to go back and read it again, but if I have that right, this doesn’t speak of strong sales and strong profit to me, at least for that publisher, and those authors.

    I do believe it’s a market that will continue to build and reach new readers. I can’t say I believe it’ll build to the point of matching print sales and profit and readership in my lifetime.

    ReplyReply

  10. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 07:28:41

    Brace yourself, this turned into a long post ending with my personal specualton of how the ebook market will evolve over time. Those not interested should move on now. *G*

    Ebook versus print- While the ebook market can be extremely profitable for an author, it is a very small slice of the pie right now, and once an author maxes it out, there’s no way to expand their name recognition unless they have a print option. But, as Patty pointed out and many epubbing companies have found out, the way print distribution is set up pretty much makes going to print a money pit. I know when Samhain started out and everyone was ecstatic about how quickly they were going to print and holding them up as the example of what should be done, I was the wet blanket that said I didn’t see the plan as either financially supportable nor systemically feasible. And unlike most people, I was happy to see them drop back to a more reasonable time frame.

    To survive in small press, companies need to be able to turn on a dime because the slightest shift in the system can hit them like a ton of bricks. While writing for small presses is fun, exciting and a really good time, there is also a lot of risk. For the house and for the author.

    To answer your other question- Do small presses need to offer print to attract authors- Yes and no. To attract new authors, yes. To keep established authors, not so much, since they can find other avenues to satisfy this. I think the problem with small presses right now is that they have lost their attractiveness to established authors because they have adopted big house policies without any of the benefits.

    It used to be (all of three years ago *G*) if an author submitted to a small press, rights were only given for three years. (When epubbs went to print small presses began asking for 7 years (two years ago) to earn their investment back) There was no guarantee the book would go to print, but the publishers were doing their level best, books were distributed through the big distributors and the market was receptive. For the author, granting that longer term was a calcualted risk worth taking.

    Now, the smaller presses are pretty much asking for life of copyright which can be negotiated down, but publishers are trying to hold firm at ten years. This at a time when they are all admitting they’re pulling back and regrouping. Authors who have been epubbing for awhile have to ask themselves what’s the incentive for them to give the longer term? To some being published may be worth anything. To others, money is a concern. And yet others hesitate because, well, we are talking high risk small press with limited distribution and benefits currently attempting to redefine themselves in the shifting market place.

    I’m not saying the benefits there are in e/small presses aren’t good, but they ARE limited comparatively. The benefit of giving those rights to the house is obvious. Authors are their assets and the value of those assets are expressed through the individual’s sell through and the contract. The longer the press has rights, the more attractive they are for purchase, partnerships, etc. This is NOT a bad thing. It’s the business’ responsibility to maintain their attractiveness and maximize it whenever possible. A strong house is where an author wants to publish. It’s the authors’ responsibility, on the other side of the equation, to maintain their attractiveness by looking at the market and establishing their limits when it comes to those contracts put before them. Right now, I think this aspect of the market is out of alignment, but that’s just my opinion.

    Rights aren’t the only consideration. There’s also the fact that epublishers have become a stepping stone in authors’ eyes to the big show of NY. This means a flood of manuscripts for the houses. Good for the houses, bad for the established authors because in the past, the time between submitting and publication was two to three months. Now, with all the bigger e houses, it can take months to get the manuscript looked at, (often incoming authors are pushed through much faster than established for whatever reason) additonal months to get a contract, and then a year to a pub date. Seriously, New York’s turn around time on submissions, contract negotiations etc, in my experience, is about twice as fast as the busier epublishers right now due to the volume of manuscripts ehouses are handling. And because the ehouses do not appear to be reading established author’s work or dealing with their contracts first, established authors are becoming very frustrated. Pretty much, the dynamic of the small press market is good for the house, bad for the author as supply is exceeding demand.

    Traditionally published authors always argued against epubbing because e-houses didn’t pay an advance. The argument that epublished authors tossed back was that since they were collecting their royalty checks before a NY pub author even got their signing payment, an advance wasn’t necessary. However, with the way the bigger epub houses have evolved, IMO and strictly my opinion, there is currently no benefit to publishing through them over NY. (I used to hold the opposite opinon, preferring epubbing) Between the submission process and pubication, a wait of 12-18 months is not uncommon. The same as NY, but with a NY contract there is actually less hassle in the process and a decent advance to flll that huge gap.

    I’m not saying epublishers are evil or bad. Please no one twist my words that way. I’m just saying the small press market is in a period of evolution and the publishers, as the good business people they have to be, are capitalizing on the market energy and excess supply to improve their position. This is what they should do. What any good business should do.

    Authors as the control factor at the other end of the spectrum, like the good business people they have to be, must look at their individual situations and decide if they want to participate at the current terms, move on, or wait to see how things shake out over time.

    For me, the beauty of epubbing was the diversity of storyline permitted (now permitted in NY though also), the fast turn around which allowed immediate gratification, rapid building of name recognition, the interaction with readers, and the short term comittment which meant everything wasn’t so heavy duty.

    However, the changes in the emarket in general are what moved me to submit to NY. The same way publishers have to, authors have an obligation to stay one step ahead of market changes. (failing to do so can and will crash their career) What’s occurring now was predictable two years ago. Because I write over 100K, my options in the ebook world are limited. Most e publishers (even though there’s no additional cost to more word count as it’s all digital) won’t touch a book over 100K. That being the case, seeing what was coming, I needed to broaden my horizons. The only other horizon was NY, so NY I went.

    As for me: what would it take for me to epublish again? Print possibility would be nice, but it’s not a necessity. A contract that reflects the reality of small press, a good store front, fast turn around, monthly checks and an epress that will accept manuscripts of 120K- those things would be it. Unfortunately, right now, it doesn’t exist.

    Do I think it will exist again? Absolutely. The one model current epublishers are not following in their duplication of everyhing NY is the understanding that there is value in keeping anchor authors. They are, in essence, relying on the volume sales from new authors to keep the income rolling. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the bottom line stays healthy, but that does leave a large number of popular authors with a guaranteed sell-through disenfranchised. At some point, someone’s going to capitalize on that and offer those authors a home. In essence, the way NY created a niche for epubs to flourish, epubs are creating a niche for specialize epubs to flourish.

    I think eventually, (we’re talking over time here and again this is strictly my speculation based on my interpretation of what I’ve seen) the rather loosely knit desirability of houses in the current e press system will become more structured. Over time, readers’ buying habits will streamline from hit and miss to those houses where they find consistently find their favorite authors and consistently find quality reads. This will create a move up system for authors within the houses. Different houses will structure their releases by their type of buyer. The houses that end up being starting houses for authors will likely be e publish only. They will do volume business through many authors and probably have the more extreme themes in their books. In essence, they will rely on their reputation to put out a certain kind of book to draw readers rather than the commercial success of their individual authors. This model is self limiting for individual sales, so as authors gain popularity, they will move on.

    At the other end of the scale, the “established” house will probably end up having whomever the current “names” in the e business are, and will offer print alongside ebook because they will be able to count on the audience of the authors to guarantee the sales that make the step to print viable. They will likely offer the more risky books of print authors as e printing requires less capital investment and therefore an area where more risk can be taken. They will not rely so much on being known for a theme and the volume they produce of that theme to stay in the black so much as they will rely on the commercial popularity of the authors they do sign. This house will be a step up house to NY and actually may be the e division or divisions of current NY houses.

    I do think for the authors at both ends of the spectrum the income will be good as long as authors in their rush to be published don’t throw away what they currently have in terms of rights and royalties.

    And again, I’m speaking in complete generalities, consisting of nothing more than my speculation based on what has gone before and how I see things poised to head now.

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  11. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 07:29:39

    HA! It took it this time!

    Sarah, donning her asbestos suit, preparing for the flames. *G*

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  12. Angelle
    May 20, 2007 @ 07:43:31

    Sarah,

    Don’t need to worry about any flames.

    I found your comment very interesting. Thanks for posting it. :)

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  13. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:00:57

    Okay, Now it posted twice. After a long delay. *banging head on desk* Clearly I should be doing something more productve like turn on the roomba and let it clean the house. Uhm, can one of the Jayne’s reduce the epic to one post so as not to wear out your readers?

    I’m so sorry.

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  14. Jackie L.
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:07:14

    Nintendo can build a Game Boy that survives being dropped off the top of a 4- story building. One of the E games magazines tested them that way. My beeper has survived (alas, not the most coordinated individual in the world) two trips into the potty. When they build an E-book reader as sturdy as that I will buy. As for on-line reading, I was reading a freebie from Harlequin a long time ago. I thought, not bad, not bad. I downloaded the ending to finish while my daughter was taking her piano lesson. I thought, wait, this sucks. Bought 3 more books by that author. Yep, in print, she sucked. So no online either, since apparently I have lower standards when it’s just on my computer.

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  15. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:19:09

    As someone who accidentally tossed her ebookwise down the long flight of cellar stairs to the cement floor (I talk with my hands), dropped it out of the door of the car onto the pavement, bumped it innumberable times, had the puppy run off with the coard, dragging all around the house at a dead run for the amount of time it took her to do the laundry, uses her fingers on the screen instead of the little doohickey to “talk to it” has had the same ebook reader for three years, and still gets 15 hours of rechargeable battery life, I can vouch for the ebookwise durability. *sigh* I’m just a little tough on the electronics.

    (you should hear the tales my Roomba tells)

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  16. Jackie L.
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:36:17

    Try the toilet trick, if it lives, I will buy.

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  17. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:44:17

    Jackie,
    Ack no! Then I’d have to fish it out! *G*

    I do know one of my readers takes hers into the tub. She seals it in a ziplock bag. However, to be fair, print books dont’ fair too well with the toilet test either.

    Sarah

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  18. kardis
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:45:17

    Jane, as someone is is strictly a reader I have really been enjoying this series on the business of publishing! I like learning about the inner workings of things as it gives me a new appreciation of them.
    Ms. McCarty, your comment was indeed epic and made for interesting and informative reading! I also appreciate your testament to the durability of the ebookwise, maybe it and my phone should exchange stories of near-death experiences! :)

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  19. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:56:02

    Kardis,

    You’ve found a phone that can survive what in my house is everyday abuse? I am impressed!

    I keep buying wussy phones. One tumble to the floor, one trip through the house with a puppy and they turn up their toes. Pfft! *G*

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  20. Jackie L.
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:59:17

    Sarah, I’m a doctor, I’ve put my fingers in alot worse places than a toilet!

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  21. Jackie L.
    May 20, 2007 @ 08:59:35

    But all my phones die quickly.

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  22. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 09:05:47

    LOL! Jackie. I bet you have. I probably have, too but there’s something about a toilet-no matter how clean-that just makes it the ultimate yuck place. And safe to say, if my ebook reader fell in there, it would stay in there clogging up the works until hell froze over. Or until my hubby rescued it. I, naturally, would be online frantically placing a rush order for another. *G*

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  23. Jackie L.
    May 20, 2007 @ 09:27:19

    You’ve almost convinced me to get an Ebook. Maybe for my anniversary. See what hubby says.

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  24. Rosie
    May 20, 2007 @ 09:48:58

    Published is published. I buy both ebooks and print. However, I think most readers would say that there is a stamp of legitimacy attached to having a book in print.

    While the idea of having all my books in one spot on an ebook reader is attractive in theory, I still buy print copies of my favorite ebooks. I can’t imagine replacing the feeling I have seeing the book on on my shelf and held in my hands with holding a device that lights up and shows me a cover. I suspect many people feel this way.

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  25. Shiloh Walker
    May 20, 2007 @ 11:29:00

    The question I have for authors and readers would be the importance of print. Is an author not a “real� author unless they are in print?

    I’m real. ;o) At least I think I am.

    On the serious side, when I quit my job uh… I think it’s now been three years ago, I was ONLY pubbed in ebooks. I’m pretty sure my first print title wasn’t released until that summer. My ebook titles with EC and Samhain are certainly more profitable, for me, than my print titles.

    Does that mean I don’t want books in print with them? Of course not. There are many readers who still don’t mess with ebooks so the print option is wonderful for them. But I’ve also heard often from readers that I was the one that got them started on ebooks~and that’s so cool to hear.

    I also get a lot of request from readers who want to know when my New York titles will be in ebook. They only want the ebook.

    While print is definitely the leader right now, I think ebooks will eventually catch on with the general population.

    Most of my reader base is still based in ebooks and it was that reader base that helped me get in with Berkley in NY. So I wouldn’t ever discount them.

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  26. Lynne
    May 20, 2007 @ 11:33:08

    My Sony Clié UX-50 is over three years old, and it does a fabulous job as an eBook reader. I haven’t shopped for a new PDA recently because the Sony is still going strong, but from what I’ve heard the latest crop of PDAs do very well as eBook readers. I have enough gadgets as it is, so I doubt I’d buy a dedicated reader unless it could do a better job than a PDA.

    My eBook library has a huge variety — anything from classics to NYT bestsellers to small press books. I wish more books came out in e format so that I could add them to my collection.

    To me, published is published. I judge the work on its own merits. But I will say that if the publisher’s site looks tacky or has a lot of misspellings, it can have the effect of making me a bit more reluctant to purchase from them. There are a couple of epublishers I’ve never bought from because their web sites look unprofessional to me.

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  27. Imogen Howson
    May 20, 2007 @ 11:38:10

    I edit for Samhain, and I have a novella and a short story coming out in e-format from other publishers. I put a great deal of work into all my own writing–whether it’s meant for the ebook market or the print market. And, while editing, I pay as much attention to the small detail of the ebooks as I do to the ones that are destined for both e-format and print.
    Real books–absolutely.

    However, I’m a little tired of trying to explain ebooks to people who–after a long and detailed explanation of e-publishing, respond with ‘So why aren’t they making it into a real book?’ I’m also a little tired of having to try and explain that there is a huge difference between epublishing and self-publishing.
    A physical book that I can bash people over the head with–I mean, show them–is still one of my ambitions, for this and many other reasons. And I’d love to go into a bookshop and see the books that I’ve written or edited on the shelves.

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  28. Eva Gale
    May 20, 2007 @ 11:47:58

    I’m e-published with Phaze-whom I adore-but I rarely (Joey Hill is the only author I’ll read on e-book), if ever, read an e-book. I’m the worst hypocrite, I know. I just can’t cuddle up with an e-reader under a quilt with a cup of something. Or bring it out on to the porch and doze in the hammock with it. So maybe it’s a tactile thing. I am all for having my mind changed, though. Maybe if I get a wild hair one of these days I’ll order myself one and see how it goes. *g*

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  29. kardis
    May 20, 2007 @ 12:32:02

    I have some ebooks on my computer, but I don’t have a reader yet. I think that when I do break down and get one (Jane’s old articles convinced me that it’s the way I want to go a long time ago) then I’ll do a lot more ebooks and fewer print books. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get some pleasure from buying a new print book and looking at its pretty (hopefully!) cover and seeing it sitting on my self. I guess I’m in a weird transition period where I’m starting to loose some of that nostalgia, but I don’t think I’ll ever completely stop buying print books. Maybe that seems strange, this is kind of coming out of my head in a stream of consciousness kind of deal right now.

    On the plus side, ebooks don’t get those little insects that live off of binding glue! (One graduate entymology course and now I eye all of my books with suspicion.)

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  30. Olivia
    May 20, 2007 @ 13:13:31

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that might, at first, seem off: Ebooks and print books are two completely separate entities.

    And I don’t just mean physically. There are all sorts of pros and cons for both types. As an avid reader, LOL, I should know. What I’m talking about here is comparing the two, IMO, is a little like apples and oranges. Both fruit, of course, but from two completely different trees.

    Ebooks came about for a lot of reasons, one of which was that NY simply wasn’t offering what portions of the buying public wanted to read. Yes, a lot of epresses are niche, but that niche seems to be doing them nicely in the fiscal arena. As a long time reader of erotica, I can safely say being able to pick up a romance without the ridiculous prose left over from the bodice rippers of old made me a fast and dedicated buyer from epresses.

    That said, I’ve read the quite a bit of the ‘erotica’ coming out of NY and frankly some of it isn’t worth the money I spent on it. And why should I spend seven to twenty dollars on a ‘hard copy’ when I can read anywhere from three to fifteen books that are just as well written, or not, in pdf or lit format for the same cost? The biggest difference between ebooks and print is that, right now, NY print especially is playing catch up and depressingly, a lot of the catch up sucks.

    I’ll stick with the epubs I trust, like Changeling Press and Loose Id. Publishers that offer a nice variety of genres and themes, with notable names in their lists like Kate Douglas and Angela Knight, but who are consistant in their offerings and whose final versions are as clean of errors as any MMPB from NY (which means there might be an error or two but they don’t detract from my reading pleasure).

    More than content, ebooks and authors are a bit more accessible from a readers standpoint. This is the second biggest reason that comparing the two seems silly. Authors that start small, on the web, seem so much more real to me, which translates into their stories being more interesting to me. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy a blockbuster NYT bestseller, but those authors don’t often reply personally to email or anything else. I can’t by chance bump into them at a chat or the like. I find it fascinating that e or small press authors can manage to maintain that air of mystery that the public wants of their ‘celebrities’ while at the same time letting fans/readers feel how important they are to the whole cosmos of writing as a business and to the author themselves.

    See, print used to be the sign of having ‘made it’ in the writing world. But the fact is that a lot of epresses follow guidelines for acceptance at least as strict, if not moreso, than NY does. The presses that have proved themselves and aren’t going anywhere hire real editors, they reject substandard work, they have marketing teams in place. Ebooks and presses compete against NY for the same buyers, but they aren’t offering the same thing. Which is why, I believe, that the older epresses are still around and still making money.

    As to what Sarah said, I’m afraid she’s right in some ways. Even my favorite houses are of late putting out more work by new authors than by my favorites. It irritates me, but at the same time I understand that those favorites may be or are being courted by NY. Thankfully, the two crossover authors I mentioned earlier still produce in the e-realm. But that must be a difficult thing to face: stay with the e-press that established the author and pays them monthly or go to NY and take the chance that they’ll be lost in the madness and may not get paid but twice a year?

    On the other hand, some of the newbies don’t have the wherewithal to compete, in my mind, with the proven authors. I read their books and think, it’s written well, it’s engaging, but ‘fill in the blank’ could have done it better. Or veteran author’s story, ‘blank’ was still so much better. I think right now there’s a huge influx of people who think e-pub is the way to NY that are trying to get in for that and to make money. And while making money is good, it’s my experience that authors who write for love of it and not for greed are much better at it.

    In the case of those favorites that aren’t being courted, a lot of them have put out eight, twelve, even twenty e-books in the last couple of years. Maybe they need a break. Whatever the reason, I hope to see their names more often and less new names, not because I don’t find new authors to love, but because I would hate to think e-publishers would completely sell out to money at the expense of their tried and true veterans.

    So in my mind both ebooks and print books, as long as they are produced by proven publishers, equally signify having ‘made it’. Ebooks to print might be a sign of the times, but I don’t think it makes or breaks a writers career so to speak. I don’t think of ebook writers who’ve gone to print as ‘better writers’ or as ‘sellouts’, though I’ve heard both. Personally, there are plenty of readers like me who see the whole ebook to print thing as a choice made by authors and/or publishers and as long as the quality remains, I couldn’t care a hoot which way I get my books, so long as I get them.

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  31. Ann Bruce
    May 20, 2007 @ 13:21:20

    Warning: girlie reaction ahead.

    On the plus side, ebooks don't get those little insects that live off of binding glue! (One graduate entymology course and now I eye all of my books with suspicion.)

    Ew! What are these insects and how do you prevent them? Screw that. How do you kill ‘em?

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  32. Melanie
    May 20, 2007 @ 13:32:58

    I’ve always said I would never (ever ever) forgo the pleasure holding a print book in favor of ebooks; however, Jane is slowly winning me over. I’ve actually purchased a few ebooks and found that the reading experience is much more pleasant than I always believed it would be. I will probably buy more in that format; however, I’m still not ready, and likely won’t be for a long time, to relinquish print books. Besides the pleasure of sitting with a book, there’s the pleasure of seeing it on the bookshelf. (Of course, the flip side to that is just how many bookshelves and books can one house hold?) At any rate, I’ve found my all-purpose Treo to be a great device for reading ebooks – I can chat on the phone, check email, surf the net, use my PDA, play games, and read books all on one small toy … er, device. I don’t know how many knocks and bumps it can take (although mine has survived several leaps from my hand to the ceramic floor), but they do make some nice skins and cases for it to help protect it from bumps and bruises.

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  33. Alice Gaines
    May 20, 2007 @ 15:44:28

    I’ve done print, and I’ve done e-books, and I hope to continue to do both.

    I put every bit as much love and hard work into my e-books as into things that I know will go into print.

    E-books are real books. Period.

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  34. Lynne Connolly
    May 20, 2007 @ 17:18:47

    Re ebooks.
    I joined Triskelion when they were an e-book only company. I have never confused ebook and print, though many people do.
    Ebooks aren’t a direct parallel with print books, and it isn’t an either/or. They’re competing with computer games and music. They’re part of the electronic market.
    The market for ebooks is significantly younger, I believe, with readers are already savvy with modern electronic equipment. More and more ebooks are being downloaded to cell phones, for instance. You can read, listen, talk and surf on these things and most of the people buying them don’t need the instruction books.
    They read as well, but often it’s manga, not closely written text. Sherrilyn Kenyon got the point when she put the RPG on her message boards.
    So I don’t write the same kind of books for print and e. I would prefer to write books for both markets, the growing, emergent ebook market and the settled, but declining, print market. But not necessarily the same books.
    Because I love both. And I don’t have an ebook reader, either. I read on my pda.
    So in my books, when I submitted my paranormals to Triskelion, I didn’t expect print. That’s why I didn’t send them the Richard and Rose books. I sent them instead to Mundania, which does have a print policy (but I haven’t seen any sign of a release date yet, although they were scheduled for last year).
    I’ve just sold some new historicals to Samhain, which also has a print policy, because I think they could do well in print and because I like what I’m hearing from Samhain authors.
    And I’m currently writing a new paranormal series I want to target to the large NY publishers.
    But I have to admit, I wouldn’t be writing any of them if I didn’t love doing it.

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  35. Jane
    May 20, 2007 @ 17:27:38

    I couldn’t disagree with you more Ms. Connolly. The bestselling ebooks are harlequin presents. I hardly think that demographic is skewed young. Also I don’t perceive ebooks competing with computer games and music. Books, regardless of format, compete for entertainment time and dollars with other venues such as tv, computers, movies and music.

    Further, one of the oldest ebook businesses out there is Belgrave House which specializes in selling ebook copies of out of print regency books. I know that Jayne, Jan and I cut our teeth on historical ebooks that provided an alternative to what NY was offering.

    I don’t perceive the ebook market to be a strictly digital commerce that competes only with other digital commerce. (computer games generally aren’t downloadable like music and books). The only similarity between a computer game and an ebook is that they are both forms of entertainment.

    Personally, I think that to hold out on releasing your Rose and Richard books because you want them in print rather than capitalizing on the good word of mouth that readers spread about them is shortsighted. I have no interest, unfortunately, in your paranormal books but the minute another Rose and Richard saga appears on the ‘net, I’ll be buying it.

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  36. Jayne
    May 20, 2007 @ 17:41:56

    Personally, I think that to hold out on releasing your Rose and Richard books because you want them in print rather than capitalizing on the good word of mouth that readers spread about them is shortsighted. I have no interest, unfortunately, in your paranormal books but the minute another Rose and Richard saga appears on the ‘net, I'll be buying it.

    Jan and Jane both bought ebook copies of the R&R series after I told them about these books years ago. I had bought print on demand copies from the now defunct epublisher (can’t even think of their name right now) and raved about them so much that J&J decided to try them. Not to toot my own horn but the reviews of them that I did here seemed to generate a lot of interest and comments that people want to try them. Right now, I’m thinking it’s been about 3 years since the last one was released and I’m impatient for the last two books I know you’ve already written. And I’m thinking you’re losing a lot of potential sales by the books not being “out there” and available for people to buy.

    It’s good news to me that you’ve sold some new historicals to Samhain but when will Rose ever have that baby?! ;)

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  37. Lynne Connolly
    May 20, 2007 @ 18:30:37

    [quote comment="28943"]

    Personally, I think that to hold out on releasing your Rose and Richard books because you want them in print rather than capitalizing on the good word of mouth that readers spread about them is shortsighted. I have no interest, unfortunately, in your paranormal books but the minute another Rose and Richard saga appears on the ‘net, I'll be buying it.

    Jan and Jane both bought ebook copies of the R&R series after I told them about these books years ago. I had bought print on demand copies from the now defunct epublisher (can’t even think of their name right now) and raved about them so much that J&J decided to try them. Not to toot my own horn but the reviews of them that I did here seemed to generate a lot of interest and comments that people want to try them. Right now, I’m thinking it’s been about 3 years since the last one was released and I’m impatient for the last two books I know you’ve already written. And I’m thinking you’re losing a lot of potential sales by the books not being “out there” and available for people to buy.

    It’s good news to me that you’ve sold some new historicals to Samhain but when will Rose ever have that baby?! ;)[/quote]

    I know, I could add, me too. I sold Richard and Rose to Mundania at the same time I sold “The Chemistry of Evil” to Triskelion, so I didn’t hold out, I just researched companies that would be willing to bring Richard and Rose out in print. “Chemistry” came out in January, 2006. Richard and Rose were supposed to come out in April 2006, but so far, despite asking repeatedly, I haven’t seen them or had a definite release date.
    I do have other publishers who would love to bring the series out, but Mundania has the rights. I’ve approved the galley and received the first cover art, which was very nice, but had the wrong author name, but that was several months ago.
    I would love to see them out again. I wrote the results of Rose’s pregnancy (not to give away any spoilers) years ago. There are two written but as yet unpublished episodes, and two more planned out before I wanted to give the series a rest.

    The new historicals are set in the same period as Richard and Rose, and are for the moment called the Triple Countess series, about the children of a woman who married three earls in succession (I based her on the Double Duchess, a real life character). I’ve used places I know really well in this series, and the first is set mainly in an inn in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, which is still there (but no longer an inn). Another has several scenes in Liverpool’s dockland.

    I also had a Regency released at Uncial Press this month. Uncial is run by an old friend and great editor, Jude Glad and her daughter. Jude is a demon editor, so I knew anything she has a hand in would be good, so I was delighted to submit “Laura” to her.
    But my passion has always been the mid-Georgian, so I’m really happy to have more Georgians on the way.

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  38. Sarah McCarty
    May 20, 2007 @ 18:44:06

    I have to say I disagree with the theory that stories for ebooks have to be different from stories for print. I’m writing the same type of books for NY that I wrote for Elloras. When I started publishing in Ebooks, I was told I couldn’t sell Western Historical. I was told no one would read long books. I was told if I switched to BDSM I’d have a better chance of success. I was told the ebook readership was different from the NY market.

    That didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t make sense to me now. People who read ebooks are readers first and foremost. They are the same readers that shop in Barnes and Noble or Borders. IMO, what they’re looking for is a good story whatever the format.

    My Harelquin HQN books aren’t as graphic as my ebooks, but the plot lines are the same as I would write in E format. My Hell’s Eight series from SPICE is defintely the same heat and feel as the PROMISE series. My PROMISE series isn’t changing when it goes to Berkley and the Dark Haven Series is no different than anything else. Bottom line, I write romance no matter for which publisher I write and I try to write them so they resonate with readers.

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  39. Angela James
    May 20, 2007 @ 18:52:26

    Lynne’s Richard and Rose series remain some of my favorite ebooks and I recommended them repeatedly (and still do though they’re not available). I can’t wait for the next installment either! But I do think the three she has contracted with Samhain are pretty darn good ;)

    I don’t have much else to add to this discussion because 1600 miles of car travel in 5 days has pretty well done my logical thinking skills in, but I want to thank Jane for including Samhain and giving us a chance to give more information about the print side of our company.

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  40. Next Hooha: E-pubs versus NY « miladyinsanity
    May 20, 2007 @ 19:04:08

    [...] Jane asks, “Ebook to Print: Does it matter to you?“ [...]

  41. sherry thomas
    May 20, 2007 @ 20:10:04

    Jane said:

    (computer games generally aren't downloadable like music and books)

    Not video games, perhaps. But I’ve some 20 computer games at home for me and the boys–the younger one learned to read by reading the in-game instructions–and all of them were downloaded. There is a huge market of casual games geared toward women. (With a DSL connection, it takes just a 3-5 minutes to download a whole game that I can play for dozens, if not hundreds of hours. And at $7.95 a pop (I get them in bulk), of a comparable price to MMPB too.

    BigFishGames.com is the site that gets most of my game money.

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  42. Jackie L.
    May 20, 2007 @ 20:27:48

    Sherry Thomas,

    You gotta try PopCaps–Bejeweled 2, Feeding Frenzy, Mah Jong, etc. I can play them as endlessly as my real life lets me!

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  43. Miki
    May 20, 2007 @ 21:02:14

    I think eBooks are “real” books! I love eBooks. If I could buy every book I want to read in electronic format, I’d be a very happy camper. (Oh, and I’m 46, by the way, although I will admit my love for technology is not shared by most of my similarly aged friends).

    On the other hand, over the last few years, I’ve had a harder time seeing some of the ePublishers as real publishers. Or, more accurately, as good publishers. I’m tired of the poor quality of the editing, if there really is any at all! So I tend to, well, expect less from ePublishers.

    I will admit, some of that may be that I don’t buy “just anything” in print. I have favorite authors and generally only try new authors after I’ve read recommendations from trusted sources. Or I might try someone new at the library, since it doesn’t cost me anything to do that. Or I might spend a little time in the bookstore, reading bits and pieces of a book before I pick it up. I don’t have that freedom with eBooks.

    When I first started reading ePublished books, I bought lots of new-to-me authors, without being able to significantly “try them out” before I buy them. So I became disillusioned with the output. Now, I stick to a small group of favorites. I look for trusted recommendations (harder to find, if you don’t want it all to be erotic romance). And in the case of erotic romance, I’m pushy and send emails to the author to ask for more information, if I suspect the book is likely to hit my “ick” buttons!

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  44. Lynne
    May 20, 2007 @ 21:23:28

    Jackie L. said:

    You gotta try PopCaps-Bejeweled 2, Feeding Frenzy, Mah Jong

    And don’t forget Zuma! I LOVE that game.

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  45. Robert Nagle
    May 21, 2007 @ 06:03:21

    Sarah, I enjoyed what you had to say about ebook predictions (I am prone to doing that as well).

    I wanted to point out my experience with ebookwise. I love the device, but the screen scratched fairly easily. Also, when I was about to give a lecture at a university in Boston about ebooks, I accidentally dropped the ebookwise–my main show and tell item!

    2007 will introduce several ebook readers in the 300-400 range. They should market it not as a reading device but as a storage device–a space saver for your apartment.

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  46. Kerry Allen
    May 21, 2007 @ 06:29:50

    [quote comment="28954"]And don’t forget Zuma! I LOVE that game.[/quote]

    Try Peggle. It replaced my Zuma addiction!

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  47. Rosie
    May 21, 2007 @ 09:03:20

    At any rate, I've found my all-purpose Treo to be a great device for reading ebooks

    Melanie, I have a Treo. I’ve never used it for an ebook. What format do you use for yours?

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  48. Bev(BB)
    May 21, 2007 @ 09:16:11

    That didn't make sense to me then and it doesn't make sense to me now. People who read ebooks are readers first and foremost. They are the same readers that shop in Barnes and Noble or Borders. IMO, what they're looking for is a good story whatever the format.

    Yes.

    And I’ll even go so far as to say they’re looking for a better story than they can find in print. Oh, I’m not talking about thing like editing and grammar and all that stuff there. I’ll leave those arguments of quality to the rest of you. ;) No, the better I’m talking about here is different and unique. Stuff that can’t always be found in print because the mainstream publishers can’t or won’t do it. At least not yet.

    And I’m not simply talking about erotica. Lord, no.

    Linnea Sinclair couldn’t get her science fiction romances published in print originally. Now she can. That’s what I’m talking about. Sometimes ebooks are a proving ground of what is better or maybe the word should be innovative storytelling. Which is a shame but there it is.

    Which is why I don’t always want to pick up ebook copies of books by authors I regularly buy in print. Sure it would save me space in the long run, but I haven’t quite gotten to the point yet where that is an issue and I’m still struggling with the concept that I like having all the books by an author I like in the same format. That way I know where to look. At present I have a couple by Laurens in ebook and it bugs me to no end.

    But what’s really weird and annoying is that now that someone like Sinclair is published in print, her books aren’t offered in electronic. Oye. You know, you would think publishers would get a clue about fanbases.

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  49. Bev(BB)
    May 21, 2007 @ 09:17:19

    testing, testing

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  50. Melanie
    May 21, 2007 @ 09:51:54

    [quote comment="28984"]

    At any rate, I've found my all-purpose Treo to be a great device for reading ebooks

    Melanie, I have a Treo. I’ve never used it for an ebook. What format do you use for yours?[/quote]

    I’ve used both eReader pro and Mobipocket. Because I’m using the pro version of eReader, the features are comparable to Mobipocket. But, I have to say, I think I give the edge to Mobipocket. With eReader (pro), the two things it can do that the other doesn’t but I wish it did –
    go to chapter (yes, I know – set a bookmark when you exit the book)display the time in the toolbar. When you tap the little clock, it also shows a battery gadget. On the other hand, Mobipocket has the following features that eReader pro doesn’t -
    You can assign functions to the hard buttons. I use Opera mini for web browsing and it assigns page scrolling to the second and third hard buttons, so that’s sort of become second nature to me now for scrolling. You can rate the books you’ve read, if that’s important to you.You can assign a book to multiple “reading lists” and then filter on those listsBecause I mentioned the clock in the toolbar above, here I’ll mention you can put a battery gadget on the toolbar but no clock. All other features between the two seem somewhat comparable. All in all, I believe I prefer Mobipocket, especially when you consider Mobipocket is free while the version of eReader I’m comparing it to is the pro version.

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  51. May
    May 21, 2007 @ 10:11:05

    Rosie, I’m not Melanie, but you can read Mobipocket and PDF (use Adobe’s PDF reader for Palm).

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  52. Sarah McCarty
    May 21, 2007 @ 11:58:27

    Lynne,

    Linnea’s books Games of Command, etc are offered in ebook at several sites. Ebook.com for one.

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  53. Sarah McCarty
    May 21, 2007 @ 12:00:59

    Whoops, meant Bev (BB). Linnea’s books are available in eform. I had to check in case they’d been removed, but they are.

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  54. Janet Miller/Cricket Starr
    May 21, 2007 @ 12:35:33

    I’ve been epublished for about five years now and before I was, I was also reading ebooks. They were cheaper than the trade paperback equivalents, they take up virtually no room…if you saw the boxes of books in my office you would understand how important that is to me…and I can throw a dozen onto my Palm TX and head for a three week trip with my recharger in my carryon luggage and not worry about running out of something to read.

    I still like print books (remember the boxes in the office?) I will often buy some titles that I could buy in print at Fictionwise instead, but I still buy a lot of print books as well.

    I also like to see my books in print. It is a great feeling to hold your book in your hand. It is nice to sign it, and my mom won’t read an ebook but she will a paperback. Not that I intend to give her a copy of Rogues given the male-male sex starting on page one of that book. (If you are going to do something, do it with flare, I like to say). But she’s read other of my Cricket books.

    And my books in print make me money. As has been said, it is a different market and every additional market you can get makes you some money. Not as much per copy but everything helps. Last year about a third of my income was from print books, particularly of titles that had been in ebook the year before. In addition there are some of my titles that do much better in print than in ebook because the market for them is slightly different.

    Add to that print readers who discover me in a print anthology then go online to purchase my electronic backlist and you can see why I like print. We have enough barriers to getting noticed by the readers in this world. Why eliminate a market just because it isn’t quite as profitable?

    Cheers,
    Janet Miller/Cricket Starr

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  55. Ellie M.
    May 21, 2007 @ 12:48:58

    I read ebooks on my old b&w Sony Clie. Love it! I can hold it with one hand in the dark while everyone’s asleep.

    Man, that sound dirty.

    It has several different reader programs on it – PDA, Word, maybe one other – but I was dismayed to learn it’s so old they no longer make the memory chips that fit in it. I wanted more ebooks and now I’ll have to cruelly delete some to make room.

    Oh, I think paperbacks are real books, too :). I’d better, I’m in one.

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  56. Sarah McCarty
    May 21, 2007 @ 13:01:46

    Robert-

    I’m shocked. My ebookwise I consider indestructible. Want me to send my ebookwise over to talk to yours and make it more…street tough? *G*

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  57. Ciar Cullen
    May 21, 2007 @ 13:11:26

    I’m still laughing over Nora’s response about royalties being held until they reach $25. Did someone answer her? Yes, that was twenty-five U.S. dollars. I’ve probably in my lifetime spent that ten times over on buying her books. I’ve had worse checks than that. This all has me thinking loooong and haaard. I really appreciate everyone’s input.

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  58. Melanie
    May 21, 2007 @ 18:16:53

    [quote comment="28989"]Rosie, I’m not Melanie, but you can read Mobipocket and PDF (use Adobe’s PDF reader for Palm).[/quote]
    I haven’t really played with the pdf readers on my Treo yet, although I have both the Adobe reader and palmPDF. (palmPDF looks like it beats the Adobe product all to pieces but, as I said, I haven’t really played with either.) As I recall, when I started investigating readers and formats available for Palm OS, it seemed there were issues with being able to open and read DRM protected pdf ebooks. Or is my memory failing me? Can these secure books be read with either of the Palm pdf readers? (Without jumping through lots of hoops to make it happen?) What would be the reason for selecting this particular file type over mobipocket or palm reader (ereader)? Is it simply a matter of preference?

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  59. Jane
    May 21, 2007 @ 19:00:52

    If I had to choose, I would use mobipocket over PDF every single time because the DRM restrictions, while onerous, allow for portability and changing of your reading device ad infinitum.

    You could use MS Lit, Converlit GUI and then read the resulting html file with ubook, but this requires more tech knowledge than the average bear wants to go through.

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  60. Melanie
    May 21, 2007 @ 19:54:46

    The tech knowledge isn’t an issue, per se, as I tend to be pretty tech-y, but since all the programs you mentioned are MS products and I’m a Mac user (okay, I *do* have a PC in the house, but all things being equal, I’d rather use my Mac) and the idea of having to go to that much work to convert a file into a readable format when there are other, more convenient formats just doesn’t make sense. Glad to know there’s not something I’m missing in the format selection process.

    Generally, if I’m going to choose to read an ebook over a print book, then it better be pretty much as easy as opening the print book and flipping the pages.

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  61. Bev(BB)
    May 22, 2007 @ 09:15:30

    [quote comment="29006"]Linnea’s books are available in eform. I had to check in case they’d been removed, but they are.[/quote]

    Well, good. I thought it was strange that they wouldn’t be offered that way. Maybe the publishers are getting a clue finally.

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  62. Gabriella Hewitt
    May 22, 2007 @ 15:38:00

    As for Jayne’s questions — E-pub or print. A good book is a good book no matter the format.

    I have read some wonderful e-pubbed authors. It took me a while to get into it but once I started I got hooked. I have them in my Adobe Reader on my laptop. Love the feel of books in my hands and if I really want to buy the book, I just click POD on the e-pub site. A week later I have the book in my hand. I have Talons Anthology from Samhain and the quality is spectacular. Since reading he book I have discovered some new authors and downloaded their e-books.

    So, I guess the print book is an evil necessaity in the land of e-publishing. Otherwise I would have never found out about these authors.

    I guess the biggestquestion that needs to be asked right now is how to get more people interested in e-books at a grassroots level.
    Personally, I think it comes from good marketing and some e-pubs just know how to do it better than others.

    For now I am doing my best to spread the gospel about e-books to librarians and education administrators in high schools and colleges. If you want to hook people you got to get them when they are young and tech savvy. Hey, if you think I ‘m nuts then you need look no further than Madison Ave and its push to grab kids’ attention.

    Now if only we could get e-books onto i-pods then you’d have such a huge audience!

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  63. Eva Gale
    May 23, 2007 @ 09:55:05

    Did anyone mention http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Tail ? E-books have Long Tail viability. Print runs out, and unless it’s picked up for reprint, nada, right? I could be wrong.

    Both e and print is good.

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  64. Emma Petersen
    May 23, 2007 @ 10:51:38

    Ebooks are convenient. When that whole brouhaha over Anna Campbell’s Claiming the Courtesan was going on I didn't want to wait until B&N or Amazon’s delivered my copy. So I took my happy self over to Fictionwise (I think) and bought a copy. *Shrugs* Can’t beat instant gratification. That doesn’t mean I read ebooks on a regular basis, hell I don’t really read anything on a regular basis, it just depends on whether I’m writing or reading at the time.

    And on to the, is an author an author if the author is only epubbed? Let me answer a question with a question. Is an author an author if they are never published? What if Toni Morrison never published The Bluest Eye, if Alice Walker never published The Color Purple or Amy Tan The Joy Luck Club? Would that make their work any less poignant, beautiful or real? No. The only difference is the world would be missing out on some of the most brilliant work known to mankind.

    I know my way of thinking is considered by some kind of new age-y or whatever but to me the only person who can define me is me.

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  65. The Web’s Best Sites for Writers Looking to Learn Everything There is to Know About E-Publishing (Huge List!) « ThatActionGuy.com Blog
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 07:47:23

    [...] Ebook to print: does it matter to you? From the Dear Author blog, interviews with a pair of successful epublishers on the importance (or not) of offering electronic books in print. [...]

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