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

Friday Deals and News: Amazon Killing Everyone; Gemma Halliday Sells 1...



JManga let us know that it is having a special sale on Josie/Romance titles from March 15 to 21st (PST).  Subscribers who purchase any Josei/Romance titles during the promotion will get 100 points back (up to 29% off) per volume!

Now is the perfect chance to check out such romance manga titles as “The Celebrity Doctor’s Proposal” by Sarah Morgan / Masami Hoshino, “The Bride of Montefalco” by Rebecca Winters / Kiriko Higashizato, and yaoi romance such as “Pet on Duty” by Nase Yamato and “Dash!” by Isaku Natsume.

You must be a subscriber in order to purchase manga on JManga, but during this promotion will be offering a special sign-up bonus of up to 4500 points! Don’t miss this chance to get the romance manga you need. continuously strives to offer the widest selection of legal online manga available, from major to niche, shonen to shojo and yuri to yaoi/BL!

They also offered to provide an account to Dear Author and Jan agreed that she was interested in reviewing some titles for the site.

Amazon has suspended the account of Digital Manga Inc over images in the manga which Amazon is citing for “content violations”.  It appears, however, that the titles in question are primarily homosexual depictions of sex and not other types.

Our account was suspended under troubling circumstances – we have had titles cited for “content violation”, and while we screen every title to ensure they adhere to Kindle’s standards, their guidelines are notoriously vague, and prohibit “Pornography and hard-core material that depicts graphic sexual acts.”

There is no definition of “pornography” versus “erotica” officially available from amazon. In the past, we considered our titles the latter, and strive to comply with Amazon’s guidelines. However, with such vague guidelines and a veritable library of erotica in written and drawn form already available on the Kindle, it is difficult to discern exactly what rules Amazon wanted us to comply with. We also find it disheartening that our titles depicting male homosexual romance have been banned while erotica depicting other forms of intercourse flourishes. What makes relationships between men more objectionable than erotic tristes between men and women? This is a question we imagine you’re all asking yourselves right now, and a question that we need Amazon to answer for us.

Gemma Halliday has sold her millionth ebook since self publishing.

Just to clarify, I’m not yet in the coveted Million Kindle club (though, I’ve got my sights set on it!!), as these sales have come from Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Sony, etc.  So they have been spread out over several different outlets.  Just a breakdown of roughly where the sales have come from:  about 1/2 Amazon, 1/4 BN, and 1/4 all other outlets (iTunes, Sony, Kobo, Smashwords, ARE).

More on how Amazon is killing everyone:

Ebook sales have been a highly addictive drug to many smaller publishers. For one thing, there are no “returns.”  Traditionally, profit margins for publishers are so low because books that remain on shelves too long can be returned for credit — too often in unsalable condition. No one returns an ebook. Further, ebook sales allowed smaller presses to get a taste of the kind of money that online impulse buying can produce. Already ebook sales were underwriting the publication of paper-and-ink books at Wings Press.

It has been increasingly obvious to independent publishers for the last two years that Amazon intends to put all independents out of business — publishers, distributors, and bookstores. Under the guise of providing greater access, Amazon seemingly wants to kill off the distributors, then kill off the independent publishers and bookstores, and become the only link between the reader and the author. The attack on distributors like IPG and on some larger independent presses is only part of the plan. Amazon has also been going after the ultimate source of literature, the authors.

I guess my question is why aren’t these small presses selling direct.  Romance publishers do this.

There is a copyright fight over the derivative rights of the Godfather series.

Paramount filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court in February that accused Puzo’s heirs of approving sequels to “The Godfather” without the studio’s permission and in violation of earlier agreements.


Audible has expanded its trial period from 14 days to 30 days.  Currently you can get your first three months at for $7.49/month.  I really enjoy my Audible subscription.

  • I Think I Love You by Stephanie Bond * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Three Wishes by Stephanie Bond * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Marry Me, Maddie by Rita Herron * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Honor Bound by Brenda Novak * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Selkie Spell by Sophie Moss * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Seeing Julia by Katherine Owen * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Play Dead by Anne Frasier * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Yearnings: A Paranormal Romance Box Set by Amber Scott Carolyn McCray * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The French Detective’s Woman by Nina Bruhns * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Fifth Avenue Novels Box Set by Christopher Smith Brandi Doane * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Bridge To Happiness by Jill Barnett * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S *Recommended*
  • A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S *Recommended*
  • Darkness of Fire by Alexis Morgan * Meredith Duran * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Pillow Tallk by Maya Banks * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S *Recommended* (This is a pre order. It was part of a duo logy with Shayla Black)
  • The Lord of the Rings: One Volume: Collector’s Ed by Tolkien * $9.99 * A | BN | K | S *Recommended*  (All three books, Fellowship of the Rings, Two Towers and Return of the King)

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Ros
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 12:11:33

    Seriously, if you’re a small press worried about Amazon stealing your ebook market, here’s what to do:
    1. Sell direct.
    2. Sell in a kindle-compatible format
    3. Sell without DRM

    Customers will be flocking to your site in droves.

  2. library addict
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 12:32:13

    I agree publishers (all of them not just the small presses) need to do all 3 things Ros suggests. But I am curious how many Kindle owners actually go to Samhain to buy their books vs how many buy at Amazon. Isn’t the main attraction of the Kindle the ease of Amazon’s one-click? Not to mention the better (through far from perfect) search engine and their excellent customer service.

    Plus All Romance eBooks sells DRM-free mobi from multiple publishers, but how many Kindle owners shop there rather than Amazon?

  3. MrsJoseph
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 12:45:15


    I could kiss you for that! Agree 100%

  4. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 12:57:57

    Good for Gemma Halliday. I just read one of her YA books and enjoyed it.

  5. Roslyn Holcomb
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 13:01:10

    Based on my royalty statements I would say far more go to the third party vendors than go to my publisher. So even if the publishers did sell direct I doubt they’d be able to put a dent in Amazon. Most readers like one stop shopping. They prefer to go to Amazon or ARe where they can get books from any publisher. I’m the same way so no, I don’t think small publishers have a chance.

  6. Moriah Jovan
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 13:05:01

    @Roslyn Holcomb: I agree, as I can attest to from my own experience as a small publisher. However, direct sales should still be available.

  7. Linda Hilton
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 13:48:19

    @Roslyn Holcomb: I agree Ros 100%. I don’t think the general reader even pays enough attention to who the publisher is to do their book shopping by publisher. I suspect it’s more often by genre, sub-genre, sub-sub-genre (romance>PNR>vampire) and the big third-party vendors facilitate that kind of filtering. Multiple points of sale — third party, publisher, author, etc. — would seem to me (but what do I know?) the best way to increase sales and maintain competition to prevent outrageous price increases.

  8. Brian
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:08:23

    Most folks I know don’t even know they can buy from anywhere but Amazon for the Kindle and B&N for the Nook. That doesn’t however mean that the other outlets aren’t important. The first step is for the publisher to offer direct sales, hopefully as DRM-Free multiformat re-downloads like Samhain for Baen offer and not single format downloads like most seem to offer (often with no re-download) so a customer can feel like they might be able to get a new format if they change readers without having to do any conversion. The second step would be for that pubs authors to help educate their fans about the possibilities. Not that many won’t still choose the easiest option and buy from the retailer their device is from, at least not until they start looking into a new device and find out that their books won’t be usable on a device from someone else.

    I recently ran into my first IPG book which of course I couldn’t get when going to Amazon. Now I know how to get it somewhere else and get it onto my Kindle, but I would have happily bought from IPG directly if they’d offered DRM-Free Mobi as an option instead of a message on their website that Amazon has chosen not to carry their eBooks. (well, honestly I wouldn’t have bought direct in this case since they charge a lot more to buy direct, but you get the point).

  9. LG
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:14:03

    @Roslyn Holcomb: I can only speak for my own shopping habits, but I agree. I chose my one-stop-shopping store based on ease of finding DRM-free e-books, so Amazon and BN were out first thing, but most of my shopping is done at ARe. I only have two publisher site accounts and have avoided adding any more, because I already hate how many usernames and passwords I’ve collected and don’t want to add to the list.

  10. Frekki
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:20:47

    I do most of my ebook buying from Amazon and Fictionwise and only occasionally buy directly from the publishers, mainly because I buy enough that I don’t want to have to check too many places to see if I’ve already bought a particular book, and so I don’t have so many usernames and passwords to keep track of.

    That, and it’s just so easy to impulse buy from Amazon with my Kindle.

  11. Carolyn
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:25:25

    My publisher recently took down their shopping cart. Although they offered DRM-free books at reasonable prices with no geographic restrictions, they weren’t selling enough at their site to make the cost of the shopping cart financially feasible. They’ve put in buy links to Amazon and other e-stores, since that is where the bulk of their sales are generated.

  12. Dee
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:43:56

    i’ll buy direct from the publisher on a regular basis – when it comes to lots of the m/m romance that I read, as well as fictionwise (I can’t not spend money with their huge coupon sales). But probably 50% of my stuff comes from amazon because its the easiest thing to do – I buy a gift card each payday and that is my reading money. If more places (like Carina) offered direct download (since last time I checked they only offered epub), I would probably buy from them.

    re: the Yaoi – has anyone seen the titles removed? because I searched Amazon this morning after I read the article in the Digital Reader and found over 300 Yaoi by that publisher still listed on Amazon.

  13. Michelle in colorado
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:47:35

    @library addict:

    I buy at All Romance eBooks and load my books onto the kindle via calibre.

  14. lijakaca
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:52:27

    I’ve been thinking about buying an e-reader for a while now, but I had put if off since I haven’t been buying as much in the last couple years. I’m going to email Amazon and tell them the Kindle and their bookstore is off my list until they either get rid of that outdated provision, which really seems like it’s a catch-all so they can remove material without a valid reason. With ebooks it should be simple to limit adult materials to adult buyers, and frankly Amazon has no right to tell me what I can and cannot buy as long as it’s legal.
    I’m really getting tired of the moral panic going around, it starts with abortions and family values and ends with women being relegated to the underclass (again).
    It’s too bad that online sales seem to be difficult – I can see why it would take a significant (for a small pub) investment, but it makes so much sense to me. I recently bought some ebooks from Omni, which seemed like a vendor site separate from the publisher, maybe that would work to keep costs down.
    Thanks for the heads up on the josei deal as well, I’m definitely checking that out!

  15. Sarah Frantz
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 15:25:17

    Can someone explain (seriously, I’m confused) how a digital publisher will be “killed” by Amazon if they offer their books through Amazon to be sold for the Kindle apps (Kindle, phone, computers)? I absolutely see how Amazon is a huge problem for distributors and non-digital publishers, but surely ereaders and the services through which books are sold for those ereaders (Amazon for Kindle, B&N for Nook) will only increase the ability of small digital publishers to distribute their books?

  16. Estara
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 16:01:14

    Can I just say that I am so impressed that is now offering it’s online reader app to outside US and Canada consumers – not all the publishers are on board yet, so some titles are greyed out, but quite a lot of off-beat manga is available now.

    I can recommend Tenka Ichi.

    AND then there’s VIZ Sublime Boys Love store for m/m romance manga, that actually allows you to download .pdfs and not just read the books on the site – and they’re drm-free. Some nice titles there.

    I especially like The Bed of my dear King, which is far more slice of life than the usual offerings.

  17. DS
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 16:07:14

    @Brian: I had thought I had run into one but when I checked elsewhere (B&N) I couldn’t find the eBook so I had to conclude their wasn’t one.

    I bought the trade paperback from Amazon instead. I can’t imagine why any author would not have an eBook available, it wasn’t even as though the book had just been released. It has been out about six months.

  18. Lori Green
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 16:12:08

    @Sarah Frantz: Exactly what I was thinking.

  19. Jody W.
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 18:14:06

    I wonder, like Carolyn said, how much it costs to implement a secure shopping app for a small publishing site? No idea. Sounds like most people don’t shop small publishers anymore. I know I rarely do because it’s easier to do it wirelessly, on impulse, and I don’t have to hunt down the damned cord. I also have no idea how much small publishers need to sell via Amazon to make a profit, depending on their contract terms with Amazon. It may be that it’s pretty darn hard, and could get harder if contract terms change, especially if the publisher does everything else “right” insofar as investing in editing, cover art, marketing and the like. That stuff’s expensive, I hear :).

  20. LG
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 18:18:02

    @Dee: re: the Digital Manga news, this may be why:

    It looks like Amazon has reversed their decision. Their letter doesn’t appear to give any reason why, and there’s no guarantee they won’t do the same thing again in the future.

  21. Maili
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 18:33:07

    Now is the perfect chance to check out such romance manga titles as “The Celebrity Doctor’s Proposal” by Sarah Morgan / Masami Hoshino, “The Bride of Montefalco” by Rebecca Winters / Kiriko Higashizato

    I would never buy a Harlequin comic again. Not until HQN/SoftBank clears it up. Most HQN manga titles I bought honestly have the world’s worst typesetting. Really shoddy. And some art styles are unbelievably outdated. Some haven’t been seen since the 1970s, for goodness sake. I do wish Harlequin could do something about it.

    @Estara: Oh, Sakae Kusama is always awesome.

  22. Roslyn Holcomb
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 18:33:34

    Sarah Frantz Amazon takes a fairly whopping cut of sales. With most epubs the publisher gets 65-70%. The author gets 35-40%. Well, if Amazon takes 35% of the cover price that only leaves 65% to be split up between author nd publisher. The profit margins are already pretty narrow, so when you have to divide it three ways instead of two…well, it can get pretty gnarly. Can they make up the difference in volume? I don’t know. Most of the epubs compensate by keeping the books only on their sites for the first six weeks or so, but I think I heard that might be changing.

  23. LG
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 18:39:20

    @Maili: Ugh. I had thought maybe the awfulness of typesetting in the excerpt of “Daniel and Daughter” that I read was just because it was free. I’d hate to have paid for something that shoddy. It didn’t look like a professionally-done release, but more like an inexperienced scanlation group’s work.

  24. anon
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 18:54:00

    “I guess my question is why aren’t these small presses selling direct. Romance publishers do this.”

    Some are too grand/elite, some still aren’t sure e-books will become popular, and some still don’t get digital publishing at all and don’t want to get it. The hatred for Amazon/digital books from those still hanging on to old publishing is astounding. The lack of knowledge is even more astounding. When I asked an editor at a small (but popular) press if I was going to receive royalties from a backlisted book that was put up on Amazon as an e-book, he didn’t even know the publisher had listed his books in digital format. Not a clue! This was only three months ago. At first he was indignant, “WE don’t sell e-books.” Well, I sent him links. He didn’t reply. This, incidently, is the same small press where I have never received flat fees from the editor for more than one book that was published and released for sale. And I doubt I ever will. I honestly don’t care if Amazon eats them up and spits them out.

  25. Maili
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 19:08:18

    @LG: Yes, you’re right. No one should pay for something so shoddy. Some translations are a bit iffy, too. Unfortunately, almost all current HQN manga titles have those problems. Typesetting? All looked as if it was done by a summer intern after a pub crawl or two. I just can’t believe that all publishers’ comics I tried, HQN is at the very bottom in terms of quality. I thought KittyMedia was dodgy, but no. HQN manga is worse. Shame, really.

  26. Gwen Hayes
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 19:32:39

    I sell my ebooks directly on my site. Instead of using a shopping cart, I use eJunkie for $5 a month and they handle the download and Google or Paypal handle the money. I sell… maybe 3 copies a month from my site, but you know…it’s there.

  27. lucy
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 21:26:06

    If DMI would start selling downloadable copies of their manga, I would buy directly from them in a heartbeat but I can only find those titles at BN and Amazon. I have asked them a few times and they keep saying that they are looking into it. The only thing is that they will most certainly implement some kind of DRM. I wish I they would learn a few things from SuBLime or even JManga(and I don’t even particularly like JManga).

  28. Miki S
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 00:12:43

    I’m not sure I’d categorize $3.99 for a novella (Maya Bank’s Pillow Talk) as a deal…that seems like “full price” to me.

  29. Jane
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 00:23:43

    @Miki S I thought it was a deal because it was originally in a duo logy that was priced at 9.99 (trade paperback)

  30. SAO
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 01:40:10

    The game is changing and publishers need a strategy. As far as I can tell, their strategy is to complain as loudly as they can.

    Amazon is not going to develop editors nor read their slush pile. They might facilitate channels for agents or editors to have boutiques within Amazon, but those initiatives will come from the editor or agent, not Amazon.

    Readers need gatekeepers to keep them from being mired in the vast sea of rejected crap that can easily be self-published. Anyone in the industry thinking strategically can find a way to meet that need in the new marketplace and that could make traditional publishers go the way of the buggy whip.

    I don’t know what the industry will look like in the future, but I am sure that the future winners are thinking about the future strategically, not wasting their time wailing about how much better the past was.

  31. Anthea Lawson
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 01:47:34

    Jane said “I guess my question is why aren’t these small presses selling direct.”

    To which, my question is, why are these small presses using a 3rd party distributor to get their titles onto Amazon?!?!? No wonder they’re being squeezed, paying a middleman to ‘distribute’ a digital copy to the retailer. That’s really the crux of the problem, IMO.

  32. Ilona Andrews
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 12:21:46

    I have a section on my website where I offer a free book and explain how to load content on Kindle, and I can tell you that despite very comprehensive instructions, I still get several emails a month asking me how to “do the Kindle thing” with mobi downloads. Overwhelming majority of Kindle owners prefer to access Amazon site. It’s easier, which is the secret behind Amazon’s success: easy to buy + wide selection=customers. I don’t think selling direct is the answer, because individual small publishers simply don’t get the traffic Amazon does. You pay for the access to that huge customer base.

    That said, why in the world would a small publisher use a third party to upload things onto Amazon? There are not that many retail channels and the upload process isn’t that difficult for most of them.

  33. Ilona Andrews
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 12:23:03

    @Anthea Lawson:

    What Anthea said.

  34. Roslyn Holcomb
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 12:24:23

    Which small presses use a third party? Mine doesn’t. I know of at least one that uses a formatting service, but not a third party.

  35. Roslyn Holcomb
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 12:25:39

    Ilona, the instructional is a good idea. I have to explain a lot too. It would be good to just set up a page on my blog. Thanks for the idea.

  36. Anthea Lawson
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 22:10:44

    @Roslyn Holcomb: IPG is a third-party distributor for several small presses. There’s a list of their clients here.

  37. Amy
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 02:56:44

    I’m so bummed that 5 out of 5 of the “free” deals listed here for Amazon turns out to be “free” to borrow only if you are a Kindle owner + paid Prime member. I have Prime via my spouse, so that doesn’t count. And since my Kindle went kaput, I’ve been using the Kindle app on my ipod Touch again, which I actually prefer over my old Kindle.

  38. JenM
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 09:06:14

    All of those books were free over the weekend but the deal has already expired. For books in the Amazon Prime Lending Program, the author is allowed to offer the book for free for a total of 5 days during the period, so many offer it for free for a day or two, then it goes back up to the original price. You’ve gotta be quick on those free deals. There are websites that track the deals and update them on a daily basis.

  39. MaryK
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 09:15:28

    Speaking of tracking deals, is there a website or app or something that watches items for you and tells you when the price drops? I thought I saw such a thing mentioned, possibly on twitter.

  40. Jane
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 22:13:43

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