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

Friday Links: Strange Alliances, CDC study on sex, Kobo problems

First up, no deals today, just the news.
I don’t publish this to promote this deal but to share with the reading audience one of the strangest things I have received in my inbox (and trust me, I see a lot of crazy stuff there from more books about dumpster love to velvet Elvis loving). But, I don’t even … Maybe you all can explain it to me:
Hope you’re doing well!
I am working with S—V—n, the anti-aging expert in skin care, around the launch of the first ever Virtual Book Club on Facebook! Partnering at the launch with HarperCollins, S—V—n is offering a new way for readers to come together socially and take part in discussions around great books. The S—V—n Book Club not only allows users to create profiles, share reading lists, and join in discussions with other readers but also participate in live question and answer sessions with popular authors – all within the Facebook community!
I am kind of dumbfounded, but maybe this is just brilliant?  Thoughts? [Edited to add I removed some of the letters to lessen the spam]


BN stock v Amazon stock over 10 years

Yesterday I said that BN was privately owned but it is not. Of course it is publicly shared and I should have known that. Interestingly, yesterday Chris Kubica tweeted the 10 year performance of Amazon stock versus BN stock.  Egads. It’s not the share price but the company’s stagnancy.


i09 has been hitting it out the park of late. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece they did on the Incan economy and then they bring to our attention that the CDC is doing sex surveys. People are loving their anal sex, folks.

According to the National Survey of Family Growth, which surveyed thousands of people between the ages of 15 and 44 in 2006-2008, anal sex is really popular with heterosexuals. 44 percent of straight men report having anal sex at least once in their lives, and 36 percent of straight women do too. Though more straight men than women were enjoying anal sex, women were enjoying gay sex more. Twice as many women (12%) reported having homosexual sex at least once in their lifetimes compared with men (5.8%).

Anal sex used to be a staple of erotic romance but I guess it isn’t edgy if everyone is doing it?  (Still, better than a club scene, right?)


In the seriously cool news, Personanondata pointed out an article from May 2011 that reported on how infrared satellite technology is revealing underground cities. The use of this technology may be leading to some of the biggest archeological finds of the century.

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings, including two suspected pyramids.



In uncool news, Darrel Issa has put forward a bill that is intended to strengthen the grip of private publishers over scholarly research which, in my opinion, flies in direct conflict with the charge of the copyright grant.

[The Research Works Act] bill would prohibit all federal agencies from putting any privately published articles into an online database, even — and this is the kicker — those articles based on research funded by the public if they have received “any value-added contribution, including peer review or editing” from a private publisher.

According to the article, NIH “public-access policy, which requires authors who receive any NIH funding to contribute their work to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication” is opposed by the American Association of Publishers who issued a support in statement of the bill.


HBO is pulling its content from Netflix. No more streaming HBO produced DVDs. I’m not an HBO subscriber and I can’t wait to cut the cable cord and start selecting (and paying for) content a la carte but I know there is a hardcore fan base for HBO content. HBO declares that non-HBO subscribers will never have content on digital platforms:

Back in November, HBO co-president Eric Kessler stated to industry leaders that HBO shows would not ever be available to non-HBO subscribers on digital platforms.

I don’t know if that is streaming only because there is quite a bit of HBO content that is available through purchase via iTunes, albeit after a huge time delay. According to this article HBO is one of the most torrented networks, likely because there is no legal alternative. Other networks and movie studios are increasing the time windows between the DVD release and the digital streaming release in an effort to boost DVD sales.


Nate asks if your Kobo books are looking like crap. I know that this is a big problem for some of our readers. Apparently Kobo places a wrapper around epubs which can cause all kinds of formatting problems. Kobo, unfortunately, has terrible customer service.  In any event, Nate is looking for people who are having Kobo book problems.

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. Keziah Hill
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 23:21:59

    I’m reading this on an iPad and something is missing about the Personandata info?

  2. JL
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 10:35:49

    I have a Kobo, but not problems so far with the e-books. However, the device itself is getting slower and sometimes the buttons don’t work on first push though it’s only six months olds.

    I have to question the notion that anal sex is really that popular among heterosexuals. Not judging people’s choices – I just find the conclusion a little off given that what’s been reported is that substantial amounts of the population report trying anal sex at least once, not that they regularly enjoying it. Trying anal sex is clearly popular, but trying an act once doesn’t necessarily mean the act is common or popular. Nit-picky point, but I think it’s worth pointing out.

  3. Mireya
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 10:41:49

    Frankly, I don’t belong to any reading groups, so if it is genius or not, I have no idea, plus I don’t read general fiction, I only read romance, so even though in terms of age range I’d meet the criteria (as I am approaching 50), the idea does not interest me at all. Others may be attracted by the opportunity to get “freebies”. I do suspect a lot of spam is going to go to those that get involved, though. I hope they paid you for sending that and your posting it on your high-traffic blog. If they didn’t you should send them a bill.

    Regarding the anal sex, I am not surprised, though it is still somewhat “taboo” by some people’s standards.

  4. library addict
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 10:55:22

    Yes, about Kobo. 3 of my 4 most recent purchases have an issue with the italics where there is no space after an italicized word or phrase. One of the books I purchased again, this time directly from Harlequin and the new file appears fine. In addition to the italics issue, the Kobo version also had a blank line between every paragraph (which I do not like).

    I have emailed Kobo and been informed my incidents have been escalated to Tier 2. I heard back on one saying they would refund my purchase price as store credit which would be “processed shortly.” That was on Dec 13th. I am still waiting.

    I also dislike the way Kobo adds DRM to Carina Press and Samhain books, so will look to purchase those direct from the publisher or ARe or Sony in the future.

    It’s a real shame because Kobo does have a good selection and nice coupons. I have purchased numerous books from them since 2010. And while their customer service was slow in the past, this is the worst it’s been in my experience.

  5. Jane
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 11:06:53

    @Mireya herm. I didn’t think about the spam. But I’ve never heard of such a thing. A book club centered around an anti aging cream? Is the community bond that strong?

    And no, no insertion fees. I had no idea those even existed.

  6. Lil
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 11:33:02

    Underground cities? That is way cool indeed! I love it.

    I am now looking forward to a whole new subgenre about these cities.

  7. Joy
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 11:47:51

    I have an issue with the way the anal sex stats are presented; the actual stats say 36% of women and 44% of men aged 25-44 have done it at least once in their lifetime with an opposite-sex partner. 36% of this age group is hardly everyone (neither is 44%); and in both cases a certain proportion of them are going to be the “tried it once; didn’t like it” sorts. So “everyone” is not doing it. It may be more common than it used to be, but the majority of (straight) people are sitting this one out.

  8. Mireya
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 11:54:25

    @Jane: Re: insertion fee: honestly, I was being a bit facetious, but frankly, as I was reading the whole thing all I could think of was “did you marketing people bother to actually check what DA is about?”. I admit I tend to be jaded with this sort of thing, especially since I majored in marketing, granted it was decades ago and I ended up working in the legal field.

  9. well
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 11:57:32

    I think the kids these days are all into the deviant sex acts that we in the older generation considered taboo. I also hear that none of them have pubic hair, lol. Who knows if it’s true? I’m far past the age of being in with the sexual shenanigans.

    As for the Research Works Act, all this recent legislation and litigation, even SOPA, all boils down to one thing…protecting revenue streams. On one side I hear the arguments that everything digital and everything on the web should be free and accessible but another part of me understands that people need to make a livelihood for work they do. I don’t know.

  10. ShellBell
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 12:11:46

    Yes, I have issues with Kobo eBooks, although didn’t realise it was specifically Kobo at the time. The font would be large, and only the first page of each chapter would be displayed when I tried to read the eBook on my iPad. I saw a workaround on the Mobile Reads forum – once you have loaded the eBook into Calibre convert the .epub file to .mobi, then convert the .mobi file back to .epub. Seems to be working fine so far.

  11. Patrice
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 12:14:55

    Barnes and Noble stock stagnation is not helped by the fact that their website is clunky, hard to navigate, pops you to unwanted drop down menus when only trying to move the cursor to scroll and just a real PITA. I got gift cards and that is the only reason I’m attempting purchases at since a store is not close to the house. Frustration is not what I want to feel when I’m buying books!

  12. Char
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 12:28:11

    I had a Harlequin I purchase last month with this problem. It’s what Kobo calls a kepub. It’s formatted for their Readers and Apps. I suspect someone made an error and linked to the kepub instead of the publisher’s version.

    The book Christmas Cradle by Linda Warren (which was excellent by the way) was linked to the kepub instead of the publisher epub. Kobo Customer support is such a nightmare that I just read the book despite all the problems on my Kindle Fire using Mantano but it annoyed me to no end.

  13. Janet
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 12:33:16

    Well, I guess the theory is old people who use an anti-aging cream probably read many books as we sit in our rocking chairs with our various cats scattered about the room.

  14. LG
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 12:44:35

    @ShellBell: “Yes, I have issues with Kobo eBooks, although didn’t realise it was specifically Kobo at the time.”

    Which should concern publishers – readers may be assuming that the publisher’s e-book formatting is awful when it’s really just Kobo.

  15. RunRabbit
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 12:50:05

    Good luck with the a la carte – on NPR yesterday, they were discussing cable costs and the fact that a la carte programming ends up costing considerably more than buying a package full of channels you’ll never watch. Frustrating!

  16. Cindy
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 12:56:43

    I have a Kobo but I think I’ve only bought maybe three books directly from them…I buy everywhere else and then sideload, so I hadn’t noticed. However, I have been having the non-responsive buttons etc. And since the last time time I upgraded Calibre (which I rarely do since inevitably I end up with a problem), Kobo doesn’t get along with it.

  17. Brian
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 13:25:01

    Some Kobo codes for folks that might have a use…

    touchlibrary (15% off – exp. 1/18/12)
    jan6us25 (25% off – exp. 1/9/12)
    jan6au25 (25% off – exp. 1/9/12)
    jan6ca25 (25% off – exp. 1/9/12)
    jan6uk25 (25% off – exp. 1/9/12)

  18. Sunita
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 14:00:51


    As for the Research Works Act, all this recent legislation and litigation, even SOPA, all boils down to one thing…protecting revenue streams. On one side I hear the arguments that everything digital and everything on the web should be free and accessible but another part of me understands that people need to make a livelihood for work they do. I don’t know.

    The Research Works Act isn’t about protecting the revenue streams of the people who do the work, it’s about the revenue streams of the publishers of the work, e.g., Kluwer, Elsevier, Pearson, Hachette, etc. etc. etc.

    Publishers of academic research charge a FORTUNE for subscriptions. They are extremely worried about losing their privileged access to academic research publications and textbooks, and massive cuts in library funding at both public and private universities is are hitting them financially as well.

    Right now, most government research agencies and many academic not-for-profit presses require that recipients of grants and their published authors put their data and results out into the public domain after a reasonable embargo period. This allows other researchers access to (government-funded) data, which facilitates further research. This is a Good Thing. It advances knowledge.

    What this bill will do is protect middleman revenue streams at the expense of the general public and the creators of the work.

    Yes, I have strong feelings about this.

  19. Dani Alexander
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 14:16:50

    It’s interesting that the anal sex study shares the same percentage data among heterosexuals having sex as a recent study shows with gay men. It said only about 35-40% of gay men actually practice anal sex. (At least I think those were the figures. It might have been the 40-45%).

    Re: the HBO thing. Stupid really. Every study shows that when you make a thing available for purchase (and more widely available), instances of piracy REDUCE. Why are companies not paying attention to data? ::boggle::

    Er… using the term ‘widely available’ after quoting anal sex studies probably wasn’t the best choice of phrasing. oO

  20. Angela
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 14:27:54

    I’m so confused by that pairing…I don’t even really know what to say about it.

    No deals on this page, and I know it’s a bit higher than normally posted, but I noticed Beguilment – The Sharing Knife, 1 is $5.99 ($2 less than normal). I think I’m the only person in the world that hasn’t read it though :P

  21. sarah mayberry
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 16:06:11

    Okay, maybe my flu is affecting my brain box, but doesn’t the “book club” described above basically fit the profile of Good Reads – minus the all important addition of an anti-aging cream? “The S—V—n Book Club not only allows users to create profiles, share reading lists, and join in discussions with other readers but also participate in live question and answer sessions with popular author”. Good Reads does all of this already – and it’s only about books.

  22. Joy
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 16:33:03

    @Dani Alexander:

    I found the CDC study and they didn’t crosstab the precise sexual activities by orientation, but it stated that 6% of males in the 18-44 age group had had same-sex oral or anal sex; 3.7% of this population group of males had anal sex with a same sex partner. Which is closer to 60% than 44%, but is still hardly everyone. I believe the study that had the numbers lower recorded the most recent sexual activity of gay men, not the lifetime experience of said activities.

    These numbers, by the way, are far higher than the percentage of males in this age group reporting gay (2.3%) and bisexual (1.8%) orientation combined.

  23. Kathryn
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 23:14:02

    I think the for-profit academic and scholarly publishers may end up destroying those very revenue streams that they are trying to protect. Because of the excessive costs of journals and serials (especially those in the sciences and tech fields) there has been a movement among academics and librarians towards developing open-access and “crowd-sourced” digital journals and repositories. One of the things that has kept this movement from really taking off has been the concern that these types of “publication” do not look as good to tenure and grants committees as publication in the established for-profit journals. But this law may end up being the tipping point that will drive universities and granting organizations to look much more favorably on open-access journals etc. given how this act is going to really hurt them as well as the researchers.

    And I’m with Sunita–this is horrible and foolish law–whose long-term consequences I suspect will hurt the USA in all sorts of ways. Although I can’t say I’m surprised–tracing the line from the Mickey Mouse Act to SOPA to this–it’s a picture of constraining the free flow of ideas so that a few can control and profit off them in the short term. And rarely is it those who actually produce the ideas who receive those captured profits.

  24. Kristie (J)
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 23:16:07

    I have both Kobo and Kindle on my IPad and the differences are incredible – to the good for the Kindle and to the bad for the Kobo. Kobo loses in every category from book price to book availability to speed of loading – all way around Kobo loses.

  25. SAO
    Jan 07, 2012 @ 04:51:38

    Obviously, the publishers of scientific research are failing to negotiate contracts with the conditions they want, hence are seeing if they can mandate them with the help of some clueless congressmen.

    I hope congress throws this out and says the contracts are between the researchers, grant agencies and the publishers.

  26. Gennita Low
    Jan 07, 2012 @ 08:26:44

    Isn’t S_V_n for stretch marks too? LMAO (and making more wrinkles) at the pairing. Next it will be the K-Y_intense sponsoring a book club!

  27. Kobo ebook problems? « charlotte cowie
    Jan 07, 2012 @ 20:45:23

    […] this post at Dear Author. Rate this: Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories: ebook news | […]

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