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Friday Midday Links: NY Times brings forth its ebook bestseller list

Update: A reader mentioned that I forgot to point out that Barnes and Noble is having a groupon where you pay $10 for a $20 gift certificate that can be used on anything. Be sure to use your Groupon before April 10, 2011.

# Limit 1 per person. Valid on all items – including sale items. Not valid on previous purchases and/or adjustments. Not valid with other offers.
# Except as prohibited by applicable law, on April 10, 2011, any funds remaining on the BN Groupon shall be reduced by $10.00. For example, if you use your BN Groupon to make a $6.00 purchase sometime in March (meaning your BN Groupon would have a remaining balance of $14.00) but do not use it again thereafter, on April 10, your BN Groupon will be reduced to $4.00 (because $14.00 minus $10.00 is $4.00).

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India may be the fastest growing market for English language books but the digital craze isn’t gaining a foothold there yet or so say the major publishers in India.

The sales of digital books in India is expected to pick up in coming months but that will not impact the aficionados love for hardcover books as has been the case in the West, say major publishers here.India may see good rise in sales of digital books as downloading them on mobiles becomes a possibility but their growth trajectory may not be same as in the West, they say.

As I understand it, India is replete with cell phone users but whether cell phones = ebook adoption remains to be seen.

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The New York Times unveiled its new set of Bestseller lists this week to be published in the Sunday issue.   There are several new additions:

  • ebook
  • ebook + print
  • all print formats

Strangely, the Times will not count any individual vendor sales such as self published books citing “market instability” as the reason.   I think that is a bunch of hooey, but this is the Times and the Times list is what they want to make it, damn the market reality and all.   So the ebook and print list doesn’t represent a huge change given that the Times is excising a big portion of the ebook market.

Having said that, there were some interesting findings.   For example, Catherine Anderson’s book, Here to Stay, was number 3 on the mass market list but 23 on the ebook plus print list and did not appear on the ebook bestseller list at all suggesting that her numbers are primarily built upon print sales.   Susan Elizabeth Phillips made it to 12 on the NYT hardcover list and 31 on the ebook + print list but like Catherine Anderson, did not generate enough ebook sales to make it onto the Times list.   Conversely Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Consort was number 8 on the mass market list and number 18 on the print + ebook and number 18 on the ebook only list.

This week’s list is dominated by thrillers and mysteries.   In fact, of 96 slots on the mass market, hardcover, ebook, and ebook + print list, 51 were filled with either thrillers or mysteries titles compared to 24 titles with a romance designation.

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Book By You is a personalised romance novel service wherein you fill out a questionnaire and receive a romance novel starring you and the hero/heroine of your choice.   The reason I am mentioning it is because the services is now offering a gay and a lesbian title.   While I am not a fan of the service myself, I am glad to see that they are recognizing all sorts of love:

To spice things up in time for Valentine's Day, the company has just released a couple of hot, steamy same-sex novels catering to gay and lesbian readers.

"Hot Blooded" tells the erotic story of two gay men -‘ one vampire, one mortal -‘ who fall deeply in forbidden lust and love, while "Seduction Games" follows a sexy romance between two lesbians who pine for each other after they become rival contestants on a reality-TV game show.

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Our friend and fellow reader, Keishon, is shutting down her romance blog to focus on her current love: mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction.   Keishon started the To Be Read challenge and is one of my inspirations for blogging. I am glad that she isn’t leaving the blogging scene entirely.   You can still find Keishon at Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog.

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Carriger_Heartless-MMGenerally, I think Orbit is a genius imprint.   They do cool things and great promotions (think the online paper doll thing for Gail Carriger’s series) and I think that their publishing blog is one of the best in the business.   Their covers are great.   Amanda Downum’s covers, in particular, are just striking.   I’m not a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction, but their blog posts are so interesting, I still follow along.   I think because I have such high expectations, I was struck nearly dumb by the really awful cover for Gail Carriger’s next book, UHeartless.   The hair looks like a wig that is about to fall off and the face is too realistic for the cover. It looks like a bad SIM.   I don’t know what happened here.

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

32 Comments

  1. Reneesance
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:07:57

    Ooooh I’m glad someone else said it first. It really is just a bad bad cover nothing comes together right the colors are all wrong the poor model looks unhappy nothing is going right there. Ish.

  2. ka
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:19:29

    Regarding your comment, “As I understand it, India is replete with cell phone users but whether cell phones = ebook adoption remains to be seen.”

    Six years ago, I took a Nile River Cruise with several other DODDS teachers from the Netherlands. We docked at Edfu – a sleepy village home to the Temple of Edfu (one of best preserved temples built by Alexander the Great to appease the Egyptians he conquered). As we rode a horse drawn carriage through the village, we noticed women washing clothes in the river, shoppers bartering in open air markets, copiers in front of almost every store, and most men chatting on cell phones. I doubt they had the infrastructure for land lines so they seemed to be dependent upon cell phones (and probably wireless internet) to stay connected to the larger cities.

    I have no doubt that ebooks will make a splash outside the US and Europe as new technology brings new consumers (and readers) to the publishing industry.

  3. jennifer armintrout
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:28:18

    AND IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE ALEXIA! Unless that’s supposed to be Ivy with that god-awful hat.

  4. Ceilidh
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:28:48

    I love Gail Carriger, I love the Alexia novels and their covers are gorgeous. But the Heartless one…oh man, Orbit must have been having an off-day. I was convinced when I first saw it that it was one of the joke covers that have been floating around online after Gail did some competitions. I hope they get a new one although regardless of cover!fail I will be all over that book drooling like a rabid fangirl on release day.

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    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:30:58

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  6. Annabel
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:39:31

    My husband got me one of those “Book By You” novels for our first wedding anniversary. It was called Cruise Alaska. It was HI-LARIOUS!

    Definitely not bestseller-grade fiction but those books are well worth it for the yuk factor. We giggled for hours. Haha! Thanks for reminding me, I think I’ll go dig it out. I think that’s great that they’re adding a GLBT option.

  7. Jennifer Estep
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:41:04

    Is there a place to access all the NY Times lists? Or do you have to be a subscriber? Just wondering …

  8. Janine
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:48:20

    I will miss Keishon’s romance blog, although the last few times I went there, there wasn’t very much in the way of new posts. Like you, I’m really glad she is still blogging (and on Twitter).

  9. TKF
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:54:23

    Gail Carriger: This is possibly my favorite cover, I like how light-hearted it is. Alexia looks almost coy. I think that ties into the comedy of manners side of things more strongly than some of the previous covers, of course it is also less steampunk.

    Personally, I really like the German covers. Far better than the American ones.

  10. Dana S
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:58:06

    Holy shit, that’s a horrible cover. It looks like a really, really bad photoshop job. And what’s up with the hair?

    When I first saw it, I thought it was a fan cosplay thing. That someone had dressed up as Alexia, and stuck herself on a generic background. But apparently not.

  11. Jayne
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 11:58:09

    @TKF: Diana Norman’s German language editions of some of her older books have spectacular covers.

  12. library addict
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:16:57

    @Jennifer Estep:
    http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/overview.html

    Hmm, the ebooks list doesn’t seem to be on it…

  13. Shayera
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:31:32

    1. I am not fond of the cover of Heartless at all. I thought it was a joke for quite a while, the first time I saw it.

    2. I just came back from India so i can talk (a little) about cellphone coverage. It’s quite true that there are huge numbers of users. But the percentage of people using any sort of a smartphone is pretty small. My Mom had a borrowed phone and it was pretty similar to something I’d have used here in the States in 2004 or so. It’s great for calls and sms messages. Which, right now is the majority of the traffic. My Aunt had a brand new phone and even then it’s not really suitable for reading.
    The only person who had a phone that was truly capable of being a good one for reading is my cousin who works for Google in India. And she has a brand new, not on the market yet Android phone.
    The priority is on being able to use the phone as a phone/sms device. Not for other things.

  14. Sunita
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:34:47

    I think the publishers are underestimating ebooks the same way that many NY pubs did. Indians are going crazy over smartphones, and given you have a middle class of ~200 million and a culture of reading, I think there’s plenty of potential. Blackberries are very common among the professional/affluent class, but even further down the income distribution you have the proliferation of less expensive smartphones. And in a country with so many queues and long commutes on public transit, ebooks could be very handy.

    As I said on twitter, there was lots of interest in our Kindles in India last month, and not only from the well-off English speakers.

    And the other thing about print books in India is they just get more and more expensive.

  15. Christine M.
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:43:21

    That lady on the cover looks like Emily “I’m a lady” the travestite from Little Britain ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/images/bbc/programmes_tv_idents_and_screenshots/entertainment/250ittle_britain_emily.jpg ). Not good.

  16. Sunita
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:46:54

    @Shayera: Heh, we crossed!

    I was in major cities, so I may have seen a slightly different cross-section. But what has struck me over my last few visits is the rapidity with which phones are coming into the market. It’s true that there are still a lot of basic phones, but new android phones come out all the time, and some of the Asian companies are targeting the mid-price smartphone buyer in particular.

    In addition, data access is getting cheaper, and you can still do it as part of a prepaid system.

  17. Ridley
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:51:07

    Book By You is a personalised romance novel service…

    Whoa, Jane. You a closet Canadian? What’s next? Tweeting about the Packers’ defence?

    Next thing you know you’ll be breaking out the superfluous U’s, and that way lies socialism.

  18. Jennifer Estep
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:57:58

    @library addict: Thanks! And I don’t see the e-books either. Weird …

  19. KB/KT Grant
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 13:07:47

    How can NYT not count epublishers who are the main reason ebooks came to be? So, they’re only still counting the traditional print publishers like the big 6 who release ebooks? What a joke.

  20. Gretchen Galway
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 13:48:22

    @KB/KT Grant: I totally agree. On Amazon, the dominant ebook market, half of the bestsellers in romance are indies–or one indy in particular, Amanda Hocking.

    Amanda has sold half a million copies–yes, really–in the past six months. She is a phenom that is going totally unremarked by the national media. I’m just waiting for the cover of Time, because when she passes Nora Roberts before the end of the year… holy moly. Just some 20-something from Minnesota who, apparently, isn’t going to be on the NYT list. I just don’t get it.

  21. Jane
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 14:28:19

    @KB/KT Grant No, that’s not what I meant to say. NYT is not counting self published titles or single vendor published titles. Epublisher titles are likely included so long as they aren’t at a single vendor.

  22. Jane
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 14:29:06

    @Ridley I view s and z as interchangeable letters and U’s optional.

  23. Shayera
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 17:57:04

    @Sunita: Ha. :-)
    I’ll admit, the majority of my time was spent with family members, so my experience is pretty limited.

  24. Hannah
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 18:22:01

    I’m probably the only person who likes the Heartless cover. Must be because I have a thing for purple.

  25. Jia
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 19:47:05

    @TKF: Those covers are amazing.

  26. MaryK
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 23:24:28

    @Hannah: I think it’d be a nice cover if her face didn’t look like it was cut out of a glossy magazine and pasted onto a sepia print with craft glue.

  27. DS
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 08:02:40

    I’m glad I went over and looked at the Amazon Kindle list to compare to the NYT’s. There’s a free Kindle book by Elizabeth Chadwick– Greatest Knight based on the life of William Marshal. Somehow I missed this when it came out in the US. Marshal usually plays a role in historical novels set in that period, and it will be interesting to have him front and center. (Sorry about the OT, but I’m excited.)

  28. Sunita
    Feb 05, 2011 @ 09:39:15

    @DS: I rushed over as soon as I saw someone’s tweet about the Chadwick. The publisher (Sourcebooks?) has 3 or 4 books free right now. There’s one by Marie Force as well.

  29. Leeann Burke
    Feb 06, 2011 @ 10:09:33

    Jane, what is the link to the NY Time ebook best sellers? I can’t seem to locate it on their Overview of best seller lists.

  30. Jane
    Feb 06, 2011 @ 17:15:20

    @Leeann Burke I have no idea! They were supposed to be published on Sunday (today).

  31. whome
    Feb 07, 2011 @ 06:32:22

    @Jane:

    Nope, the PW article says the 13th so next Sunday.

  32. Let the Tail Wag the Dog
    May 06, 2012 @ 04:02:18

    […] fact that digital sales were not included in the calculation of bestseller status. It wasn’t until 2011 that the New York Times began counting digital book sales (and even now they do not include digital […]

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