Friday Midday Links: MWA Breaks Up With Harlequin
Explicit sex is hard to write well and even if you do write it well, it means you are just packaging up pornography for women. Also, bla bla bla, romance books are killing romance bla bla bla. All according to this article by Alan Elsner. I don’t plan to comment over there because Alan Elsner doesn’t like explicit sex in books and no comment, no matter how articulate will move him from his convictions.
The Stalker’s Notebook wrote about genre labels and how restrictive they can be, particularly in the store. On the internet, however, with “tags”, readers can use as many labels as they like to help group books together. The more meta the data, the more helpful to the reader, and the better able authors are able to sell their books to the right audience.
According to the Bookseller, a UK publication, many industry insiders say that ebooks will harm brick and mortar retail bookselling and while people are reading digitally, only a small percentage are actually buying them.
The results showed that though 44% of respondents had read a book digitally, only 19% had bought one. The majority of respondents said that e-books should be priced at the same cost as a paperback book (30.1%), or cheaper (53.6%).
“The high price of e-books is the main obstacle to their takeup,” said one respondent. “Readers can’t understand why the online versions of bricks and mortar shops sell ebooks at higher than paperback prices.”
The entire article is worth a read.
Digital Manga Publishing announced that it hard partnered with Harlequin to bring Harlequin’s romance manga available online. What I found interesting wasn’t the deal but the rent to own business model of DMP. Apparently you can “rent” a book for approximately 72 hours and if you rerent it, you are also granted ownership. I find this pricing model very interesting. Another reader, Blue Tyson, pointed me to this article about subscription pricing for music. Apparently an entry fee and small per song charge yields higher revenue than individual uniform pricing.
Lori James of All Romance EBooks shared some of her insights as a retailer of romance digital books. DRM clearly inhibits sales as only 3% of sales at her site are for DRM’ed ebooks. It’s another article that I thought was really fascinating although I do wonder whether anyone though Microsoft was a player in ebooks. Hasn’t it always been Adobe?
MWA has delisted Harlequin as a recognized publisher. The two were in talks since the announcement of Harlequin Horizons now Dell Arte Press but could not come to a resolution. Lee Goldberg has an explanation of MWA’s position and Harlequin’s lengthy response. In Harlequin’s response, it notes that ITW and NINC have taken a different approach than the one taken by MWA. Goldberg excerpts from the MWA rules this passage:
…nor may the publisher, or any of the executives or editors under its employ, have offered authors self-publishing services, literary representation, paid editorial services, or paid promotional services.
If the publisher is affiliated with an entity that provides self-publishing, for-pay editorial services, or for-pay promotional services, the entities must be wholly separate and isolated from the publishing entity. They must not share employees, manuscripts, or authors or interact in any way. For example, the publishing entity must not refer authors to any of the for-pay entities nor give preferential treatment to manuscripts submitted that were edited, published, or promoted by the for-pay entity.
I’m still curious how HarperCollins/Authonomy/CreateSpace fits into this because while Authomony is free, HarperCollins solicits for CreateSpace through it. Authonomy’s blog post today is how participants can get published with HarperCollins. RWA is having a special board meeting in January. Will it follow MWA’s lead and end up with a very, very abbreviated RITA ceremony or will it adopt the hands off approach of ITW and NINC?