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

Friday Midday Links: Winsor Tributes & Print Price Wars

Jessica from Racy Romance Reviews put out a call for readers to list their top 16 romances books in honor of Kathleen Winsor, the author of the very first historical romance, Forever Amber. Forever Amber was roundly criticized for its sexual content at the Massachusetts Attorney General requested that it be banned. Many readers around the ‘net have participated and Jessica is trying to round them up at her blog. DA didn’t participate, but not because we don’t think this is a great idea, but because we’ve been planning our own list thing since August and we will be unveiling it in December.

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Wal-Mart started a price war with Amazon over the cost of hardcovers. To combat the $9.99 ebook price, Wal-mart decided to slash the price of hardcovers of its top 20 pre-order books (including J.D. Robb’s Kindred in Death) to $9.00 and will be reducing a total of 200 hardcover titles to $9.00 for the holiday season. Amazon price matched that thus throwing publishers whose entire business model rests on making money off of hardcovers into a tizzy.

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The race to the bottom of the pricing game presents a serious problem as illuminated by this Gizmodo piece about App prices for the iPhone. There is significant downward pressure on software developers to charge less and less for a piece of software, no matter its functionality. The question for the app developer is whether it can generate sufficient volume sales to make up for the lower price. For publishers, ebooks signal a downward spiral of prices that benefit the reader in the short term. In the long term, however, does that mean quality authors leave the literature space or does the new ebook market which removes the middlemen create opportunity? Probably a little of both.

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I’m sure that there is other news but I’m tapped out for today. I’m feeling rather lackadaisical today. If you have some news tip or interesting link, share it with us in the comments!

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

19 Comments

  1. JulieLeto
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 11:30:22

  2. Janet W
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 11:43:23

    Thanks to @mcvane … and @sonomalass too … plus @rrrjessica: what is the internet equivalent of “it takes a village!” … I know I’ll be reading some great new books and OOP marvels thanks to everyone’s participation!

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  3. Janine
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 11:57:52

    Katherine Winsor, the author of the very first historical romance, Forever Amber.

    I believe it’s Kathleen Winsor. And though I think the lists are a lovely idea, and see how the book might be considered one of several precursors to the romance genre, IMO Forever Amber isn’t a romance. The heroine spends the whole book obsessed with a man she can’t have and finally sails away from England at the end of the book, if memory serves.

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  4. Kate Hewitt
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 13:02:48

    I love Forever Amber–but I agree, it’s not really a romance. No HEA and the heroine, IMO, is utterly unlikable! Still a fantastic book.

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  5. Jody
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 13:15:32

    The heroine spends the whole book obsessed with a man she can't have and finally sails away from England at the end of the book, if memory serves

    Yes, but she’s leaving England to go after the man, who’s gone to Virginia. Just because she doesn’t get him in the book doesn’t mean there’s not a HEA down the road (or across the sea). In Amber’s case, it’s unlikely because the hero has married someone else, but not impossible.

    I think of Forever Amber as an historical romance the same way I think of GWTW as an historical romance. Take the relationships away and they both fall apart. For most of Gone With the Wind, Scarlett pursued the unobtainable Ashley Wilkes just as Amber pursued the unobtainable Bruce I-forget-his-name. Still a romance!

    Just MVHO.

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  6. Anion
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 13:43:30

    Yeah, I was just about to chime in that Forever Amber, though I love it, is so not a romance. And Kathleen Winsor, though I love her, would likely not enjoy having it called one. She was a little prickly, was Kathleen. :-) That being said, though, since I loved Amber and her follow-up, STAR MONEY (which cost me an unholy amount on Ebay a few years back), I’m happy to see her getting attention. (Would love to see more of her books getting reissues.)

    I personally am pretty sure Amber took off for America based on a lie told to her to get her the heck out of England, but that’s opinion.

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  7. library addict
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 13:48:22

    $9 for a hardcover is a great deal. But the thing about ebooks is that many titles are either unavailable or they still charge $9+ for a book I can buy for $7.99 (or less with discounts/coupons) in paperback.

    Though I used to buy a lot of books in hardcovers, I now only buy JD Robb titles and Jayne Ann Krentz in hardcover. But just because I am willing to pay $20+ for JD Robb to have the book in hardcover doesn’t mean I am willing to pay $9+ for every book released.

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  8. Kate Hewitt
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 14:34:40

    I thought Amber took off on a lie too–the feeling I had at the end of the book was that she’d been tricked and was going to end up in America with no purpose. So is Star Money a sequel to Forever Amber? I didn’t even know there was one–what happens?!

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  9. Anion
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 15:23:18

    @Kate Hewitt: No, Star Money is just her second novel, sorry, I worded that badly and got distracted before I could fix it. But it’s actually semi-autobiographical, so a very interesting read, especially as it relates to the fictitious heroine’s feelings about her historical novel which became a huge bestseller. :-)

    But yeah, I actually thought Bruce was a dick and was obviously just using Amber, and that like you said she’d end up alone in America, with nothing and no one.

    Oh! And…how do we make text white here for spoilers? Darn it. Okay.

    **********SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER************

    Was that old guy, (her second husband? Or third? I don’t recall exactly) her father? I totally thought he was.

    ***********SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER***********

    Oh, and apparently Winsor did have a sequel planned–AMBER IN AMERICA–but either lost interest before writing it or couldn’t garner enough interest in it to make it worth writing.
    .

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  10. Kate Hewitt
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 15:27:56

    Oh, darn… no more of Amber! That’s kind of funny she had a sequel planned and didn’t write it–I wonder what Amber would get up to as a colonial?!

    I didn’t like Bruce either. Actually, I don’t remember liking anyone in that book. Was there a man you thought she should be with–Bruce’s friend maybe–that she never liked? I can’t remember her husbands either…

    SPOILER

    She had the first husband on her rise upwards and then the young one when she was the mistress of Charles I–I felt sorry for him. Was there another one after that?

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  11. Jessica Kennedy
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 15:47:54

    Wal-Mart has the books at $8.99 and Amazon.com is at $9.00 :) Just incase that is different than previously. :)

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  12. Janine
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 16:50:07

    I didn't like Bruce either. Actually, I don't remember liking anyone in that book.

    The wonder of that book was, I didn’t like anyone in it either, but it was still compulsively readable.

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  13. Jane
    Oct 16, 2009 @ 21:13:56

    Egads, well, I claim ignorance (I couldn’t even get her name right). Sounds like a book I am better off not reading.

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  14. Danielle
    Oct 17, 2009 @ 04:49:06

    Wal-Mart started a price war with Amazon over the cost of hardcovers. To combat the $9.99 ebook price, Wal-mart decided to slash the price of hardcovers of its top 20 pre-order books (including J.D. Robb's Kindred in Death) to $9.00 and will be reducing a total of 200 hardcover titles to $9.00 for the holiday season. Amazon price matched that thus throwing publishers whose entire business model rests on making money off of hardcovers into a tizzy.

    Are these books going to be sold at their stores or their online prices? If it’s their online website — beware — Walmart charges whatever your local sales tax is and shipping and handling varies by the number of books that you buy.

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  15. Leslee
    Oct 17, 2009 @ 05:01:36

    I ordered JD Robb on Wed when the price was $10. They didn’t charge me shipping just 70 cents for tax! So I don’t think I will even bother to see if they will adjust the price.

    ReplyReply

  16. Jessica
    Oct 17, 2009 @ 06:26:24

    Jane, thanks for the linkage. This has turned out to be really fun, if depressing, in that I am reminded what a total romance noob I am. So many titles and even authors I have never heard of. On the plus side, I’m reminded by everyone’s lists what an enduring, rich and diverse genre romance is!.

    I can’t wait to see all the DA lists later this year!

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  17. DS
    Oct 18, 2009 @ 10:04:30

    I agree Forever Amber is compulsive reading but it wouldn’t make the current definition of genre romance.

    However, I have a wondered if the Mass. A.G. himself actually counted all of the 70 references to sexual intercourse, 39 illegitimate pregnancies, 7 abortions, and “10 descriptions of women undressing in front of men” (from Wikipedia) or if there was some poor drudge in the office that was assigned that task.

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  18. RStewie
    Oct 19, 2009 @ 07:32:18

    Holy Crap, that’s a lot of illegitimate pregnancies! Quite the cast of characters in that book (I hope, otherwise…wow).

    One question about ebooks…I’m attempting to hunt down Kresley Cole/Gena Showalter’s Deep Kiss of Winter on epub format…with no luck. Can ANYONE assist me?? All I see is eReader (is that the same eReader from Microsoft??) and Mobi Pocket. Which is crap, because I have the WHOLE SERIES ON ePUB!!

    /rant.

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  19. Frances
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 10:29:21

    @Anion: I’ve just read Forever Amber (I loved it, such an amazing book) and I thought that the old guy was not her father, but the man who was engaged to marry her mother and whom her mother ran away from. This is why he loved Amber’s initial appearance, and why Amber abhorred him, just as her mother had years before. Oh, I want to read it again now!

    ReplyReply

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