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

Friday Midday News Roundup

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I ordered a bunch of Harlequin Stationary goods that feature the vintage covers.   The stationary goods include little matchbook notepads, bound composition notebooks and address books. I liked the address books the least. They have a spiral binding and I found them to be a little too bulky.   My favorites are the little matchbook notepads.   They come three to a box.   The composition notebooks are nice as well and feature very hard cardboard front and back covers so it would be easy to write on a non hard surface.

The postcard tins are a great gift item but I don’t have anyone to send snail mail to. Should I start up a prison correspondence?

I’m going to give the notebooks and the address books away on the blog (am keeping the notepads myself). Just as a disclaimer or non disclaimer, I purchased these myself and Harlequin, which does many nice things for Dear Author, did not pay for them or give me any kind of discount.

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Simon & Schuster saw sales increase in the last quarter to $230.4 million which is up 2.4%.   The improvement in sales was offset by “higher write offs of advances for author royalties” which I understand to mean that there were a number of author royalties that ended up being a loss for S&S.   Ebook sales are about 4% which matches that of HarperCollins.   CEO of S&S is disappointed by the fall sales.   Read more at PW.

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Internet users aren’t actually more isolated than not internet users according to PEW.

Instead, researchers found that online participation and mobile phone usage leads to people having larger and more diverse core discussion networks. (Discussion networks are defined as being the places where we can discuss “important matters” with friends and confidants.)

I know I’ve often read comments from readers stating that the internet has allowed them to find other romance readers and that their reading interests have grown and not diminished because of the online romance communities.

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New Fiction blog notes that the BN prices for ebooks are more expensive, almost uniformly more expensive, than the prices for ebooks at Amazon.   If you buy a lot of books this will add up. I noticed this last week when I was purchasing some backlist titles that the Amazon books were almost $1.00 cheaper than Barnes and Noble except for BN’s promotional pricing.   I did receive an email today from BN proclaiming that it has reduced pricing for over 100,000 books and that it is upping its affiliate program to 8% commission.   I find that the BN affiliate program is difficult to use so I doubt I’ll change.   (I’m far too lazy even for an extra 2%).

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Jessica, at the Dystel & Goderich blog, notes that online promotion can be effective well past the initial release date and that it can help move beyond publishing’s reliance on the blockbuster model:

Connecting an author with communities of like-minded readers on-line requires about as much virtual legwork as finding these folks in the real world, but especially as traditional media contracts, it’s well worth exploring. On-line promotion does not necessarily rely on a rolodex of producers and editors. Anything that helps move the industry away from the blockbuster model, which makes failures of far too many books, is, in my eyes, welcome.

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A recent study out of the UK claimed that file sharers represented the largest portion of legitimate music purchasers.   This has flustered media and IFPI, an international music trade group put out a release to counter the study.   Ars Technica notes that few outside the music industry actually believes that file sharing is the main cause of revenue decline including folks at the European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.   However, this has not stopped many countries in engaging in treaty talks about copyright under the guise of stopping counterfeiting.

News of the secret treaty talks leaked earlier this week and present a real shocking list of super restrictive copyrights which seem to be to overturn the fundamental concept upon which our criminal justice system is premised as well as poses unreasonable responsibilities on the shoulders of ISPs which will result in much higher internet costs.    Apparently the secret treaty would like to dispose of fair use ; block internet access; take down websites on accusations (not proof) of infringement; criminalize copyright infringement even when there is no commercial gain; ban any legitimate circumvention (like cracking the DRM so you can read a book on your iPhone as well as your laptop); and so on.   It’s pretty frightening.

On the one hand, I find it outrageous and on the other, I hope it gets passed.   Restrictive copyright helps large corporations and not content creators. Restrictive copyright actually works to chill creation and I can see this ultimately leading to fiction being primarily work for hire.   Copyrights will be too valuable for individual content creators to have them (much like comic books).

See you all over at fanfiction.org, that is unless you’ve watched a Youtube video with a song overlaid on it because then you’re internet will have been cut off.   Actually, there won’t be a Youtube.   Maybe I’ll buy those postcards after all.

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

9 Comments

  1. Caligi
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 12:58:22

    [sarcasm]Why do you love pirates, and hate authors, Jane?[/sarcasm]

  2. joanne
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 13:57:17

    I think the Harlequin postcard tins (particularly the one with the title Pardon My Body) would make great gift card containers. Two gifts in one with the added benefit on the recipient being able to laugh at our constant diet efforts.

    And since I will never, ever, ever, ever be at fanfic-anything, I will continue to write notes to friends.

  3. Leah Hultenschmidt
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 15:18:30

    I noticed the higher B&N prices too when doing some comparisons in my never-ending debate between the nook or iPod touch. Kindle prices are even lower than Books on Board these days. It makes me less inclined toward the nook, but I hope B&N stays competitive in the pricing.

  4. Jody F.
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 15:54:58

    I love the look of the notepads, notecards, and journals. They’re very unique and it’s good to know the covers of the journal are easy to write on. And no, please don’t ever get desperate enough to write a prisoner. The covers on the postcards might get them too excited.

  5. Elizabeth
    Nov 06, 2009 @ 16:09:25

    With no room left on my bookshelves, what am I to do? Paying higher prices for the luxury of an ebook seems crazy. My personal ebook library catalog has at about 4500 ebooks; it’s been an investment for me.

    I do own ebooks I cannot read. I’ve not yet worked to find ways to crack the DRM on books I own, but it’s now a problem. Some of my DRM Mobipocket ebooks are over 10 years old. Over the years, I have replaced both my handheld and my PC more than once . . . and now I can’t read some of those books at all. I’ve switched to other platforms, even if I have to pay an extra $1, to be sure I can read the books I buy.

    What? You don’t think I have actually gotten around to reading all 500 books, do you? My virtual TBR pile just gets higher.

  6. Patricia Briggs
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 00:57:27

    I’m with Jane. More restrictive copyright is not an answer to piracy. If the laws are just, there is much less sympathy for those who break them — conversely if the laws are unjust or overly harsh, the sympathy falls with the lawbreakers.

    I think current copyright is too strong. For instance, current copyright lengths are ridiculous.

    I would love to see initial copyright of 20 years. Renewable in ten year intervals for gradually increasing costs with the onus of renewal falling on the copyright holder. That way works that are not still commercially viable would be available for free use.

    But no one has decided to make me ruler of the universe

    Love, love old covers being reused. I don’t remember the old Harlequin covers being quite that racy B)

  7. Jennifer Estep
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 10:47:34

    I like the postcard tins, but I wish they had more than just the two choices. I’d really like the western titles on the tins. Do you know if Harlequin plans to expand the offerings any time soon?

  8. HeatherK
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 11:28:41

    Those notebooks and things look so awesome.

    As for the copyright thing, I agree that more restrictive is not an answer, but I have no idea on what would be an ideal way to handle things.

  9. Jane
    Nov 07, 2009 @ 21:36:09

    @Jennifer Estep: I don’t know. I suppose it depends on the success of the current offerings.

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