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

Friday News: RIP Nook(?), Syracuse schools equip students with summer reading,...

So This Is How The Nook Ends – In his inimitable style, Mike Cane sounds the death knell for Nook, noting that the announcement by Barnes and Noble and Samsung to build “co-branded tablets” says more about how B&N has abandoned Nook than it does about the prospect of one more freaking tablet on the market.

What I notice missing in the above is any link to the Nook App Store. Using “regular” Android, they won’t need that store now. I guess they’re monitoring legacy users and will know when it’s best to finally pull the plug on that money drain. –Mike Cane’s blog

Syracuse district to give 10 books to every elementary student for summer reading – With a donation of books and backpacks from Scholastic totaling over $100,000 the Syracuse School District added more than $275,000 to give every student from K-5 10 books for summer reading. This will amount to a distribution of almost 93,000 books, all intended to encourage students to read during the summer without having to put any effort into acquiring books, which can be a deterrent, especially during months when kids can become easily distracted by other activities, leisure or otherwise. I hope they chronicle the results of their experiment, because it seems like a very reasonable approach to cultivating young readers.

Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras told the students the books were intended to stop “summer learning slide.” The district cited research showing that as much as 85 percent of the achievement gap between students from low-income and high-income families can be attributed to the loss of reading skills during the summer. –

“You Root for the Authors!” Hachette Author Stephen Colbert vs. Amazon – Although I’m sure many authors are cheering on Stephen Colbert in his war on Amazon, I was disappointed that in the end, he refused to see how much shared blame and responsibility there is between the massive publisher and the massive bookseller. Does nobody remember (non) agency pricing and the collusion settlement????

Still, it’s very true that authors and readers lose when neither publishers or booksellers have robust competition. So, if a bookstore like Powell’s benefits from this situation, and if other independent bookstores can take good advantage of the current vacuum, I think that will be good for everyone, including, in the end, Hachette and Amazon.

So on last night’s The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert did a mitzvah for a young debut author, Edan Lepucki, whose apocalyptic novel,California, is “currently unavailable” on Amazon, ramping up to a July 8 release. As fellow Hachette author Sherman Alexie explained, bookstores order copies of books based on presales, pre-publicity, and pre-orders coming, most often, from Amazon. Lepucki’s book falls in that category. But Colbert is coming to the rescue, determined to try to “sell more books than Amazon.” When you go to his site, there’s a link to pre-order California through Colbert and the excellent Portland bookstore Powell’s. –Flavorwire

GHOSTS IN THE STACKS: Finding the forgotten books. – This is such an interesting article about an idiosyncratic reading project by retired English professor Phyllis Rose. Rose decided to read a random assortment of books, specifically a shelf in the library. Has anyone read these particular books in this particular order? Will the specific assortment of books shape how they’re read and what the reader gets out of them? Are there specific ways in which they should be read? A fascinating meditation on not only what we read, but how our own reading patterns may have an element of randomness to them we haven’t really contemplated.

Her shelf, she decides, must have a combination of new and older works by several authors, both men and women, and one book has to be a classic that she has always wanted to read. The shelf cannot contain any work by a person she knows. She surveys some two hundred shelves, and eventually settles on LEQ-LES. It holds twenty-three books by eleven authors, including “A Hero of Our Time,” by Mikhail Lermontov; Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera”; novels by Rhoda Lerman, Margaret Leroy, and Lisa Lerner; and Alain-René Lesage’s “Gil Blas.” (There are only three female authors in her sample, a fact that she analyzes at length, though she does not comment on its racial monotony.) She has never before read any of these titles, and she will read them in whatever order fancy suggests. “The Shelf” reviews facts about each author’s life and summarizes the plots of the novels, but, always, the real focus is on Rose herself: what she likes and dislikes, how she feels while reading, whether it is easy or difficult to escape into the story. She’s on the lookout for “spontaneity, inclusiveness, and uniqueness”—three things that she prizes in fiction, and three of the elements driving her project, too. –The New Yorker

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Darlene Marshall
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 08:38:31

    Aw jeez! First they took away my Sony Pocket ereader, now my NOOK Simple Touch connected to my B&N account will go the way of the dinosaurs. I’m getting fed up with ereader musical chairs.

  2. Fallen Professor
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 09:29:34

    @Darlene Marshall: I started my e-reader journey with a Sony as well. Fortunately, I bought as much DRM-free stuff as I could from various publishers, and became well acquainted with Calibre. I love ebooks but hate the idea of losing an entire collection just because a company goes bust or a device becomes obsolete. Although I do buy a lot from Amazon now (I have a Kindle), I keep buying the DRM-free stuff as often as possible.

  3. Sunita
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 09:36:35

    Has Hachette spent much time reminding people of all the other places they can buy books, or is that left up to individual authors and media people? If they have, I’ve missed it.

    On the Ghost books in the stacks: When I’m doing research on a project I go into the physical stacks and look at all the books around the book that I know I want. I’ve picked up some great sources that way. You can do it in some catalog searches by asking for the list of nearby books, but it’s not the same.

  4. Liz H.
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 09:37:57

    What are the thoughts on how the new B&N/Samsung tablets will affect e-ink readers? Will they consider those different and continue production, or gone for good? If gone, what e-ink readers are left other than kindle? Also, is this resulting in any good sales on the remaining nook units anywhere?

  5. hapax
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 09:58:00

    @Liz H.: I’m dreading the demise of e-ink as well. I have all of my books in Calibre and can put them on my Galaxy tablet if I have to, but my Nook is my second choice after dead trees.

  6. Sunita
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 10:43:33

    @Liz H.: The press release from B&N said that they “will continue to offer its NOOK GlowLight™ and continue to provide customer support for its millions of customers.” I don’t know how long that will last, since the release also says their tie-up with Samsung will allow them to focus on content. I certainly hope they continue, but ereaders more generally are losing ground to tablets, so I’m not that optimistic.

  7. Rose
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 11:06:13

    @Liz H.: There’s Kobo. Also, Sony still sells internationally.

    I never understood why the Nook was not sold internationally. Why would b&N restrict their potential market like that?

  8. Jolanda
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 11:42:05

    Re e-ink: Kobo is still there, isn’t it? Or are their ereaders gone too?
    And whatever the platform and DRM-free or not, all my ebooks go through Calibre – great program.

  9. Jolanda
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 11:44:00

    Whoops. Forget my question about Kobo – Rose’s reply wasn’t there yet when I replied.

  10. Elizabeth Cole
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 12:03:43

    What we need is for ebook formats to be uncoupled from the devices and stores they’re sold on. Yes, some publishers have worked this out, but digital books won’t be secure until people can trust that what they buy (oh excuse me… _license_) won’t disappear or self destruct Mission Impossible-style when the vendor gets cold feet supporting the format.

    Say what you will about the cost and inconvenience of paper books. At least I know what’s on my shelves. (And I’m speaking as someone who primarily relies on ebook sales to live.)

  11. Robin/Janet
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 13:48:00

    @Sunita: Good point! And how about all the Hachette books you can still buy on Amazon?

    I’m surprised at how disgusted and disappointed I am with Colbert on this. But I do like this article from the Daily Beast:

    @Darlene Marshall: Thank goodness for Calibre. Although it’s sad that anyone thinks DRM is a good idea in the current device climate.

  12. Darlene Marshall
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 14:13:35

    I used Calibre to load all my non BN novels onto the NOOK, but I still enjoy the automated process of purchasing books with one click at BN and just having them show up on the ereader.

    Ah well, this may be the very definition of 1st World Whinge.[g]

  13. Robin/Janet
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 14:15:18

    @Darlene Marshall: This is one of the reasons I love my Kindles & Kindle apps.

  14. Isobel Carr
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 14:17:11

    @Darlene Marshall: Which is why I went with a Kindle after my $$$ CyBook was made redundant by the demise of FictionWise. Evil or not, I expect Amazon to still be around and supporting my purchases in the years to come.

  15. Maria
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 17:26:40

    As a child regular summer trips to the library were standard as my mom was a struggling single mom and any entertainment that wasn’t free had to be strictly budgeted. It probably helped that I always loved to read and would (and still do) devour books like candy.

    Being sent home with 10 free books would have been like Christmas come early for me.

  16. Melisse Aires
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 10:38:55

    I read on a cheaper android tablet, but I can read pdf, mobi or epub and have the Kindle app and several other reading apps. The Kindle app won’t pull files from my sd card, but I have a reader that will search my sd card, which makes storage pretty simple. No need to have internet to read. I can use Calibre to send books to card.

  17. Lynn M
    Jun 08, 2014 @ 10:04:41

    Well, it’s official. I will no longer buy e-books from B&N. I simply can’t afford to take the chance that they’ll stop supporting the market (which seems to be their direction) and that the collection I’ve paid a lot of money for will simply go poof into the void of space. I do have a working Nook and I will use it as long as it holds out to read the books I’ve already purchased. And my daughter uses her Kindle like crazy. But I admit I’m a defeatist and will never spend money on another e-reader again. We’ll just stick with tablets and the associated apps. It’s just too expensive to commit to any one company any more – too much of a risk that you will lose it all. I was a Sony user back in the day – never again.

  18. Serendipity
    Jun 08, 2014 @ 11:08:40

    @Lynn M:

    Transfer the books from your Nook to your PC, then use Calibre to transfer them into any other reader format.

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