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Friday News: S&S and BN still in a fight; Bookstores believe...

“What Sargent did say about the pending DoJ suit is that Justice is “extraordinarily myopic. They carried the water for Amazon, when it had 92% of the market.” And, he said, they prevented others from coming into the market. “The senior guys, Eric Holder, are just incompetent,” he added, to resounding applause. As to the lasting effect of the DoJ case, Sargent said, “There’s no way to tell. I have a lot of hope. There are a lot of good signs about the movement to digital.” He’s been heartened that even with the increase in the number of screens, the growth of e-books is flat. “What is dangerous for us is cataclysmic change. You guys are superb at adapting. You need time to adjust. If it stays flat or declines slowly, we’re in good shape.”

I’m not sure you can call the DOJ incompetent when they got every publisher to settle and pay out multi million dollar settlements to reimburse customers for the collusive price fixing. I would love to be that incompentent as a lawyer.  But here is John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, saying these things as well as saying that ebook growth is flat. That’s the feeling others in the industry have as well – that ebooks are flattening out and will remain just a segment of the market.

Beyond those gains, though, the cheerier mood seems, as many industry members told PW from the show floor, due in large part to a sense that the digital business has leveled off. After years of concern—at times panic—that e-books would replace print books and, in turn, wipe out bricks-and-mortar bookstores altogether, there is a sense that print and digital can, and will, coexist. Or as Perseus Books Group’s CEO David Steinberger put it, for the first time in a few years “the future doesn’t feel like it’s changing that rapidly.”  Publishers Weekly

I just learned that I can’t visit any Barnes and Noble store with the release of my upcoming novel Tamarack County, the thirteenth in the Cork O’Connor series. There’s a spat going on between my publisher, Simon and Schuster, and the bookstore chain. No Simon and Schuster author may visit any Barnes and Noble until further notice. It has something to do with money, but nobody seems to know exactly what. I heard that it is over co-op or money that publishers pay to the stores for in store promotion of their books. Kent’s Rants

A few tidbits from BEA:

  • More western romances are coming down the pipe.
  • People are worried about historicals.
  • Kobo gifting function is coming back.
  • Sarah Morgan is writing a full length for HQN and a Cosmo Hot Read. I’m excited about both.
  • Katie McGarry’s third book featuring Isaiah and drag races is her best yet.
  • Nalini Singh’s “Archangel’s Legion” is awesome. (and no I’ve not gotten ARCs of any of these books. It’s editors bragging to me and half of me wants to say “Shut Up!” because I’m getting too excited and the other half is like “tell me more.”)
  • No one is quite sure how long New Adult is going last but it was a topic of many conversations.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. library addict
    May 31, 2013 @ 07:44:20

    Glad Kobo gifting will be back. But they have done a very poor job of keeping their customers informed during this whole thing.

    I think Sargent’s views about digital are myopic.

  2. sao
    May 31, 2013 @ 08:03:08

    Sargent is right and everyone else is wrong, stupid or both. Sounds like a wonderful guy. Since he’s not willing to change, of course change is bad. Why the shareholders haven’t turfed him out is a mystery to me.

  3. Sophia (FV)
    May 31, 2013 @ 08:21:20

    Very happy to hear we’ll be getting more western romances. This is very good news.

  4. Liz H.
    May 31, 2013 @ 08:29:40

    @library addict: “Myopic” is such a nice way of phrasing it. My thesaurus suggests “hide-bound”. My suggestion involves several four-letter words that are probably inappropriate.

    @Jane- I’m excited about both the McGarrity and the Singh. Any other big ones upcoming that you heard interesting things about?

  5. Jane
    May 31, 2013 @ 08:30:48

    @Liz H.: Suzanne Brockmann is returning to straight RS contemp ala her early Troubleshooter books with the first out in February. That’s about all I can think of.

  6. rosario
    May 31, 2013 @ 08:54:05

    @Jane: Oh, goodie! Does “a la Troubleshooters” mean it’s going to be military themed? (Hoping it doesn’t, I read Brockmann despite the military component). Also, wonder if her futuristic series didn’t work out, or whether she’s releasing this in addition to those.

  7. Jane
    May 31, 2013 @ 09:04:22

    @rosario: I was told it was a spin off of the Troubleshooters in the spirit of Out of Control, Over the Edge, etc. Not sure whether it was military or military-esque. I’m guessing the latter.

    I also think that the futuristic series was a bust.

  8. Rosario
    May 31, 2013 @ 10:28:45

    @Jane: I suspect you’re right. There really wasn’t that much talk about the first book, and what there was, was very lukewarm. I had some issues with the paranormal elements, which were a bit messy, but I really liked the form her dystopian elements took. That felt scarily believable, like a continuation of things that are already happening.

  9. jmc
    May 31, 2013 @ 11:06:19

    @rosario: I’m another Brockmann reader who now reads (but doesn’t usually buy) because of the military aspect and the complete disregard for constitutional rights and criminal law her Troubleshooters display. I tried the new futuristic book and didn’t love it but thought the concept was interesting.

    I wonder if debuting a new series in hardback might have been part of the problem, in terms of low buzz? Yes, she’s an established author, but the book was a little outside her usual subgenre. It seems a little risky, market-wise, to try something new while asking readers to pay the same (high) cover price that a known series might demand.

  10. Anthea Lawson
    May 31, 2013 @ 13:22:45

    I think the publishing industry *really wants* to believe digital is leveling off – but they’re whistling into the wind. For another side of the story, may I recommend Kris Rush’s blog post yesterday at, which addresses how the industry is going to continue to struggle as things change under their feet.

    Also, did the publishers think that the Indie Bestseller booth at BEA (put together by Stephanie Bond, C.J. Lyons, Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Tina Folsom, and Hugh Howey) is just a temporary glitch?

  11. Julaine
    Jun 01, 2013 @ 10:47:43

    Is it just me or did John Sargent speech come off equal parts sore loser AND myopic. He is so sure he was right even when he went down in flames. He is still trying to fight a battle long after the war was lost. I don’t want to see the brick and mortar bookstores disappear but digital is NOT a fad and neither are the Indy writers so the publishing industry needs to adapt and the John Sargents of the world need to learn to adapt with it or the future is going to run right over them.

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