Dec 10 2009
Over at Smart Bitches I noticed that there is an ebook sale at eHarlequin today. Using the code CUTINHALF, you will receive 50% off any ebook in the eHarlequin library. I think that they have over 2,000 ebooks for sale. I don’t have a good list for you to buy but I can provide some names of authors that you might to try out and maybe our commenters will give each other recommendations. In no particular order, I’ve liked books from: Ellen Hartman (His Secret Past), Christine Rimmer, Sara Craven, Susan Napier, Anne MacAllister, Carla Neggers, Kristan Higgans, Sarah Mayberry, Lynne Graham (she’s crackalicious and quintessentially HP so beware), Susan Mallery (Irresistible), Kathleen O’Reilly, Jill Shalvis, Karina Bliss, Molly O’Keefe, Lori Borrill, Jade Lee, Betina Krahn (highly recommend her Harlequin Blaze), Nancy Warren (her last two books featured multicultural secondary heroes), Jill Monroe, Anne Stuart, Jennifer Crusie, and the list goes on.
Speaking of ebooks, in an effort to “save publishing”, major publishers will be delaying ebook releases. Most of these decisions will not affect romance readers and mass market consumers. Hardcovers are considered the lifeblood of trade publishing and to that end, it’s hardcovers that are being targeted. Harper Collins will hold back 5 to 10 ebook releases per month for hardcover titles, delaying release anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. Simon & Schuster will delay the ebook release for 4 months for 35 hardcover titles. St. Martin’s Press already delays release or doesn’t release the eversion at all (I’ve stopped buying SMP books for that reason). Hachette (Grand Central and Forever) will delay the release of ebooks.
Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said Wednesday that the rise of e-books has led to a “cannibalizing” of new hardcover purchases.
“We believe that a large portion of the people who have bought e-readers are from the most devoted reading population,” Reidy said. “And if they like the e-readers they are naturally going to convert because the e-books are so significantly less expensive.
“The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback,” said Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS Corp. “We believe some people will be disappointed. But with new [electronic] readers coming and sales booming, we need to do this now, before the installed base of e-book reading devices gets to a size where doing it would be impossible.”
So essentially consumers are being punished because Amazon and others are pricing hardcovers at 9.99 in both print and ebook format. I’ve got a lot of thoughts about why I think this is a bad strategy and why it won’t achieve the goals the publishers are trying to reach.
Both Walt Mossberg and David Pogue were disappointed with the nook and thought that it was a rushed product. BN promises that the software crashes and the non responsive touch screens can all be fixed by a software upgrade but Mossberg and Pogue both think that buying one now is a mistake:
From Pogue’s review:
Worse, the touch screen is balky and nonresponsive, even for the Nook product manager who demonstrated it for me. The only thing slower than the color strip is the main screen above it. Even though it’s exactly the same E Ink technology that the Kindle and Sony Readers use, the Nook’s screen is achingly slower than the Kindle’s. It takes nearly three seconds to turn a page -’ three times longer than the Kindle -’ which is really disruptive if you’re in midsentence.
Smart Bitch Sarah gave a timely rebuttal to Alan Elsner’s piece at Huffington Post.
What is most frustrating for all of us is that there are many readers like Mr. Elsner, who see romance wherever a handful of books are sold and find themselves curious. There are better ways to evaluate a genre than to read a few books chosen without advice or direction, proclaim it all trash, and move on. I know of very few PhDs who acquired their degrees through this method. That’s a lazy way to evaluate anything, a method that speaks more of the desire for validation on the part of the reader than of that reader’s intellectual curiosity.
Magdalen B suggests that news stories profiling a few romance authors with degrees from Ivy League schools aren’t doing enough to raise the reputation of romance within the mainstream community. Magdalen suggests that we need to make a cultivated effort to get some of these people to read a 10 ten list of books of romances and that the Smart Bitches are one of the parties who could carry the water. Sarah has done this, appearing on television shows, in People magazine, radio stations in Austrialia, on NPR, and on websites around the internet. Sarah is a great ambassador of the romance genre, smart and articulate. I can only hope that her message will some day break through.