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Midday Links of Love: 50% off Ebooks at EHarlequin Today

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.

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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.

Money quotes:

Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster:

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.

and

“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.

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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.

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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.

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

39 Comments

  1. Barbara Maller
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 10:33:12

    Hi, I want to buy ebooks from Harlequin. However, I only own a Kindle and an iPhone. Can I download their books to my devices? Thank you for your help

  2. Tara Mari
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 10:52:28

    Bravo to Sarah!!

    Elsner’s original post was offensive and clueless. His high handed, superior attitude was insulting in the extreme. Sarah’s rebuttal–perfect.

  3. Sandia
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 11:28:09

    I really don’t think that publishers get that ebook readers are an additional/new market of readers – people like me who bought very few books in the past but now buy much more a year because of my Kindle. I would have never bought Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol as hardcover, but since it was an ebook at $9.99 I bought it. They’ll end up losing more sales in the end.

  4. Another Jessica
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 11:33:40

    Re: So essentially consumers are being punished because Amazon and others are pricing hardcovers at 9.99 in both print and ebook format.

    I’m not sure punish is the right word. I suspect that most people who have an ereader of any format are core book-consumers, as the article notes. I personally have no problem with paying $15 for an ebook, when the hardcover is out for $20-30. It seems that the publishers are trying to do something to fight back against Amazon’s price war. A better strategy might be to re-negotiate with Amazon, but that doesn’t seem to be happening, and may not work.

    Since I read both books published by NYC publishers and small-press and e-press books, I’d like both to stick around. Generally, the NYC books are better edited, formatted, and better written. But I certainly see the market for both types — if Amazon doesn’t kill off the big publishers.

    ETA: Maybe I’m wrong about ebook readers being core book buyers. ;)

  5. Shannon Stacey
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 11:44:38

    Hi, I want to buy ebooks from Harlequin. However, I only own a Kindle and an iPhone. Can I download their books to my devices? Thank you for your help

    Barbara, I don’t think you can buy directly from the eHarlequin site to take advantage of the sale. I don’t know a lot about the Kindle, but there’s no format for the iPhone/Touch, sadly, and I think you’d have to illegally remove the DRM to read on either device.

    I’m very hopeful that Harlequin is working on making their books accessible to the millions of iPhone/Touch users out there because we really want to give them our money.

  6. Anion
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 12:06:34

    Susan Gable is also an excellent Harlequin author, IMO.

  7. ShellBell
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 12:19:54

    As a non-dead tree book buyer, publishers releasing eBooks at a later date to the hard cover versions have basically lost me as a purchaser of those particular eBooks. My local library will be getting my ‘business’, as it has been ever since pubishers started trying to strangle the life force out of the eBook industry with their silly shenanigans and inconsistancy, especially when it comes to pricing, geographical restrictions and the non-release of eBooks.

    I’m a huge fan of Harlequin authors Lynne Graham and Michelle Reid. I Just wish Harlequin would release the eBook versions of their back-lists!

  8. Jennifer Estep
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 12:25:47

    Speaking of Harlequin authors, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Maria V. Snyder and her fantasy titles, including Poison Study.

    Isn’t Harlequin doing special Christmas deals all month long? I thought I saw that somewhere. I recently bought some books from Harlequin, and they had a buy 2 get 1 free special going on, which I took full advantage of. I wish they would take more than just Visa/Mastercard though …

  9. RStewie
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 12:32:26

    I actually don’t have as much of an issue with the late release of ebooks for hardcover original releases. I think the ebook release should either coincide with the MMPB release, if that is the original release, or some time subsequent to the HB release, but before or concurrently with the MMPB release.

    What I do not want, though, is for the ebook price to reflect a premium at any time. I view ebooks as the digital equivalent of a MMPB–it’s price, therefore, should never be higher than the price for that. I don’t care if the book is only released in HB, or Trade size, or whatever the hell else size or printing standard they use for it. The version I’m buying is epubbed, and that should reflect MMPB pricing, or less.

  10. Jennifer M
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 12:50:25

    I’m baffled at the collective stupidity of these publishers. In the past 20 years, I bought exactly one hardback book. I am one of those “core” readers that reads a minimum of several books per week, but I hate hardbacks. They are bulky, heavy, expensive, and don’t fit in my purse.

    In the past, if there was something that I wanted that was only in hardback, I just waited until the paperback version was released. After I got my Kindle, I really enjoyed being able to get new releases sooner, but if the publishers think that I’m going to purchase a hardback book because they’ve taken away my ebook option, they’ve got another think coming. I’ll just go back to waiting, only now, it’s a lot more likely that by the time they get around to releasing the ebook version, I won’t even bother to buy it all because I’ll have forgotten all about it. They’ve cut off their nose to spite their face – I wouldn’t have bought the hardback, and now, I’m unlikely to buy the ebook either.

  11. Bonnie
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 13:08:02

    After I got my Kindle, I really enjoyed being able to get new releases sooner, but if the publishers think that I'm going to purchase a hardback book because they've taken away my ebook option, they've got another think coming. I'll just go back to waiting, only now, it's a lot more likely that by the time they get around to releasing the ebook version, I won't even bother to buy it all because I'll have forgotten all about it. They've cut off their nose to spite their face – I wouldn't have bought the hardback, and now, I'm unlikely to buy the ebook either.

    I was going to say pretty much the same thing.

    I will not be forced into buying a hardcover. I love reading on the Kindle and I won’t go back.

    These books will be forgotten for me. This is infuriating. It doesn’t make any sense.

  12. rosecolette
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 13:24:54

    As recent Kindle convert (received it on Tuesday, actually), and having so far enjoyed how wonderfully easy it is to buy books and receive them the same day, I have to agree with both Bonnie and Jennifer M: By the time the publisher /finally/ releases the book, I’ll have completely forgotten about it. I just don’t have the space for hardback books anymore. ebook and MMPB take up far less room.

  13. Cathy
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 13:45:57

    Echoing Jennifer and Bonnie – a delayed e-book release is a lost sale. I spent $300 on my Kindle; I won’t be bullied into buying paper, especially not hardcover.

  14. SB Sarah
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 13:51:09

    Wow. Thank you for the compliment. I’m … actually speechless. Thank you.

  15. Janine
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 14:08:47

    In addition to the Harlequin authors you mentioned, I’ll recommend Megan Hart (my favorites of her Harlequin books being Dirty and Broken), and new-to-me author Alison Richardson, whose Spice Brief Countess Trilogy I recently reviewed here. The Richardson novellas are short and at full price, a little on the expensive side, but worth it. Half price is a terrific deal.

  16. Jane
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 14:15:48

    @Janine I bought the Alison Richardson series myself today. I hope more people send in recommendations. I want to take advantage of the sale myself.

    @Barbara: Here’s a link on how to get your Kindle PID and then how to manipulate your books into being readable on the Kindle. It doesn’t strip the DRM, but merely allows you to use the existing DRM on your Kindle: http://igorsk.blogspot.com/2007/12/mobipocket-books-on-kindle.html

  17. joanne
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 14:49:47

    Maybe I’ve been fighting the fight for too long but I don’t care anymore if someone doesn’t like romance books. I just want them to shut up about the entire genre if they don’t read the books and know what they’re talking about.

    It would never enter my mind to dis Sci-Fi books just because the only one I ever read gave me vertigo & a headache. *g*

    FOR RECOMMENDATIONS:
    Lisa Childs has vampire books out in the Harlequin’s Nocturne Bites line and some contemporary cop romances in the American Romance line.

    Michelle Haur writes some fun paranormals in the Nocturne line too, with witches.

    Cheryl St. John is always dependable with her Historical romances.

  18. Linda Banche
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 16:15:39

    I just bought 17 Harlequin e-books from my favorite authors. There are certain authors I love, and I want their backlist in any form I can get it. I’m happy to get their books in eformat–beats used books and the author gets a royalty. And a 50% off sale doesn’t hurt either.

  19. Scorpio M.
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 16:49:11

    @joanne:

    I agree with you, I can’t stand know-it-alls spouting off on a topic they know nothing about. Live and let live is my motto.

  20. Carin
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 17:14:02

    Thanks for the heads up! I bought myself some Christmas fun books!

    If you’re looking for recommendations, if you haven’t read Victoria Dahl, her contemporaries Start Me Up and Talk Me Down are at eHarlequin. 50% off is hard to beat, and these are great, funny stories!

    You can also find Linda Lael Miller books at eHarlequin. She’s recently written a trio of Montana Creed: _insert name of hero_ contemporary books. I really enjoyed her latest historical Christmas book, too, A Creed Country Christmas.

  21. Janine
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 17:28:59

    @Jane: I hope you like them!

  22. Jill Sorenson
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 20:14:08

    Okay, I just bought the Countess Trilogy, a couple of Tracy Wolff books, and an Ann Christopher. Merry Christmas to me! Thanks for the heads up.

  23. Janine
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 21:00:07

    @Jill Sorenson: I hope you like the Countess Trilogy novellas too. The heroine is very, um, unconventional.

  24. JessicaP
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 21:12:58

    One of the blessings/curses of the Kindle is it enables impulse purchases. See ebook, buy ebook, any time day or night. I agree with those who’ve said that they’ll have forgotten about it by the time the delayed ebook comes out. If the publishing business is dependent upon selling hardcovers at ridiculous prices, I’m not the one who’ll be supporting that business model. I’m not saving them for posterity, and I don’t really care about the font’s history. I’ll apply the money for that hardback I’m not going to buy to three or more books in paperback or eformat.

  25. Magdalen
    Dec 10, 2009 @ 21:51:36

    @Jane — Thanks for the link! Wow, I (clearly!) had no idea how much work Sarah @SmartBitches has been doing, promoting well written romances. (I ordered the Bronwyn Jameson book from her Top Five list at People, so I’m happy.)

    We’re never going to rid the romance genre of the proportion of books that are, shall we say, less strong. And those less-strong books can always fuel the anti-romance prejudices of the Alan Elsners of the world. But I have to think there are people out there who want to read good books regardless of genre boundaries.

    I know Dear Author has been expanding its “If You Like This, Try –” feature. Maybe we can have a “If You Like This, Try –” for non-romance readers. If you like To Kill A Mockingbird, try Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer. If you like 19th century English literature, try To Love and To Cherish by Patricia Gaffney. If you like Jennifer Weiner, try Jennifer Crusie. That sort of thing.

    (And my other idea is already being done: Just remembered that Stephen King has pimped both Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts in Entertainment Weekly. Can we get him to pimp Jenny Crusie while we’re at it? And Loretta Chase?)

  26. Amy
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 02:15:35

    I am pretty frustrated with eharlequin right now. Upon reading about the 50% coupon code — thanks, Jane — I immediately went shopping and added 11 books to my cart. The system refuses to let me check out because it thinks the copy of my Microsoft Reader on my computer has not been activated. My copy has been activated. I’ve had no trouble buying books from fictionwise and booksonboard. I went ahead and reactivated my Microsoft Reader anyway to see if that would allow me to checkout. Nope. Same message screen appears. Grrrr. Why not let me checkout anyway? Some of those books at 50% off are roughly what I would pay via fictionwise (under the Club price) so I’m heading that way now.

  27. CD
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 04:56:51

    @Amy: Be careful – I did the same thing for the same reason and what happened in my case was that my Microsolft Reader was reactivated but with a different activation code. This meant I lost access to all my previously purchased LIT books and coulnd’t redownload them from my retailers. I had already stripped off the DRM from those books so it wasn’t a huge deal for me but just a FYI. If I hadn’t done that, I would have been extremely pissed off.

    As for Harlequin, for some reason, I still can’t seem to purchase form their website anymore – I keep getting an error message. It doesn’t bother me that much, apart from sales, because I can get all their books at roughly the same prices from Fictionwise.

  28. brooksse
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 06:46:57

    You’ve already mentioned a couple of my favorites… Jill Shalvis & Sarah Mayberry. Other HQ favorites of mine include Leslie Kelly, Leanne Banks, and Marilyn Pappano. Harlequin, if you’re listening, could you please release Pappano’s Southern Knights & Heartbreak Canyon series in digital format :-)

  29. brooksse
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 06:53:41

    @Amy:

    I tried to post this earlier, but it didn’t show up… so I apologize if it eventually shows up twice.

    Are you using IE to purchase the LIT books? I use Firefox and most places let me use Firefox to purchase, then I switch to IE to download. At eHarlequin, I have to switch to IE before I can even purchase LIT ebooks.

    If the problem is happening with IE, you might try adding eHarlequin to your trusted sites. If it’s an Active-X control problem, adding their website to your trusted sites might help. I once had the same problem trying to download an LIT ebook. Fictionwise said MR was not activated, but MR said it was activated. I re-installed MR and then had problems re-activating it. The problem re-activating turned out to be an Active-X problem, which makes me think the original problem at Fictionwise could have been an Active-X problem.

  30. Jane
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 07:24:52

    @Magdalen The process is glacial. I think one thing that has happened, though, is that because romance readers have been so quick to adopt digital books, that the readers and the genre has been viewed as very progressive. That’s one area in which I think we’ve made advancements, but overall, yes, I think its easy to feel dispirited. I waiver back and forth between outrage and resignation. I lean more toward resignation these days.

    I do think your idea of creating a kind of romance list for the non romance reader is a great great idea.

  31. Azure
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 07:30:07

    I said this on another forum, and I’ll say it here too:

    The only people publishers are going to hurt by refusing to release ebooks at the same time as the hardcovers are themselves and the authors. Case in point: the newest Stephen King. I’d heard it was a lot like his older stuff, so I pre-ordered it. Because of the delay in releasing the ebook, I read the customer reviews which said it wasn’t as good as advertised, so I canceled the order. Lost sale. And it’s going to happen to a lot of authors, creating a lot of lost sales. The publishers need to understand that a sale is a sale–no matter what form it’s in.

    And one more thing–Simon & Schuster is back to their old pricing tricks, only worse: I was excited to see that Linda Lael Miller’s “The Vow” was finally available as an ebook, until I saw the price. The last time S&S pulled this crap, their ebooks were $3.00 more than the MMP. Now they’re double the price, because they wanted $15 for the ebook. Not happening in this lifetime.

  32. AQ
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 08:41:25

    Can I just say that when I first looked at CUTINHALF it did not say Cut In Half.

  33. DS
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 09:02:31

    I was rather dismayed when I checked out Black Silk for a Kindle copy to see that the only new deadtree version in in trade paperback which discounts to $11.04 on Amazon and the Kindle version is $8.79. Not going to do it, HarperCollins. Especially with a book that has been out in mass market paperback since 1991.

  34. Pearl
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 10:59:05

    I just want to say thank you to Jane for her help yesterday in regards to this eHarlequin sale!

    Thanks again! I bought a bunch of Blazes: Jill Shalvis, Sarah Mayberry , Alison Kent, Jo Leigh, Stephanie Tyler, Kathleen O’Reilly and Leslie Kelly and a few Nalini Singh Desires…If it weren’t for you wouldn’t have been able to read them.

    Hugs,
    Pearl

  35. Writing marathon, day two. « Twenty Palaces
    Dec 11, 2009 @ 11:31:59

    [...] at Dear Author thinks e-book buyers are “being punished” because of the ongoing price wars, which is not only wrong, but way too personal. Not being able to [...]

  36. Amy
    Dec 12, 2009 @ 01:08:09

    @CD: I never thought I’d get a different activation code. I’m not even sure how I’d check on this.

    @brooksse: I do exactly what you usually do — shop with Firefox and then download with IE. When I initially got this message from eharlequin, I switched to IE and error remained. I have no idea what it means to have an Active X problem(!) but I’ll go ahead and try your “add to trusted” sites fix. Thanks for the suggestion.

    I will say eharlequin has a speedy customer service. I emailed them last night and received a reply this morning, along with a note that they’ve given me a different code to honor the 50% discount if I could figure out the problem.

  37. Amy
    Dec 12, 2009 @ 01:25:10

    [Sigh] I’ve tried all the fixes (including those suggested by the eharlequin customer service rep) and I’m still getting the message that my copy of the MS Reader has not been activated. I guess that store is just closed for me.

  38. Statch
    Dec 12, 2009 @ 07:13:50

    What’s going to happen for me with this new publishers’ decision is that I’ll most likely still buy my ‘auto-read’ authors in ebook version when their books come out, though i won’t be happy at waiting, but I won’t be buying the new authors who got a buzz when the pbook first came out, because I’ll have forgotten about them by the time the ebook comes out. Now, that may not affect many authors, since in the romance genre most new authors don’t come out in hardback first (I think).

    If it didn’t affect me so much as a hard-core book reader, I’d say the publishing industry deserves what’s going to happen to it as a result of its short-sighted business practices. I hope the future-savvy ones manage to struggle through, and don’t get dragged down by the others.

    The problems buying directly from Harlequin with the Kindle are exactly why I didn’t get a Kindle, and are yet another example of short-sighted business practices.

  39. willaful
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 13:47:56

    Anyone still looking for Harlequin books to buy — Meg Maguire’s latest, The Wedding Fling is on sale there, though still pre-ordered at the other places. I read it last night — didn’t love it as much as her others, but it’s good.

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