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Monday Midday Links: Covers, book sales, and nook price drop

Jeannie Lin Butterfly Swords

Harlequin Historical has a new period: Tang Dynasty China! Let’s hope Jeanne Lin sells a lot of these books so that there are more Far East historicals in our reading future. The book has a gorgeous cover.

Update: Amazon has dropped the price of the Kindle to $189.

BN has introduced a wi-fi only nook for $149 and dropped the price for the 3G one to $199. I promised myself I wasn’t going to buy anything until Christmas time but this is really tempting.

Barnes and Noble is the publishers’ favorite retailer apparently and some believe this might be helping BN to gain market share. Right now, they are in second at 20% of the digital market. BN’s young CEO, William Lynch, is quoted as follows:

"Publishers absolutely want us to succeed," Mr. Lynch says. "That’s driving their cooperation with us in the digital world."

While the article says that BN is using an open format, this is quite the misnomer. BN uses a separate and different encryption scheme so that nook books can only be read on a nook. That’s not truly open.


Bookbinge has a review of Wynter Daniel’s Can’t Stand the Heat featuring an anti-anti-hero. I’m not sure what the point of having a hero who is an unrepentant gambler who constantly puts his love in jeopardy through his addiction but maybe unrepentant addicts are the new black.


Our YA reviewer, John, posted last week about being gay, reading romance, and the challenges of choosing reading material without the judgment of others.


Big Fish Games is giving away a free hidden objects game. We’ve reviewed a few of the Big Fish Game HO here:

The free game is Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst and the code is FREERAVEN. The game can be played on both PC and Macs. (Thanks for the tip, Lori).


Borders is selling Mockingjay, the finale in the Hunger Games trilogy, for $8.45. You have to order $25 to get the free shipping though.


Random House Canada is releasing Rosie Alison’s “The Very Thought of You” in ebook first and then paperback. “The Very Thought of You” was a finalist for the Orange Prize in the UK. The print edition will be released on July 27.

Jocelyn Drake

This was an interesting article about a cover artist. I think you can see Jocelyn Drake’s next cover on his monitor. Don Sipley is paid between $2000 and $5000 USD for his cover art. Models are paid a flat rate of $180.

Publishers send Sipley brief descriptions of a book's hero and heroine -‘ their hair color, wardrobe, and the situation they're in -‘ then it's up to him to interpret how the cover should look.


Crown of Crystal Flame

Speaking of covers, I ran across C.L. Wilson’s cover for the next installment of the Tairen Soul series.   Crown of Crystal Flame is set for release on October 26, 2010. I’m not sure if the cover will change, but for me it falls under “What were they thinking??”


Digitimes says estimates that BN shipped 37% of the ereader units in April and May and Kindle only 16%. Digitimes claims that Amazon is reducing its Kindle inventory to prepare for the fall launch of new devices. Given that the Kindle is the first thing you see when you enter Amazon, I find it difficult to believe this report. The article also says that Sony will launch a new e-reader in July and BN will add one to two models this year and that 1.4 million ereaders were shipped in 1st Q 2010.


Finally, April sales statistics:

  • Adult Hardcover, up 49.2% ($142.9 m). Up 16.2% for the year.
  • Adult Paperback, up 19.6%   ($128.2 million).   Up 19.4% for the year.
  • Adult Mass Market, down 17.7% for April ($49.1 million).   Down 6.3% for the year.
  • Hardcover Children's/YA, down 11.2% ($40.5 million).   Down 30.2% for the year.
  • Children's/YA Paperback, down 0.8%   ($39.9 million).   Down 6.1% for the year.
  • Audio Book sales, up 18.6% ($11.7 million).   Up 15.6% for the year.
  • Downloaded Audio Books, up 32.1% ($6 million).   Up 30.8% for the year.
  • E-book, up 127.4%   ($27.4 million). Up 217.3% for the year. (April sales growth was slower than previous months).

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. gwen hayes
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 11:08:34

    1. I love that Jeannie Lin cover like a unrepentant addict loves her addiction.

    2. I hate BN so much, but I still kind of want a Nook with the price drop. Except, Kobo has an Android app and BN doesn’t yet…decisions decisions.

    3. John also guest posted at Fictionistas about his take on Boys and YA books. I really appreciate his fresh voice on the internet.

  2. Ridley
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 11:28:02

    I’m so put out over ebooks, really, that I’ve been reading a lot less. I can’t justify paying $7.99 for an ebook, so it feels like books I want are just flat unavailable as paper books just are a misery to read with my hands. As a result, I’ve been buying books based on price rather than a sense of “ZOMG I must have this book!” and then don’t want to read them.

    It all just makes me want to pop Jobs in his stupid, smug face. Ebook reading was just so awesome pre-iPad. Now it just sucks.

  3. Kate Pearce
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 11:32:00

    I love that Jeannie Lin cover and I can’t wait to read the book :)

  4. Sandia
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 11:55:14

    I’m sorry to be a poop, but I have to disagree. I hate the Jeannie Lin cover. Why am I seeing a woman wearing an informal Yukata kimono when she’s supposed to be in Tang Dynasty China? On top of that she’s got a Japanese Katana?


  5. Jeannie Lin
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 12:22:46

    Thanks Dear Author for posting my cover!

    And I do have to stick up for the Harlequin art department who worked very hard on this cover and consulted me for examples of period clothing. I do believe the gal is wearing a period appropriate Tang dynasty hanfu — which is often touted as the precursor to both the Japanese kimono and the Korean hanbok. The sword is a butterfly sword (the only complaint might be that there should be two) It’s based on a shaolin weapon that is the length of hand to wrist of the practitioner and the width of the wrist. The length of this sword in the cover seemed appropriate and I was very pleased on that small detail too.

    Oh geez…I sound like an awful geek and I don’t want to be defensive, but the Harlequin art department really worked hard on this since it was a first for them and really did take pains to take my input into consideration. To the point where my editor scoured my blog for research links. :)

  6. Emily Ryan-Davis
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 12:28:39

    Butterfly Swords has a lovely cover (finally; Jeannie waited so long and so patiently!). I do hope readers pick up the book to try it. I’ve been privileged to read Butterfly Swords in advance and believe it won’t disappoint.

  7. Moriah Jovan
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 13:03:03

    @Jeannie Lin:

    The sword is a butterfly sword (the only complaint might be that there should be two) It's based on a shaolin weapon that is the length of hand to wrist of the practitioner and the width of the wrist.

    While I can’t speak to the clothes (for once), I can speak to the sword, and I have to agree with Jeannie on both counts–it’s the right sword and there should be two. (Aside: Another heroine might have chosen fans.) But it in any case, it’s far too wide (and a little short) to be a katana; it really more resembles a machete.

    And count me in as another who’s been waiting for more Asian historical romance (since my last fix wore off a while back).

    Good job all the way around, Jeannie, and congrats!

  8. Leigh Royals
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 13:03:36

    It is quite lovely. I appreciate all the work you and the publisher put into it. Congrats, my friend.

  9. Felicia Lind
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 13:17:58

    Unlike most romance covers, Jeannie Lin’s actually makes me want to read the book. I *really* hope this is a sign that there will soon be a greater variety in historical settings!

    And, like several people said, that sword is a butterfly sword and nothing else (says the martial arts geek).

  10. dancechica
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 13:21:08

    The cover for Butterfly Swords is absolutely stunning! I love historical romances, and I’m excited to see a new one set in Asia for a change.

  11. TKF
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 13:21:22

    Don’t know anything about Chinese weapons, but I do know Japanese weapons, and that ain’t no katana (width of blade, guard and pommel are all wrong for a katana).

    I can’t wait for this! I loved Jade Lee’s Concubine and am all for more Asian historicals!!!

  12. LauraB
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 13:21:58

    Grrr… I bought my Nook 2 weeks ago. Now I did get a $50 gift card w/ the purchase so, it’s only $10 more than the current 3G/Wifi price; however, I would have bought it w/ WiFi only and saved quite a bit. Overall, I’m okay w/ the Nook, so only steamed about the price.

    Also, Jane, I can read Nook Books using eReader software on my computer (I don’t know about my iTouch, but since the BN app is on it, this is a moot point.) Also, I can load non-BN books in ereader or EPUB formats onto my Nook w/o any problems.

  13. Sandia
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 13:46:59

    I’m sorry – I just wouldn’t pick up the book based on cover. Maybe it’s one too many Chinese historical dramas that I’ve seen, but I’ve never seen any Tang Dynasty dramas with women dressed like that.

    I think Tang Dynasty princess/royal, I think Wu Zetian. And they just don’t wear clothes that look like the heroine. They look like the women from Curse of the Golden Flower.

  14. Ellie
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 14:25:56

    @Ridley: It all just makes me want to pop Jobs in his stupid, smug face. Ebook reading was just so awesome pre-iPad. Now it just sucks.

    I’ll second that.

    Geographic restrictions have gotten a lot tighter since the whole ‘Agency’ debacle as well. I can hardly buy ANY romance from the big publishing houses.

    I know there are ‘rights’ stuff and all that, but as a reader and a consumer I simply don’t give a fig about that. I read romance, I’d like to be able to buy romance. Publishers are making those pirate sites mighty appealing right about now. The only thing that has stopped me is my personal relationships with some of my favourite authors. I just can’t go there. YET.

  15. Lynette
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 14:26:29

    LOL! Different strokes for different folks. I would pick up Butterfly Swords based upon the cover alone and an . . . Thank god not another historical set in England huge sigh of relief!

  16. John
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 14:28:46

    Thanks for the mention, Jane. That post was one of my finest. :P

    To the Jeannie Lin cover – I would SO read that. Historical romance is good enough, but adding Asian flair to it? Awesome. I can’t speak for historical accuracy, though the mention of Wu Zeitan brought back memories of my AP World History course…*shudder*

    As the the C.L.Wilson…that cover is craptastic!

  17. DS
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 14:56:24

    The C L Wilson cover looks like it is off a 1990 Love Spell. Actually the title has a 1990ish paranormal feel.

    I like the Butterfly Swords cover. Hope it serves the author well.

  18. Holly
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 15:44:45

    I was at B&N over the weekend and they had the Nook for sale at $259 with a $50 gift card. If I’d bought one and then found out about the price drop, I would be soooooooooo ticked right now. Thank goodness I decided I’d wait a bit.

  19. Mary Anne Graham
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 17:32:38

    I’m as tickled as a toad frog on a lily pad about the e-reader price war.

    The plunging prices will put e-readers in many more hands. That’s got to be a good thing. Those hands will be looking for books to fill the devices and that’s got to be a great thing!

  20. Jamie Michele
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 17:53:18

    I’m on tenterhooks waiting for Jeannie Lin’s debut! She is a talented and passionate author whose meticulous research backs up her lyrical voice.

    And of course, I’m pleased that Harlequin is broadening the definition of “historical” to include non-Western cultures. It can only lead to good things.

    Perhaps pirates? One can hope!

  21. Marguerite Butler
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 18:28:03

    1. I don’t get the cover snark. I think Jeannie Lin has a gorgeous cover. Regency still has my heart, but I’m always excited to expand my horizons. I want this book.

    2. I hate BN. I won’t be buying a Nook. I have found their customer service severely lacking and the comments their VP made at Untethered (See the SBTB post)left a sour taste. I like my Kindle just fine.

    3. The CL Wilson cover is…um…80’s. And that isn’t a good thing.

  22. Liz Talley
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 18:41:06

    See, this is where I could care less about accuracy. It’s all about the story with me. Cover looks great – eye-catching and different. Lots of people will pick it up based on that alone. This is likely why I couldn’t hack it in writing historicals. When faced with comments like, “They couldn’t have eaten lemon curd. There was a blight on lemons in Portugal in the summer of that year,” I counter with “Who cares? The hero just got stabbed!” So now I write contemporaries :)

    Like the cover for Jeannie’s. The other? Maybe someone in the art department smoked some bad stuff?

  23. Amy
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 19:21:11

    Yeah Harlequin for doing a Chinese historical!

  24. Eva_baby
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 19:29:48

    @Ridley: LOL. Let me hold your purse and earrings while you pop him one. I totally agree.

    Also, April sales growth for e-books was slower than previous months? Gee? I wonder why. Let me think, now, what happened in April? *snerk*

  25. Amy
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 19:29:53

    LOL! As far as I’m concerned, Liz gets the comment of the day award!

  26. Silver
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 19:39:07

    Butterfly Swords’ cover is really eye-catching and I’m looking forward to reading it!

  27. Lucy Woodhull
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 21:35:47

    LOVE that Butterfly Swords cover! I don’t need a vaguely embarrassing half naked man on the cover/ woman with her silk drapery falling off. I can imagine the H/H naked, thankyouverymuch ;)

  28. Darynda Jones
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 21:36:01

    This cover is stunning and quite historically accurate, but like Liz said, WHO CARES? I certainly wouldn’t NOT buy a book because I thought (inaccurately) that the art department got the period dress wrong. What does that have to do with the writing?

    Personally, I cannot wait to pick this one up! What a refreshing twist. I wish Jeannie Lin all the best. I think she has a winner.

  29. Elisa Beatty
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 22:13:44

    Glorious cover!! Can’t wait for Butterfly Swords!

  30. Nadia Lee
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 23:42:53

    @Sandia: I can’t comment on the heroine’s costume since I know nothing about Tang fashion, but the sword is definitely not katana. Katana is narrower & longer.

  31. Rebecca Herman
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 01:13:05

    Love the Butterfly Swords cover! So glad to see a unique historical setting! I don’t buy many romances these days since I don’t read 19th century England books anymore unless they are by a favorite author… so I hope this one does well and Harlequin publishes a bunch more!

  32. Nikki
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 07:24:05

    I don’t care how many versions B&N come out with I still won’t be buying a nook! As a US military spouse living overseas I can tell you that it is useless for me since I can’t buy B&N ebooks in Japan (where I live). I can, however, buy ebooks just fine from Amazon. As the customer service rep at B&N told me “the nook is very new to this process and Amazon has been doing it much longer.” Well, I think you made my decision for me!

  33. Estara
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 08:12:08

    Yay, Butterfly Swords and also thanks to Jane and Lori for the Bigfish Games link!

    I’m tiptoeing around the international ebook restrictions by jumping from one possible seller to another and see whose accounting I can trick. If I can’t, the book goes on my maybe list and I possibly forget to buy it… there are so many new books out each month. Only for my very favourite authors am I willing to by hardcover or paperback now.

  34. meoskop
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 10:10:52

    I can’t believe we have to wait till October!!! But at least it’s HQN, where I know I can download the title and I won’t be price gouged to do it. My HQN buying has gone up an astonishing amount since april – from one or two titles a year to five – ten titles a month.

  35. Lynne Connolly
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 13:22:46

    It looks a nice cover to me. But to afficionados it’s probably like those bridesmaid’s dresses they’re plonking on historicals these days.
    Because I read primarily ebook, the cover isn’t hugely important for me, but the blurb is, especially with a new to me author.
    And I have a release in June, a new Richard and Rose! Am I allowed to say that? Psyched because I finished the first draft of the next one today. They’re always hard to write and take ages.
    Watching the Match of the Pretties right now, Argentina v Greece. Makes me want to write a football book. And OMG France! What were they thinking? Be interested to see if the World Cup affects sales of romance. Women reading rather than watching TV? Or watching the matches rather than reading?

  36. romsfuulynn
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 21:33:17

    While the article says that BN is using an open format, this is quite the misnomer. BN uses a separate and different encryption scheme so that nook books can only be read on a nook. That's not truly open.

    I agree it isn’t open, but the BNereader application is available for iPhone/iTouch, iPad, Windows,Mac and Blackberry.

    And there is an additional wrinkle on the horizon – there was an aborted release last month of the Pandigital Novel. Not eink, but color android 7 inch tablet linked to the BN store. No 3G though, just Wi-Fi. $199. Think android based miniipad.

  37. Tweets that mention Monday Midday Links: Covers, book sales, and nook price drop | Dear Author --
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 02:32:57

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kendra James, Jeff A. Jones. Jeff A. Jones said: Monday Midday Links Covers book sales and nook price drop | Dear … […]

  38. MIreya
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 04:48:00

    About the Pandigital Novel there was an issue with it 2 weeks ago, (not last month as far as I am aware). I know about the issue because it went on sale for $174 at Kohl’s on June 9th and I ordered one. Sadly, the software was glitchy and by the time my order was processed, Kohl’s had made the decision of withdrawing the units as some of the customers started returning them for being “defective”. I got a nice email from them saying that as soon as it becomes available again, they will honor the sale price and they will give me an additional 15% discount (if I didn’t misread the email).

    I am scouring the net daily checking on them because I want one.

  39. romsfuulynn
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 05:35:05

    Ok, the FCC clearance on 5/29 but they weren’t on sale until the following week.

  40. R.G. Alexander
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 12:46:02

    I ADORE this cover (and the author) :)
    I can’t wait to buy it!

  41. Megan Kelly
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 20:51:54

    Terrific cover. Can’t wait to read this book. I agree–I know what a naked man looks like; I don’t need to carry one around on my book cover. Or a depiction of a woman who can’t keep her clothes on. That said, I might pick up a book because of the cover, but I would never NOT buy a book because of it. How often does the art not match the text? A lot. How often do I care? Seldom. Even with my own books, I just laugh about it. Eagerly awaiting Jeannie Lin’s October release.

  42. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Lost lands of linkity
    Jun 25, 2010 @ 09:24:59

    […] good linkity posts from Dear Author this week, particularly this bit about how publishers are keeping books in print by […]

  43. Jeannie Lin | Award-winning historical romance author
    Jun 26, 2010 @ 05:46:56

    […] unveiling of the Butterfly Swords cover snared some cool mentions on the interwebs. First from Dear Author who posted the cover along with some well wishes for romances set in the Far […]

  44. Dara
    Jun 28, 2010 @ 08:33:48

    I love Jeannie’s cover and also hope for the same–more books set in the Far East! :) I hope it helps open the floodgates.

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