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

Monday Midday Links: Google Books Launches

Google Books launches today.   The prices for the non agency books are very competitive which is good for us consumers as I doubt that Amazon will want to be undersold (Barnes and Noble tends to price slightly higher).   At the bottom of the page, you can see that Romance is a featured category at Google books, along with Fantasy and Thrillers.

For category books, like Susan Napier, the prices were stunning at $2.55 v. $2.88 and up at Amazon. Unfortunately, Google only had four titles whereas, Amazon had eight.

Lara Adrian’s Midnight Rising was priced as follows:

Google will have an app for the Android and iThings.   I believe the Android App is available now but the iThing app is not.   There is no desktop software.

Google Books customize web reader options

Google wants you to use the browser BUT Google won’t allow you to read “Offline” using the Web Reader on your desktop so you’ll need to download and use your favorite ADEWe currently do not support offline reading using the Web Reader on your computer.   I believe that so long as your browser is open and the Google book page is open, you can continue reading your book even after logging off the internet, but once you close out of your browser, you will not be able to open the browser back up and load the book. Instead, you will need to reconnect to the internet.   I’m not sure if it saves last place read.   In other words, if you read on your computer, you should download the ePub or PDF file.     Also, I could find no bookmarking or annotation option in the web reader.     On the iPhone, the web version does not look good:

iPhone Google Web Reader

Google uses ADE for encryption and thus you can follow this guide here for how to use Google Edition books with other devices.   Note, with the web browser on the Kindle, you can access your Google Cloud. Reports are that it works great.    There are a number of books that are in PDF only.

Any ebook that is scanned in only and doesn’t have reflowable text will be accompanied by a “Better for larger screens” alert.   One last detail, you must have a Google checkout account to buy books.

Any ebook that only comes with scanned pages will display an alert message (“Better for larger screens”) before you purchase or get the ebook.

For non US readers, don’t even bother. It’s just a bunch of public domain books and web reading only.


I had the good fortune to participate in a podcast with Michael Weinberg at Public Knowledge about the lost books sale site. Hopefully, as digital books become more popular and the copyright geographical barriers will become easier to navigate.


Deadlines for submission of paper proposals to two romance-focused academic conferences are fast approaching. December 15, 2010 deadline for submission to the Romance Area of the Popular Culture Association’s National Conference in San Antonio, TX (Passover/Easter weekend: April 20-23, 2011); January 1, 2011 deadline for submission to the Third Annual International Conference of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance in New York City (June 26-28, 2011, the three days before RWA’s NYC conference). For more information, go here:


There is a lot of discussion going on outside the book world about Amazon kicking Wikileaks off its web service space. I have a   lot of conflicted feelings about Wikileaks but the idea that hosting services will be deciding what we can and cannot read on the internet is really dangerous.

Given that citizens are increasingly dependent on privately owned spaces for our politics and public discourse, however, the fight over how speech should be governed in a democracy is focused increasingly on questions of how private companies should or shouldn’t control speech conducted on and across their networks and platforms.


While Rowan Somerville was gracious when he accepted the Bad Sex award, he hated receiving it.

It's a hard pill to swallow. It takes years to write a novel and, if you are serious about what you do, quite a lot of sacrifice. Furthermore, despite the excellent reviews, The Shape of Her had not sold well: to be honest it had disappeared. No, the last thing I was going to do was throw myself into a pit of baying toffs – the magazine started by Auberon Waugh is renowned for drawing its staff from the upper classes – and add public humiliation to my disappointment.

In the end, though, Somerville acknowledge that the award brought his book back into the media limelight.


Strangely (at least I find this strange), the largest investor of Borders has indicated that it is interested in purchasing Barnes and Noble.

Ackman said Pershing Square Capital Management, which holds a 15% stake in Borders, is prepared to bid $16 per share in an all-cash or stock-and-cash transaction, representing a 20% premium on Barnes & Noble’s closing price of $13.28 last Friday.

So the investor is prepared to throw more money in hopes of turning the 15% into a profitable stake.

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. Sarah Frantz
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 12:52:00

    I find it disingenuous and even self-defeating to give the Bad Sex Award to a book that was TRYING to write bad sex. Somerville has said his character was deeply scarred over childhood sexual abuse and the point was that it WAS bad sex. It’s SUPPOSED to be. So…therefore, he succeeded. Surely the BSA should go to a book oblivious to its badness?

  2. Tweets that mention Monday Midday Links: Google Books Launches | Dear Author --
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 13:00:54

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  3. kelly
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 13:11:16

    Kathleen O’Reilly’s blazes are 80 cents cheaper at google books than in the kindle store. That’s a 25% discount.

  4. MaryK
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 13:13:41

    I thought it was the writing of the sex that was supposed to be bad not the sex itself. Not that I really know. I’ve just gotten that impression from seeing the winners. :)

  5. Jacqueline C.
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 13:21:24

    The iThings app is available – just downloaded it to my iPhone!

  6. Brian
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 13:57:10

    Be aware that not all titles from Google Books are available as downloads, some are “cloud” only.

  7. Janet P.
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 14:02:17

    The scanned books just look terrible but it would be great to get some access to some of the out of prints. Badly formatted scanned is better than nothing. I’m not thrilled with the searching and sorting but I’m guessing they’ll improve it somehow. Hopefully.

    As the paying customer I’m always in favor of lower prices (authors start screaming here) so get going Amazon and match away.

  8. Hannah
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 14:57:50

    Do you know how to tell which books are available to read in the cloud only? I’m puzzled about this. It doesn’t seem to be on any of the product pages that I’ve looked at.

  9. Brian
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 15:26:15

    They say “No download files included.” under where the price is on the books detail page. There’s a little question mark by this and when you click it it says “You can read this book on the Web, Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. These devices have dedicated reading apps that automatically sync with your account. A downloadable EPUB file is not available to read this book on the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook.”

    For an example see ‘Anzio:
    Italy and the battle for Rome, 1944’ by Lloyd Clark

  10. DS
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 16:11:34

    I use a lot of Google functions in my day to day life but I’m getting tired of all the different reading apps. I have four already on my iphone, only two of which I use with any frequency. I’m not sure about the value of adding more.

    I’m also grumpy because it is cold and snowy so I may feel different about this tomorrow.

  11. Hannah
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 16:27:43

    Thank you. I logged into my Google account and am now able to see the “No download files included” message for applicable titles.

  12. Deb
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 17:11:19

    I think I will continue to shop @ Books on Board, Diesel Books, ARC, Kobo, Borders, all as through Samhain, HQN & Carina. I have doubts that Google will offer any Customer Service and really don’t want to rely on cloud based reading.

    As far as Wikileaks losing server shares on Amazon, the Wikileaks “business model” is seriously flawed for server rights. The cables were stolen documents, you can’t blame a private business bumping document access to stolen material. I wouldn’t want to wade in that morass either. I have to admit, my cynical self believes public outrage is part of the plan to generate publicity and thus funding. Assange has to support himself someway. Yes, I’m very cynical.

  13. kan
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 18:47:10

    Err are you implying that governments of US, France and UK and Switzerland are all conspiring with Assange so that he can generate more publicity ??

    Wikileaks website has been bumped from a number of hosting services, all after receiving phone calls from government officials. The US government has officially issued a statement banning US federal employees from reading the released documents.
    France is trying to ban the website. He is being questioned in UK, as well as having all his accounts frozen. From where i am standing, everything smacks of government prosecution rather than a helpful conspiracy.
    Unless you happen to think US government is doing all this to boost his earnings ?

  14. Deb
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 20:09:26

    Kan, no, sorry for confusion. I simply don’t buy into Assange’s own motives. I think he’s got one heck of an ego, and knows how to appeal to the public to promote himself.

  15. Kaetrin
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 22:19:20

    @ Sarah. I read the “winning” excerpt from the bad sex awards and that of one of the runners-up (from Franzen’s Freedom). Katiebabs posted about the latter on her website the other day in her WTFery post. I gotta say, the excerpt from Freedom totally squicked me out and I’m really not understanding why he didn’t “win”. :)

    @Jane. re Google Books. I was excited about the prospect of another provider and saving a little money until I read the bit about it not being much use for overseas customers. Sad :(

  16. Merrian
    Dec 07, 2010 @ 02:01:42

    I listened to the podcast about the lostbooksales website. The conversation reminded me of an interview I heard last week on ABC Radio National here in Oz. Philip Adams (a well known left wing intellectual) interviewed two independent booksellers about book importation and e books. There has been a burst of publicity from a range of retailers because there is no GST on anything worth less than a $1000 imported by individuals. Booksellers are campaigning for the limit to be reduced so we can’t buy from Amazon and book depository with our current freedom. No one talked about geographical restrictions and interestingly when the CEO of Readings (amongst Melbourne’s most respected independent booksellers) was asked who buys his books, i.e. describe your market, he said he didn’t know! Emphasising for me just how we as consumers are invisible to the book industry. Also no one suggested what has often been mentioned here, that books compete timewise and dollarwise with other media. Dollar costs were mentioned in terms of the GFC and interest rate rises limiting disposable income. No one discussed the business model of publishing eg. the competing interests of arms of the same publisher. It was also interesting how ignorant they seemed about how the internet creates book buying and reading communities who share information, and form tastes. Their view seemed to be that the disappearance of bookshops means the disappearance of the culture that exists around books rather than there being a transformation.

    Over all I came a way thinking no one really knows anything. This means that they are making it up as things happen. So at no point do we as consumers or customers and book readers actually figure into the equation they are making except as something amorphous called market share.

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