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

Monday Midday Links: It’s Release Time Again

DA Industry NewsTomorrow marks the beginning of the official release of the April books.   Most Avon and Random House books are released on the last Tuesday of every month. Kensington, Grand Central, and Harlequin have an official release date of the first of every month with Berkley/Jove/Signet/NAL books being released on the first Tuesday of every month.   Many epublishers like Samhain release books weekly or biweekly on Mondays or Tuesdays.    To celebrate new release dates, we post two open threads at Dear Author. The first one is for readers to recommend books to each other, talk about what issues are on their mind, and bring up their favorite new releases.   It’s one of my favorite threads at DA.

The second open thread is a place for authors to pimp their books. Generally we frown upon off topic pimpage but we do recognize that there should be a safe haven for authors to talk up their books and this is the place for authors to do so. I think I spotted a giveaway or two referenced in that thread.

These two threads are a great way to make up a buy list.


Smashwords, a self publishing digital storefront and distributor, has made a deal with Apple to bring its Premium Catalog to iThing readers.   The cost to be included in the Premium Catalog is not content based, but rather production-quality based. That is, the ebook must meet certain quality production standards and must have an ISBN to be included.   Mark Coker, the owner of Smashwords, also put out the pricing guidelines, as required by Apple.   Even if you don’t have an iThing or plan to own one, Apple pricing scheme is being adopted by five of the Big 6 and will likely inform the prices at other retailers (this is one thing Amazon is fighting for – the right not to be outpriced by Apple).

Full right to price without Apple restrictions exists for:

  • Books that do not have a print equivalent.
  • Hardcover list prices that exceed $40 in print
  • Mass market or trade paperbacks list prices that exceed $22

For Mass Markets or Trade Paperbacks

  • For any book with a print equivalent list priced at $22 or less, the cap is $9.99
  • This is for the first year only
  • After the first year, price can be anything UNLESS APPLE DEEMS IT UNREALISTIC

For Hardcovers

  • Anything under $22.00 is capped at $9.99
  • $22.01-$24.00, the maximum ebook price is $10.99;
  • $24.01-$25.00 is $11.99;
  • $25.01-$27.50 is $12.99;
  • $27.51-$30.00 is $14.99;
  • $30.01-$35.00 is $16.99;
  • $35.01-$40.00 is $19.99.

Is this Agency model? No, it’s Apple pricing.   Mike Cane had a peek inside the iBookstore (screencaps galore) and notes that prices are all over the place, but none dip below $9.99.   Publishers’ Marketplace says that there are additional provisions that require a book to be sold at $12.99 if it hits the NYT Bestseller list. (paid link)

Kobo Books suggests that loyalty programs will be a thing of the past. If that is true, I wonder what will happen to the Fictionwise buying club and whether I should use my micropay rebate dollars now while I still can.


Ebooks are not popular worldwide.   In Ireland only 100 ebooks were sold in 2009 but that Penguin believes that overall digital sales will exceed 15% in five years.


I found this interview with the deceased Dick Giordano on the topic of romance and comic books of great interest.   Giordano spoke about how difficult it was to draw romances in comics because romances are mostly emotion based.

LUSTIG: In an interview in Comic Book Artist, you indicated that when you were young you found romance comics harder to draw than action stories and that you required more visual references. That probably surprises some people.

GIORDANO: The reason they're harder is that they're emotionally based. The subtle hand movements and body language that you find in romance books are very hard to do from memory, so photo reference was something I used quite a bit of. Conversely, when you're doing a superhero story, you can't really get someone to pose photographically for some of the outrageous action that takes place. You basically have to make that all up, or follow somebody from before you who's done it better than you're doing it.


Author Solutions, the much reviled publishing services company, has struck a deal to get all of the books that are published using its services onto the Kindle platform.   I had no idea that they hadn’t such a deal already.


Karen Scott notes that EC is seeking submissions for two wildly different lines. One sounds like a Girls Gone Wild and the other sounds like Inspy Erotica.


Trisha has some thoughts about the YA RITA nominations (she’s a YA blogger if you wonder why I am linking to her).   She is a fan of Perfect Chemistry like everyone else I’ve read.   I have got to buy and read that book.

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. MaryK
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 14:38:55

    Kobo Books suggests that loyalty programs will be a thing of the past.

    The BoB announcement seemed to suggest the same thing.

    I use my Fictionwise micropay for multi-format anyway so this won’t affect me. If it did, I would definitely be using it before April 1.

  2. Ros
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 14:57:03

    I’m astounded by those figures from Penguin Ireland (though I must admit from your summary, I thought it was 100 ebooks altogether, not just 100 Penguin ebooks). I’d have thought that in a relatively rural but also economically fairly strong country like Ireland, ebooks would be selling like crazy.

  3. library addict
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 16:34:33

    I hope loyalty programs don’t really go away. I used up quite a bit of my micropay during the last big sale at Fictionwise, but I still have a lot left (love when you get to buy with micropay and still get micropay back).

    Grr, between this whole agency pricing fiasco and DRM makes me want to go back to strictly print books. So very frustrating!

  4. Bonnie
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 17:25:29

    @library addict:

    “Grr, between this whole agency pricing fiasco and DRM makes me want to go back to strictly print books. So very frustrating!”

    That’s the whole point. To drive people away from ebooks.

    Well, it’s working. They’re driving me away. Except I’m not buying paper books. I’m finding other avenues of entertainment. And I’m finding that it’s really no great hardship.

    This whole thing has left a really shitty taste in my mouth and I don’t even care if I read at this point.

    Not good.

  5. Keishon
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 17:26:51

    Fictionwise buying club and whether I should use my micropay rebate dollars now while I still can.

    I’m getting rid of my micropay. And secondly, I am buying Perfect Chemistry with it if it’s at FW that is as I haven’t checked yet.

    Edited: Perfect Chemistry isn’t available in e after all. Guess I won’t be reading it anytime soon.

  6. DS
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 21:24:15

    When it comes to ebooks I’m browsing the small publishers list. It’s kind of fun in a way. I found out that Lillian Stewart Carl has a whole mystery series out that I was not aware of at a very reasonable ebook price. I used to read her fantasy and romantic suspense so now I get to see how she has held up.

    And Jane Fancher, it’s time for you to publish that vampire book. It’s the only vampire book I’m really looking forward to right now.

  7. Trisha
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 23:36:55

    Oh, Perfect Chemistry. If I graded books, I’d have to give it two grades: one very low for quality of writing and one pretty high for sheer addictiveness of the story. It’s total bookcrack, as one person put it. Definitely a guilty pleasure, and I can understand why some people don’t like it and/or find it problematic.

    Thanks for the link.

  8. Mina Kelly
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 02:20:48

    I wonder if the Ireland stat is heavily influenced by availability. Even stuff that’s available in the UK often doesn’t come out in Ireland until much later. The Kindle only started shipping there three months ago (with a US power adaptor, VAT on top of the price and everything still priced in dollars in the store, apparently – way to make non-US customers feel vauled, Amazon) and I bet geographical restrictions on eBooks aren’t helping.

  9. Camille
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 11:32:17

    Actually, Fictionwise and their micropay system is the one kind of loyalty program that will STAY in the new agency model.

    That’s because it allows the price to remain fixed, but they put money in micropay as a separate incentive. I suspect that discounts will be replaced by other incentives like that.

  10. Sheila L.
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 17:42:34

    It looks like Kobo Books is right about loyalty programs. The Fictionwise Buywise Club has been discontinued. However, the club benefits are still valid until the membership’s expiration.

    I wish that Fictionwise had made an announcement or emailed regarding this matter; instead, I had to read about this at MobileRead.

  11. Are Penguin Kindle Books the Next Casualty of the Apple Pricing Model | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 16:30:59

    […] Update:  Wall Street Journal reports that Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins have struck deals with Amazon. Most books will be priced at $12.99 to $14.99 but bestsellers will be priced at $9.99.  Just like Apple! […]

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