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Monday Midday Links Roundup: ebooks signal death of midlist?

DA Industry NewsI can’t recall if I posted this but the winner of the copy of  Petals from the Sky from last week's  Intro Interview with Mingmei Yip is  Ms. Bookjunkie.   Send your post info to Alyson at daintrointerview AT gmail DOT com, and she'll get your book out to you.   Congratulations!

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Donna Hayes,   Harlequin's Publisher and CEO is the recipient of this year's "W Award" presented by the YWCA of the City of New York. Ms. Hayes is being recognized not only as a business woman at the top of her field, but also for supporting the YWCA's mission to empower women and eliminate discrimination through the books she and Harlequin Enterprises publishes each month.   The award will be given on  June 24. Here is information about the event:

Who: Donna Hayes, Publisher & CEO of Harlequin Enterprises Wins the 2010 "W Award"

What: YWCA of the City of New York's 6th Annual Summer Soiree

When: Thursday, June 24 from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM

Where: Trump SoHo New York, 246 Spring Street at Varick Street

Why: New York City's premier soiree in support of women – an evening of cocktails, light fare, silent auction, networking, music and dancing at the brand-new Trump SoHo New York. Tickets start at $225 and are tax-deductible.

To purchase tickets, contact: Sara Raassi at (212) 735-9708 or [email protected]   Holy crap, expensive right?   YWCA is offering 20% off to Dear Author readers. If you go, let me know how it went!

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Today is the last day for you to download Undercover Lover: Take Me, Lover, Book 2 by Charlaine Teglia for free.   Tomorrow Samhain will offer Moira Rogers’ Cry Sanctuary: Book 1 of Red Rock Pass series for free until the 28th.

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The Wall Street Journal put together a brief video history of the book.   Thanks Kay!

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James McGrath Morrison says that ebooks will kill the midlist because people will no longer browse.   Browsing is all done in the retail stores.

Digital books create a retailing bypass that diminishes the exposure of midlist books to potential readers. Supermarkets have long understood the importance of this aspect of sales, arranging their stores so shoppers have to pass through aisles filled with tempting items in order to pick up a quart of milk. So while eBooks will offer publishers an easier and more economic means to sell more works by leading authors it will increase the challenge of marketing books by others.

I think I buy more midlist authors in ebook format than I ever did in print format and I do far more impulse buying.   That one click is a frigging killer.

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Authors Guild sent out a warning over new contract terms Wiley would like for its authors to agree to.    Wiley wants to pay royalties off the net and not retail.   Further it wants to change the rights of reversion.   Essentially Authors Guild is arguing Wiley wants to keep the rights for longer and pay less money.   Wiley disagrees and argues that its new contract terms would pay most authors more.   Authors Guild has been wrong before but it never hurts to read your contract twice.

via PubRants

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Rachel and Doystel & Gooderich points us to a Huffington Post piece on epic fantasy hookups between authors (not of the sexual kind but of the collaborative kind).   I generally dislike collaborations and frankly can’t think of one hookup I would like to see.   How about you?

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

29 Comments

  1. Joy
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 09:46:25

    E-books are a definite win for the midlist, for me anyway. Midlist books, and especially backlist books, are sold at discount. I could buy 3 Candace Camp books for the price of one trade bestseller.

  2. ms bookjunkie
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 10:06:10

    Alyson at daintrointerview AT gmail DOT com

    Is this email address correct? My email bounced back.

    Thanks for the book, btw! It sounds fascinating, and just like something I’ll enjoy but never come across on my own.

  3. Ros
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 10:14:01

    As of yet, there is no digital substitute to this serendipitous manner of bringing readers and writers together.

    Except the blog, the tweet, the FB page, the Amazon review, the GoodReads recommendation… No, no way at all of finding out about books online. *rolls eyes*

    I buy a LOT more midlist books and backlist books as ebooks, mostly from online recommendations, than I ever would in a bricks and mortar store.

  4. rebyj
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 10:50:59

    I too buy more midlist and backlist books in eformat than I ever did in stores. Again because of lower prices than best sellers

  5. Susan/DC
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:00:11

    I buy a lot of midlist books from information gathered online. As Ros said:

    However, I still find a lot of books by wandering up and down the aisles of my brick-and-mortar bookstore, pulling the book off the shelf, and reading a chapter. It’s clearly not the only way to find books, but it’s one I like, and many a lazy Sunday afternoon has been spent doing exactly that.

  6. Jane O
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:09:47

    How do I choose the books I am going to read?

    1. I’ve read reviews that suggest to me that I will like the book.

    2. I saw it on the shelf, it looked interesting, so I picked it up to read a bit. At that point, I either put it down or take it home. But I would not buy an unknown book by an unknown author based on nothing more than a blurb.

    I think Mr. Morrison is probably right.

  7. becca
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:10:37

    The one hookup I’d like to see is Nora Robets/Terry Pratchett… I’d kill to read a story where Eve Dallas meets Sam Vimes.

    re: midlist – don’t have an ebook reader, won’t get one until the drm wars settle down some. I’ll be sorry to see the midlist go entirely electronic, because I’ll miss out on a lot, I’m sure. And I know I’m not alone in not wanting to go e- for awhile!

  8. Keishon
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:12:37

    I think I buy more midlist authors in ebook format than I ever did in print format and I do far more impulse buying. That one click is a frigging killer.

    You are not kidding. I had to remove my credit card because I was BROWSING and IMPULSIVELY spending like crazy. This man who wrote this article clearly doesn’t know what in the hell he is talking about.

  9. becca
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:22:58

    The one hookup I’d like to see is Nora Robets/Terry Pratchett… I’d kill to read a story where Eve Dallas meets Sam Vimes.

    re: midlist – don’t have an ebook reader, won’t get one until the drm wars settle down some. I’ll be sorry to see the midlist go entirely electronic, because I’ll miss out on a lot, I’m sure. And I know I’m not alone in not wanting to go

  10. TKF
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:28:01

    So while eBooks will offer publishers an easier and more economic means to sell more works by leading authors it will increase the challenge of marketing books by others.

    I think I buy more midlist authors in ebook format than I ever did in print format and I do far more impulse buying. That one click is a frigging killer.

    I think it's going to change the way readers browse and the way publishers and writers have to advertise their books. For example, for years now (ever since downtown San Francisco became a bookstore wasteland) I've been browsing for my books online. Amazon and Fictionwise (and most places) have new release sections. Amazon has the “readers who bought this also bought this” and “readers who looked at this bought this instead” and the combo deals, and readers recommended reads (I have a couple of readers who tastes I clearly share, so I DO look at their lists).

    I guess I also assume that as readers adopt eBooks, they will also become far more likely to read online review sites such has this one. I think “subscriptions” might make a brilliant return as well. I know Harlequin is doing it, but I see a real opportunity for other publishers to make headway with that kind of deal: offer a discount bundle every month, all the historicals, all the paranormals, etc.

    Coop in the front of brick and mortar will become less important while coop in the online stores (and in the monthly newsletters like the ones Borders sends out) will become far more important.

  11. MaryK
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:43:38

    @becca:

    I'll be sorry to see the midlist go entirely electronic, because I'll miss out on a lot, I'm sure. And I know I'm not alone in not wanting to go e- for awhile!

    I’m with you on that. I only do ebooks from independent, non-DRM publishers.

    BUT my spending on paperbacks in general has greatly increased since I started reading book blogs. I’m more confident in my choices because of the frank discussions, and it’s easier to find sales online. For ex., I used to buy the occasional HP off the rack at WalMart or get them used. Now I do a free shipping order directly from eHarlequin about every other month.

    Times change and businesses adapt or not.

    PS – One click buying would kill me. Shipping charges serve as a useful deterrent. Another reason I’m not anxious to go all e-.

  12. MaryK
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 11:54:00

    @TKF:

    Amazon has the “readers who bought this also bought this” and “readers who looked at this bought this instead”

    One of my favorite timewasters is to read through Amazon’s “recommended for you” page. ["We have recommendations for you." link - then - "see all recommendations" link] I’m always amazed when people say Amazon’s recommendation feature doesn’t work for them. That’s how I found out the release dates for Patricia Briggs’ Masque books, for Pete’s sake.

  13. helen
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 12:24:06

    I am a voracious reader, sometimes as many as 5 or 6 books a day. I have always relied on book review magazines and (now) websites to streamline my list for the month. Now that I have an e-reader (I LOVE my Nook!)my habits have not changed, other than being more likely to buy more on it than I did at the store. I too love the amazon “recommendations” list or the bought by list. I find that one really useful. Romantic times, this blog and Smart Bitches are my go to places for romance reviews and I use other blogs for sci-fi and mystery reviews. I almost never buy a book unless I have read a review on it. I think there will be a period of flux while customers decide what the best way to find and buy good books is going to be. I only hope the publishers wait it out before they decide to dump all their mid lists!

  14. Azure
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 12:42:13

    I tend to agree about buying more midlist authors now that I have an ebook reader than I did before. But I do wonder if it has more to do with the books being less expensive or being able to download samples of the book before I buy it. There’s also the Internet factor. For instance, based solely on browsing a bookstore, I don’t know if I would’ve picked up Tessa Dare’s first book. I might not even have seen it among all the other books out there. But thanks to the Internet, I heard about the book, went to her website, read the preview, and bought the book when it was released.

  15. TKF
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 12:52:42

    @MaryK:

    One of my favorite timewasters is to read through Amazon's “recommended for you” page. ["We have recommendations for you." link - then - "see all recommendations" link] I'm always amazed when people say Amazon's recommendation feature doesn't work for them.

    I wish they'd let you filter out gifts you bought for someone else from what helps them come up with recommendations. *sigh* I buy a lot of gifts on Amazon, so the results I get are somewhat off . . . all those inspie bonnet-rippers (term is killing me, I just heard an agent us it, LOL!) I buy for my grandmother really mess with the recommendation algorithm.

  16. MaryK
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 13:00:10

    @TKF: You can. There should be a “(Fix this)” link somewhere around the inspie rec. Open it and check “Don’t use for recommendations.”

  17. Amy
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 13:14:20

    @becca:

    My mind just boggled, in a good way, though. Eve Dallas visits Discworld…I’d so buy that.

  18. Angela
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 13:50:33

    I also think I buy more midlist books, and sample more authors that I never would have tried before, with my ereader. I’ve always bought books on impulse, and while I still love going to the bookstore and browsing I increasingly don’t buy the books there. I’ll take a picture of it with my phone, and then come home and read some more about it (reviews, blurbs, sample chapter etc) in order to find out if it’s one I’d like. The one-click kills me too. I have to continuously remind myself that my money in there is finite LOL.

    I would believe that most people that buy ebooks are online a fair amount (or perhaps just more online savvy) and they look at blogs and reviews (from sites like this one), they find the sample chapters of books, and they generally have a group of people they’ve found with similar tastes that they get recommendations from. I think it’s fair to say that this all encourages more buying of midlist authors as ‘best-selling authors’ simply don’t produce enough books for anyone I know.

    As for collaborations – I can’t think of one I’ve liked, or would like to see. It’s just not something I’m interested in.

  19. TKF
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 14:43:23

    @MaryK: Thanks, I’ll check it out!

  20. Brian
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 14:46:41

    Digital books create a retailing bypass that diminishes the exposure of midlist books to potential readers.

    Pretty to think so.

    I buy hundreds of books a year, very few of them bestseller/blockbuster types, and even before I went 100% e I can’t remember the last time my buying decision was influenced in anyway by a retail B&M bookseller.

    Handselling books just doesn’t happen anymore in my experience and at most stores I’ve been to in the last five years you’re lucky to get them to even look up a title to see if they stock it. I’ve gotten more recommendations from another reader shopping the same aisle than from an employee or display at a store.

    My main sources for new material are all online. Amazon, blogs, forums, fantastic fiction, goodreads (and others like it). Could things improve? Sure. With all the small pubs out there now I’m sure I’m missing all kinds of stuff that would interest me.

    All in all, for me at least, if ebooks have done anything to midlist authors they’ve brought them more to my attention, not less.

  21. Lori
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 15:38:51

    I love the Amazon suggestions. My favorite was when they suggested that because I bought a Samurai Jack video for my daughter, I might be interested in a XXX-spanking video.

    I wasn’t.

  22. DS
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 16:26:30

    I’ve become a more adventurous reader. I certainly hope that the books I buy support the quirkier authors who couldn’t get a look-in with New York before.

    In fact, I’m reminded of when I first found Half.com and went nuts ordering all of the books I found interesting.

  23. Monday Midday Links Roundup: ebooks signal death of midlist … « Ebooks Extra
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 16:59:14

    [...] original post here: Monday Midday Links Roundup: ebooks signal death of midlist … Comments [...]

  24. Suze
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 17:47:51

    I like that pornesque music at the end of the History of the Book. Not quite boom-chika-wow-wow, but pretty similar.

    My book-buying has gone down since I’ve gone e (which I did entirely because I lack room for physical books–I’m a boarder). Out in the boonies in Canada, I can’t one-click buy, which sounds easy and seductive. Browsing, buying, downloading and converting is a bit of work, especially if I buy from more than one e-store.

    I’ve been known to jot down titles I want when strolling through a bookstore or zooming through a grocery store, but what I’ve been finding lately is that, even though the physical book is on the shelves here, the e-version is not licensed for Canada.

    So I dunno who qualifies as a mid-lister, but what I’m mostly buying is stuff recommended here, and then glomming backlists. I’m finding a lot of really wonderful gay romances (who knew m/m stories could be so romantic?), and missing out on some of my favourite, more mainstream authors. There are at least 5 books I haven’t bought in the last two weeks because of geographical restrictions.

    Publishing needs a visionary who can untangle the mess it’s in.

  25. Debbie Cade
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 17:52:37

    I discovered Amazon in 1997, I would spend my free time searching for new authors and bought a lot of midlist books-today I do the same thing, but use one-click to have it sent to my Kindle. Between a full-time job, volunteer work, raising 2 children and a husband who travels out of town frequently-I had to work hard to fit in a monthly trip to the bookstore, I mostly looked for the authors I had read before. Internet sales and now e-books allow for 24 hour browsing and shopping. I think e-books allow midlist authors to reach more readers.
    Deb

  26. Miki S
    Jun 14, 2010 @ 20:13:39

    Is there a place to go to see which authors are ‘midlist’? Someone mentioned Candace Camp above as midlist, and I thought she was more popular than ‘mid’. Or maybe I don’t understand the term – is ‘midlist’ really just a way to say ‘anyone who isn’t on a bestseller list’?

    Like so many others here, Amazon’s recommendations have introduced me to way too many new authors! But there are people out there – shocking as it seems to me – who spend little time surfing for book recommendations.

  27. sao
    Jun 15, 2010 @ 01:54:37

    It seems silly to suggest that e-book buyers can’t browse. If that’s what sells books, then e-book stores can add browsing. How many authors are going to refuse to let readers read the first 10 or so pages of their books for free?

    I like Amazon’s you might like feature, but it can be tricky.
    If you look at books in a category, say, learn to speak Bulgarian or how to write compelling dialogue, and buy what you determine is the best of the lot, it continues to suggest more books on the subject.

    This works fine for fiction. I probably do want another book by the same author or in the same genre, but in non-fiction, I generally buy one on a topic and once I’ve bought it, I’m not interested in looking at others.

    I’ve never seen a collaboration of authors that I thought was better than one author. Crusie’s hook-up with Meyer was a bust, IMHO.

  28. js
    Jun 15, 2010 @ 10:42:49

    I buy a LOT more midlist books and backlist books as ebooks, mostly from online recommendations, than I ever would in a bricks and mortar store.

    I’m very leery of buying cold, so I’m much more likely to purchase online because I can check reviews, booklists and recommendations. I also now prefer to have the ebook.

    If I’m in an actual store, I’ve been known to pull my blackberry out to check for a review if the book looks interesting enough.

  29. HeatherK
    Jun 16, 2010 @ 07:08:50

    HA! I am so glad I’m not the only one who goes around using her cellphone to snap pics of things then come home and look into it further before buying. I get some funny looks when I whip the phone out to snap pics of books or games or whatever it is that’s caught my eye.

    I buy more books by a larger variety of authors since going “E” than I did before. Part of the reason is I have more time to browse. Looking through the overwhelming number of books in a book store with small kids is NOT a fun thing to do. Add my husband to the mix, and I honestly can’t tell you a single author or title I looked at while standing there as soon as I step out of the aisle. I also love the preview feature the Kindle app provides, though I generally buy elsewhere so I can read it on my Sony PRS 505 instead of my iPod Touch.

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