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

Monday Midday Links: SFR Holiday Bash

Heather is having a huge science fiction romance book giveaway. 12 bloggers teamed up with 17 authors to give away over 30 books. It’s called the SFR Holiday Blitz and visitors have until Friday midnight to enter.


News Corp (Rupert Murdoch and the owner of Harper Collins) is partnering with Time Inc, Conde Nast, Hearst and Meredith to create a competitive marketplace away from retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Sony.

The group is working on creating a reading application, a “robust” publishing platform, a digital storefront for consumers and a new line-up of “immersive advertising opportunities”, according to people familiar with the plan.

It looks like Sprint will be providing the 3G connectivity for a new digital publishing service from Hearst. Sprint will sell these digital devices in its stores and deliver the digital content over its cell phone network. Hearst is planning to be device agnostic, making its software available on PCs, phones and other devices. Just what we need, another format. (Not really). No, I don’t understand how Hearst is partnering with Newscorp on one digital venture and attacking Newscorp in a different digital venture.


There are two new sites to help readers find new books. The first is Book Drum and they are running a Tournament of sorts in which they will give $1,500 to the best profile created for a book. The profiles are in depth and contain hyperlinks and images that the submitter believes to help annotate the text. It’s an interesting idea but I wonder how Book Drum will monitor the copyright of images used on its site.

New site:

Another site is Advent Book Blog which is a blog that shares authors, publisher, agent, book blogger thoughts on their favorite book of 2009.   I’m struggling with which book to blurb over there.


EReaders are being targeted in greater numbers toward kids. The first Nintendo Gameboy ereading game cartridge was launched last week.

Each games cartridge includes six to eight books by a popular children’s author. The first four titles will feature authors Enid Blyton and Cathy Cassidy, the Artemis Foul books and Too Ghoul for Cool series.

Thanks Tonda for the link.

Sesame Workshop is launching a line of digital books. Five free ones are being made available to whet the appetite of parents and children at The free books cannot be downloaded. Disney offers access to over 500 ebooks for $8.95 per month.   If I had a tablet that showed color, I would totally dig these for my daughter.


There are reviews of the nook dribbling out on the web:

Silicon Alley Insider: It’s a battle between the nook and the Kindle and the nook’s LCD seems to be tipping the scales.

found the capacitive interface to be handy, but it also revealed the bugginess of the early software. Scrolling could be sticky, tapping the home button or the screen occasionally did nothing, and using the directional pad to navigate text made me yearn for the Kindle’s physical mini-joystick. The biggest disappointment was the page-turning swipe gesture. It failed to work half the time I tried it, and when it did work, I noticed that it responded slower than pressing the physical page-turn buttons.

I found it interesting that all the reviews note that there is some nonresponsiveness of the lcd/e ink combination yet everyone is convinced that BN will be rolling out some kind of software upgrade soon to respond to those issues.


Bezos is losing a lot of money on ebooks but he is also selling quite a few with 48 ebooks sold for every 100 print books. Because of the $9.99 pricing, Amazon takes a $1-$2 hit for each sale.   How much longer can Amazon withstand this?     The New York Times Magazine interview suggests that Amazon will be encouraging more authors to self publish through CreateSpace. We talked about this on the blog last year.


Kate G hosts a post from Moriah Jovan on why she decided to go the self publish route: creative control and profit.   What she gives up?   Respect and distribution.


Nat Sobel argues that because Robert Jordan’s latest book release sales were up 24% over previous releases, that ebooks should be held back for at least six months. Sobel doesn’t acknowledge that this is the long awaited series finale, nor does he acknowledge the pirated copy was floating around the web within the first week of its release; nor does it account for the lower sales when there was no ebook market.   But, yes, publishers, go ahead and waste all your publicity dollars in hopes that the ebook reader will remember your title 6 months after the hardcover release.

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. Anne Douglas
    Dec 07, 2009 @ 12:58:44

    Oh! The DS books are available? Better go hit up my UK friends on facebook. I want a set of those.

    Seriously, that 99.99999999999% of kids to tween books are NOT available as eBooks (Scholastic, I’m looking at you) that are usable on a DS device is just out of this world ridiculous to me. Nearly every single child I know has or wants a DS. Why oh why aren’t the publishers twigging on to this? Stupefies me in a world where kids have multi-use capable devices as young as age two, they aren’t even attempting to tap into it.

  2. RRRJessica
    Dec 07, 2009 @ 13:03:57

    I was excited about the Nintendo Flip books for about 5 seconds. My kids just got iTouches for their birthdays, and I can download a reader app and let them choose from a much wider and cheaper online selection of books. I think the iTouch has the same multifunction allure for kids as it does for adults — not only does it offer loads of free and cheap video games, but they’ve got their music, their Spongebob episodes, and You Tube. Reading books on your DSi is kind of like trying to use the Kindle to surf the web. Doable, yes, but why?

  3. Anne Douglas
    Dec 07, 2009 @ 13:29:19


    Doable, yes, but why?

    My main reason why: kiddo has come to me dozens of times asking why I can read books on my reader, but he can’t on his DS. He will be totally tickled that he can (without me going through hours of frustration trying to find an appropriately aged book, potentially hacking it for .txt/.html) read an interactive book on his DS. And at this point anything I can do to get him reading is a GOOD thing.

    (plus, the ratio of kids with iTouches to DS, I would still say weighs very heavily towards the DS and will do for quite a while yet – it’s much easier to buy an appropriate aged cartridge for $20-30 for an existing device, than what it is to spend the 200-300$ to get a new device altogether.)

    The DS while certainly could be a be all end all reader (after all you already can use it to read basic text files), it’s a gateway device for readers of the future.

    Did anyone else watch the video all the way through – you can SHARE a chapter of your book with someone else with a ds… how cool is that. Kids sharing books with other kids and getting them interested in books!

  4. RRRJessica
    Dec 07, 2009 @ 18:38:56

    @Anne Douglas: I totally agree on the kids wanting to read on an electronic device. My youngest was asking me the other night to look for Magic Treehouse Books for my Kindle.

    I also agree that the DS is more ubiquitous. We have had handheld players in the house far longer than iTouches. But when the DS or PSP games are $20-45, and games for the iTouch are free-$2.99 … and the iTouch is only $50 more, plus can do a million other things… I wonder how long the dedicated handheld gaming units will be in the forefront for kids in the 7-12 year old age range.

  5. Heather Massey
    Dec 07, 2009 @ 18:50:14

    Thanks mightily for linking to our Blitz event, Jane!

  6. Heather Massey
    Dec 08, 2009 @ 12:49:27

    Popping back in to say thanks for the link to the free Sesame Street books. My daughter read a few this morning and loved them. So did my husband since they kept her occupied while I was in the shower :p

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