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

Monday News and Deals:

News

NYtimes has a big piece on Barnes & Noble. The upshot is that BN is working hard on a new Nook to debut later this spring and that its entire lifeblood appears to rest on the Nook’s success.  Without BN, says the article, publishing may die. Which is ironic given that the VP of something for BN was at Digital Book World this last week touting that 75% of books sold are still in print format.  If BN was so positive that print books were going to be a mainstay of publishing, why is so much of the retail space filled by non book items like toys, games, stuffed animals, and journals?

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Jonathan Franzen argues that digital books will be the downfall of literature because digital books lack permanency. It’s an interesting argument and I’d like to ponder it for a while.

“I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.

“Will there still be readers 50 years from now who feel that way? Who have that hunger for something permanent and unalterable? I don’t have a crystal ball.

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Harlequin has acquired Heartsong Presents Book Club from Barbour Publishing.  If you recall, HarperCollins acquired Thomas Nelson to become the largest Christian fiction publisher in the world.  Harlequin appears to want to maintain its foot in the door.

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Amazon says that participating in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library increases sales of books, but it doesn’t say it increases sales of the books of the authors that participated. Instead, it says that overall purchases increase.

Amazon compared two customer groups of Amazon Prime members who have owned an e-reading device for more than six months and have made at least one recent book purchase in the last 30 days. The members of one group used the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and the members of the other group did not. Grandinetti said that after after the average customer’s first borrow from the KOLL, he or she went on to purchase 30 percent more books.

Perhaps this is to combat gifts that go unused.  In other words, freebies seed the use of the device overall.

More than a fifth of those who received a Kindle said they have not used it.

The main reason was that owners had failed to download any e-books, the survey found.

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Goodreads announced that it will no longer be using Amazon data to populate book information.  This is not related to the Google privacy changes but I suspect is has to do with Amazon not wanting Goodreads to use the data without either compensation, more compensation, or perhaps Amazon doesn’t want Goodreads linking to other retail sites.

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My Friend Amy has an interesting post about the relationship between books and television. She’s disappointed that Rizzoli and Isles isn’t all that she had hoped it would be:
Certainly I recognize that TV is entirely different from novels–new storylines will open up and things will change the characters in fundamental ways, but I want to think that a show will start out in a place that feels true to the heart of the books. And that was absolutely not the case with Rizzoli and Isles. I love the characters in the books to death, they are both incredibly intelligent, hard working women who have a layered and complex working relationship. The show decided to go for a silly, over the top, BFF vibe. It’s not that the show isn’t fun, I’m sure it’s fun for a lot of people. It’s just that I look at the source material and then I look at the show, and think…this was the best you could do
In the television show Castle, one of the few that I watch (and not even religiously as I think I am a season behind), there’s a weird infinity loop where Castle writes a book that becomes a movie so that the characters playing Castle and Becker meet Castle and Becker (who are in reality actors themselves playing a part).  Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb plays on that notion where Eve, Roarke and the crew meet actors playing Eve, Roarke and the crew.

Deals

Coupon codes

Harlequin

Kobo

I am putting together a deal page because most of the deals appear to be repetitive at this point. The deal page can be accessed at all times via one link and there is link in the drop down For Readers menu item. If I turn up any new deals, then I’ll post them during the News and Deals post. The deal page is here and I’ll be building on it over the next couple of weeks. It will also have any coupon codes or deals of interest. The following is a new deal, I believe:

  • From Two Rivers: Part 1 of Eye of the World by Robert Jordan * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Hot Girl by Dream Jordan * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Me, Myself, and Why by MaryJanice Davidson * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Midnight Sins by Lora Leigh * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * Romance *
  • Cheri On Top by Susan Donovan * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * Romance *
  • Death, Taxes and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Secrets to Seducing a Scot by Michelle Marcos * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * Romance *
  • Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Autumn by David Moody * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Kill Zone by Jack Coughlin * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • One Good Dog by Susan Wilson * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Typhoon by Charles Cumming * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S

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

35 Comments

  1. Mikaela
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:16:22

    More BN news: I read on Twitter than BN and Waterstones are developing a partnership, which will lead to Nook being sold in the UK. More info here:

    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/bn-developing-partnership-waterstones-over-nook.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  2. Avery Flynn
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:17:43

    I loathe (yes, loathe) all of the non-book stuff in the B&N store. You have to go through the gauntlet of toys, games and doodads to get to the children’s section in the very back of the store where at least 30 percent of it is dedicated to more toys, games and doodads. Grrrrr. By the time I have my 9, 6 and 3 years olds into their part of the bookstore they’ve already fallen prey to the want of the non-books.

  3. sandyl
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:33:01

    Another Nook? I simply cannot keep up anymore.

  4. LG
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:33:58

    The closest B&N to me is at least 50 miles away, so when I go book shopping at a brick-and-mortar store it’s usually at an entertainment store, although, from what I’ve read, B&N stores are more entertainment stores than bookstores now.

    I don’t have to wade through a bunch of toys to get to the books, but the thing I hate about using a store where maybe only 1/3 of the space is devoted to books is that the selection is not as great as I’d like. The past few times I’ve gone there with a list of books I wanted, the store had not one of them (my last list included Meljean Brook’s newest steampunk book and anything I could find by Courtney Milan). Not being able to get the books I want, right then when I have the money, makes it that much easier to move on to something else or decide that I’d rather save my money and just get the books through the library.

  5. Las
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:34:33

    Anyone else notice that B&N has become much less welcoming to people sitting and reading in the stores? There are three stores close to me, and two of them have gotten rid of the comfortable armchairs and just have much less chairs in general outside the cafes. The third still has the chairs, but I’m assuming that’s because it’s a huge store and more than half the space on the second level is unused.

  6. Anon
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:47:08

    Franzen sounds like the old silent film stars who said movies would die when sound became popular. He also sounds like old films stars who predicted the end of the film industry when the studio system collapsed. I could go on.

    Franzen should stick to bird watching worry more about his bad sex scenes than what’s going to happen to literature.

  7. Lynz
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:51:28

    the characters playing Castle and Becker meet Castle and Becker

    (It’s Beckett, not Becker.)

    Castle is full of fun things like that – the Firefly references are my personal favourite, since I really loved it at one point.

  8. Patrice
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 11:20:54

    Digital isn’t the downfall of publishing anymore than it was the downfall of music. Nook saved B&Ns butt. If they had not gotten that little gem released they’d be as empty as Borders stores. The downfall of Borders and this trend of B&N to be confused about thier merchandising always reminds me of “You’ve Got Mail”. When did that come out, 1998? I thought then it would just be a matter of time before people again started supporting their local, independant bookstores that offered all those “human” services. Those small bookstores had a tough time but a few managed to stay in business in my area. And even a couple NY authors tended to include multiple indie book stores on their signing trips the past couple releases. I have read on my PC/Laptop since 2004, used a PalmTX for years, got an ereader last year and I still have paper and electronic books. And I use my local library for books and other services they offer as well. But because B&N is not convenient and the last time I went there the service was poor and the prices high, I have not been in one for 2 years. I can select and buy a paperback by myself at Target for a cheaper price. Or get it online at midnight. I won’t drive to B&N and pay 25% more for the same book if there isn’t an ambiance and service quality in that store to make it a “destination” or a fun outing to meet my friends or take the kids. I love bookstores and would go there more often than a coffeeshop.

    But B&N can’t be everything to everybody. Bigger retailers have learned that the hard way. They need to concentrate on what they do best, get out of those huge buildings or sublease space to professional gifts and toy sellers or ??? (not sure how their commercial leases are structured) have coffee and wifi and offer events book buyers will come to see. But if they alienate the book lovers, offer less and poor quality services overall, alienate the toy purchasers because the selection isn’t up to par or pricing is off…well they will soon be nothing to nobody.

  9. Christine
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 11:50:15

    I have to agree 100% with “My Friend Amy” on Rizzoli and Isles. It’s like they kept nothing of the original characters or motivations save their nominal jobs. The first thing we learn about Rizzoli is how she is perceived as overly aggressive by the other (male) cops as a result of her feelings of inadequacy relating to her looks (she is short, curly haired and “unfeminine” and she and others see her as unattractive) among other things. Who do they cast? 6 foot tall modelesque Angie Harmon. (Doesn’t she read as a short Italian to everyone). Maura Isles is the cool black haired “Queen Of Death” that many people (including Rizzoli) find inscrutable. Apparently a more vivacious red head is the TV answer. I won’t even begin to discuss how they changed the way these characters interact as the original author already does. I never can understand why rights are acquired to works that the producers have no intent to follow. They could easily have made up their own show about a cop and an ME, which is exactly what they did. It’s just a shame because both of these characters have such substance and are both intelligent and believably flawed in the novels. It would have been nice to seen a mature intelligent female friendship depicted on TV.

  10. jmc
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 12:04:37

    @Las: The B&N stores near me got rid of the comfortable seating years ago. They also put signs on the table (generally ignored) indicating that cafe seating is for cafe customers who have made a purchase. But yes, I think B&N has become more focused on what will generate revenue, and that someone in management has decided that the comfortable chairs don’t generate enough of it to merit the floor space. Or it could be the fact that people read (mangle) the stock while lounging in those chairs, then leave them behind to be reshelved or repaired by the staff.

  11. Na S.
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 12:04:59

    It seems there’s always a new ereader in the works.
    On another note, while Goodreads is undergoing its changes and no longer relying on Amazon data, I can’t wait until my book covers are restored. It’s looking very plain but it’s good they’re stepping away from Amazon now than later.

  12. Shayera
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 12:28:57

    I had to go to a B&N this weekend. I shall not bore you with my endless rant about the lack of service, lack of titles, gauntlet of toys and Nook advertising. Let’s leave it as said.
    I’d LOVE to go to an indie. But the closest one to me is about 30 miles away. And they disdain romance.

  13. Helen
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 12:45:34

    I love my local BN store. There is tons of space to sit throughout the store and in the cafe and hospitable, knowledgeable service (a very stable employee base might help). However, in general I am not particularly fond of children.,…or their parents. Now that half the book store is full of children’s toys and learning tools there is no end to the noisy temper tantrums and obnoxious parents who have no control over their children. Obviously not all parents/children are like that but boy the ones who come to this particular BN seem to have a lock on those not so great traits! I’ve seen parents completely ignore their children ripping books and games off shelves or running madly up and down the aisles. Very annoying and it does make the atmosphere very unbookstore like.
    ..

  14. lisabookworm
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 12:48:17

    @jmc: I’ve noticed this too. I don’t live close to a B&N… So when I do go, I browse the romance/sci-fi/fantasy/romance sections (all of which are crammed at the very back of the store), and I like to sit in a comfy chair drinking my caramel macchiato and reading. But there’s nowhere to sit now. The comfy chairs were removed and a line of hard chairs are sitting across the front of the store – most of which are occupied by people browsing magazines and waiting for their family members to finish shopping. The cafe chairs are taken up by people sitting for hours on their laptops and drinking Starbucks’ beverages.

    I used to love to go to bookstores and browse and read, but now I can’t enjoy myself anymore. I rarely purchase anything from B&N, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  15. Mel
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 12:51:25

    Don’t know how accurate the rumor was but at one point I heard that the comfy chairs were removed from a lot of stores (not just B&N) due to bedbug worries. I haven’t sat down on an upholstered chair in a public area since.

  16. Joanna K.
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 13:20:27

    I sincerely hope that with the continuous rise of e-books, it won’t mark the beginning of the end to published physical books (especially paperback). I like having the option of getting either or…and even both for a really good book.

    Lately, it seems that two of my local B&N in Manhattan have been undergoing renovations. Not sure what the changes entitle to. Hmmm.

  17. Bettie
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 13:31:04

    Re: Frantzen – Technically I agree with him, but I hate the way discussions of paper books vs. ebooks always descend into airy-fairy descriptions of how paper books feel. Forget about the feelings and be practical, people! Paper books are the cheapest, longest-lasting, most versatile medium for the storage and distribution of text-based content. A book can easily last a hundred years or more, but ebook files will last only as long as their format support, and are only as good as the battery in your reader.

    For me, the ebook has replaced the paperback, not the hardback. When I read for entertainment, I buy ebooks. When I want a book for the long haul, I buy paper. I know many readers who do the same. I suspect that if ebooks kill anything, it will be the mass market paperback. The book, itself, will endure because that is what books do.

  18. Las
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 13:39:12

    @Joanna K.: The renovations around here have all been for the expanded Nook section and for toys.

    @Mel: I really wish you had kept that to yourself. I feel all itchy now!

  19. Estara
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 13:53:36

    One thing I keep asking myself – how the heck is GoodReads getting around Amazon with regard to all the Kindle (especially Kindle-only) editions. From what I remember Amazon is the sole purveyor of Kindle books. Where would anyone get that data else?

  20. Sue T
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 13:56:02

    B&N stores switched to less comfy chairs to discourage squatters. Those that treat the bookstore like a library and sit for hours reading books, creasing them and the putting them back. There might be more resasons, but that’s one of them.

    As far as the other stuff they sell, a bookseller once told me that the difference between what the stores pay for non-books and can charge is vastly different than books. In other words. they make more money from selling all that non-book stuff.

  21. Estara
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 13:56:49

    Huh… since editing is gone away I’ll have to add what the GoodReads people say to the Kindle edition here

    Update: There have been many questions about Kindle Editions and books in the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program. As these editions are unique to Amazon, there are no alternative data sources. We anticipate keeping these, and will bend over backwards for all our authors who publish via Kindle to make sure their readers on Goodreads have a smooth transition. Source

  22. DS
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 14:19:54

    @Bettie:

    Paper books are the cheapest, longest-lasting, most versatile medium for the storage and distribution of text-based content. A book can easily last a hundred years or more, but ebook files will last only as long as their format support, and are only as good as the battery in your reader.

    I’ve read this before, but the ability of paper to last depends on the acidity of the paper. Pulp paper (not as much rag content) is slowly decaying from within. I used to have a professor who lamented the loss of culture after 1850. I have some books from the late 18th century that are in far better shape than some books printed in the late 19th century. Not to mention the books printed during WWII that are sadly flaking away.

    Many modern books are said to be printed on acid free paper but I’ve seen evidence of yellowing and brittleness in recent books that were said to be printed on acid free paper– or certain parts of the book such as the end pages would be cheaper paper. Neutralizing the acid is expensive.

    There’s just no guarantees.

  23. Isabel C.
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 14:35:08

    Ah, see, anything online has a much greater chance of permanence with me: I move a lot and I’m…not a particularly organized person, to put it mildly. A physical book, even one I love, has even odds of getting left at work/on the train/in the old apartment/at a friend’s house/I don’t know, in space?

    Whereas something that’s in the cloud, that I can download to whatever desktop or laptop I’m on (I don’t have an e-reader for basically the reasons above, plus the fact that I read while eating and in the bath) will probably stay with me longer, even if it’s theoretically less permanent in general.

  24. Ridley
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 15:15:31

    @Estara:

    One thing I keep asking myself – how the heck is GoodReads getting around Amazon with regard to all the Kindle (especially Kindle-only) editions. From what I remember Amazon is the sole purveyor of Kindle books. Where would anyone get that data else?

    Originally, Amazon was going to continue to give Goodreads access to the info on Kindle-only books. Late last week, however, they found out that wasn’t the case.

    There are two ways to rescue Kindle editions at Goodreads:

    1. A librarian can combine one with an ebook version that has an ISBN. (Combined books are all the editions of a book linked together as the same title. For example, these books have been combined.)

    2. If there’s no ebook version, only a Kindle version tied to an ASIN, the only way to rescue it is if the author or someone who owns the book checks the “I own this” box on the book rescue page and fills in the book info.

    I’ve spent much of my weekend fixing my friends’ books. I have just shrugged my shoulders at some self-pub, Kindle-only books. I’m prioritizing those books I can save by entering in the ebook version and combining it with the Kindle one. If you threw all your eggs in Amazon’s basket, this was the sort of risk you took.

    The deadline for the data is 11:59pm PST tonight. If any of you want to check to see if you have books slated for limbo tonight, here’s the link. I have nothing better to do, so let me know here or on Twitter if you have any questions about your Goodreads books.

    As for cover images: They’re importing those from Ingram, but it’s going to take a bit. Authors can edit their own books, if they’re Goodreads members, and import their own cover images if they don’t want to wait for Ingram.

  25. Keziah Hill
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 16:36:42

    Did you get Scott and Bailey in North America? It’s a British series with two female cop leads. Fantastic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_%26_Bailey

  26. rae
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 16:56:56

    @Isabel C.: I bet those people who legitimately stored stuff on megaupload thought they would always be able to access it too. Having been burned by adobe’s drm and losing stuff to online ebook stores/publishers closing. I don’t think I’ll be relying on “the cloud” and the company behind it to store my books.

  27. JessW
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 18:24:02

    Thank you for the continued Deals postings, Jane. the one dedicated link is a good idea.

    Agree with the comments above re: Rizzoli and Isles. Watching that show might have been more palatable if not so dissimilar to already well-established book characters.

  28. Jess
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 18:51:56

    I ranted on Twitter about the “Oh no, Barnes and Noble is dying!” article. I let the Twitterverse hear everything I thought of B&N, good and bad, and that brings me to my point. I basically said that B&N’s CEO is clueless if he doesn’t realize part of B&N’s problems stem from his own decisions.

    Part of it is the Nook, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. B&N has been pushing the Nook for a good couple of years now. They seem proud of it, which is a good sign for potential e-reader people when they see that a company likes their product beyond the money it’ll bring in. I think, for those folks that want a Nook, that’s a great thing. Thing is, while B&N were pushing said Nook, they were cutting member benefits for physical books to get them to switch to the Nook. And now the CEO is wondering why his company is at risk?

    The other problem is that B&N is more like a toy store that has a few books than a bookstore that happens to have a few toys. I haven’t been in a B&N for a while, but the last few times I was there I saw more toys and puzzles than books, and they were cutting back on certain genres I and probably a sizeable number of other folks liked to make room for more toys. Really? B&N, a bookstore, is really going to cut their book selection?

    If B&N dies out (and for the sake of those folks that love their physical books and the atmosphere of a bookstore and me two years ago pre Kindle/Sony Reader, I hope it does not), I would understand why. You can’t change your business model as ridiculously much as they have at the same time you’re pushing your digital device and then wonder, “Why aren’t we selling as many books?”

  29. Brian
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 21:22:29

    I’m trying to think of a show I’ve liked that started out as a book series…

    Rizzoli and Isles, Nope
    Blood Ties, Not Really
    True Blood, Nope
    Bones, Not Really
    Women’s Murder Club, Nope
    M*A*S*H, Yes
    FlashForward, Meh
    Legend of the Seeker, Not Really
    Dresden Files, Not Really
    Game of Thrones, Yes
    Hornblower, Yes
    Sharpe, Yes

    …I’ve had much better luck with Mini-Series or Movies based on books.

    It might be because I just don’t watch much TV (except during Football season) so it takes a lot for a show to hook me, I’d usually rather be reading my next book.

  30. Bettie
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 00:15:59

    @DS: True, no guarantees. Acidity is a problem, but so is format extinction. Format extinction can happen in just a few years – Microsoft’s .lit is dead after just 12 years (RIP .LIT Aug 2000-Aug 2012). Magazines and newspapers last longer if stored properly. The oldest hardcover in my collection is from 1907, and is still in great shape. The oldest paperback I can readily lay hands on is from 1958, again in great shape, and all I have to do is keep them cool and dry. I’ve spent way more time backing up and organizing my digital books than I ever have on preserving my paper collection.

    Ebook files require care and maintenance, they must be backed up and migrated to new formats as needed. Plus, files in the cloud are only as good as the companies hosting them–just ask the people who stored files (legal or otherwise) on Megaupload and may lose everything Thursday when the servers go down.

    Ebooks and paper books are not an either/or situation–they function very well side-by-side. Both formats have advantages and disadvantages. I just wish the pro-paper people would acknowledge the practical aspect of the medium instead of focusing on nostalgia and feelings, and the pro-digital people would acknowledge the massive infrastructure required to store, distribute, and utilize digital files.

  31. SAO
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 01:22:14

    Of course, “feels like a book” the claim of many people who like physical books, will end when enough kids use e-readers.

    Publishers have a serious problem in they need B&N to survive and the problem is their business model, not whether B&N’s new CEO is successful. Where would Microsoft be if they’d thought they needed Compaq to survive?

  32. Where I Blame Smexy Books & Amy For Crimes Against My Credit Card! | Wicked Lil Pixie Reviews
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 08:01:28

    [...] it’s my debit card as well, shush). But still, it did very bad things. I also blame Jane of Dear Author for daring to post a coupon code, one of which I may or may not have taken advantage of. *hangs [...]

  33. KMont
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 13:43:45

    I guess our local Barnes and Noble is laid out differently than others. The gift items aren’t placed on the way to anything except the cash register and I find them easy to ignore once I’ve decided what books to get and leave. On the other hand, I love to go to that gift section if I actually want to get a gift that’s not a book. I find way more useful and fun things in that section than most other places unless I’ve got some specific idea from a different store in mind.

    And I guess as a parent I don’t mind any of the gift type things related to kids because they tend to be better than the craptastic stuff most other stores bait their aisles with. I blame my grocery store for having the worst toy placement of any store in history (clearly they do not care for parental sanity). My kid can’t go two feet when we’re in there without begging for some useless toy. I can usually at least find something more educational for her in a bookstore if it’s going to be a non-book item, something more worthwhile.

    And as a parent, I cringe when I see others complaining about kids in public just because I know how you feel, having one I have to try to keep calm in public. I bet I’ve been one of those annoying parent/kid combos before, but Lord knows I wasn’t trying to be. Sometimes we’re just trying to get in and out as quickly as possible but those kids, man can they be insistent little things lol. And parents can be such tired, at-wits-end things. But yeah, do know what y’all mean, it’s frustrating for everyone.

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