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

News I Should Have Posted But Was too Busy at RWA...

Last week, Amazon crept into consumer’s Kindles and deleted two ebooks that had been purchased: 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell.   These books are considered public domain in several countries but not in the US.   The copies that had been uploaded were not authorized copies for readers in the U.S.   Instead of contacting the consumers, Amazon decided to delete them and refund the money.   It proves the point that your books are not your own when you purchase them via the Kindle.   (Thanks to Churrosnchocolate and chris for sending me the link). Check out the annotated Kindle Terms of Service. (readers you have no rights).

Class action lawsuit has been filed against Amazon over the fragility of the Kindle device. Matthew Geise purchased the Kindle and optional protective cover. Shortly after its purchase, the Kindle screen began to crack. Amazon refused to pay for repairs. Geise found others who suffered the same problem and thus the class action suit was birthed. Amazon has responded by offering to repair the devices without charge, but the lawsuit lives on.

The Washington Post got to post its snarky commentary on the romance genre in When Romance Writers Gather, The Plot Quickens. The article starts out with a quote by Colleen Gleason regarding the number of orgasms she includes in her books (one per chapter) and goes downhill from there.

There is no prototypical romance writer. Here at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel, some 2,000 women of all races and ages wear everything from chunky Goth boots to strappy stilettos. (There are also men. Maybe five of them.) But if you squint and look for a general appearance trend, this is it: They look like your mom. They look kind, comforting, domestic, as if they are wearing perfume made from Fleischmann’s yeast.

NPR did a piece on romance publishing and how it is one area that is surviving in the troubled publishing world. Nora Roberts was interviewed. Nora says romance books are about hope and continuity and help us to feel good. Nora says that there are constants and frameworks to romance: need sexual tension, emotional commitment, conflict, and a satisfying ending. She goes on to say that romance is broad enough to encompass aspects of mystery, horror, fantasy. It’s worth a listen.

All Romance eBooks has opened a sister site called OmniLit which “will offer genres currently not available on the All Romance site, including best sellers from some of the biggest names in publishing, as well as offerings from small, midsized, and indie presses. Customers will be able to select from hundreds of thousands of titles, everything from mainstream, children’s, and speculative fiction, to books on health & fitness, cooking, travel, and business.”

More news later in the day…

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

17 Comments

  1. Randi
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 11:08:52

    The Wash Post article wasn’t terrible, in it’s entirety. But for sure that paragraph you pulled out makes me cringe. I wonder if they’re trying to make up for that patronizing review of Black Hills…

  2. ReacherFan
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 11:55:02

    And yet ANOTHER reason to not buy a Kindle! I’ll stick with ebooks on my laptop.

  3. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 11:59:41

    It’s unfortunate and problematic that “ebooks” is coming to be defined by and synonymous with “Kindle.” Because of that, most casual of ebook consumers (read: non-techie types) may come to believe all ebooks from all vendors (if they even get that far) are rented and not owned, thus stunting ebook growth.

  4. Jennifer
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 12:01:55

    For every reasonable point the Washington Post made, they had to follow it up with something really snarky. Romance writers are hard workers and they don’t whine like artistes (good), followed by the adjectives chesty, pumping, glistening, heavy (snarky). Maybe they were trying to be funny, but she didn’t admit to her own biases.

    I listened to the Scott Simon story on NPR (Nora’s interview was awesome), and his commentary afterward. For a moment, I wanted to throw my shoe at him and then he redeemed himself by admitting he couldn’t write a romance and he was being judgmental. Thank you Scott, for admitting your faults.

  5. ASable
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 12:40:52

    I’m a Kindle user, but for how long? The more I read, the more I’m annoyed. If I had purchased an unauthorized paper copy of 1984, would Amazon come to my door to retrieve it because of their error? As far as I’m concerned, I’m a bona fide purchaser and it’s Amazon’s mistake. They should just eat their shorts and make nice directly with the Orwell heirs or whoever has the copyright.

    And they should advertise the truth–Kindle is really a leasing device.

  6. Chrissy
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 13:20:32

    My mom has never worn stilleto heels or goth anything, and if she smelled yeasty I’d make her shower.

    I wish people would stop supporting Kindle.

  7. Nora Roberts
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 13:25:46

    Re WaPo–I do look like someone’s mother as I am someone’s mother. I don’t, however, smell of yeast–nor did I notice anyone else at the conference who did.

    I found the article annoying and pretty condescending. However, if we give reporters ammo by speaking on the record about orgasms per chapter or comments and statements of that sort, it’s pretty hard to bitch about not getting the respect we deserve from the media.

  8. hapax
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 14:08:49

    @4 — I disagree about Scott Simon. I don’t think he redeemed himself at all. I think he made the whole piece about *him* and his lame “satire” of a romance piece.

    Nora Roberts was fabulous, of course, but Simon could have used the time devoted to his own ineptitude to interviews with other authors, fans, statistics about the publishing industry, or, heck, a pretty bit of music.

  9. Cathy
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 14:13:03

    Sigh. Yet another Amazon PR failure. I hate to use the “i” word, but the stealth deletion was a pretty idiotic move.

  10. DS
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 15:58:09

    Good reminder to update my back up of my Kindle books. I download to my computer and then burn the books to CD or DVD. I need to schedule a time for this like I schedule my iTunes library back up.

  11. just a little bit o’ controversy with a dash of irony thrown in « Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 16:49:13

    [...] numerous sources like Dear Author, Shelf Awareness, and [...]

  12. Seressia
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 18:43:01

    yep. won’t be buying a Kindle. Looks like Sony will get my money when I decide to purchase. Right now, content with reading on the laptop. No worries of a reach-around there!

  13. Robin
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 18:57:56

    @Seressia: I was just wondering today what you were up to (was thinking about No Commitment Required to rec to someone) and your comment prompted me to your website. I am *really* looking forward to your Juno UF Shadowchasers series. And congrats on the sale!

    ** sorry for the digression **

  14. Miki
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 20:28:10

    @Moriah Jovan: In some ways, it’s true that we only “rent” ebooks. Unlike physical items we purchase, we don’t the right to resell or give away the books after we finish them. And if Sony or Amazon stopped making their devices, eventually as our old ones died out, we’d no longer be able to access the books we bougt from their sites, either*.

    Oh, I’m not saying it’s right, by any means, but you don’t “own” your digital books the same way you do your physical ones.

    *Assuming you haven’t discovered a way to liberate your books from the DRM that infects them, that is. ;)

  15. Sandia
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 07:47:47

    I’m curious – how does Amazon’s terms of service on digital rights to their Kindle editions differ from the Sony Store’s terms of service? I would think they wouldn’t differ all that much since you never outright own the “product” like a dead tree book, you’re buying to license to read it on your electronic device?

  16. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Secret Kitty Hideout, exposed!
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 02:04:03

    [...] world), but the sweeping unannounced delete was probably not Amazon’s finest moment. Also, apparently there’s a class action lawsuit in the works over the fragility of [...]

  17. Danielle
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 16:45:48

    I too was initially dismayed about what Amazon did – then I realized they deleted pirated copies. Seriously, most of us on here are writers, either published or want to be. If a copy of our story was stolen and sold on a device ~ like the Kindle ~ what would we want to happen?

    Your darn right I would want that story removed! That is money coming out of my pocket. It’s not Amazon who is eating those profits, I AM! I want people to buy the AUTHORIZED copy.

    Amazon is doing nothing except protecting authors and our properties – then the community turns around and gives them s**t?

    I would urge everybody to think this through before starting to call Amazon the great evil over this.

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