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

Thursday Midday Links: Can a “no issues” book truly be...

DA Industry NewsBooksmugglers (one of my favorite blogs) reviewed Daniel Ehrenhaft’s book “Friend Is Not a Verb” and because of a multitude of issues, Ana was not able to grade the book, but the review and following comments are a fascinating and thought-provoking read. That is, to what extent should authors being including provocative elements without addressing the byproduct of those provocative elements. The author came and stated that while he understood Ana’s complaints, she was reading too much into the book because it was “not an issues book.” Aja, another reader, asks

instead of the *reader* having to juggle guilt for their own gut reactions to skeevy moments in the books they read, wouldn't it be a heck of a lot easier for authors just to not write problematic elements into their storytelling?

It reminds me a bit of Robin’s thoughtful piece about bad mothers on Romancing the Blog and Karen Templeton’s response that Robin was reading too much into the issue. I would link to RtB but someone has decided that the entire archive should not be available to the public. (and by someone I mean someone who runs RtB)   Alison Kent reports that there is some corruption in the data? I don’t know.   Hopefully it will be back on line.


iRex Technologies has declared bankruptcy. iRex manufactures the expensive Iliad reader. I would be leery of buying any of these devices because there won’t be any support in the future. That said, you might be able to get these on a steep discount. Best Buy was carrying these at some point.


Dr. Jack M. Balkin and other scholars run a blog called Balkinization. Yesterday, a guest blogger posted about the unintended consequences of our current copyright system (a topic I am going to post about on Tuesday). Christine Mulligan points out that the high school show choir Glee constantly (but fictionally) violates copyright preforming the songs and mashups. In real life, a show choir could never perform the songs that the Glee club sings because high schools and other secondary educational institutions would never be able to afford performing rights.

Each mash-up is a "preparation of a derivative work" of the original two songs' compositions – an action for which there is no compulsory license available, meaning (in plain English) that if the Glee kids were a real group of teenagers, they could not feasibly ask for -‘ or hope to get -‘ the copyright permissions they would need to make their songs, and their actions, legal under copyright law. Punishment for making each mash-up? Up to another $150,000 -‘ times two.

Lest you think that no record company would ever go after a glee club for violating copyright, think again. Mulligan points out that in the 1990s, the Girl Scout troops were asked to pay royalties for singing copyrighted songs at camp.


Andrew Savikas of O’Reilly blogs over at the Tools of Change site. He gives some insight into what has worked for them in terms of pricing.

The data above doesn’t include the promotion we ran on May 21, when we extended the “$9.99 Deal of the Day” to any title — our servers metaphorically melted from the demand, which far exceeded our expectations, driving more than a 20-fold increase in sales over a typical day.


This is consistent with Jobs’ philosophy on the pricing of content (versus hardware)

Jobs believes people are willing to pay for content, and says Apple has found the key to moving content is aggressive pricing and volume. Given that the iTunes store revolutionized the e-music industry, I suppose he ought to know.


The FTC has proposed a number of suggestions that would allow journalism to be preserved. These include allowing price fixing for newspaper paywalls and taxing ISPs. Nice and very pro consumer (said with a heavily sarcastic tone).


According to Knopf Doubleday, first week ebook sales for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest was approximately 30% of all units sold.

The popular subscription-based book industry website's mid-day newsletter is reporting that "Knopf Doubleday spokesman Paul Bogaards says their internal figures show an approximate first week sell-through of 425,000 units-which includes 125,000 ebook editions."

As Teleread noted, the sale of these books came from Amazon and other retailers as Random House is not part of the iBook revolution.


Stephenie Meyer has a new novella out about some character that appeared for six pages in the very last book of the Twilight series. Yes, I don’t know either. Cleolinda recaps it and as talented and funny as Cleolinda is, even she couldn’t make the novella sound interesting.

The novella includes the phrase of “cheeseburger of pain.”


Jessica interviews another of my favorite bloggers, Rosario. Rosario began blogging in August of 2002.

5. Do you think the romance genre has changed? What are some of the most significant changes in your eyes?
I know lots of readers feel that the genre has become homogeneous over the years, with fewer and fewer settings and authors constantly jumping on whatever the new big trend is, but I think it's more complicated than that. In terms of who the protagonists can be, in my opinion, there's much more variety. It's most obvious with heroines, and I do love that. These days female characters can be strong, they can go toe to toe with the hero and actually win (without then being punished for it, either), they can be sexually experienced, they can make mistakes and be flawed, and they're still allowed to be heroines. As for the heroes, although the over-the-top alpha is still as popular as ever, I feel different conceptions of masculinity have become acceptable in romance novels now.


Brian O’Leary at MagellanMedia Partners writes an open letter to Authors Guild president, Scott Turow. O’Leary tries to appeal to Turow’s legal training which would require him to look at evidence, good evidence, to back up the claims that piracy is going to kill the publishing industry if the publishing industry doesn’t take action.

I understand that you want to send the message to AG members that you are on top of the hot button issues they are likely concerned about. I would hope that you agree that the membership deserves the truth about piracy, its effects, and even potential uses your members or their publishers can make of existing piracy.
So, here's what I think you should do: keep piracy on the agenda, but change the language you use to describe it. The goal is not to "stop piracy", but to understand its impact and use enforcement in markets where doing so has the greatest positive impact.

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. Ridley
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 09:59:36

    Funny you mention show choirs and PROs, the Boston Globe just ran an article on PROs menacing coffee shops and church groups.

    Apparently lots of coffee shops have dropped their open mic nights as a result.

  2. Tweets that mention Thursday Midday Links: Can a “no issues” book truly be no issues? | Dear Author --
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 10:16:32

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Book Smugglers and Maili, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: Thursday Midday Links: Can a "no issues" book truly be no issues? […]

  3. Serena
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 10:17:17

    Stephenie Meyer has a new novella out about some character that appeared for six pages in the very last book of the Twilight series.
    It’s not the very last book. It’s Eclipse.

  4. katiebabs
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 10:46:21

    Meyer’s novella sold 350,000 copies in 48 hours, even with it being free to read for a month up on her website. There is no stopping her! Plus, whatever anyone thinks of Meyer, how great is is that for every novella sold, a $1 goes to the American Red Cross?

    As for Friend is Not a Verb, based on what Ana at Books Smugglers mention in her review and the author making it a point to say he wrote a farce, I think I will pass on this one. A 22 year old having a sexual relationship with an 84 yr old former Nazi is not my idea of reading entertainment.

  5. Alison Kent
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 11:02:51

    I would link to RtB but someone has decided that the entire archive should not be available to the public. (and by someone I mean someone who runs RtB)

    You’ve misspoken, Jane. No one has decided to keep the archives from the public. There is a technical glitch and the site will be restored as soon as we can get to it.

  6. John
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 12:44:39

    Thanks for the notice on The Smugglers. I love their blog, and their take on YA. I was really disappointed the author blew it off the way he did. The worse thing to do when you offend someone is to say you have no regrets. :/ An interesting review, to say the least, and I can’t really say I want to pick up the book now.

  7. Joanne
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 13:56:38

    Jobs believes people are willing to pay for content, and says Apple has found the key to moving content is aggressive pricing and volume.

    Some people are willing to pay more for some content. Since the people he knows “don’t read anymore” -according to him- then he may not realize that many genre readers buy a great many books monthly. How willing are we to pay more or will we simply buy less?

    I think it won’t be quite the same ‘revolution’ as it was with the music industry. Plus, he just pisses me off.

  8. brooksse
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:58:56

    Re: the Christine Mulligan post….
    I remember a benediction from childhood that was to the tune of Edelweiss which we had to stop using due to copyright infringement. It was probably a denomination-wide or conference-wide order to stop using the benediction due to copyright violation.

  9. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Extremely extreme linkity
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 01:02:10

    […] Dear Author has a nice link roundup. Jessica of Read React Review resurfaces from an attack by Russian hackers for Monday Morning Stepback. […]

  10. sao
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 02:30:13

    The GAO’s latest report on e-book piracy says that the statistics can’t be trusted because of lack of underlying data. In short, the e-book piracy data is a bunch of crap.

    The smartest analyst can’t produce worthwhile analysis without decent data.

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