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

Thursday Midday Links: Here Come the Category Bestsellers

CES opened last night with the keynote address from Microsoft.   They touted new slate forms of computing.   The HP slate is purportedly going to have a sub $500 price. Come to mama, I say. Matthew Bernius, at the Open Publishing Lab, is keeping track of all the publishing related CES announcements. There are a plethora of ebook readers. The 6″ Audiovox for $299 is interesting.

The USA Today list was released yesterday for the week of January 3, 2010. What’s notable is that 6 of the top 150 books are Harlequin Presents. I believe that this is a first but it won’t be the last. Harlequin has implemented a new tracking system for its series books so instead of being a general “book” sale, the checkout systems can correctly identify exactly which title from the Harlequin series are being sold.

In other Harlequin news, Malle Vallik blogged about the digital initiatives that Harlequin has taken.

  • Almost 3 million downloads occurred of their 16 free books given away in 2009.
  • All books are published   simultaneously in digital and print with the ebooks priced lower   than the print version.

As for enriched content:

We have published a dozen enriched eBooks like Deanna Raybourn’s  Silent in the Grave. Each title has had different unique content: behind the scenes, photos, deleted scenes, recipes, etc. We’ve learned that while readers like this extra content, we are a little ahead of the times. Readers are more interested in figuring out eBooks rather than advanced eBooks. You have to walk before you run

Sarah from had a great couple of articles. First, she had an interview with Laura Clawson, the author of the DailyKos piece, Romance Reader, Unashamed.

Second, Sarah wrote about whether technology is changing the way that we read.

This is absolutely true of me. If a book does not grab me within the first 30 pages or so, or if something is bothering me about a character and there’s not enough else to hold me to the narrative, I have a few hundred other books queued up on the same device waiting to be read. I am not going to read more because I have other options of books to read. This is very different from the time when I did not have a digital reader with a few hundred books with me. I would keep reading because otherwise, I didn’t have much else to do on the bus, and commuting without reading is miserable for me.

Katiebabs brings to our attention a reviewer who has been asked not to review books by authors because, I guess, the reviews haven’t all been positive. I know that authors have asked publishers to remove and add reviewers from their ARC list. Obscurity is far bigger threat than a negative review.

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. Lynn Raye Harris
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 12:40:31

    Hi, Jane. It’s my understanding, from speaking with the HP authors who’ve been around for a while, that they used to make the list. But in about 1995, there was some sort of notice that they would no longer be included and that was the end of it. Some of the authors who’ve been writing HP for more than 15 years have definitely been on the list before — but we’re all very thrilled that the opportunity is back.

    Sorry I don’t have specifics, but that’s what people remember. They don’t remember why it changed, just that it did.

  2. MoriahJovan
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 12:54:07

    As for enriched content:

    Readers are more interested in figuring out eBooks rather than advanced eBooks. You have to walk before you run.

    Yeah, but the content will still be there when the readers are running.

    I’m planning on beefing up my next book with all sorts of extras, although I’m still debating with myself about hyperlinks within the narrative (leaning toward not).

    When that’s done, I’ll go back and retrofit the first two with extras that are currently on the books’ sites, some of which are downloadable by themselves.

    What I’d like to do is offer the music that inspired which scenes (all the devices can play music), but that would cost a boatload in licensing, so the best I can do is list the songs.

    I’m not cracked on video in books (Vook) because that’s not the point of reading. If I want to watch video, I’ll go watch TV. I can’t say I won’t ever do it, but currently, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    /threadjack Carry on.

  3. Ridley
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 13:11:34

    I’m not interested in “enhancements.” If I wanted pictures with my story, I’d re-read Watchmen. I don’t want someone else’s soundtrack and I definitely don’t want video.

    I’m reading a book precisely because it’s a book.

  4. MoriahJovan
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 13:48:45


    I was envisioning it all as a “back of the book” kind of thing, completely optional as to whether you wanted to read it/look at it or not.

    I don’t like music that plays on websites when you open them and I certainly wouldn’t force my soundtracks on a reader unless they were to explicitly “turn it on,” so to speak. Even then, as I said, the cost would be prohibitive, so it’s a moot point.

    I’m not keen on having the narrative interrupted by anything, either.

    To me, the point is to give an e-book customer more than she’d get from a print book in order to add value for the price. You can’t re-sell e-books or give them away and loading it with extras she might like (but doesn’t have to read if she doesn’t want to), in my opinion, is simply good customer service. More bang for one’s buck.

  5. Estara
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 13:59:14

    Jane, have you seen this call-to-arms yet? I think it would fit in well with the Thursday Midday Links:Le Guin on the Google Settlement
    Ursula LeGuin is calling authors to collect a list showing the opposition against the Google Settlement and is looking for suggestions how to go on from there:

    So, if you'll give me your name as a professional writer willing to be known as opposed to the Guild Settlement and in favor of protecting copyright and authors' rights against corporate grabs, I will –

    Well, what will I do? Compile a list.

    Then what?

    If the list grows to a respectable size, should I post it on my web site?

    Would you be willing to let me send your name as part of the list to the NWU so they'd have a list of writers opposed to the Settlement?

    Anybody got a better idea? Tell!

  6. Alyson H.
    Jan 07, 2010 @ 15:46:30

    Regarding CES–

    The Que, the enTourage (an e-ink/netbook 2-screen hybrid) and the Microsoft Courier all look exciting to me. Jane gave good advice when she recommended waiting on purchasing an e-reader. I have really missed the Kindle I sold months ago, but if I can be patient for a little longer, it looks like I’ll get something that suits my needs better.

  7. Mina
    Jan 08, 2010 @ 04:20:38

    I’m a little disappointed in the Que, partly because it’s a UK-made device not available in the UK, but also because early reports suggested it was going to be flexible. I guess they decided that made the price too prohibitive or something.

    It’s just…. flexible plastic devices that you can access news and fiction on from anywhere? The SciFi Geek in me wa ranking that up there with Virgin Galactic for “We’re living in the future!” circa John Wyndham.

  8. Janine
    Jan 08, 2010 @ 13:32:17

    I think it’s outrageous for authors to ask a reviewer not to review their books. It’s one thing not to send ARCs, or even to ask the publisher not to provide them, but a reviewer has a right to purchase or borrow and review any book she wants to. Anyone who has purchased a book or borrowed it from the library or a friend has the right to say whatever they want to about it. It’s not anyone’s place — not even the author’s — to try and stop them. Plus it only makes these authors look bad.

  9. German Reader
    Jan 08, 2010 @ 20:09:13

    Certain audio files in ebooks would be very helpful e.g. for uncommon/ unpronounceable names or the glossary.
    Or if the lyrics of a song are given it would be nice to be able to hear the melody.

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