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Thursday Midday Links: Loveswept Is Coming Back

Romance at Random, a community site devoted to romance books and romance readers, has launched. With the launch comes some pretty exciting news. Romance at Random is run by former Borders buyer, Sue Grimshaw.

We are pleased to announce the 2011 Loveswept publishing program – a digital-exclusive imprint, comprised of original, newly written e-books, as well as beloved Ballantine Bantam Dell romances and classic Loveswept titles. The program launches with eight titles in August, and continues with one new e-only release monthly in the fall.

Among the initial August Loveswept offerings are Remember The Time by Annette Reynolds, Dream Lover by Adrienne Staff, The Vow by Julianna Garnett, This Fierce Splendor by Iris Johansen, The Baron by Sally Goldenbaum, Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis, Tall, Dark and Lonesome by Debra Dixon, and Legends by Deb Smith.

Stay tuned for more from Loveswept!

Dude, Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis. Old time Iris Johansen book. Loveswept was an incredible line. I can’t wait. For international readers, the press release had this to say:

The new Loveswept imprint incarnation will now be a Random House transatlantic publishing collaboration between the U.S. and their sister company, Random House Group U.K.’s Transworld Publishers division. The e-books will be released simultaneously in North America, the U.K., and the British Commonwealth.

No word on the pricing. Sarah Wendell points out that Random House is an agency publisher and that means the prices of the backlist books might be 44.99 (she jokes, a little).

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JK Rowling is indeed self publishing her Harry Potter books in the digital format. She is working with Overdrive to distribute the product to be sold through her Pottermore store. The site is sponsored by Sony, royalties will be shared with her print pubs and there will be new content as well:

Rowling talked about going into the digital format for the first time, and said: “It is my view that you can’t hold back progress. I love printed paper . . . This year for the first time I have downloaded e-books and it’s miraculous . . . I feel good about bringing it into this world.” She added that she did come up with the name “Pottermore”. She also said that at the time of writing the Potter series, she always knew she had more content than it would be possible to include in the books, in particular the back stories’ of characters such as Professor McGonagall, and so this was a way for her to share that content. Some of the content will also be entirely new, with Rowling saying it was “scary” how easy it was for her to return to that world.

No word on the pricing. I’m curious about the delivery of the Kindle format. Overdrive can do DRM and so I’m thinking that they are licensing Amazon’s DRM scheme? According to a post over at Mike Cane’s blog, these books are going to be DRM FREE!

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There are two device rumors of note. The first is that Amazon’s Tablet might be launching in August according to parts makers. Amazon, like Apple, is doing a pretty good job of keeping the details of its new devices under wraps.

The other rumor is that there is a new iPhone 5 headed for market in September. I’m not sure I buy that one, but I am intrigued about the iPhone lite – a smaller, cheaper iPhone.

Speaking of Amazon and Apple, Apple sued Amazon to prevent them from using the term “App Store”. The federal judge hearing the case isn’t very impressed with Apple’s arguments.

“I’m troubled by the showing that you’ve made so far,” U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton told Apple. “[And] that’s where you’re likely not to prevail at this early juncture.”

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BN is being saved by ebooks and ebook technology. Literally. In store sales were down 3% and the brick and mortar retail operations have resulted in greater than $58 million loss. The bright side, and BN’s only avenue for growth according to one analyst, is their digital book focus. Nook’s market share is around 26-27 percent and their BN.com sales are up 60%. Link Resource: Paid Content.

Overall, Lynch said, Nook-related business grew to over $250 million in the fiscal year ending April 30—close to 300 percent growth over the same period last year.

BN sells three times as many digital books as all formats of physical books from BN.com and that PubIt! “is the fastest growing part of our digital catalog in units and volume sales.”

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

34 Comments

  1. willaful
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:08:12

    Lightning that Lingers is AWESOME! I just wish they were doing a different title by them, since I already own that. If it’s reasonably priced (hah!) I’ll buy a digital copy just to encourage them.

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  2. Kati
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:08:27

    I’m swooning at the sheer prospect of having Tom and Sharon Curtis on my Kindle! Brilliant idea, Random House! Now, can I get The Windflower, pretty, pretty please!!

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  3. Mike Cane
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:13:58

    Yeah, DRM-free Potter books. But they’ll include some sort of digital watermarking that will enable seeing who the original buyer was of pirate editions. Hm.

    I’m more shocked that Sony missed getting a Reader exclusive. Also that they haven’t even used this opportunity to tease any new Readers coming up.

    The thing about B&N — I listened to the conference call — was that PubIt is really huge for them. But due to lower prices, the more they sell, the less they make compared to trad print and Agency price-fixing. You could listen to them sloshing around in the water up to their ankles as they already know that boat is sinking.

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  4. CourtneyLee
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:18:56

    The nerve of Amazon, calling the store where they sell apps an App Store. Shame on them! /sarcasm

    I wonder if JK Rowling has any idea how much money she’s lost by waiting so long to put the HP series in digital. By now, most of the people who wanted it in that format have pirated it anyway.

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  5. Kristal
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:19:54

    I’m starting to feel like BN is trying to kill print and/or their bricks & mortar stores. I’m having a hard time finding mid-list releases in print, in store. For example, both Dragonfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke and The Darkness Beyond by Alexis Morgan were unavailable in any BN store in my region. I could order online with free shipping but no member discount – in other words, no different than what Amazon offers.

    Since Borders closed, there aren’t other options beyond the dozen titles Target carries. I won’t be renewing my BN membership. And I’m ticked off enough that I may take the Nook out of consideration.

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  6. Laura Florand
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:20:15

    I have a real fondness for the old Loveswepts: Janet Evanovich got her start there, and I used to laugh so hard at her books. She had such a great, wacky sense of humor that was so different from the typical thing being written then. Iris Johansen, Fayrene Preston…I have all of those old books already, but it will be fun to see the line re-awoken.

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  7. Suzannah
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:39:29

    It’s great that the Random House initiative means simultaneous releases in multiple territories. It is so frustrating to read reviews of great books and then discover they’re not available outside the US. (And here in the UK we’re used to outrageous prices, so that won’t be a problem ;-) ) More publishers should work towards this, and not just with their backlists.

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  8. Tinabelle
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:47:26

    Loveswept was a favorite line of books “in the old days.” I subscribed to their club where they automatically sent you a box of the latest releases each month. I LOVED when that box arrived! I was introduced to some very favorite writers through this and other similar lines – Kay Hooper, Iris Johanson, Fayrene Preston, Nora Roberts, the Curtises, and Deborah Smith, to name a few. The thought of having digital copies of some of these books puts me over the moon.

    Hooper’s Hagen Strikes Again” series, one of my all-time favorites, has just started to be released in Kindle format and I have been buying them even at the inflated price of $7.99. The thought that I will be able to get more is great news in my book.

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  9. Rosario
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 11:21:12

    The article I read on The Guardian about Pottermore made it sound like the ebooks might have extras:

    “Starting with the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Pottermore will allow its users to navigate their way through the story, with all-new illustrations and interactive “moments”. Users start out by choosing a magical username, and as they move through the chapters of the book they will be sorted into houses – Rowling herself has written a “vast pool” of questions to direct users to their correct home – …

    “If you are not sorted into Gryffindor, if you go into one of the other three houses, you will effectively get an extra quarter of a chapter. You will go off into your own common room, meet your own prefect, and find out what the true nature of the house is. In the main novel you only see the houses through the eyes of the heroes. So it’s not a terrible thing to be in Slytherin,” said the author…”

    Hmm….
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/23/pottermore-website-jk-rowling-harry-potter

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  10. library addict
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 11:22:57

    Yay about Loveswept. I hope they release Barbara Boswell, Gail Douglas, Marcia Evanick, but since none of them were romance “superstars” I’m not holding my breath.

    I do wonder if they have the rights to the entire backlist. I would have thought the rights would reverted to the authors by now.

    I’m also looking forward to getting the HP books in e. Hope they aren’t priced really high.

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  11. Courtney
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 11:32:32

    Count me among the lovers of the Loveswept line. I think I started reading a lot of authors in that line-great writers who I still follow (although a lot of them have moved on from what I’d term “pure romance,” and now write more “romantic suspense,” or “women’s fiction).

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  12. Maili
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 11:34:15

    Loveswept reissue news – a great piece of news. I’m going to wear out my knee caps by praying as often as I can that the prices won’t be too high.

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  13. Ros
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 11:42:33

    This line makes me so happy:

    The e-books will be released simultaneously in North America, the U.K., and the British Commonwealth.

    .

    I’m sorry if you’re not in a Commonwealth country, though a little tiny part of me thinks it’s kind of awesome that the Commonwealth is a suitable geographical region for book distribution.

    JK Rowling is writing her own fanfic? No surprises there. And no, Courtney Lee, not everyone who might want the Harry Potter books in eform has pirated them. Partly because some of us are law-abiding citizens, and partly because e-readers have only just started to increase in popularity so widely. Back when the Potter books were first published, hardly anyone was reading ebooks at all.

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  14. Ridley
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 12:14:28

    Eh, Random House is agency. I want to be excited about Loveswept re-releases, but at agency prices? They may as well not exist at all for all I’d be willing to get ripped off in order to read them.

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  15. Lisa
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 12:33:50

    I was listening to Howard Stern and he said the Iphone 5 really wasn’t going to have much more than a better camera. I don’t know how accurate he was but it doesn’t sound like enough to pay the price

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  16. elaine mueller
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 12:49:04

    @library addict:

    in many cases, rights don’t just revert on their own; the author has to negotiate the reversion only after certain conditions have been met, such as xx years oop, etc.

    elaine

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  17. library addict
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 13:31:38

    @elaine mueller: Thanks. Many of the Loveswepts on my keeper shelf are more than 20 years old and long oop. I don’t know how all the rights/reversion of rights stuff works, I just want to be able to buy my fave authors in e.

    I hope they invest the time and energy to correct scanning errors and format these books correctly. That’s the thing that bugs me the most about buying older books in e. So many errors. I just read an Harlequin anthology I bought from Kobo and there were 237 instances where wordswereruntogether. And that’s only the ones I caught. So annoying.

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  18. Cara
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 13:46:08

    Count me in as another tentatively-excited/hopeful about LoveSwept, as well as the new HP situation! Also, @CourtneyLee , true, some folks may have already pirated digital editions, but not necessarily looking to “steal,” rather only out of impatience. There are also plenty who own multiple copies of our favorite books and will happily cough up the money (provided it’s not an outrageous price) for official ebook versions. Especially since they’re apparently enhanced! That also colors the dollar-value of them.

    I’ll admit to being one who was kind of grousy about the possibility that it was just ebooks. But the more I’m finding out about it, the more I’m seeing that maybe Rowling was just taking her time and being shrewd about rights and format/availability of her stories. I guess we’ll find out in a few months.

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  19. elaine mueller
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 14:09:35

    @library addict:

    one of the friends who got me back into reading romance again after a very long hiatus published two books in the late 1980s. she has some health problems and is trying to put her affairs in order, if you know what i mean. one thing she wants to do is get the rights back to her books so her kids have clear ownership of them if/when she’s gone. she hasn’t written in decades, literally, and these two books were based on family history. the original publisher was acquired by another 10-15 years ago, then bought out again and again, until it’s now part of one of the big five. her contract states that she can request reversion after the book has been oop 20 years — yes, girlfriends, 20 effing years — and then she has to give the publisher ‘sufficient time’ to make a decision on whether or not they want to give the rights back to her. she started on this two years ago. she still doesn’t have the rights back. she doesn’t want to e-pub, though her kids might someday. the acquiring publishers have never done a thing with them, and she doesn’t have the money for a lawyer to fight it.

    talk about dogs in mangers — i have neither sympathy nor respect for ‘publishers’ at all, especially the ones who aren’t even publishing books the authors would like back. talk about wtf. . .

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  20. DS
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 14:18:26

    Pottermore– oh, no, I can hear the wanking now. I’m not even a Harry Potter fan and I keep running into it.

    I remember when they killed Loveswept. First the books had their covers tinkered with– photos instead of drawings and only the hero appeared. Then the books were made shorter with the extra space being taken up by excepts from other books. Then the font was made larger. Finally, it was killed off without fanfare.

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  21. Amy from Harlequin
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 16:01:40

    @library addict – What was the Harlequin anthology that had errors? I’ll get that fixed! Thanks in advance, and sorry for the problems :(

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  22. Brian
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 16:11:46

    HQN was good about getting some titles from Kobo fixed for me problem is that even after they fix them if they’re already in your library you don’t get the new version unless you know about them and get Kobo support to push the updated versions to your account. They were fixed for months before I figured that out.

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  23. library addict
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 16:12:38

    @Amy from Harlequin: Destination: Marriage by Jill Marie Landis, Jo Leigh and Jackie Braun. I emailed Kobo about it, but am still waiting to hear back.

    The last time I emailed Harequin directly, I was told I had to take it up with the vendor. Then again that was about a format issue (lack of ePub, only PDF).

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  24. Senetra
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 16:37:17

    I’m really hoping Barbara Boswell’s books get reissued by Loveswept.

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  25. Amy from Harlequin
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 17:10:15

    @library addict It is usually best to start with the vendor because sometimes the error is something they can fix themselves (especially at places like Amazon where they do their own conversion work). I did go ahead and push out a new epub of “Destination: Marriage” to Kobo that they will hopefully replace for you soon.

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  26. Keishon
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 17:26:03

    Yes! re Loveswept line! This is a day for awesome news I see.

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  27. library addict
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 18:38:42

    @Amy from Harlequin: Thanks so much!

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  28. jmc
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 20:08:59

    I loved Deborah Smith’s Loveswepts, and am looking forward to rereading them if/as they are released as ebooks.

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  29. Tabitha
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 21:01:27

    I’m so excited for this news. I hope that Marcia Evanick’s My True Love Gave to Me would be on the list. Love that book!

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  30. Jane
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 09:08:16

    I was told yesterday that Loveswept contracts had no reversion clause and that authors have been fighting this for some time, but to no avail so while it’s not great for the author, the reader will get to see the entire loveswept line republished.

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  31. elaine mueller
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 10:01:56

    @Jane:

    but hey, at least they got published! :bitter, bitter, snark:

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  32. MaryK
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 13:23:12

    I love Lightning that Lingers! The Loveswept prices better not be high. Those books were category length, at least the ones I have are.

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  33. Sandy Rojas
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 13:23:29

    Would love to catch up with Joan Elliot Pickart on Kindle! Wonder what ever happened to her.

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  34. Debra S
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 15:26:17

    @Kristal: Iam glad to see iam not the only one this has happened to I wanted one of those books to.I found none in stock.I could order online but why even have discount card they never have half the books I want.So end up at amazon no discout but I not happpy having a card and not being able to get paperbacks in a book store.Will notrenew again not worth it.

    ReplyReply

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