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Thursday Midday Links: Q&A with Maya Banks

I can hardly believe it is already Thursday. The holiday shortened week (for the US readers) and last week’s RWA conference has me all mixed up. Hopefully I will get caught up by Sunday.

Item number one today is the news that we are going to host a Q&A with Maya Banks. Why Maya Banks? Because she was high on her dental medication yesterday and offered to answer any question and I took her up on it. Now she’s committed and can’t back out. In all seriousness, Maya has a lot of publishing information to offer. She first published with Samhain back in 2006 (I think) and she’s now going to be self publishing and writing books for two different publishing houses: Berkley and Ballantine. She’s hit the NYT list with both her Samhain books and her traditionally published books and she’s not afraid to tell you her numbers.

This Q&A is subtitled, Everything You Wanted to Know About Publishing But Were Afraid to Ask. And truly, we want you to feel comfortable asking what you might deem to be the most crass questions for which you want answers. I.e., what are the sales numbers for your books? What kind of advance did you get? What are your royalty figures? If you guys think this is helpful, we will see if other authors will be willing to do this.

The idea is that if there is ever a time that authors need answers, and really transparent ones, it is now. You can leave anonymous questions in the comments or email them to me at jane at dearauthor.com. These Q&As will be posted on Sunday and then Maya will check the comments to the Sunday posts in the evening and answer follow up questions there.

This is not just for authors. Readers, if you have questions, please let us know.

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I’ve paid for a site analysis by Yoast and so you’ll see some changes in the upcoming month to Dear Author. If there is anything you don’t like (or things that you do) particularly in regards to getting around the site, let me know. I want to make this site as easy to use as possible.

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Barnes & Noble is selling refurbished Nook Color devices on its Ebay page.  Nate says that this is the normal price for reburbished units and you may want to wait until the regular factory direct nook colors drop to around $225.  The difference, I believe, is primarily in the warranty.  The refurbished unit comes with a 90 day warranty and the factory one comes with a one year warranty.

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The Economist suggests that readers are unwilling to pay full price for books and this discount mentality is what is leading to the decline and maybe even ultimate eradication of brick and mortars book stores.

The problem, however, is that no one seems willing to buy full-price books anymore. Campaigns to get people to buy books from their local bookstores—such as “Save Bookstores Day” on June 25th—miss the point. While there is demand for real bricks-and-mortar places to gather, drink coffee and read new books, such places can’t exist if the market can’t accommodate them.

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Overdrive is offering DRM free ebooks when the publisher allows this.  Honestly, though?  I don’t mind DRM on library books.  Library books are meant to be borrowed and thus it seems right for borrowed books to have DRM.  DRM on books that I buy is another story.  What do you guys think?

[poll id="239"]

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

24 Comments

  1. Hannah
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 10:13:59

    I have checked out Carina Press ebooks from the library that were DRM-free. You can browse titles available on the Free Library of Philadelphia digital content site under “Open Ebooks.” I was able to convert the books to mobi format and sideload onto my Kindle. I still have them on my Kindle and I feel a little bit weird about keeping them past the checkout date. I’m wondering if there’s a way they could build in an expiration date without DRM.

  2. library addict
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 11:17:35

    Oops, voted yes, but I meant no (that’s what I get for not reading the question all the way). Books from the library should have DRM as a way to enforce the expiration date I strongly believe in libraries, but the books should be accessible for a limited time.

    Things I like about the site:
    1) The numbers in the comments. I don’t subscribe to comments, so it’s a great way to know where to start reading again.
    2) The “Recent Comments” sidebar.
    3) The “top bar/drop down menu combo thingy” to quickly find things like the coming soon catalogue. (sorry, not a website tech, I’m sure it has a better name).

    I also like the quick links to reviews by book cover at the top of the site. But if that’s causing issues, a words links list like you used to have would suffice.

  3. LG
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 11:56:13

    DRM on library e-books makes it easier for libraries to argue to publishers that library lending of those books will not hurt sales. I hate DRM on individual-bought e-books and have so far managed to stick to my personal rule of not buying a single DRM-protected book. DRM on library e-books is another thing all together, particularly since I don’t think there’s any way to enforce due dates without DRM.

    About the “people aren’t will to pay full price for books anymore” thing: Has anyone ever really wanted to pay full price, except occasionally? I only ever paid full price for a book if it just came out and I really, really wanted it. Full price can be painful – $25+ for a hardcover, $7+ for a paperback. Discounts mean that people who read a lot can get more. Of course, the article also mentions those people who go to a brick-and-mortar store and read the entire book in the store. Now, those people annoy the heck out of me. One, they are taking new books and essentially making them used, but they’ll still be the same price as a new book. Two, this is *exactly* what libraries are for, and the library would let you take the book home.

  4. Honeywell
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 12:06:34

    DRM free just because it costs money and I imagine it’s just as ineffective/useless as any other DRM scheme out there. Tell people what the terms of borrowing the book are and I’d bet the vast majority of library patrons will abide by them with or without DRM.

  5. Christine
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 12:08:18

    I think DRM is perfect for libraries. One of the things I love best about borrowing ebooks using the library and Overdrive is I never have overdue fees. I never have the shame of holding the next person up who is waiting for the book because I am checking under the bed and in the back seat of the car for the book or I forgot how long I have had it. Overdrive on the ipad even has a neat little counter next to the book on the main page so I know exactly how many days I have left on each book. When D-Day arrives, Overdrive “returns” the book for me if I haven’t already done so. I love it- it’s a win-win for everyone.

  6. MaryK
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 12:21:23

    “readers are unwilling to pay full price for books”

    Unfortunately true. On the other hand, sales and discounts are what keep me buying new books rather than reading down my TBR pile.

  7. Ridley
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 12:24:20

    The Economist article sounds about right. In fact, before I started reading romance obsessively (ah, sweet, sweet unemployment) I never ever bought books new, never mind at full price. I got them by the re-used plastic grocery bag at library and church sales or picked them out of boxes on trash day. My mother only reads what she finds at Goodwill or the transfer station (or whatever ebooks of mine I put on her Nook.) My mother in law only reads what she finds at St. Vincent’s or on our shelves.

    In fact, I can’t think of anyone who shops at bookstores for themselves. You buy new books for gifts, and that’s about it.

    Then again, none of us pay full price for anything. We all shop Marshalls, TJ Maxx or secondhand for clothing too. Old Navy is my splurge. So maybe we’re all just cheapskates.

  8. JenM
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 12:49:33

    I love this site, but I miss the link on the front page to the current month’s open threads for readers and authors. I’ve found some great books through these threads but it’s a bit of a pain to find the current month’s posting. I finally figured out that if I click on “misc” in the categories section, then scroll down, I can usually find the latest month’s threads but that’s pretty awkward. I’ve also tried using the search function and that works also, but again, it’s a bit awkward. Surely I can’t be the only one that likes to read these threads later in the month after they’ve long since been buried by new posts?

  9. Anonymous
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 13:16:30

    I don’t mind DRM when it works, but half the time when I download a book from the Library it won’t open on my Sony reader. Or it does open when I download it, but then I download another book and the first book no longer opens.

    Now, I just strip off the DRM, read the book, and delete it when I am done.

  10. Lada
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 13:58:43

    Unless I’m missing the link, I always wondered why the “reader recommends for the month of…” isn’t always found on the main page. I like seeing/sharing what’s being read right now but don’t care to go back so many pages towards the end of the month so I often skip it once it’s gone from the front page.

    Otherwise I really enjoy the way DA is set-up. Love the book banner of recent reviews at the top!

  11. Angie
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 16:54:32

    I checked “Other” because I have a caveat. There’ve been DRM schemes applied to digital products which have damaged the user’s system, slown it down, opened backdoors for hackers, etc. Nothing like that should happen when I borrow a library e-book, ever, not even as an oops. With that as a given, I have no problem with DRM on library books.

    Angie

  12. L.K. Rigel (likari)
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 20:20:12

    People probably don’t want to pay full price for books because employers don’t want to pay full price for employees.

    Just a thought.

  13. Niveau
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 21:43:02

    Until publishers stop overpricing books in Canada, I will never pay full price for them. Full stop. It is not possible for me to afford the books I want at the prices they’re sold for here.

  14. Nadia Lee
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 22:02:49

    The Economist suggests that readers are unwilling to pay full price for books and this discount mentality is what is leading to the decline and maybe even ultimate eradication of brick and mortars book stores.

    I agree with this. Lots of print books are routinely discounted by retailers like WalMart, Target, CostCo, BN, Amazon, BookDepository, etc. Though publishers complain about “cheap” ebooks devaluing books, “cheap” print books have been widely available for a long time, and the low ebook prices (before the Agency schemed started) merely reflected what readers were willing to pay (or what retailers believed their customers are willing to pay based on their experience).

  15. Jane
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 10:10:09

    @JenM & @Lada I’ll definitely add the recommended monthly reads to the sidebar. Thanks for the feedback gals.

  16. Renda
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 10:27:55

    I love the DA site, except for one pesky technical issue.
    I use an iPad either through the app or a bookmark to access the site and the slightest change in angle will freeze the screen. If I am reading a column, no big deal; if I am reading multiple comments, it is more annoying. This is the second time I have written this post because of the issue.

  17. Jane
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 10:34:08

    @Renda Thanks Renda. Unfortunately I don’t know what the root cause of the problem is. Likely it is a plugin but I’m uncertain which one. I can reactivate the mobile theme for the ipad but I recall someone having troubles with that as well. let me know, will you, if the mobile theme is troublesome. I’ll look for an alternative.

  18. sula
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 12:43:28

    I have had issues with the mobile version of DA freezing and crashing my ipod on several occasions. Which is too bad because I like the layout and functionality of the mobile version (and the fact that you actually HAVE one).

  19. Estara
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 14:27:07

    @JenM: Same here

    ETA: Oh and while I’m thinking of it, it is really strange that when you edit your post, it aligns and the type shows up from the right! I’m never sure if I’ve written all correctly and if the punctuation shows up where I set it. Weird..

  20. Renda
    Jul 09, 2011 @ 05:59:24

    @Jane, mobile theme works great. I all but threw the iPad across the room and not a freeze.
    Thanks.

  21. Jane
    Jul 09, 2011 @ 10:48:48

    @Renda: Great! Sorry about not getting to that sooner.

  22. Jane
    Jul 09, 2011 @ 10:49:42

    @sula: I’ve redone the mobile version so let me know if it still crashes. You can send me an email at any time jane @ dearauthor.com

  23. Jane
    Jul 09, 2011 @ 10:51:18

    @Estara: Yes, this is a problem with the AEC plugin I use. Unfortunately the plugin creator hasn’t gotten back to me and the plugin has been sold. I’m hopeful that the new owners will respond to my support plea.

    I figure that the awkward edit feature is better than none at all and there doesn’t seem to be another edit plugin out there.

  24. Estara
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 10:54:32

    @Jane: Any edit plugin is definitely better than none, too true.

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