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

Thursday Midday Posts: DRM Efficacy Questioned by Game Theory, Amazon Launches...

Amazon launched its science fiction, fantasy and horror line called 47North. It’s lined up some big names in scifi with the launched of 15 books “including ‘The Mongoliad: Book One,’ the first in the ambitious, five-book, collaborative Foreworld series led by Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear. All of these books will be available to English readers in Kindle, print and audio formats at www.amazon.com , as well as at national and independent booksellers. 47North will publish original and previously published works, as well as out-of-print books.”

There is no word on whom the acquiring editor is.

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Kobo is making serious international moves. It has announced partnerships with FNAC, the number 1 book retailers in France, and with W.H. Smith. Through both partnerships, the book sellers will obtain access to Kobo’s digital catalog as well as its devices. This means books bought at WH Smith enjoy the same cloud storage and synchronization in Kobo’s App platforms and devices.

In addition to its global store, Kobo already offers stores in the US, Canada, Germany (localised), UK, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. The Kobo store offers a selection of over 2.5 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines with bestselling titles, the hottest new releases, thrillers, romance and over a million free books.

Kobo’s European stores offer customers a rich assortment of local content, merchandised to the tastes and preferences of readers across Europe, Kobo has partnered with European publishers to offer a wide range of titles. With this launch, FNAC will deliver a large content catalogue, making it the largest eBookstore in France – the new store will feature the latest releases and bestsellers from popular French authors.

and from the WH Smith site:

From 12th October 2011, all the eBooks you buy through WHSmith.co.uk will be provided by our partner, Kobo. These eBooks will all work with your eReader just like those you’ve previously bought from us.

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Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland will be published as a graphic novel series.

In Hollowland, Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

Charlaine Harris is collaborating an original graphic novel series for ACE, based on her Sookie Stackhouse series.

Cemetery Girl-a collaboration between Harris, author Christopher Golden, and illustrator Don Kramer-is a planned trilogy set to debut in 2013… Cemetery Girl will mark the first foray into original graphic novels for Harris, whose bestselling Sookie Stackhouse books are the basis for HBO’s hit series True Blood. Harris recently announced that the Sookie Stackhouse series will conclude with the publication of the thirteenth book in May 2013.

….

With elements of fantasy and paranormal mystery, Cemetery Girl will tell the story of a teenage girl with amnesia who has grown up living alone in a cemetery. As the series unfolds, the truth of who the girl is and how she came to be there will be gradually revealed both to the reader and to the character herself.

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Three economists from Rice and Duke Universities have used game theory research to challenge the efficacy of DRM.

Via Ars Technica.

Thus, removing DRM represents a good deal for consumers in all segments of the market: “In particular, traditional consumers of CDs benefit from a lower price; consumers of legal downloads get higher utility with a DRM-free version even though the price of the legal version may increase; and, interestingly, consumers who obtain pirated versions benefit because it is easier to steal music when there is no DRM.”

….

“Attributing abnormally high piracy levels to DRM is consistent with the analysis in our paper,” the marketing experts conclude.

Ars breaks down the game theory hypothesis and it’s fairly interesting read.

*****

According to Nielsen Book, print book sales declined 5.7% in the US.

For those looking to head to the bar and drown their sorrows, Nowell had at least some positive thoughts: no downturn lasts forever, “value” was going to be an increased priority for consumers, and the rapidly aging population should present publishers with opportunities to sell to “those book-loving baby boomers who finally have the time to read.” Let’s hope they don’t forget where they put their glasses.

I suspect the aging baby boomer population will flock toward digital because every book can be in large print with digital books.

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James Patterson has one. So does James Frey. Dennis Lehane is the latest author to get his own imprint. HarperCollins has implemented “Dennis Lehane Books” which will “issue ‘a select’ number of literary fiction works each year that have ‘a dark urban edge.'”

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I’m fascinated with the Indian market for books. I think that given its status as the largest English reading population, it’s influence on books could be enormous. According to this writer, the current state of Indian fiction represents something from the Helen Fielding imprint, if there was one.

To read much of the recent fiction, you would think that the whole population, all 1.2 billion of them, have nothing else to do but worry about arranged marriages, whether they could have a romance with the man their family had chosen for them, and whether it was possible to eat rice crispies without chili powder.

The author would like to write about grittier topics such as the impoverished and barely literate:

So here’s my main contention about the stories published about India in the last few years. Where are the stories of the under class? Why are all the novels focused on the well to do, or the middle class? Where are the tales of these working kids?  The stories of servant boys, and domestic maids, the homeless children? In a country where so many serve as domestic help, where is the Indian version of The Help? In India, much more than anywhere else I have traveled to, the lives of the privileged and the underprivileged blend with and underline each other until it’s impossible to tell them apart. So why is it, that the fiction of today, the maid’s story is silenced, while the mistress’ tale gets all the attention? Is it our fault, as readers? That we are only able to crave the light, frothy tales of marriage and caste wars? In the thousands of books written by Indian authors that are getting published now, only the White Tiger reaches into the complexities of India. Why is that?

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Sarah Wendell was on the Gayle King show Monday and Ms. King was apparently pretty dismissive of romance as a genre but Wendell held her own according to all reports. Ms. King thought only lonely women read romance and KMont responds that women can be lonely and have cats and still not be pathetic because they read romance. Everyone feels lonely and some lucky people also have cats.

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From the inbox:

CALL FOR BOOKS FOR MILITARY IN AFGHANISTAN

Art Mills, award winner author of The Empty Lot Next Door, is stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan and requesting print books for himself and his fellow troop members. He tells me most of the books are old and worn-out, indicating people read them and hand them to others.

I sent him a box of 12 books and he wrote me:

I placed the books on a book shelf and people rushed right to them. It’s nice to know people back home still care after ten years. Thanks!!!!

Yes, we do care! Please donate a copy of your book (or ARC) so Art can put it on their barren shelves. If you send more than one copy it will be donated to another troop through Books for Soldiers.

And, it’s okay to enclose a letter of thanks, or if you have a child have her or him draw a picture or write a letter. It is a lonely world in Afghanistan and if we can bring a smile or tear to our soldiers it will be a reminder to them that we do care.

Please send your donation to:

Reader Views
Books for Soldiers
3267 Bee Cave Road, Ste 107-380
Austin, TX 78746

We use candy for packing so if you’d like to donate a bag of candy as well, that would be terrific. The candy should be something that is wrapped individually, e.g. tootsie rolls, mints. (Not chocolate – it melts while sitting on the tarmac.)

Thanks! I know your book will be well received!

Irene

PS – if you have any military/war themed books, either your own or those you have read, please send them as well. Surprisingly those themes are well received.

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

61 Comments

  1. Kim in Hawaii
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:10:13

    I was surprised to read that Sarah was invited at all to appear on Gayle King (on Oprah’s network). I had heard that Oprah would never invite a romance writer onto her show.

    The stereotype is frustrating. The premiere episode of CBS’s UNFORGETTABLE included a line from a detective describing the murder victim, “She has a shelf full of romances. She was one lonely lady.”

    I frankly don’t care what others think of my reading habits. I tend to “hang out” with romance readers in person and on line so it is not an issue.

  2. Ros
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:22:08

    The game theory analysis is fascinating and chimes completely with what I’ve long thought about DRM. DRM benefits no one, neither readers, publishers nor authors.

  3. Danielle D
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:31:05

    Thank you for the link for the books. I’ve been sending books and goodies to our troops for the past several years.

  4. Na
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:49:44

    The romance reader stereotype is still holding fast but time and open-mindedness will chip away at it. I don’t think the stereotype will fully go away but I think it can be changed and embraced in a more positive light.

    I read romance, in addition to many genres and I have been lonely but it is not my defining trait.

  5. Susan Laura
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:51:03

    Gayle King — not too interested in her opinions, honestly. And thanks for the information regarding donations of books to soldiers. I need to do some cleaning up/clearing out of my books and that is a wonderful way to share!

  6. Na
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:52:32

    Yes, thank you for sharing the address. This is a wonderful idea and a great way to spread literary love, whether it is close by or a continent away.

  7. Karenmc
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 12:59:12

    Thanks for the link to send books. It’s a great way to clean out my shelves, and gratifying to know that someone on the other side of the world will be able to “get away” while reading them.

  8. Kim
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 13:11:29

    I agree that I was surprised about being invited on OWN. Oprah’s made it pretty clear what she considers literature and it’s not romance novels. Look how many books Nora Roberts has sold and I don’t think she ever appeared on the Oprah show.

  9. Ridley
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 13:15:35

    In a country where so many serve as domestic help, where is the Indian version of The Help?

    I’m not sure Indians are a poorer people for lacking this. That would basically be a book in which a condescending English girl solved all the poor, ignorant servants’ problems for them.

  10. library addict
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 13:22:05

    I’ve sent books and candy for the soldiers before, but thanks for the reminder as I will do so again.

    Not sure when, if ever, publishers will wise up and do away with DRM. Still hoping it will happen, but not holding my breath.

  11. Las
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 13:26:41

    @Ridley: That’s exactly what I was going to post. The Help is the mistress’ story.

    And I would add that this:

    Where are the stories of the under class? Why are all the novels focused on the well to do, or the middle class?

    applies to Romance here in the States, as well. Even those that deal with an impoverished hero or heroine has an HEA that includes being happily rich/well-off.

  12. HollyY
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 13:54:08

    @Las: I don’t really want to read a story where the HEA includes the hero and heroine having lost their jobs and they are worried about their home being foreclosed on. That’s reality right now and I read romance for escape. For the HEA. HEA to me means that “and they lived happily ever after.” IOW, they get a job and they get to keep their house. I like a story where people are in better shape at the end of the book than at the beginning – and I don’t just mean happy in love, but happy in other ways too. Maybe that makes me shallow, but just scraping by doesn’t really give me the happy ending I’m looking for. YMMV.

  13. Roxie
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 13:58:45

    I had to google Gayle King. Her opinion just doesn’t carry that much weight for me.

  14. Meredith
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 14:03:47

    I’d be curious to know if we can substantiate these claims about India having the largest population of English readers in the world. To be a competent English speaker does not necessarily entail the sort of comfort that fosters pleasure reading in English. In other words, it seems to me that there might be a meaningful distinction (in terms of consumption practices) between English speakers and those people who read predominantly English-language material.

    I’m thinking here of a couple of friends in Delhi, university-educated and middle class (but not upper-middle class) women who can speak conversational English and would certainly describe themselves as English-speakers, but who mostly speak Hindi at home and with friends. It’s the language that feels more comfortable to them, or, to quote directly, more “friendly.” English-language material is for work or for information (so they read the English-language newspapers like Times of India) but in their pleasure reading, both of them gravitate to Hindi-language magazines and literature.

    That said, I agree that the fiction market in India is fascinating – vibrant and robust and totally fun. I’ve never lived anywhere else where there’s an endless round of book launches and cocktail party-cum-signings that are all open to the public and pretty much completely PACKED. Or maybe Delhi in particular simply loves its writers. :)

  15. Ridley
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 14:20:28

    @HollyY: I think there’s a rather wide gulf between “no jobs, about to be foreclosed on” and the romance staple “multi-millionaire with a fancy car.”

  16. Las
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 14:31:38

    @HollyY: I’m not saying people have to stay poor. It’s fantasy, after all. What I meant was that, when a romance actually does feature a heroine or hero with financial problems, those problems are rarely treated realistically, that person ending up with a rich spouse anyway. Why not have a romance featuring two working class people? They don’t have to be scraping by, but it would certainly add depth to their story to show them occasionally worrying about stuff that the non-rich have to worry about.

  17. Jane
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 14:59:18

    Lots of Harlequin American romance and Harlequin supers feature cops, teachers, construction folks. Think that is all Shannon Stacey writes about.

  18. joanne
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 15:03:22

    I’m chalking this up to it’s having been a very long week but I’m confused on a few things.

    In India, much more than anywhere else I have traveled to, the lives of the privileged and the underprivileged blend with and underline each other until it’s impossible to tell them apart.

    What does that mean? If the privileged and underprivileged are blending so well they can’t be seen to be different then there is no problem. I know that’s not what the author of the piece meant but come on. You’ve got a legitimate gripe so at least make your point in a clear, coherent way. My other question is where are all the Indian authors?

    And I’m going to semi-agree *g* with HollyY because I don’t want the Romance genre to be interchangeable with ‘women’s fiction’. There are plenty of books about working men and women -Hi there, Harlequin!

    Does Art Mills only want new books from authors and/or their ARCs or does he want whatever we have that’s in good condition and fits the category? I have bunches of Clancy’s Net Force, Clive Cussler, W.E.B. Griffin and more. They’re certainly not new releases but they’re in good shape and I’d be happy to make up a box and mail it out.

    There are all kinds of prejudice and I guess Gayle King showed one of hers. I just wish Sarah had thought to say it was all right because she’s never even looked at an Oprah book club recommendation.

  19. Sunita
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 15:15:03

    Agree with Meredith that lots of Indians who speak English well don’t read English-language novels. But Delhi is particularly Hindi-centric. In Mumbai or Bangaluru or Chennai I’m betting more English-language speakers read English-language novels.

    The column was odd. If the complaint is that there are too many women writing Indian chick lit novels in English, okay. But the idea that no one is writing about middle-class and working people? Good grief. Life of Vishnu, anyone? Sacred Games? Kiran Desai’s novels? Going back a while, her mother, Anita Desai’s work? Not to mention Rohinton Mistry.

    And why is *English* the definition anyway? Back to Meredith’s point but to expand on it: read a few books in an Indian language. They’re not all about the privileged.

    And to echo Las and Ridley, God help us all if she wants to write the Indian version of The Help. Some things should not be exported.

  20. Cara Ellison
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 15:21:35

    @Las: That’s a fascinating question, but for me “real” problems facing our country like poverty, unemployment and chaos don’t make for romantic reading. I could accept that as part of a dystopian book (egads, what sad commentary on the state of our world!) but for straight romance, I want them to be well off at the end of the book.

    It is worthy of serious consideration why this is so, however.

  21. Jill Myles
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 15:22:58

    Is it okay to send romances? I feel stupid for asking, but I’ve inquired about sending books to troops before and was told that romances were usually not wanted overseas because of decency laws in some countries.

    Can you find out? If romances are wanted, I’ve got boxes of newer releases sitting in a closet.

  22. Lynn S.
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 15:31:54

    “Dennis Lehane Books” makes my head want to explode. I would ask you to say it isn’t so, but I know the dark urban truth.

    Ms. King thought only lonely women read romance.

    I wonder how she feels about the reverse judgment that only pretentious people with salt-water aquariums don’t read romance. I could say more, but I’m feeling succinct this week.

  23. Ridley
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 16:01:27

    @Jane: Those are, not coincidentally, the Harlequins I read and enjoy most often.

    But, if you wander into single-title land, everyone’s solidly upper middle-class or worked their way there from humble beginnings. The white, middle-class, Christian bias is definitely there. It’s not without its exceptions, but it’s the rule.

    I’m sure it’s because it mirror’s readers’ fantasies. They want to have rock-solid financial security and live in a place where everyone’s like them. Uncertainty is scary.

  24. Darlynne
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 16:46:49

    “… consumers who obtain pirated versions benefit because it is easier to steal music when there is no DRM.”

    I have read this quote three times, here and as part of the entire article, and am still confused. Is this meant to be some fine irony? That even though the outcome of the study disproved the “DRM = less piracy” shouting, one of the benefits is that pirates will have an easier time stealing?

    Maybe I’ve had the same long week you have, Joanne, or the adult-onset dyslexia has kicked in or my shoulder hurts. I’m no fan of DRM, but even I can’t think why anyone would want happy and satisfied pirates.

  25. DS
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 17:05:08

    I suspect the aging baby boomer population will flock toward digital because every book can be in large print with digital books.

    This aging baby boomer suspects you are right. The resizable font has been one of the things that has kept me buying ebooks. I’ve recently tried to read a print books, especially mmpb and found it very annoying. I actually gave up on one and hunted up an ebook copy.

  26. Kim in Hawaii
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 17:09:31

  27. eggs
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 17:15:54

    @Darylynne: I think “easier” in this context means it will only take, say, 1 minute to access a stolen book, rather than the current 1 minute 30 seconds. It is measurably “easier”, so they reference it, but the difference is not so much that it would influence the personal decision to become a thief (or not).

  28. Kaye55
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 18:52:53

    Thanks for the ‘Books for Soldiers’ info. Although this one is new to me, I have donated thru operationpaperback.org and received a thank-you note within 2 weeks of shipping a box of books. His closing line was “take care & stay safe” and I thought ‘he is telling ME to stay safe?’ I googled his outfit and they clear IED’s from the roads. No wonder they want some downtime with some good books!

  29. anon
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 19:08:20

    Is it all right with them if you send money for them to purchase books instead of mailing them actual books? Or do they prefer just to deal with books?

  30. Jane
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 19:21:07

    @Ridley I remember reading one book by a romance author, a contemporary one (whose name I can’t remember right now) and the heroine worried about everything including where her next meal would come from (she had two kids as well) for probably 50% of the story and I was so stressed out reading that book, I couldn’t read another by her. In the end she’s saved by a millionaire, but phew, that’s not my favorite type of drama.

  31. Cindy
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 19:24:41

    @anon I think the problem is they don’t have access to purchasing many books themselves, if any. However, I do know that Operationpaperback appreciates monetary donations to offset postage since the post office will not cut them any deals. The store I work at helps them…we use clearance books to raise money for postage and let our local person come in and choose books to send over.

  32. LINDA B
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 19:28:20

  33. SH
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 19:30:41

    Jesus Christ what is with people? If a publisher wants to lump a book under a certain category, then that’s what they do.

    I just don’t get it. A book is a book. These morons need to read something, improve their minds, and get over themselves.

    What is a romance actually?
    Something with a couple of people in it?
    Most books in this world have some sort of relationship in them, often with a happy ending. It seems penis-owners get theirs shelved on some pretentious literary shelf, while female writers create ‘those trashy books for lonely women’. It sounds like sexism more than anything else. Those ‘kill and maim and torture’ books men read – how are they any more high-brow?

    How can such a huge chunk of the market be bad, something to joke about? A romance is not a bodice-ripper these days. How about all those fantasy, military, family drama books? The couple in the centre is a part of it, but not all of it.
    Books are supposed to reflect real life aren’t they? Don’t all those naysayers have relationships and complications in their marriages, and have to deal with military deployments (and fight off vampires)?

  34. Emily
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 19:53:57

    I watched the Gayle King show with Sarah b/c I was so excited to see romance reading get some respect in mainstream media. It was awful. Sarah Wendell deserves a medal for keeping her cool and coming off as a intelligent sophisticated smart woman to Gayle’s condescension. This is coming from somebody who recorded Oprah every day since the first day I got DVR and watched her for years before that. I appreciated her friendship with Gayle, but won’t be watching Gayle’s show ever again for her completely dismissive attitude towards Romance books which I’ve read and loved for over a decade.

  35. Kim in Hawaii
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 20:05:08

    @Kaye55: Operation Paperback is awesome! Our “Friends of the Library” supports troops’ special requests.

  36. Kim in Hawaii
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 20:09:06

    @Cindy: The best way to send books domestic (within US) is, of course, media mail. It may take up to 10 days but it is significantly cheaper.

    Media mail takes too long to Hawaii (3 weeks on a Pacific Cruise) and even longer from Hawaii (4 weeks).

    Media mail to the APO addresses is also not feasible as it sits in NY or San Fran as “space available.”

    For any APO address, I suggest using the large flat rate priority mail boxes that cost $12.95 (discounted $2 from the regular rate).

  37. JessP
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 20:27:47

    @Jane – could you be thinking of Lisa Kleypas’ contemporary series?

  38. Jane
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 20:47:02

    @JessP: No, it was Robin or something like that. Maybe Susan?? Cannot recall.

  39. Jane
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 20:49:19

    Also, Readerreviews.com says

    “Oh yes, of course!!! We will certainly buy books.
    If it’s a check, it needs to be made out to “Reader Views” and we will then purchase books or any other needs the soldiers have. Many ask for toiletries so that might be another option.”

  40. nasanta
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 20:54:52

    @Kim in Hawaii:

    “Media mail to the APO addresses is also not feasible…”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. I have mailed to an APO address with media mail, and everything I am reading online, including the FAQ at Operation Paperback advises mailing books by media mail to APO addresses. USPS website states that APO/FPO mail are processed similarly to domestic mail.

  41. Las
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 20:57:38

    @Cara Ellison: I understand that, and I don’t dislike well-off characters, or even the fantasy scenario where a really poor characters ends up with a billionaire. It’s just that that seems to be the rule in romance, and it gets old. It’s why I rarely read straight contemporaries–I’m fine with the unrealistic fantasy in historicals (though I would love to see more that don’t have rich and titled h/h), paranormals, etc., but I can’t suspend disbelief that way when reading a book that’s supposed to have a familiar setting. I don’t need characters to struggle financially, but it’s kind of boring when money just never seems to be an issue. And just because a romance featured working/lower middle class or even poor characters doesn’t mean the story has to focus on their finances. The non-rich fall in love all the time!

    @Jane: That book sounds dreadful. Both because of all the financial angst and then the done-to-death marrying a millionaire.

    I have a ton of books that I can donate, so thanks for that info. @Kim in Hawaii: I’ll be emailing you in the next couple of days about donating my romances.

  42. cecilia
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 22:39:37

    @Jane: Was it a Robyn Carr book? One of her Virgin River books had both the heroine and hero so poor they didn’t have running water for baths in the cabin they lived in. It was one of the most depressing romances I ever read.

  43. cecilia
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 22:45:08

    @Darlynne: I was confused by that, too. For one thing, it seems to refer to the pirates as part of the market, but to me, if you’re not paying, you’re not part of the market, surely? And then it’s followed by the comment “Attributing abnormally high piracy levels to DRM is consistent with the analysis in our paper,” the marketing experts conclude.” Doesn’t that contradict the previous? If it’s measurably easier to steal without DRM, why would pirates stop being pirates when they remove the DRM, lowering the levels? I’m puzzled.

  44. Kim in Hawaii
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 23:17:19

    @nasanta: Nasanta, perhaps my experience with media mail from Hawaii is clouding my opinion. It is just not doable.

    Having worked with the military personnel who process mail, they do tell me that media mail to the ports (NY and SF) and then overseas is handled differently because it is considered lower priority. I just find it is easier to send the priority mail flat rate box which moves quickly through the system – the boxes are the same size, they can can packed on a pallet easier.

  45. GrowlyCub
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 23:21:17

    @cecilia:

    DRM is an inconvenience and it inflates the prices. If you make the product more attractive and easier to buy, you’ll have more customers.

    I don’t buy DRM’d books, which means my ebook reading consists of the many ebooks I had purchased before the agency price racket, library loans, non-DRM’d titles I buy and freebies I pick up along the way. DRM’d Agency pretty much means unless our online library has the new books, I’m SOL on most of the new releases, unless I buy paper. Now that Borders is dead and with them the lovely 33-40% off coupons my book buying will be even sparser than it’s been. And I used to buy about $100 worth of books a month. My much reduced buying is in part a reaction to the disrespect shown to readers by the big publishing houses, and partly because the darn cats eat too much. :)

  46. eggs
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 00:13:19

    Book pirates are * definitely* part of the market, especially non-US pirates. For example, just last week I ran into a book buying barrier that tempted me beyond belief to pirate a book (no, Mum, I didn’t do it!). I was hurtling through the Kate Daniels series on my kindle, 4 books in 5 days and then, whamo! No more of the series available to Australians.

    There are 7 books in the series, but I can only read the first 4. Book 5 is where the hero and heroine finally consummate their relationship, so after 4 books of teasing, the temptation to pirate a copy and get the payoff was INSANE! I’ve checked half a dozen different book stores this week, and non of them had paper copies of ANY of the books in the series. So, no Kate/Curran relationship resolution for me!

    Although I won’t pirate a book myself, I completely understand why other readers would do so in the same situation. They’ve tried to buy the book, but the publisher won’t sell it to them. They’ve been customers before they pirated the book, and they’ll continue to be customers after they pirate the book, but right now, in this instance, they are pirates.

  47. Sao
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 00:24:58

    I totally agree that DRM encourages piracy. I hav lived in 4 different regions. By the third region, I decided it was better to buy pirate DVDs than to pay for something I might not be able to watch after the next move. I started buying legal DVDs again after the price in Russia dropped to the point where it was more convenient to buy legal and cheap enough that I could view them as a throw-away product.

  48. Merian
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 00:54:25

    Reading the comments on why there are limited working class heroes and heroines and how every at the end of the stories is rich, reminded me I have just read a review of this book
    “The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today” by Andrew J. Cherlin pub Knopf | $US25.95

    Cherlin’s contention, drawn from the findings of his surveys and those of other researchers, is that marriage in America is substantially different from marriage in comparable Western societies (including Australia).

    One of the key findings is “…But the people who split up most frequently are those with high school diplomas or only a couple of years of college, at a rate even higher than for those who haven’t finished high school. This represents a significant shift from previous generations, and reflects the radical and alarmingly rapid effects of economic globalisation, which has effectively gutted the American middle class. So while marriage is ever more valued, for many Americans it has become ever more out of reach.”

  49. Mitzi H
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 01:41:25

    @DS: I agree. As an aging boomer, ereaders have made reading enjoyable again. Whats even better than reading larger print without glasses is Not having to endure holding the book with my arthritic hands. I’m in love with the ‘one-click’ purchase and immediate content. It’s so easy and convenient…I won’t go back to paper and neither will most of my boomer friends.

  50. Jane
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 07:49:52

    @cecilia No, it was published in the mid 2000s, maybe even before I started the blog. I’m going to have to go look through some archives to see if I can find it.

  51. Gianisa
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 07:56:04

    Re DRM: The paper itself is archived here. The Ars Technica article has a nice summation of their results.

    @Darlynne, @cecelia, @eggs, @GrowlyCub, @Sao:

    The study finds what you’re describing. The “ease” that’s referred to in the quote isn’t to do with pirates, it’s how easy it is for a user to transfer their music from one platform to another. DRM blocks this, and this is a major component of what drives up music piracy rates.

    They modeled DRM and piracy as a game, and used game theory to predict outcomes of different situations (piracy got endogenized). Think of a game that has music as a reward, DRM as a penalty, and piracy as an option. What they found is that when DRM is too strict, a subject will turn to piracy because they want functionality from their purchase that DRM is blocking.

    They based the set up on real life, and simplified it – music comes in two formats: CD’s and digital. In the game, there’s only digital. Digital music has two options: DRM and no DRM. There’s no DRM when you burn music from a CD, so that’s the level of functionality that the players are set up to expect from their music (and I think that this is pretty true to real life). There are two shops, and one sells a digital item with DRM and one sells a digital item without DRM. Players are modeled as having a high cost for pirating (“morals”) and a low cost for pirating. The players with a high cost choose between buying the two digital products. The players with a low cost choose between the two digital items and pirating. The authors have built in a cost for the choices depending on what type of player a subject is.

    Then they compare how the players should behave in a model using Nash equilibrium theory (aka the A Beautiful Mind guy). What they found is that when there is an item with no DRM, even the low cost (“no morals”) subjects will purchase it if it’s easier than pirating. So an item with DRM will split subjects into two groups: those who buy and those who pirate.

    The subjects who are willing to pirate will do a little extra work to acquire a non-DRM item because it’s actually a stronger payoff for them: no lack of functionality. (This is where the game theory stuff is working and what the stupid CEO’s are missing.) When there is a non-DRM item, both types of subjects will purchase it. The high cost subjects will purchase it because it doesn’t have DRM, and the low cost subjects will purchase it instead of pirating because it’s less of an effort and results in the same functionality.

    Hope this makes a little sense.

  52. Christine M.
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 08:46:18

    @eggs: Just to correct your affirmation, there are *five* Kate Daniels books out so far, NOT seven. And Curran and Kate have sex in book 4 if memory serves me.

    http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21748.Ilona_Andrews?origin=

  53. Isabel C.
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 08:51:31

    Excellent links–thanks!

    On working-class heroes and heroines: I’ve figured out that I like this plot *if* there isn’t financial insecurity in the end, and, just as importantly, *if* the job is something that the character likes and is interesting.

    I would absolutely read about a carpenter, a teacher, a bookstore owner, a waiter or waitress, and similar. I have no real interest in reading about a character who has a cubicle job: I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and they’re dead boring unless everything’s going to hell.

    Although…Mad Men.

  54. Sunita
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 10:22:17

    @Gianisa: Great summary!

    The simplification I find most problematic is that this is a one-shot game. But most players buy more than one book/movie/song. The initial price of learning to pirate may be high for the “immoral” group. But for those for whom it makes sense to bear the cost, the cost-per-event goes down with learning. And for those who aren’t willing to bear the cost of the initial part of the learning curve, they may well know people who will lower the cost by teaching them. So in an iterated game, the costs for the “immoral” players will, over time, be lower for an increasing proportion of that group. Which means that eventually the price of the purchased product is going to have to be really low to beat it.

    I’m all for simple formal theoretical models (mostly because they’re the only type I’m capable of solving). But I think this one, while interesting, doesn’t really yield the useful counter-intuitive results we hope for when we build these types of models.

  55. jeayci
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 13:32:41

    @Jane: Was it Accidentally Yours by Susan Mallery?

  56. Gianisa
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 13:43:27

    @Sunita: it’s not a one-off game. The system runs until it acheives equilibrium. What the definition is of equilibrium depends on the situation.

    The model itself is actually very complicated, and the authors have a long discussion about various aspects of the game and how it relates to real life. I just chose not to mention any of that since I was trying to make the explanation as short as possible.

  57. Jane
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 14:11:40

  58. LINDA B
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 21:06:15

    THANKS TO ALL FOR DONATING! IT’S SUCH A SMALL THING TO DO FOR THEM AND I’M HONRED TO BEG.

  59. Ridley
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 22:05:54

    @LINDA B: Turn off caps lock. You’re yelling.

  60. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 00:33:17

    I was going to say that I absolutely do not want to read about people in the same (or worse) financial situation I’m in. I’ve been poor and I’ve had a little money in my pocket. A little money in my pocket is better.

    Then

    @Isabel C.: said:

    On working-class heroes and heroines: I’ve figured out that I like this plot *if* there isn’t financial insecurity in the end, and, just as importantly, *if* the job is something that the character likes and is interesting.

    And yes, that’s it for me. It’s not about the AMOUNT of money, but I want the couple to be financially stable (however they define that) and have work they love and that’s fulfilling.

    How many of us can really be financially secure doing work they love and find fulfilling?

  61. Merrian
    Oct 15, 2011 @ 22:23:32

    @Moriah Jovan: this comment reminded me of Amy Lane’s ‘Promise Rock’ m/m books which are lovely and angsty but also deal realistically with working class and lower middle class life. At one point the small ranch is in jeopardy but the made-family pulls together and it is saved. There are no magical solutions just a realistic opportunity coming at the right time that they can work on together. These people are ranchers and mechanics and cops and dance teachers, etc.

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