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

Tuesday Links Roundup: Author LA Banks and President Obama

Author LA Banks introduces President Obama at a Healthcare Summit in Philadelphia. Banks writes the popular The Vampire Huntress series published by St. Martin’s Press and a new angel based series for Pocket. H/t to Rose Fox.

Ms Banks blogged about her experience and it’s pretty moving:

But my speech had gone out of my head! Things I'd wanted to say-‘like telling the President how I took my father's tie and my mother's ring into the voting booth with me because they didn't live to see him get elected- or how my daughter had just turned 18 years old and how she and I went together early in the morning to vote for her first time by pulling the lever for him. I didn't get to say any of that. It was an amazing, ephemeral moment that went by in a flash like a dream.

Also? I found it quite endearing that she refers to Facebook as “Face Book.”

I guest blogged at The New Sleekness about how editors and publishers could participate at a greater level in reader communities. Have you got some other tips?

Sarah Weinman writes about Borders financial troubles. It laid off over 164 employees a month ago and is continuing cutting its workforce:

According to multiple sources, on March 4 — a date employees are already referring to on internal message boards as “Black Thursday” — Borders instituted a company-wide layoff of all inventory supervisors, and also let go an unspecified number of part-time employees.

Is there anyone left? A $42.5 million loan is due in April. If this loan cannot be refinanced, it might doom Borders.

The good news is that Amazon is looking to develop a good browser for the Kindle. The bad news is that Amazon’s desire to build a warehouse in Canada (thus making fulfillment of Canadian orders easier and less costly) is being opposed. More states are seeking to tax affiliate programs causing Amazon to withdraw those affiliate programs. Will this mean less sales for Amazon? More from Shelf Awareness and Daily Finance.

Not content with the nook or the Plastic Logic Que or the partnership with Iliad, Barnes and Noble opens up its bookstore platform to yet another eink reader. This time it is Samsung and it’s a stylus based touchscreen with a pull out navigation system. A year ago, I may have been excited about this but at the $299 price point, it’s a complete yawner to me.

Entertainment Weekly takes a look at self publishing and suggests that if a number of big name authors validate this alternative publishing model, the landscape of publishing could change a great deal.

Courtney Milan is doing a three part series on copyright and authors. It’s instructive for readers too. Parts 1 and 2 can be read now. We are awaiting Part 3.

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. Cindy
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 20:10:24

    Maybe if Borders would have stayed what it started as, a book, music and movie store and not become so customer unfriendly, they wouldn’t be in trouble. Not to mention buying up a perfectly good book chain (Waldens)and then closing down any close to a Borders.

  2. DS
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 21:09:59

    If Borders goes under– after shutting down Waldens ages ago, there won’t be a real bookstore for 50 miles in any direction– I don’t count the lady with the used book stall at the local flea market that is only open on Saturday and Sunday.

  3. Cindy
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 22:33:54

    Since I’ve never been in a Borders that wasn’t busy…well, except for the one I tried to go to that the staff was there but they couldn’t be bothering to open, it has to be because of bad management decisions…trying to change into a gift shop. I preferred Waldens. I think there might be one lone Waldens about 20 miles from me…there’s no Borders there and they never even changed it to an Express store. But I guess that will go to if Borders goes under.

    I hate thinking about trying to find Barnes & Noble where they are, it’s in a city I always get lost in. Luckily for now I work at a UBS that I can also order new books. Ugh. I refuse to buy from Amazon.

  4. Mina Kelly
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 03:35:41

    Borders UK is already dead and gone, alas, and it is missed. It was easily on of the nicest bookshops in our city (and one of the only places open after 5, which made it a good place to hang out if you were going to meet people for a film or dinner), and the staff were lovely. Watersterons just isn’t the same, and I went off them after they fired that blogger a few years back. From what cropped up on, though, it sounds like a lot of the problems were top down, like the database that only allowed you to search by ISBN, not title or author. Who knows what the ISBN of the book they want is? Most customers can barely give you a description of the cover and subject area.

  5. Ivy
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 06:16:33

    I worked @ a Waldenbooks here until the end of Jan. when they closed it. Since we made money (I think we were #3) I didn’t think it made sense to close us. I agree they drifted from their core competency and management made really poor decisions. We often questioned if they even read….

  6. Susan/DC
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 06:58:18

    Must admit that one of the reasons I’ve resisted an e-reader so far is that I want to support jobs in my local community, and buying from a bricks-and-mortar store does just that. One of my favorite weekend activities is to walk to my local Borders and spend an hour or two strolling through the romance/mystery/fiction aisles, and I always walk out with a book or two (or 3 or 4). If that Borders closes, the only bookstore within walking distance will be an independent that I love but which sneers at Romance. I can readily believe it’s top management’s fault, since that’s usually where the bad decisions are made (from too much debt to lack of focus on customer service).

  7. L.
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 07:51:26

    Point of interest, it was the training supervisor position that was eliminated. Furthermore, the boards she’s referring to are not internal. In fact, it’s more of an underground movement that has led corporate to include a ‘Confidential, Do not repost’ message on all their emails. Finally, Borders just cut another 100-odd jobs from one of its warehouses and the speculation is that they will phase out any remaining non-supervisory full-time employees in the store.

    I’ve worked for Borders since 2002, in one capacity or another, and I can tell you that the company is bleeding to death. It’s only a matter of time.

  8. Cindy
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 08:35:24

    @Mina most of our customers can’t even tell us the title or author. And last week we had computer problems so our genre sections weren’t in the computer, so if we weren’t familiar with an author we didn’t know where they were, people couldn’t even tell us what type of book they wrote!

  9. Steph
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 08:42:50

    Makes me sad to hear Borders is suffering still. My local Borders is extremely customer-friendly and romance-friendly. I hope they have time to turn the corporate ship around.

  10. Emma Petersen
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 09:02:02

    I watched the video last night with LA Banks introducing the President. I’m so stoked for her and proud of her! She totally kicked ass! Thanks for blogging about this!

  11. Danielle
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 09:23:09

    I hope Borders does not go out of business. I love their coupons. Barnes and Noble quietly closed two of their stores near my house.

  12. SonomaLass
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 22:48:17

    More bad news about Borders makes me sad. Our local independent stores carry little to nothing in the way of romance, so Borders is my go-to. If our branch closes, I don’t know where I will go to browse through actual books.

  13. mina kelly
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 06:07:03

    @ Cindy

    I feel your pain. In my experience most customers fall somewhere between this one and this one. Unless it’s a very small shop, a very well known book, or you’re having one of those ‘psychic days” no database built yet can help you.

  14. Cindy
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 07:11:47

    Yes, that’s about right. I had someone a few weeks ago looking for book by Fern Michaels, but it wasn’t by Fern Michaels. Can’t remember who the author was off hand. But I love when they argue you with you.

    I want to start telling them “I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to know the title or author, I can’t be bothered to help you.”

  15. coco
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 11:09:03

    I really loved Borders here in the UK, it was the best national store that sold a good selection of Romance. As Mina Kelly noted it’s closed down, along with MurderOne, a great independent bookstore in London that had a whole room stacked from top to bottom with romance novels. So there’s nowhere to actually browse for books but the tiny selection in Waterstones and the corresponding tiny selection in the charity shop.

    Fingers crossed for you guys!

  16. DS
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 14:01:40

    I also wanted to acknowledge that I was touched by L. A. Banks’ statement.

    Unfortunately, I am so disgusted with Washington right now I want to go there and smack every politician in the place on the back of the head.

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