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

Tuesday Midday Links: July Freebies and Deals

Samhain’s July Freebies are as follows:

  • 7/1/2010 to 7/14/2010: Out of Bounds by T.A. Chase
  • 7/15/2010 to 7/28/2010: All Tied Up by Cathryn Fox

Other Freebies to check out:

You can always check out Amazon’s Limited promotional freebies list. It’s dominated by the Harlequin freebies but there are generally new ones every other week or so.

From Hachette.   This promotional pricing should be at most etailers.

  • TAMED BY A LAIRD by Amanda Scott. Regularly priced at 6.99, now 1.99 for July.
  • BORDER MOONLIGHT by Amanda Scott. Regularly priced at 6.99, now 1.99 for July.

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From reader,  Gianisa, comes the following warning regarding nook books and the Mac OS update:

The new Mac OS X updates kill the B&N Ereader software.   This wouldn’t be a problem except that recently B&N set up their Ebooks so that they can only be read by the proprietary B&N Ereader.   If your operating system is any version of 10.5, then the B&N Ereader simply won’t open any of the Ebooks.   The epub format (the book file ends in .epub) does not display content at all in the B&N Ereader.   If it does open, it simply says “Page 0″ and there is nothing else.

Note that B&N will NOT give you a refund if you download an Ebook, but of course you need to download the Ebook to find the problem with their software.   They know about the problem but they are not announcing it.   I spent about 15 minutes digging around their website before I found any information about this at all, and that was in the technical support forums where there were several people talking about the exact same problem.

There are several threads about this problem:

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/BN-eReader-Software-QA-Support/Ereader-problems-with-Mac-Computer/m-p/551574#U551574

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/BN-eReader-Software-QA-Support/Purchased-book-is-blank/m-p/544137#U544137

The only solution that I have found is to call up their customer service line and talk to somebody until they agree to send you a copy of the ebook in .pdb format instead of .epub.   Also note that the customer service guy I talked to told me that it would take more than 24 hours to get the copy to me in my email and it’s been 2 days and I haven’t received it yet.   I have been emailing with the customer service people and they have told me that they can’t handle it over email and I need to call in person (good thing I already did that).   I told the customer service people, if I walked into a B&N store and bought and book and walked outside and found that it was 300 blank pages, I would be able to walk back inside and return it.   But they do not allow the same for Ebooks.

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Rebbie Macintyre summarizes advice that Donald Maass (agent) gave on making the dark protagonist appealing to the reader.   It sounded similar to Barry Eisler’s post about the difficult protagonist.   Essentially, you have to make some part of the dark/difficult protagonist heroic, either by self awareness or by making everyone around the protag “worse”.   Or a combination.

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Woot.com is a discount site which hosts one sale per day.   Woot was purchased by Amazon last week and the next day, to celebrate the sale, Woot’ed Amazon Kindles at $149.99.   In nine hours, Woot sold nearly 5000 Kindles.   This led to an AP article about the Woot sale to Amazon.   The AP used content from the Woot blog but didn’t ask for permission.   Why is this a big deal?   Because the AP instituted a new policy charging bloggers for use of any article (free use doesn’t exist in AP’s mind). Woot gently points out AP’s total hypocrisy:

Just to be fair about this, we've used your  very own pricing scheme to calculate how much you owe us. By looking through the link above, and comparing your post with our original letter, we've figured you owe us roughly $17.50 for the content you borrowed from our blog post, which, by the way, we worked very very hard to create. But, hey. We're all friends here. And invoicing is  such a hassle in today's paperless society, are we right? How about this: instead of cutting us a check for the web content you liberated from our site, all you'll need to do is show us your email receipt from today's two pack of Sennheiser  MX400  In-Ear Headphones, and we'll call it even.

Woot, if I didn’t love you already, this would make me more amorous   than a virgin in an HP novel.

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Slate columnist Jan Swafford says that ebooks can never replace “real books” which, as Robin pointed out, begs the question whether authors who use solely the computer for drafting and redrafting can be deemed real authors.   Swafford uses Marshall McLuhan as the basis for the thesis that editing on paper will always be superior to editing on screen and thus real books have some kind of superiority.

Reader LisaCharlotte shared this article with me.   I think Swafford is correct that digital consumption is probably different than paper consumption but I’m unsure whether the latter is superior.

The best form of proofreading isn’t based on paper, though, it’s based on pure human effort.   When I was in law review, every article was edited more than once by more than one person.   Final proofing was done in a two person team.   One person would read aloud, using knocks on the table to denote punctuation and so forth.   The other person would read along silently, ensuring that what was read aloud matched the content on the page.   This type of proofing doesn’t require a printed out copy.   It just requires a readable copy. Oral reading of piece can help the editing process quite a bit.

My point is that editing, proofing, consumption of text is variable and may be very dependent on how the writer/editor/etc has been trained.

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

22 Comments

  1. gwen hayes
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 10:11:18

    I really don’t think BN understands the digital world at all. I find it so frustrating that you can buy something online, but that they have no email customer service. Oh, you can email them, but they only send you the same canned response that your problem would be better served by calling one of their reps.

    If you sell digital content and take digital money, I think you should be able to communicate via the internet as well.

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  3. Sunita
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 10:20:36

    I couldn’t believe the Swofford article. First, he conflates writing the book with reading it. Second, I don’t know anyone (and I know some real Luddites) who does everything through paper. Third, Swofford clearly doesn’t ever write with anyone else, or he’d know that “track changes” is Microsoft’s greatest gift to the collaborative process.

    I’m revising a book manuscript right now (social science research). Most of the time, I have the following in front of me:
    (1) Mac running Scrivener with chapter draft file open
    (2) Notepad with revised outline to check against, scribbled notes, etc.
    (3) Sony Daily Reader with pdfs of articles to quote from
    (4) relevant print book sources
    (5) hard copy of previous draft (hugely marked up)

    Your law review proofing practice reminds me of data entry. When I was building a dataset from diverse print and electronic sources, one person would enter the data into a spreadsheet, another person would check it, and then for the third check, two people would sit and read the data to each other (one with the spreadsheet, the other with the source material)And we still wound up with a few errors.

  4. zola
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 10:23:32

    @Jane How do I access said freebies from Samhain? HELP!

  5. Sunita
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 10:42:54

    @zola: I found the Chase in the Kindle store. I don’t know if Samhain is making them available elsewhere.

  6. zola
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 11:09:35

    @Sunita Thanks, I just discovered the same and dowloaded kindle for pc but now I can’t seem to register the darn thing.

  7. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 11:28:58

    Swafford uses Marshall McLuhan as the basis for the thesis that editing on paper will always be superior to editing on screen and thus real books have some kind of superiority.

    What a load of crap. I’m actually finding that being able to load my draft into my eReader is a FANTASTIC way to find errors that I don’t see in MS form.

  8. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 11:41:16

    @Kalen Hughes:

    What a load of crap. I'm actually finding that being able to load my draft into my eReader is a FANTASTIC way to find errors that I don't see in MS form.

    Oh, amen and amen.

    And, if you don’t have another person available to duo-proof, read the damned thing backward.

  9. Deb
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 11:43:10

    I check inkmesh.com for free ebooks. I also follow inkmesh on twitter. I know there are other ebook search sites, just can remember them off hand.

    I loved the Woot response to the AP. Good for them. If you need a good chuckle, check out their blog, even if you aren’t interested in the product of the day. Woot is a hoot.

    I see no difference between print published and epublished in long narratives. None. Someone has smoke blowing up his/her skirt. It’s the content, not the device.

    It’s a shame B&N is having such trouble both in software and support, Customer Service. Kobo is fabulous with customer service and considering the size of company, etc. they seem much more customer oriented. Amazon’s customer service is also great. Kindle and the apps just plain work. B&N really needs to get their act together.

    I thought I’d mention Meg Benjamin’s latest Koenigsberg book was released today. Am looking forward to reading this one.

  10. Sunita
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 11:59:01

    @zola: I had that problem. Try doing it in the program itself. I had to reinstall mine and it wouldn’t let me register it on the website, but when I tried to download a book it asked me to register.

  11. Heather
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 12:22:17

    I love me some Woot. I was so sad that I missed the Kindle. (I missed it by 10 minutes in the evening and 10 minutes in the morning before work. le sigh)

    I second the recommendation to just read their copy (for anything. really.) if you don’t want the product. The response to the AP was brilliant.

  12. Lucy Woodhull
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 12:53:59

    I write and edit on my computer, but then I use this amazing device called a printer. A printer takes the squiggly lines from my computer and magics them onto a piece of paper. Crazy! Then, I edit using that voodoo-paper. I now share my fantastical knowledge with you lucky readers, so that we can all be real writers.

  13. Chicklet
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 14:23:20

    I write and edit on my computer, but then I use this amazing device called a printer. A printer takes the squiggly lines from my computer and magics them onto a piece of paper. Crazy! Then, I edit using that voodoo-paper. I now share my fantastical knowledge with you lucky readers, so that we can all be real writers.

    Is this “voodoo-paper” anything like The Doctor’s psychic paper? Because that stuff is amazing. :-)

  14. Ridley
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 17:11:08

    @Deb: “I thought I'd mention Meg Benjamin's latest Koenigsberg book was released today.”

    Ooooooooooh! Thank you! I loved the first three.

  15. Lucy Woodhull
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 17:33:42

    @Chicklet:
    Nah, it’s not that cool. It just takes the red pen very well ;)

    Oh, and occasionally it breaks into song.

  16. hapax
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 19:57:20

    It would be nice, in the future, to note such “freebie” offers that are Kindle (or other platform) exclusive.

    Publishers are, of course, free to make any sort of promotional deals they like.

    However, I do notice those that tie their “free” books to particular retailers — especially to those that already have shown an inclination to use their near-monopoly to screw over both publishers and readers.

    Just sayin’.

  17. Jane
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 21:38:15

    @hapax I don’t know which ones are Kindle exclusives. It’s just easy to spot them at Amazon as opposed to other places.

  18. RachelT
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 08:51:06

    @Ridley: I’ve just devoured this and it’s another cracker!

    I’m looking forward to reading more from her in the future.

  19. Estara
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 09:08:51

    @Deb: Let me second Ridley’s reaction – thank you for the Konigsburg info!

  20. Lisa J
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 10:18:41

    The Karen Marie Moning book Darkfever is available for free at Kobo, too.

  21. jayhjay
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 13:54:32

    Just found the Samhain book at B&N, also free as an e-book. The Dark Fever books is there too for free.

  22. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Each week, I’m convinced that I won’t have enough links to bother with linkity…
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 01:03:10

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