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

Tuesday Midday Links:Least Helpful Amazon Reviews; Pub Exec Admits to Stripping...


Jim Hines posing

“I don’t think you understand. We can’t treat newspapers or magazines any differently than we treat FarmVille.” With those words, senior Apple executive Eddy Cue stuck to his take-it-or-leave-it business model of a 30% revenue share payable for transactions through the iTunes service. Despite my arguments to Mr. Cue in Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., offices last year on behalf of news publishers seeking different terms, to him there was no difference between a newspaper and an online game.”

This is a quote from the WSJ article. The problem is that the Journal and Apple fails to tell the whole story and that is not everything sold by Apple for the iOS system is under the agency model. For instance, music is based on the wholesale model wherein Apple buys from the labels and resells at the price in which it deems appropriate. Further, books are tied to a price/ceiling set by Apple. Apps are not. I don’t believe magazines are either.

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. Janet
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 12:27:02

    Tor (Macmillan) just announced an intent to go DRM free.

    I’ve always been under the impression though that DRM was the choice of the publisher on Amazon. They could sell DRM free and set their own own simultaneous device limits.
    Is that not true? Does Amazon force them to apply DRM?

  2. Jane
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 12:30:10

    @Janet: Yes, the decision to have DRM on books is a decision of the publishers. Amazon does not force any one to apply DRM.

  3. Brian
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 12:33:14

    @Janet, from what one of Tor’s authors told me Tom Doherty (head of Tor) told him they had no choice on the DRM issue, Amazon required it due to the way the publisher was uploading/publishing their books (through Mobipocket at the time).

  4. Angela
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 12:39:51

    I loved the bit of misdirect in there from that Exec, making it seem like Amazon (B&N etc) are the ones who really want DRM. Do they take advantage of it by allowing it to lock readers into their device? Sure, why wouldn’t they? But I can go publish a book on Amazon right now and not have DRM put on it. Publishers have been the ones insisting on it.

    Nice to see Tor is going DRM free. Though I’m wondering why it has to wait until July.

    Love that, and the previous, blog post by Jim Hines. Well worth reading/viewing.

  5. Dabney
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 13:00:49

    “It hasn’t passed my attention that within romance, enhanced breasts are usually hung on the ‘bitchy other woman’, as if somehow having silicone implants automatically makes her a bad person. This has started to annoy me a little bit. I don’t know, it just seems a tad judgmental.”

    My husband is a plastic surgeon. So many of the women who come to him for implants aren’t there to look like Pamela Anderson. Most of them just want to feel better about themselves about taking their clothes off. It’s a bummer they are all, in romance, portrayed as vain ho’s.

  6. Courtney Milan
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 13:34:48

    How you can tell the difference between a heroine and The Other Woman.

    The heroine may be beautiful, but if she’s considered a little plain, this is usually fixed by a surprise visit to the modiste/spa, where someone (usually a French seamstress) agrees to take her as a special surprise, because all she needs is to wear a flattering blue and she will be jaw-droppingly beautiful.

    The Other Woman, by contrast, is regally, coldly beautiful–but rarely “naturally” so.

    Also notice: a proper heroine rarely drags herself in for a makeover. The makeover is imposed on her, often over her protest, by friends/family/the hero. The Other Woman assumes agency over her own body image, and is willing to unflinchingly order skimpy clothing/make up/plastic surgery. The heroine gets her body image as a gift from someone else.

    All this makes me think that I’d love to read a book where the heroine is proactive and unapologetic about taking charge of her looks. Any recommendations?

  7. Laura Florand
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 14:23:24

    @Courtney Milan: Private Arrangements? (It leaps to mind because I was reading it last night.)

    I actually feel as if a lot of contemporaries do show women who are happy to look their best. But I know what you mean about the repetition of this motif! It appealed to me when I was a teenager but got very old as I grew older and kept running into the same motif. I do think there can be a legitimate transformation (a growth of confidence in one’s looks) that can be part of the growth of a heroine (she learns to love herself/believe in herself/be her best), but the French-modiste-type intervention can be aggravating.

  8. Sarah Frantz
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 14:24:57

    @Courtney Milan: One of Linda Howard’s does that. The one with Daisy. Google tells me it’s Open Season. One of the reasons I love that book. It does conform to the “hero was attracted to her before the makeover” trope, though.

  9. Isobel Carr
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 14:33:52

    I love that I just saw Posing like a Man tweeted by io9!!! My geekdoms are colliding in the coolest ways today.

  10. library addict
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 14:53:10

    Anyway, I put this one up because I found a surprising number of covers with fully dressed men. I guess men are allowed to be attractive with their clothes on.

    Loved Jim’s cover post.

    Glad to hear Tor is going DRM free. Hope other publishers follow.

    It was my understanding that JK Rowling wanted to go with just social DRM for the Harry Potter books and Amazon gave her the choice of no DRM or full DRM.

  11. Janet P.
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 15:30:18


    Kristan Higgins Fools Rush In came to my mind. Woman finishes medical residency and embarks on a weight loss, spiffy up program to snag the guy she always lusted after. Plans, of course, go awry.

  12. Susan
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:05:13

    @Courtney Milan: I haven’t read it in years, but Sharon Sala’s Amber by Night reminded me of Linda Howard’s Open Season when I first read it. One difference was that the hot version of the heroine was her secret alter ego–she became “Amber” at night to work in a club and turned back into Clark Kent for her day job. Needless to say, things didn’t go according to plan.

    Definitely not a romance but a black comedy, I loved the amazing Fay Weldon’s The Life and Loves of a She-Devil. It was a wonderful book ruined by that piece of film excrement with Roseanne Whoever. (The BBC production was far, far better but is hard to get a hold of for American audiences.)

  13. DS
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:22:25

    @library addict: Do Rowling’s books have anything other than social DRM? That was a discussion point when the books went on sale. Pottermore is where the books are sold, Amazon just points customers there. A quick Google search doesn’t suggest otherwise about the DRM.

  14. Jane
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 16:32:31

    @library addict and @DS – I’m not exactly sure how the DRM works on the Pottermore books. I believe that they use some kind of social DRM and it wasn’t compatible with either the systems of the BN or Amazon because you can obtain NON Drm files through downloading directly from Pottermore. When the transaction occurs through BN or Amazon, DRM is applied.

    However, for both BN and Amazon, DRM is an option. There is just something not compatible with the social DRM program pottermore is using and the systems used by both BN and Amazon.

  15. becca
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 17:03:49

    Pottermore books are all social DRM’d – watermarked to the purchaser.

  16. Ros Clarke
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 17:24:44

    @Courtney Milan: Kate Hewitt’s The Bride’s Awakening (think it has a different title in the US, sorry) has a woman who not only rejects the hero’s attempts to give her a makeover, she then takes control and decides to have a makeover on her own terms, for her own reasons. Meantime, he falls in love with her in her work clothes – grubby jeans and shirt, if I remember rightly. It’s really awesome.

  17. Ros Clarke
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 17:26:04

    @Jane: What’s social DRM?

  18. Dabney
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 18:25:53

    @Courtney Milan: The heroine of Rachel Gibson’s latest novella has implants.

    Might have made a few rash decisions—like the Lily tattoo next to her hipbone and her breast augmentation. But it wasn’t like she’d gone stripper-huge. She’d gone from a B-cup after the birth of her son to the full C she’d been before. Now she hated having spent money on a tattoo, and was also ambivalent about the money used on her boobs. If at a better place in her life, she might not have done it. If she’d had the confidence she had now, she might have spent the money on something more practical. Then again, Lily liked how she looked and didn’t really regret it.

  19. Brian
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 18:38:54

    @Ros Clarke: In the case of the Pottermore books there is a unique ID number at the front of each copy you download. This number is also embedded (hidden) in various image and other files within the ePub. When you link your Pottermore account to Amazon for Kindle downloading or B&N for Nook, the books have a unique ID, but I have a feeling the other hidden ID stuff gets left out, therefore Pottermore requested both places use regular DRM.

    In other cases, such as DriveThru RPG, files are watermarked with your name in small text at the bottom of each PDF page.

    The idea being you won’t share the file when it has an identifier that leads back to you.

  20. KC
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 19:01:42

    It’s not usually a theme in romance novels (more women’s fiction), but some of us who’ve undergone mastectomy choose reconstruction with implants. There are alternatives, including not doing reconstruction at all, but I considered it the least invasive option as well as vitally important to my emotional recovery. I’m much more sensitive to it now when a character in a novel starts deriding plastic surgery….

  21. Kaetrin
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 20:43:33

    @Courtney Milan: Carolyn Jewel’s latest has a heroine who is unapologetic in her efforts to always look good.

  22. gabrielle
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 21:36:14

    Tangent re: makeovers – I just finished Elizabeth Hoyt’s “To Seduce a Sinner” in which the heroine is not only plain and dresses unassumingly, but both she and the hero acknowledge it and do nothing about it. I kept expecting a transforming visit to the modiste but ended up appreciating much more that the obligatory makeover never appeared and that the characters were appreciated in other ways.

  23. Jane
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 22:25:26

    I’m making a list of titles that you all are recommending and will post it tomorrow.

  24. Janine
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 23:52:44

    @Courtney Milan: Not exactly the same thing but Beast by Judith Ivory is a great book with a heroine who is fully aware of her beauty and not the least bit apologetic for it.

  25. Courtney Milan
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 00:18:53

    Thank you for the recommendations! My mind thanks you all, even if my wallet does not. I’ve read some of these, and the ones I have read I do like…so yay, moar plz.

  26. infinitieh
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 02:10:17

    @Courtney, also Miranda Neville’s THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT has a confidently attractive heroine and a geeky, bookish hero.

  27. KMont
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 12:04:19

    Ok, thanks a lot for the Least Helpful link – are you trying to make extinct what’s left of my endangered time? Ha!

    This one about Attwood’s Handmaid’s Tale is hilarious – male activists, really? Heehee!

%d bloggers like this: