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Tuesday News: B&N still fighting with Simon & Schuster; DeBeer’s mind...

Alas, according to the Wall Street Journal and the NYTimes, the S&S dispute is still ongoing. According to sources this means that numbers have been effectively cut back even on the big titles and that other, smaller authors might be skipped over entirely. This is, to frame it slightly differently essentially the same thing as Amazon removing the buy button. NYTimes.com

Well, I’m an S&S writer (and not a big name or a bestseller)…so I looked last night (it took me a day to work up my courage) at B&N online, to see how many B&Ns were stocking the paperback of Renegade Magic (which came out this month). For context, about half the B&Ns in the country, from what I could tell last year, stocked the paperback of Kat, Incorrigible and the hardcover of Renegade Magic. I think it might be normal to expect those numbers to go down a bit this time round, but I was hoping that at least 1/4 of the B&Ns I looked at would stock Renegade Magic. Instead, I found…zero. Absolutely zero B&Ns, in any of the zipcode areas I looked up (and I looked up a LOT) were carrying the paperback of Renegade Magic – even stores that had always carried high stocks of the Kat, Incorrigible paperback and the Renegade Magic hardcover. Stolen Magic comes out in hardcover one week from tomorrow… My publisher will move on from this. So will B&N. But my book may have slipped through the cracks by then.

 

But here’s the thing – this obligation only exists because the company that stands to profit from it willed it into existence. So here is a modest proposal: Let’s agree that diamonds are bullshit and reject their role in the marriage process. Let’s admit that as a society we got tricked for about century into coveting sparkling pieces of carbon, but it’s time to end the nonsense. .. Diamonds, however, are not an investment. The market for them is neither liquid nor are they fungible. The first test of a liquid market is whether you can resell a diamond. In a famous piece published by The Atlantic in 1982, Edward Epstein explains why you can’t sell used diamonds for anything but a pittance: Priceonomics

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

30 Comments

  1. Ros
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 06:44:05

    I am very much of the Anne Shirley school when it comes to diamonds – boring stones with no colour.

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  2. jmc
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 07:40:26

    @Ros: Add me to the Anne Shirley camp :)

    Also, as years ago I read a Sidney Sheldon book set in South Africa’s diamond minds, which prompted research about diamond mining and deBeers’ monopoly. If the Anne Shirley influence hadn’t been enough, what I read later would’ve put me off the stones for life too.

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  3. Lynnd
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 07:46:52

    @Ros: Me too and she was right! My husband gave me a ruby engagement ring when I told him that I did not want diamonds (after I saw a program about the working conditions in DeBeer’s mines and the fact that they used child labour). That ring cost him 1/3 of the price of a similar diamond and I got as many or more compliments than many of my contemporaries who got the flashy diamonds. Eighteen years later, people still notice and compliment that ring.

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  4. Estara Swanberg
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 07:58:04

    I really really like watermelon tourmaline – and totally could get the attraction for it in Elizabeth Lowell’s Lover in the Rough (which also has great tiger-eye statue).
    I’ve been in love with the colourful semi-precious stones like Jade and jasper, etc. ever since.

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  5. Hillary
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 08:00:57

    I have a yellow topaz engagement ring, which is what my husband picked for me when I emphatically told him that I never wanted diamonds! It’s even more precious because it is his birthstone as well as that of our oldest daughter’s. He didn’t know it when he decided to purchase his birthstone for me, that my grandfather had a history of buying opal rings (my grandfather’s birthstone) for my grandmother, and so I felt that he serendipitously was following family tradition.

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  6. mari
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 08:15:29

    My husband-then-fiance worked nights in a security booth to be able to surprise me with a diamond ring when I came back after doing a stint in South Korea. I guess I could have called it bullshit and proceded to scold him about about the horrors of child labor.
    But oddly enough, I didn’t.

    However I have learned my lesson. Next time he wants to buy me the rock of horror, I’ll be sure to point him to all the wonderful mines
    where workers frolic in happiness all day and everything is organic and sustainible.

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  7. Lana
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 10:02:47

    I *hate* diamond rings. I told my husband that I hated them and he got me an emerald engagement ring instead. Many women mock it and ask if my husband couldn’t afford a diamond. I point out that emeralds are more expensive and that he had it made, so frankly it means much more than any diamond. (The diamonds I do have on my wedding band came from my mothers wedding band, so they have sentimental value and cost us nothing !)

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  8. Regina
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 11:39:40

    I love my wedding ring. It’s simple and I love the lack of color of the diamonds. *shrugs* To each their own.

    I am glad to hear about the possibility of the change in rules when flying. I love my kindle but hate not being able to read it during take off and landing. Sure, I could just buy whatever I’m reading in paperback, but I already bought it once digitally.

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  9. Charlotte Russell
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 12:04:33

    Another diamond dissenter here. I dislike the lack of color and really don’t find them attractive. I made sure my husband knew this when we dated and I now wear a nice big emerald on my left hand. I’ve had people ask about it, but no one has ever been rude about the fact that I don’t have a diamond. As @Regina said, to each their own. I won’t begrudge anyone a diamond if they want it. My mother, who does love diamonds, has sighed and vowed to pass hers on to my daughters:-)

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  10. MrsJoseph
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 13:00:06

    I love colorless diamonds. *shrug* I like the rainbows they make with the sunlight hits them. I love my diamond engagement ring. :)

    I also like purple.

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  11. Isobel Carr
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 13:52:46

    Diamonds actually come in a rainbow of hues. My BFF has the most amazing moss green one in her engagement ring and another friend has pink ones.

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  12. hapax
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 14:32:00

    Count me as another who doesn’t like diamonds. I don’t condemn those who do like them (I actually own three diamond rings, all inherited) but I’d never wear one.

    My then fiance brought me an emerald (my birthstone) engagement ring directly from Colombia, where he was working for the summer. My mother was scandalized, and told me emeralds were “bad luck” and “promised sorrow.”

    Well, we’ve been married twenty-four years this week, and I suppose have had our fair share of sorrow, but I wouldn’t trade my beautiful little emerald for the Hope Diamond.

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  13. Ridley
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 15:49:20

    @mari: Oh, hey, look who’s trolling again. Adorbs.

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  14. Ros
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 15:55:38

    @Isobel Carr: I would happily wear pink diamonds. Or pink sapphires.

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  15. Darlynne
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 15:57:26

    Yes, we were certainly sold down the river by DeBeers. Diamonds just are not all that, aside from the horrors involved with mining them. I love the rings my husband gave me many years ago, but there will be no others. Fortunately, the word is getting out and maybe that can make a difference.

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  16. Ridley
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 16:05:31

    @Darlynne: I’m with you. I love what my husband gave me, but I couldn’t enjoy any other diamond jewelry knowing what I know now.

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  17. Dabney
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 16:28:36

    DeBeers is pretty terrifying. I know the guys who patented moissanite which is indistinguishable from a diamond. (In fact, jewelers now have a special tool to tell which is which.) When they–the moissanite guys–first went to the annual gem show, they got anonymous death threats which were attributed to “the diamond industry” which is DeBeers.

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  18. Maggie
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 16:37:41

    There was a somewhat interesting article on Jezebel some weeks ago regarding the pictures people take of their engagement ring and post to facebook and that it’s sort of problematic symbolism that we announce our intention to build a life with another human being by posting a picture of a hand wearing a ring, and er, presumably NOT a picture of the couple that is be marrying.

    It’s interesting that people are starting to talk about the cultural/political/gender implications of the whole engagement/wedding industry….but I was excited to send it to my husband, who incidentally did not get me any ring because I specifically told him not to by explaining that in Ancient Rome the “engagement ring” was a symbol of ownership. But who also has yet to forgive me for making him explain my reasoning to to his mother after she dragged me to “her jeweler” on no less than 3 occasions so I could “just pick a ring and forget all this nonsense.”

    And oh, yeah, not really a fan of diamonds either, but mostly because of the made-up-tradition-via-marketing-campaign BS.

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  19. Sunny
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 16:57:37

    My husband gave me an opal engagement ring (it’s my birthstone) and I absolutely love it, but it’s the wrong size for that finger and opals have to be removed and re-set during the re-sizing process as they crack under heat. The cost involved in re-sizing it is more than he paid for the ring!

    I inherited my grandmother’s rings so I wear them, and my engagement ring on another finger, so it all worked out. I love my rings because they were my grandmother’s and remind me of her, not because of the stones in them.

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  20. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 17:05:06

    I like clear stones because they match everything. I can’t stand colored nail polish or anything else on my body that clashes. I’m on the fence about my old-fashioned gold band, but I almost never wear my ring anyway. It fits loose and I’ve been too lazy to get it re-sized. My husband never wears his band, either. We’re terrible people.

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  21. Gillyweed
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 17:30:44

    My favorite ring is a badass amethyst rock that my grandma got when she lived in Brazil. The stone is about an inch across. It’s not super valuable but it looks cool.
    Call me new-fashioned, but I don’t really like engagement rings period. I would never judge anyone else for wearing an engagement or wedding ring, but I choose to go bare. I just wear whatever ring I feel like, on whatever finger I feel like.

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  22. Raven Ames
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 17:32:46

    Regardless of whether you love them or hate them, diamonds absolutely depreciate in value. My dad is a retired jeweler, and has an assortment of gorgeous stones and they are basically worthless. The gold that they are set in however, has appreciated exponentially! And while I prefer opals, jade and tourmaline – the pretty colors, basically, a diamond that has no occlusions (breaks within the diamond) gives off a radiant rainbow which is magical.

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  23. Erin Satie
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 18:05:30

    Fun fact: the Ottomans also found diamonds boring. When they used diamonds at all, they’d often add a colored enamel backing or base to make the diamonds look like other stones that they valued more (like rubies and emeralds).

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  24. Evangeline
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 19:25:57

    Pearls were the diamonds of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. At one point during the 1900s, there was such a glut on the market from the diamond mines and the aristocrats putting their family treasures up for sale, anyone could afford them–to the horror of the South African Randlords and the upper classes. Because of this, I’ve always had a laugh over the marketing of diamonds. They’re beautiful, especially by exquisite jewelers like Bulgari or Faberge, but diamonds are no more beautiful than other precious gems.

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  25. Vassiliki
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 19:32:03

    As with all my purchase decisions, I think of the opportunity cost. There were too many books and movies I preferred to spend my money on let alone taking into account my aesthetic preferences. I have a simple and cheap garnet ring. I have a friend whose fiancee gave her an engagement watch. She loves it and wears it all the time. :)

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  26. Wahoo Suze
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 21:21:46

    Interestingly, if you look up the healing properties of various stones (yes, I’m a new age Woo-er!), diamonds don’t have any. They amplify the properties of any stones they’re with, but by themselves, don’t do any good at all.

    Also, I’m becoming more and more convinced that authors should be self-publishing, and not giving any rights away at all until the publishing industry figures out what the hell they’re turning into.

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  27. Susan
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 21:32:28

    My preference is for yellow stones but, yes, to each his own.

    But the wedding tradition that really grates on me is the white wedding dress.

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  28. Ann Somerville
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 22:15:42

    My marriage was a somewhat rushed affair because of an expiring visa, but I never have worn rings for any period because I find them awkward, annoying and dangerous. The one decent ring I’ve ever owned (amber) had the stone knocked out the third time I wore it, so it jut sits in teh jewellry box with all my other cheap shit. So no wedding ring, and certainly no engagement ring. Never wanted them, don’t want them now. No gold either, because mining it is so toxic to the environment.

    I do enjoy rolling my eyes at all the guilt adverts, articles by bloggers decrying the emphasis on the size of the stone, and anyone who suggests an engagement ring is an ‘investment’. Unless you can afford rings of the kind Liz Taylor used to wring out of her lovers, no, they’re really not an investment at all.

    Does this mean I have to hand in my ‘girl card’?

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  29. Kerry D.
    Mar 26, 2013 @ 23:45:55

    I have a gold claddagh ring as my engagement ring, which often surprises people, but when the symbolism is explained (friendship, loyalty and love) they generally agree that it is a good choice. I also like that it lies flat against my finger and doesn’t catch on things.

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  30. B. Sullivan
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 20:11:13

    I can’t really say it’s my anti diamond stance that made me go with a green sapphire but it was honestly the price – which goes back to the companies that are making it The Stone you have to buy. I didn’t want to be stuck wearing something that meant us giving up on something we’d really use/needed – a new computer or phone for instance. (I guilt myself out easily though.) Oddly neither of us wear our rings much – I’m afraid of damaging or losing mine, his wasn’t comfortable.

    I’m still crossing my fingers that the FAA will really do something about the ereaders. I’m not thinking it’ll be any time soon, as they’re always insanely slow in anything they do. But I am very tired of having to turn off the ereader and switch to my book, then switch again when I’m allowed to, then back again for landing – ugh. Twice as annoying if you’ve gotten into the plot and want to know what happens next.

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