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Tuesday News & Deals: Harry Potter Digital Goes to the Library;...

News

I have a lot of news today so I will try to be short. Pithy.

Harry Potter digital books will be sourced through Overdrive and available for lending for five years. At that time, the libraries will need to repurchase the digital copies. Source: Library Journal


Google decided to kick out affiliates that weren’t making any money. That included me, but I didn’t care because I don’t think I made one Google sale but then again, I don’t recall putting up an actual Google affiliate link. Does anyone actually use it? I guess some indie bookstores did and they got kicked out and were steamed. Google reversed itself yesterday. Source: PW

Elsevier is a major research publisher, possibly the largest scholarly publisher. It supported the Research Works Act which would reduce public access to scholarly works even if the works were, in part, publicly funded Many noted scholars did not like this and began to boycott, stating that they would refuse to publish with an Elsevier arm. Under pressure, Elsevier reversed its position, pulled its support from the RWA, and now, like magic, the bill is no longer under consideration having been pulled by its sponsors. Source: Alexander Howard’s Google+ Post.


This Publisher’s Marketplace article may shed some light on Amazon’s shenanigans. Perseus Books Group and National Book Network (NBN) have agreed to pay a 3% coop fee which essentially goes towards promoting their books on the internet shelf. There is also an increased fee for ebook conversion if a publishing house can’t manage to create its own digital book files. (Hint, move to an XML workflow)


Digital books make up a fifth of sales for Penguin and 12 percent globally for Pearson. Source: Paid Content Pearson made $3 billion from digital revenue last year, which, according to 2010 comparison, means that it accounts for nearly a third of all revenue.

Following the pattern set earlier this month by Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group reported a slight decline in total revenue for 2011, but an increase in earnings. On a reported basis, sales fell 1%, to £1.04 billion, but adjusted operating profit rose 5%, to £111 million. The increase was led by Penguin Group USA which had increases in sales, profits and operating margins.

Source: PW


Print sales down, ebook sales up. I should just copy and paste this every month. According to the AAP statistics, for December ebook sales were up 72.1% and mass market sales were down 40.9%, trade paperback sales down 11.9% and hardcovers down 11.8%. Part of the mass market decline could be reflected in the increase in children/YA titles up 12.3%. Anyone who has visited the bookstore or grocery store of late can see YA titles taking up shelf space that used to be dominated by mass market romance titles. Source: MediaBistro


I’m not sure if this is good for international readers or not. (I’m going with not) Kristin Nelson reports that she isn’t selling as many rights to UK market. Instead the UK booksellers are buying US stock and reselling it. Sometimes that means that authors are creating digital editions and self publishing it abroad, but it also means reduced access to books for international readers. Gah, so frustrating.


Goodreads put together a post on how publishers and authors can get their books in front of readers. One of the ways is to get a book on a list. I’ve definitely used lists in the past.


Samhain is no longer using Paypal to pay authors. I was told that it is because of the increased transactional cost to use a third party payment processor instead of just cutting direct checks. This is not related to any Paypal crackdown but an internal business decision. Authors who live abroad are upset about this because of the bank fees that are incurred by cashing a US check in a bank overseas. In some cases, if the royalty check is small, the bank fees could eat the entire amount. Some authors are looking into opening U.S. bank accounts or other alternatives to accepting a US check and having to cash it out overseas. Any suggestions?


Deals

Refurbished Kindle Fires for $169

This is a self published book and I have no idea if it is any good but through a series of emails and misunderstandings based upon my ineptitude, I felt like I should post the deal:

  • The Memory of You by Laurie Kellogg * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S

Elizabeth Lowell’s Only Series

  • Winter Fire by Elizabeth Lowell * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Only His by Elizabeth Lowell * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Only Mine by Elizabeth Lowell * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Only You by Elizabeth Lowell * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Autumn Lover by Elizabeth Lowell * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S

Hachette * Forever/Orbit

  • Dark Deceptions by Dee Davis * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Shadow Play by Erin Kellison * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Going Cowboy Crazy by Katie Lane * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • A Madness of Angels: Or The Resurrection of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S

Kensington (most are older debut titles)

Preorder specials:

  • Shadow Play by Erin Kellison * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Duchess of Love by Sally MacKenzie * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
Mostly debut titles from Kensington:
  • The Highlander’s Bride by Michele Sinclair * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Tangled Hearts by Phoebe Conn * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Duchess of Love by Sally MacKenzie * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Every Night I’m Yours by Christie Kelley * $2.39 * A | BN | K | S
  • His Captive by Diana Cosby * $2.39 * A | BN | K | S
  • To Tempt A Scotsman by Victoria Dahl * $2.39 * A | BN | K | S
  • Nothing But Scandal by Allegra Gray * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • What a Scoundrel Wants by Carrie Lofty * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Mistress of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Spy Candy by Gina Robinson * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • One Real Cowboy by Janette Kenny * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Secrets of a Duchess by Kaitlin O’Riley * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Conqueror by Kris Kennedy * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Falling in Love by Pauline Trent * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Too Hot for a Spy by Pearl Wolf * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • My Wicked Pirate by Rona Sharon * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Midnight Eyes by Sarah Brophy * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Renegade by Sarah Parr * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Risk Everything by Sophia Johnson * $2.42 * A | BN | K | S
  • Passionate by Anthea Lawson * $2.51 * A | BN | K | S
  • Project Daddy by Kate Perry * $2.51 * A | BN | K | S
  • A Knight’s Vow by Lindsay Townsend * $2.51 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lost in You by Alix Rickloff * $2.55 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lord Sin by Kalen Hughes * $2.55 * A | BN | K | S
  • Mastering the Marquess by Vanessa Kelly * $2.55 * A | BN | K | S
  • Ghost of a Chance by Flo Fitzpatrick * $2.58 * A | BN | K | S
  • Somebody Wonderful by Kate Rothwell * $2.58 * A | BN | K | S
  • Realm of Shadows by Shannon Drake * $2.58 * A | BN | K | S
  • Dark Whispers by Samantha Garver * $2.69 * A | BN | K | S
  • His Conquest by Diana Cosby * $2.87 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Highlander by Heather Grothaus * $2.87 * A | BN | K | S
  • Highland Dragon by Kimberly Killion * $2.87 * A | BN | K | S
  • One Week as Lovers by Victoria Dahl * $2.87 * A | BN | K | S
  • A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure by Victoria Dahl * $2.87 * A | BN | K | S
  • Every Move She Makes by Beverly Barton * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • As Good as Dead by Beverly Barton * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Fifth Victim by Beverly Barton * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Sinful Surrender by Beverly Kendall * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lipstick and Leather by Cheyenne McCray * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Silk and Spurs by Cheyenne McCray * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Every Time We Kiss by Christie Kelley * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lord of the Isles by Debbie Mazzuca * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Guest List by Fern Michaels * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Beauty and the Beast by Hannah Howell * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Highland Captive by Hannah Howell * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lord Scandal by Kalen Hughes * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Truth or Dare by Lori Foster * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • To Wed a Highlander by Michele Sinclair * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S

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

27 Comments

  1. MinaKelly
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:32:06

    Yeah, bank fees are excessive. I got charged £5.50 on a $10 cheque, which left me with a whole 50p to spend. Less than the cost of a Mars bar. I had a hunt around, but the cheapest I found was £4 a cheque, which is still bad. Most banks charge a flat fee up to £100, then a percentage over (sometimes both), and it can take months before the money actually hits your account. So, yeah, not worth cashing US cheques at a UK bank (in you can find an assistant who knows how! I baffled several when I asked around about it).

    The few US banks I looked at wouldn’t let me open an account without a US address, and citibank, which is international, required me to have a separate current around with them that required more money flowing in and out than I earn. In the end I started using Auctionchex.com. There’s still a small fee (£1.20, I think), but it’s much smaller than the banks and it’s not per cheque, so if you hang on a few months you can send them a batch. Been using it for a couple of years now, and though I still get them to send me cheques rather than deposit straight into my bank account due to residual paranoia, everything’s been working fine.

    ReplyReply

  2. Sarah Tanner
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:58:37

    No suggestions, but payment via PayPal is an important consideration for me when thinking of which publishers to submit to. The traditional paper cheque costs me 50 CHF to cash, which is around $55. An electronic money transfer only costs 0.50 CHF. Unfortunately, I’ve heard most US-based publishers aren’t willing to use this method. (If anyone can contradict this impression, please do.) The Swiss banking system primarily uses electronic transfers, especially when dealing with funds overseas, hence the massive surcharge if a customer presents them with a cheque.

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  3. Deerhart
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:37:23

    I have heard stories of people being able to do an LLC in America, thus getting an taxpayer EIC and opening accounts. It’s something to consider.

    My librarian husband is thrilled to see HP go digital and to the changes in Elsevier. It is already difficult enough, and costly, for libraries to get access to online databases for research and many are moving away from print.

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  4. Brian
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:45:33

    @Sarah Tanner: On the other hand it cost me over $50 to do a bank transfer from my US bank to a business in Germany. At the time it was the only way they took payment. (I don’t know if other US banks are quite so expensive or not)

    I know bank transfers are a common thing in Europe, but not so much in the US. Maybe Samhain will re-evaluate their decision and just use the PayPal option for overseas authors (maybe for a small fee?)??? Maybe Samhain could set up an account in Europe or somewhere to pay overseas authors from?

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  5. Lynne Connolly
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:48:16

    Thanks for the information about Auctionchex, I might try them out.
    I have 6 or so publishers, and so that’s theoretically 6 checks a month. I bank with Citi, who charge £5 per check processed from USD to UK sterling, and that’s the cheapest I can find. To do the sums, that’s £360 for me to claim money I’ve already earned.
    Before last October, depositing US dollar checks into my US dollar account was free. Now, not. And it’s the same for the Bank of America, so if you have a UK based dollar account, check that it’s not changed recently (Citi changed last October).

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  6. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:53:29

    I have clients in Japan and the only way they pay is via EFT, although I offered Paypal or SquareUp. EFT is a $10 charge on my end, and I include that in my invoice. IMO, the person choosing the payment plan should pick up the tab for the associated fees.

    That said, some of my clients in Australia have consistent problems with setting up Paypal accounts and/or paying me from that. I have SquareUp, so it’s not a problem.

    ReplyReply

  7. Karenmc
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:00:07

    So glad to hear that the Research Works Act has withered away and that Google reversed itself on the affliates decision. Trying to keep tabs on all the proposals that would hinder access to information/books has become such a chore, but it looks like crowd-sourcing the issues can have positive results.

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  8. library addict
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:14:06

    So that means the HP books could be checked out as little as 86 times (if the library has a 3 week check out period) or 260+ times (if one week check out period/allows early returns). Hmm, better than not allowing libraries access I suppose. FWIW my library allows me to choose the length of the check-out (either 1 or 2 weeks) and return books early.

    The bank fees are a bummer. Wire transfers aren’t rare here in the US, they are usually just used for large amounts since both the sending bank and receiving bank can charge a fee. Depending upon the type of account you have, the sending bank may waive the fee. Is there anyway for Samhain to do direct deposits overseas? Most banks here in the states do not charge for processing direct deposits, but I’m not sure if ACH is solely a US-based system.

    ReplyReply

  9. DS
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:17:26

    I’m not sure if this is good for international readers or not. (I’m going with not) Kristin Nelson reports that she isn’t selling as many rights to UK market. Instead the UK booksellers are buying US stock and reselling it. Sometimes that means that authors are creating digital editions and self publishing it abroad, but it also means reduced access to books for international readers. Gah, so frustrating.

    I have noticed a lot of British editions of books not printed or out of print in the US appearing new from the same third party sellers on Amazon so it looks like things may be going both ways.

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  10. Deerhart
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:19:28

    @library addict: Not necessarily true, there are ways to borrow the book and immeidately return it, but still the borrower has access to it. I’ve seen it with both kindle loans and Adobe DRM loans.

    The biggest issue with digital loans are the people who do not know how to return the books prior to the end of the loan period (or are too lazy to do so).

    ReplyReply

  11. Lisa Hendrix
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:47:17

    I was going to suggest Square ( https://squareup.com/ ), but I see Moriah already mentioned it. I’m not sure if the recipient would need a US bank account or not, but the fees are the lowest around, and it’s quick and easy.

    ReplyReply

  12. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:55:51

    @Lisa Hendrix: It’s not without its limitations. For instance, I sell ebooks via my website, and Square would be a nightmare for that because it doesn’t have an automatic payment gateway system like Paypal does. It works wonderfully well for physical goods (sold bunches of books when I was speaking at a conference in Utah last August) and services, but for automatic ebook downloads, no.

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  13. Lynne Connolly
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:43:13

    Square is a site for accepting credit cards? Not much use to people receiving US dollar checks every month!
    But it’s always handy to learn about these places.

    ReplyReply

  14. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:03:03

    @Lynne Connolly: The site itself, no. But the issue of using Paypal as a way for a merchant to sell its goods, and alternatives to that, is being conflated with methods for the same merchant to pay its contractors who are overseas.

    When I take money via Paypal or SquareUp, I pay those fees (and also write them off on my taxes). When I take money via EFT at my client’s request, they pay those fees because I am bowing to their preferred method of paying people.

    My point is that the person who is dictating the payment methods should foot the bill.

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  15. Bonnie
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 17:43:51

    FWIW, I was just researching this very thing, as I have an American client who has been boycotting Paypal since the whole Wikileaks affair, and I’m trying to set him up with a graphic designer friend who lives in Australia. A 2010 blog post points me towards:

    http://www2.paymate.com/pm/default.asp?c=&r=

    So that might be something for someone. It specifies UK, US, and Australia as places you can use it.

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  16. Michael
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 18:51:15

    @Moriah Jovan: You might want to look at Amazon Payments for your Japanese clients. I’ve used Amazon since 2006 and no one in Japan has balked yet. Amazon is a name they know and trust, whereas Paypal is still pretty unfamiliar and SquareUp they’ve probably never heard of.

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  17. Merrian
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 18:53:34

    My understanding is that once a popular novelist/book is doing well in the US in the past that was seen as a good indicator for purchase by the other territory publishers. Nowadays it means that parallel importation has creamed the sales off the top and that the promotional cycle based on social media is over. This means they are less likely to buy the rights. Eg. Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels books don’t have an UK publisher at the moment. So it is actually becoming harder to get first release Agency publishing books outside the USA especially in e-book and audio editions (print can be imported from USA). These changes affect series books too so the early books may be available in print/e-book/audio and the later ones only in print or not at all. The business model is broken.

    It always seems old-fashioned to me to read in novels about checks/cheques being used. Living in Australia I think it is close to 3 years since I wrote a paper cheque. We do everything by electronic transfer eg. the post office no longer sells money orders. PayPal has certainly eased international buying/selling.

    I wonder if it is actually legal/ethical to pay someone in a way that requires them to spend money to access their funds?

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  18. Deerhart
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 19:06:44

    @Merrian:
    I doubt it, lots of places in the US charge a fee to cash a check. If you have an account, you may also have to pay fees, espeically if you don’t direct deposit (ie use a paper check). Heck now a days, you get ding a fee for writing too many paper checks as well.
    Prepaid credit cards charge an activation fee, the list goes on.

    ReplyReply

  19. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 19:54:36

    @Michael: Their accounting department won’t budge (they have procedures). I will, however, keep that info in reserve. Thank you!

    ReplyReply

  20. Wahoo Suze
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 23:05:13

    Just today I had to (well, I chose to) send a payment to an organization in the US. My options were to fax my credit card info (um, no) or send them an international money order in US funds, from a bank that has a branch in the US, where it could be cashed. I’ve heard of other people running into this when buying stuff from the US.

    What a pain in the ass. Research which Canadian banks have branches in the US, or US banks that have branches in Canada. Trot my hiney down to the local branch. Find out they won’t sell me a money order, since I don’t bank with them (because their fees are outrageous). Is this just a US bank thing? I have no problems at all emailing funds to friends and relatives within Canada, and a friend of mine regularly emails money to India.

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  21. Amber
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 23:06:05

    @Sarah Tanner: The cheapest international wire transfer fee I know of is Bank of America’s at $25.

    Honestly, I’m confused. I thought Paypal charged the recipient and not the sender fees…except for international transactions which have a currency conversion fee built into the exchange rate.

    Paymate is the only alternative service mentioned in the comments that I have used, and only involving payments to Australia.

    I hope Samhain reverses their decision. It doesn’t make sense considering the cost of postage these days.

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  22. Dago
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 08:32:45

    @Moriah Jovan:
    Amen. Non Us authors will end losing so much time (up to a month for the checks to arrive and be processed by the bank) and money. It sucks to throw authors under the bus for the sake of convenience. It’s 2012, I’m sure there can be a more modern way to pay people.

    ReplyReply

  23. Patricia Eimer
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 09:42:30

    Wow lots of news and lots of things to think about. It’s amazing when these groups get behind a bill, realize that people aren’t going to like it and then suddenly “whoops!”

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  24. DS
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 10:25:14

    @Merrian: blockquote>Nowadays it means that parallel importation has creamed the sales off the top and that the promotional cycle based on social media is over. Right now I can order Elly Griffith’s 4th Ruth Galloway mystery in tree version from a seller in the US, a seller in Germany and several in the UK including Book Depository. That is if I don’t want to wait until July 2012 to receive the US version. But there have been other authors whose books simply were not picked up in the US– sometime whole series– and I didn’t have this option or sometimes never knew the book was even published, so I am suitably grateful. At least the author has a sale out of it.

    The Crow Stone (2008) by Jenni Mills has only been published in the US in a large print edition and I didn’t realize that she has a second novel The Buried Circle (2009) until I recently checked the US Amazon page. I could order a remaindered copy of the UK edition from a New York seller, which I did.

    Geo restrictions make me crazy. I am positive I am not the only person in the US who would love to have up to date digital access to authors published elsewhere in the world, just as the rest of the world would love to have up to date access to US authors.

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  25. Laura
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 16:40:27

    As a graduate student in engineering, I do a significant amount of research through articles and journals. While I’m pleased Elsevier reversed their previous stance on RWA, they are not the only publisher that holds their scholarly publications for ransom in the academic world. It is especially frustrating as a student with a conscience that does not allow piracy, to be forced to look for legal but roundabout ways to get to the materials necessary to complete your work when your campus resources are limited for one reason or another. I could go on about this topic at length, but I think the real question here is:

    When campus libraries are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain access to scholarly works, why are there any restrictions to what students can access within that catalog?

    I theorize that it is very unlikely that the student body as a whole would ever access so much and so varied material that the publisher would lose out in the end. This seems especially likely when some of the publishers for scholarly works never paid the authors of the works in question to begin with. The proceedings from various engineering conferences include great research material for students. A little insight into the way these conferences work. Articles are submitted for peer review. Peer reviews are performed by uncompensated VOLUNTEERS. Articles that meet approval are presented at the conference by at least one AUTHOR who PAID to be there. The article is then placed in the publisher’s searchable archives for which libraries pay a fee to have access. As an example, if I didn’t have the drafts of articles I have published, I would have to pay to get them from online resources. My university doesn’t have complete access to the archive for the conferences I’ve attended. I admit that I may have it all wrong, but there are definitely still serious issues to consider in regards to research and scholarly works.

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  26. Paypal and A Few Links | Books in the News
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 23:07:49

    [...] not do business with Paypal if I can avoid it. I do have some other options. But as Jane reported, there aren't alternate options for everyone, particularly those doing business overseas, who may not be able to cash checks in US [...]

  27. Merrian
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 09:40:12

    Might the Harry Potter arrangement break the log jam of publisher concerns re e-books and library purchasing/lending by providing a useful and simple way forward?

    ReplyReply

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