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

Wednesday Midday Links: Authors Releasing Backlist Titles in Digital

Big Fish Games has announced a partnership with Woman’s Day magazine as more and more people realize that women enjoy wasting their time on computer games too. I spent some solid reading time clicking around Ravenhearst last night. Woman’s Day subscribers will get access to more than 2500 titles. Kind of makes me want to be a Woman’s Day subscriber but then I wouldn’t have time to read the magazine or my books. Curse you casual gaming.

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No one really knows what Google Editions will be when it is launched or even when it will be launched (other than this year). Indies are embracing Google Editions because GE will purportedly allow any one to sell digital titles. These titles will exist in the cloud and will be encrypted in some manner so you can’t simply download and forward the titles. Further, because the books exist in the cloud, the last place you’ve read on any device will always be synced (and as a new Kindle reader, I can tell you that this is an awesome feature).

I’m not thrilled about cloud reading (although I love cloud access) because I find web apps to be somewhat limited in features. I’m cautiously optimistic about Google Editions.

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Authors with backlists (and the rights to those backlists) are now releasing digital versions of their backlist titles. If you recall we have a couple of author consortiums: A Writer’s Work where you can purchase titles from Patricia McLinn, Patricia Rice, Barbara Freethy, Ken Caspar, Lori Handeland, Phoebe Conn, and more; and Closed Circle featuring books from Lynn Abbey, CJ Cherryh, JS Fancher.

Yesterday, Keishon of avidbookreader sent me the news that Patricia Ryan has been uploading her books to Smashwords. Ryan wrote some fabulous medievals and a great mystery series under the name P.B. Ryan (I had Janine pull out a review for the first one, Still Life With Murder).

Karen Ranney has been putting her titles up on Kindle. I’ve bought all of them. Alexis Harrington has also made some of her backlist titles available.

These books are almost all previously published and so you can be sure you are reading edited and curated content. One thing about the authors releasing the books is that you are bound to get a better price. For example, the titles at A Writer’s Work are about $3.00. PB Ryan’s works are $2.99. Compare this to Belle Books’ release of Jill Barnett’s backlist titles at $6.00+.

I love supporting writing in this way. First, it is hard to buy used books for $3.00 and second, I am happy to know that the majority of the money I am spending is going directly to the author.

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Likely based on the ruling that came out of Viacom v. Youtube, the suit against Scribd has been dropped. Scribd is a document sharing site and unfortunately, there are a number of pirated works on Scribd. Scribd takes these books down when notified, but if the author or publisher doesn’t notify, Scribd doesn’t always remove them.

One author sued Scribd because her titles had been downloaded 100 times before she sent a DMCA letter. The suit has now been dismissed.

Brian Mendonca, Scribd's attorney, said the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provided Scribd safe-harbor protection from Scott's claim because, as an internet service provider, it removed the work in question after receiving a takedown notice. What's more, he said, Scribd had a right of fair use to employ Scott's words in its filters, which are designed to prevent infringement.
"They realized that Scribd had a very strong protection under the law," Mendonca said of Scott's lawyers, who did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.
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Ebert wrote a superb post about critics, criticism, and content. The sum of Ebert’s thesis is that no piece of art will have universal acclaim and insightful criticism can make one think about the subject of the criticism in a new way.

His review is justified and valuable, more stimulating to a lover of the film than still more praise.

But Ebert’s essay also has a message to critics. The review should help others “see things”. The explanation of your opinion lays the critic open to critique herself but it is the explanation that is necessary to stimulate conversation.

In this way, critique and the discussion prompted by criticism extend the art beyond it’s medium, giving it renewed life (this latter conclusion is mine not Eberts).

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So I close today’s links with this:

The Morning News has a compilation of one-star reviews from Amazon for a selection of Times’ list of the 100 best novels from 1923 to the present.

Gone With the Wind (1936)

Author: Margaret Mitchell

"Well, it's a girl's world. The world of Gloria Steinem and the popular feminism, as distilled on TV (including CBC shows, not all fundamentalist Hollywood garbage) of my youth is GONE. Now the girls run the show. You're not allowed to call them sluts. And it's impossible to call them virgins. They're all doing Rhett Butler. So what are they? Idiots- Hope you like the Gangstas. It's what you deserve."

Tomorrow I have some thoughts about book sales, Amazon’s big news, and Apple’s big quarter.

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

46 Comments

  1. Tweets that mention Wednesday Midday Links: Authors Releasing Backlist Titles in Digital | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 10:10:14

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  2. Keishon
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 10:10:21

    I applaud all authors and fully support them when they put their work out there to the reader via digital and at reasonable cost. Just to add to your list: Anne Frasier/Theresa Weir has quite a few titles at Smashwords and I personally enjoyed Play Dead, Cool Shade and Amazon Lilly. Bad Karma is also available at Samhain.

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  3. Lori
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 10:23:27

    Oh my. Those 1-star reviews are quite something. My favorite?

    “This book is one of the worst books I have ever read. I got to about page 3-4.”

    LOL!!!

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  4. Sunita
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 10:33:57

    As Rosie mentioned in comments on yesterday’s links roundup, Lorraine Heath has a number of historical (western) and contemporary backlist titles coming out as ebooks next month. Unfortunately they are at the 6.99 price point, but at least they’re being released.

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  5. Janine
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 11:20:06

    Yesterday, Keishon of avidbookreader sent me the news that Patricia Ryan has been uploading her books to Smashwords. Ryan wrote some fabulous medievals and a great mystery series under the name P.B. Ryan (I had Janine pull out a review for the first one, Still Life With Murder).

    My review of Still Life with Murder will be running Friday. I also remember enjoying Ryan’s medieval romances greatly back in the day. I think my favorites were Heaven’s Fire and Silken Threads. Heaven’s Fire had a hero who was a cleric and a heroine who was a manuscript illuminator (an illustrator of religious texts). The heroine of Silken Threads was a silk merchant and that book was a takeoff on Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” If memory serves, both books were set in towns rather than in castles — Heaven’s Fire in medieval Oxford and Silken Threads in medieval London — so they are not your usual medieval romances.

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  6. MaryK
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 11:21:32

    My latest time-suck game is World Mosaics; really wish there was an app version so I could take my obsession on the road.

    @Keishon: Thanks, I’ve been looking for a copy of Cool Shade.

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  7. Castiron
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 12:31:46

    I’m anxiously awaiting the Google Editions launch; we’ve got a lot of books that we don’t have in electronic format and haven’t yet gotten the funds to scan, but since we do have them in Google Book Search, we’re able to put them into Google Editions painlessly. Upping our ebooks from 5% of our books in print to 95% (plus several that aren’t in print in paper editions) is an exciting prospect!

    I’ve seen a demo of how Google Editions is planned to work, but a. non-disclosure agreement, b. that demo was some time ago, so things may have changed. However, what I saw, I was pleased with.

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  8. Estara
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 12:55:17

    *waves flag of online author co-ops* Please don’t forget the SF and Fantasy authors at Book View Café in your list! They’re even releasing new books (anthologies so far) of previously published material AND completely new material.

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  9. Ros
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 13:03:16

    I’m sure I’m being very dim but what is the ‘cloud’ that Google Editions are going to exist in?

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  10. Angie
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 13:26:48

    These titles will exist in the cloud and will be encrypted in some manner so you can't simply download and forward the titles.

    Which means that if Google goes out of business (don’t scoff — bigger businesses have) then all your books go away. Or if Google is bought out (again, bigger businesses have been) and their new owner decides that this Google Editions thing doesn’t fit their mission statement or something and shuts it down, all your books go away. Ummm, yeah.

    Sorry, I prefer to actually own the things I buy. If I own the file, it’s up to me to back it up and take care of it and make sure I still have it five or ten or thirty years from now. If someone else owns it and I pay a fee for access, that’s just a rental and I can be denied access any time. I’ll bet they’re not charging any less, though. No thanks.

    Angie

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  11. MaryK
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 13:36:41

    @Ros: It means your data is stored on a remote/online server and you access it but it’s not actually on any of your devices.

    I’m not a fan of the cloud in part because I haven’t succumbed to the data plan yet. So I can’t access any cloud data unless I’m at home or on free wifi. Which pretty much negates the portability of ebooks.

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  12. Vi
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 14:00:47

    I’m horribly addicted to Plants vs Zombies, lol. I can’t wait for a sequel :]

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  13. DS
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 14:45:51

    My favorite one star review?

    The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
    Author: John Steinbeck

    “While the story did have a great moral to go along with it, it was about dirt! Dirt and migrating. Dirt and migrating and more dirt.”

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  14. Ridley
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 15:06:46

    That women blow time on casual games is nothing new. Ads on bejeweled have been feminine for the past decade. Women drove the success of the Wii.

    I’m not impressed with Big Fish. They’re nothing new and their games are kinda ghetto.

    I’ll be over the moon when we get SquareEnix quality romance RPGs. That would actually be something new.

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  15. Ros
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 15:10:16

    @MaryK: Oh, I see. No, I can’t imagine wanting that sort of service. I am online quite a lot, but not always and I would hate to not be able to read something just because I didn’t happen to have internet access.

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  16. Jane
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 16:17:21

    @Ros I’ve heard that Google is supposed to allow you to cache (or store offline) books but I don’t know how that will work. I had a panicked email from one of my friends disturbed about being on the plane and not being able to access her Kobo content because it was in the cloud and she hadn’t thought to download it before take off.

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  17. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 16:59:12

    @Janine:

    Heaven's Fire had a hero who was a cleric and a heroine who was a manuscript illuminator (an illustrator of religious texts).

    SOLD! Heading over there now.

    ReplyReply

  18. SarahT
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 17:24:47

    I bought P.B. Ryan/Patricia Ryan’s Gilded Age mystery series yesterday, and I’ve already read the first two. They’re very good.

    Hopefully, more and more authors will release their out-of-print books digitally.

    ReplyReply

  19. azteclady
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 18:11:14

    I just discovered Patricia Ryan via one of her Temptation/Blaze titles (All of Me) and reviewed it this weekend.

    Ms Ryan posted a comment there this morning, saying that rights to several of her Temptation novels are reverting to her soon, and that she’ll put digital editions up for sale too.

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  20. Rosario
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 00:14:44

    @Janine: I think my favorites were Heaven's Fire and Silken Threads.

    I loved Silken Threads, and Heaven’s Fire and The Sun and the Moon were also good. The town settings reminded me a bit of those first few Madeline Hunter medievals.

    Quite interested in trying her historical mysteries now. Does anyone know if they have DRM?

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  21. MikiS
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 00:27:41

    I loved those P.B. Ryan books and went and snapped up e-copies as soon as I saw your post.

    But Jeezus-H-Cheerist, the interface of Smashwords sucks. I can’t imagine ever going to that website just to browse.

    ReplyReply

  22. SarahT
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 02:06:06

    @Rosario: They’re available from Smashwords and are DRM-free. Smashwords books can be downloaded in a variety of formats which is one reason I love shopping there.

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  23. Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 04:00:02

    Boy, how gratifying it is to find people blogging about these backlist titles I love so much! I’m addicted to ebooks–I’m wearing out my Sony reader–and I really love bargain books, so when I started getting the rights back to the medievals and the mystery series, there was no question about putting out sensibly priced digital editions. (BTW, all 12 of my titles on Smashwords are on sale for $2.24 until the end of this month.)

    The mysteries and one of the medievals, Heaven’s Fire (the one about the cleric and the illuminator) are available as Kindle Books, but Amazon is making me jump through hoops to prove I have the rights back to the other 5 medievals, so they’re taking a while longer to publish. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks…

    I re-read all of these books before re-publishing them, and I fell in love with them all over again, so I can’t tell you how great it feels to see them in the hands of new readers!

    Oh–With so many people browsing for my ebooks now, I’m trying to get the word out: There’s another author who recently started publishing romance ebooks for Extasy Books as “Patricia Ryan” (my real name, which I’ve been publishing under for 15 years), and when you search for me, her books pop up. If it was published by Extasy, yours truly did not write it! All my books are listed here.

    Happy trails…

    Pat

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  24. Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 04:04:53

    Okay, that picture next to the comment I just wrote? That is totally not me! This sometimes happens with WordPress. I am not a dude! I swear!

    ReplyReply

  25. Jane
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 06:24:31

    @Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan If you go to gravatar.com, you can change your picture to something else so that when you post the picture next to your comment won’t be a stranger.

    ReplyReply

  26. Sunita
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 08:04:47

    @azteclady: Thanks to your review, I dug the only Patrician Ryan category I had, Million Dollar Baby, out of my stash and had a great afternoon reading it. Then I ordered a used copy of All of Me. My husband has downloaded all the Nell Sweeney books from Smashwords (he’s a huge fan). And I have no doubt I’ll be buying the medievals before the Smashwords sale ends!

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  27. Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 08:28:52

    Jane, I have a WordPress avatar. The problem was my carelessness, as it turns out. The guy in the picture has an email address that’s very close to mine. One little typo, and suddenly I’m a man, baby!

    Sunita et al, thanks so much for your support!

    Warmest,
    Pat

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  28. azteclady
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 10:11:53

    @Sunita: You just made my day, Sunita! :grin:

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  29. Lynn Abbey
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 11:45:02

    Many thanks for the kind words about the eBook site CJ, Jane, and I are busily stocking with our backlist (and new work, too, once we get the backlist digitized!)

    FYI — none of our titles are encrypted and we are committed to making our works available on any digital platform–past, present, or future. If your preferred format isn’t already in our bundle, we’ll do our best to create a version your device can handle.

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  30. Sunita
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 12:27:09

    @azteclady: If I were not a twitter idiot (twitdiot?) I would have tweeted the review URL itself to my vast army of followers. It was a really good review!

    ReplyReply

  31. HeatherHolland
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 12:47:32

    This is kind of funny timing on this since just yesterday I was talking to my husband about releasing my backlist (I have a few that I’ve not given out for free) in ebook format. I hate the thought of them collecting virtual dust on my hard drive as that’s not what they were intended for. It’s also good to see far more authors are doing this than I first thought.

    On the games. I’m so there. Total game addict here and spend way too much time playing them as it is, but I’m always up for a new one. :)

    All this ebook talk reminds me that my beloved Sony PRS-505 is on the fritz. I fear she may be ending her life cycle (the horror!), if she does, I’ll be readerless for a few months *sob* but think I’ll be going Kindle DX (graphite, of course) for a replacement. I’ve been converted over to the darkside.

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  32. Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 13:43:45

    LOL about being converted over to the dark side, Heather! I’ve always felt the same way about Kindle, but I’ve been thinking about it, too, once my own trusty old 505 kicks the bucket.

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  33. Sunita
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 14:43:55

    @Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan: @HeatherHolland:
    I too was a Sony505 devotee and scorned the Kindle, until the Graphite DX with the better screen came out. I dithered for a while and then ordered it and now I am totally drinking the Kindle koolaid. The DX is amazing for pdf articles and books (although you can’t annotate). It’s a bit big for regular fiction reading, but really nice for nonfiction and research. It’s like reading a hardcover.

    I still think Sony has better hardware, but the Kindle whispernet or whatever it’s called is all kinds of awesome.

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  34. Janine
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 15:08:31

    @Moriah Jovan: Hope you enjoy the book!

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  35. DS
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 15:09:39

    @Lynn Abbey: I’ve bought from you all and it was easy as pie.

    Ms Abbey, any chance you are going to write more books in your time/curse chasers series? While I’ve read you since Daughter of the Bright Moon first came out there was something about the Curse Chaser series which really speaks to me.

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  36. Janine
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 15:46:54

    @Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan: Is there a way to contact you? Or can you email me at janineballard at gmail dot com?

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  37. Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 15:52:46

    @Sunita: Is the screen relly better, Sunita? Because I’m not crazy about the 505′s screen.

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  38. Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 15:57:35

    @Janine: I’ll drop you a line.

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  39. Sunita
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 17:28:52

    @Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan: It’s the newest e-ink screen, which is a lighter gray and has a greater contrast ratio. If you don’t like e-ink, then you may not like it better. But it’s huge, and very easy to read.

    But then I do like the 505 screen, except that after the Daily Edition and the DX it seems small.

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  40. Janine
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 18:16:10

    @Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan: Thanks.

    @Sunita: I like the 505 screen a lot too. In fact it’s one of the reasons I’ve been reluctant to upgrade — I’ve heard that the displays on some of the other Sony models aren’t quite as crisp as that of the 505.

    Still, I’m thinking of upgrading sometime, and the kindle definitely has my attention. Are they still allowing kindle owners to preview the first two chapters free?

    Also, is there another kindle besides the Dx that has that new high contrast e-ink display?

    I don’t know if I want to get a Dx — I think I’d rather have something that can fit in my purse.

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  41. HeatherHolland
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 22:14:33

    Hubby would want me to go for the cheaper 6″ screen Kindle, but I want the bigger one not to mention I think it looks nicer than the earlier versions (thought they were ugly). I use larger fonts when reading, so the larger reading real estate will be nice. Having to carry a bigger bag to accommodate it isn’t an issue since I’m basically a walking pharmacy whenever we go anywhere (I have a lot of meds I have to take with me) and a notebook is always in my bag (never know when an idea will strike). What’s one more item in there? LOL

    The 505′s screen is why I refuse to upgrade to a new Sony. I’ve played with them in Best Buy and the contrast when I hold mine up next to them just isn’t as good. The Nook is okay, but I feel the color bar with the covers is wasted space. The Kindle store has better prices, I LOVE the preview feature (use it frequently on the iPod Touch and the Kindle App) and like being able to buy at the end of the preview if I really liked it. Plus, as I said, the Kindle DX has really caught my eye and I like a lot of its functions.

    Hubby says not to get my hopes up, but I will anyway. He’ll get me want I want regardless of what he thinks anyhow. :p And now that I figured out what was wrong with the 505 (bad book) and it’s working properly, he can’t see why I’d need a new one. Um, because I want it and it does more than mine does? LOL What can I say? I’m a techie through and through.

    Glad to get opinions from other Sony 505 users that converted to the dark side, er, Kindle. Makes me feel better about my choice.

    If this doubles, my apologies. I hit submit and nothing happened the first time.

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  42. Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan
    Jul 23, 2010 @ 04:30:17

    @Sunita: I definitely like the idea of a lighter screen with greater contrast–that’s my only issue with e-ink.

    @Janine: I bought the 505 after the touch-screen version was already out, because so many people had said that the extra layers on the touch-screen make the text less distinct. I want something that fits in my purse, too, so my question is the same as yours: do any other Kindles have the high-contrast display?

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  43. Jane
    Jul 23, 2010 @ 06:07:38

    @Patricia Ryan/P.B. Ryan Not yet. There is supposed to be a new slate of Kindles being announced in August and supposedly thinner with a high contrast display.

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  44. Kerry
    Jul 23, 2010 @ 07:56:02

    @Janine The Kindle sample is 10%, so how much you get will vary depending on the length of the book (and the amount of front matter included).

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  45. Stumbling Over Chaos :: What linkity through yonder window breaks?
    Jul 23, 2010 @ 08:13:22

    [...] Author’s linkity posts provide a nice summary of book-related [...]

  46. Lynn Abbey
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 22:23:23

    @DS

    I’ve got my fingers crossed that ACE and I are going to come to an agreement that will return the rights to what I call “Orion’s Children” to me. After that…and allowing for the chance that I’ll recoup the rights to a few other orphans…stories that were once lost in Limbo will have a chance to emerge.

    New releases seem to get most of the attention, but based on my own experience, the real battleground for ebooks is going to be fought in the backlist. I don’t know an author who doesn’t have something stuck in Limbo because a traditional publisher decided to stop publishing it and then kept the rights.

    ReplyReply

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