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Wednesday Midday Links: New Devices on the Horizon

Barnes and Noble is offering a $50 Gift Card with a purchase of a nook. This is a Dad’s day promotion but good if you buy online, at BN or even at Best Buy.

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There are reports that a new Kindle will be released in the fall. The new Kindle is supposed to be faster, with sharper resolution and thinner. Thinner? I feel like the existing one might snap in two.

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Last week, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on the future of brick and mortar bookselling. (Thanks Kay) Essentially digital booksales is decreasing the profitability of physical bookstores and therefore those bookstores that want to be in business in the next ten years will have to reinvent themselves. Chapters, a Canadian bookseller, is focusing on being a “cultural department store.” Barnes & Noble is under inside pressure to evolve.

Ron Burkle has increased his stake in BN to almost 20% and is rattling to gain a greater share of BN so that he can implement his own ideas which involve using the BN brand to sell things other than books, presumably. Riggio says that he won’t sell pots and pans which I took to be a slight stab at Borders who does sell small cookery items in the store.

How does this affect us as readers? Reduced choice in the physical marketplace. I think it also puts pressure on authors to start thinking as business people more than ever. I was told that print runs are decreasing because orders are decreasing. Target and Wal-Mart are ordering only one month at a time instead of two and the big box bookstores are ordering less. Advances are usually based on print runs. Authors will have to decide whether print first makes sense. Alternatively, maybe larger publishers will follow Harlequin’s lead and develop their own in house digital first publishing arm.

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Texas is looking into the legality of Apple’s pricing deals with publishers. I would have thought this issue would be ripe for discussion in Maryland because Maryland has an anti retail price maintenance law it enacted after the Supreme Court rendered its Leegin decision. Any citizen can make a complaint to their state’s attorney general’s office.

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Last year was the first Australia Romance Readers Convention which saw 25 authors attend with 250 readers. This year, the ARRA Convention is being held in conjunction with Australia Romance Writers Association. Imagine that! A writers’ organization that puts writers in touch with readers. What a novelty. (Actually, I think the International Thriller Writers does just that with Thriller Fest). Booyeah, as my daughter would say.

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There are two articles about websites and comments which I think dovetail nicely together. First is the NPR story that Sharon sent me. It is recommended that human interaction from the content owners can help to moderate the tone of blog comments. I admit that curating the blog comments is a tough job. I don’t want to stifle discussion or be unfair, but I also cringe at the personal attacks and tone of the comments. But then, I, too, can fly off the handle and make an unwise comment. I try to compensate for those times too.

Another article is the one in the NYTimes about how companies are suing for comments made on the internet which these companies say are defamatory. I think the towing company in this situation is unlikely to prevail and that suits like these are a real threat to one’s First Amendment rights but I also understand the power of the internet to mobilize people. First Amendment rights are all about balance and it will be interesting to see what this Justice Roberts’ court will do.

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Borders will be selling up to 10 digital reading devices and select stores will have a special “Area E” for ereading, I guess. One of the devices they are going to sell is the Aulartek device priced at $119. It’s not eink but a “reflective light LCD”. Is that the cool PixelQi screen?

The Libre utilizes Reflect Light LCD technology, enabling readers to turn pages at lightning-fast speed with no back lighting, so reading on the Libre’s black and white 5-inch screen is as soft on the eyes as reading a book. And because pages don’t need to be lit, the Libre offers unprecedented battery life. Noticeably absent are the flickerings and flashes during page transitions, which some readers report experiencing on eReaders that utilize e-Ink.

These Area E boutiques will launch in August. I am kind of curious about the Libre. It doesn’t have wifi or 3G connectivity and while it has an SD media slot, this site says you will need the Borders app to load books, which, ugh. And it’s a pretty ugly device, kind of a mashed up sony reader + kobo.

Borders needs to do something. Its fiscal Q1 saw a 16% drop in revenue.

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

8 Comments

  1. asrai
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 12:29:08

    Wainting impatiently for my Kobo from Chapters. I ordered 4 days ago … 1-2 weeks to ship. So very impatient. *wanders off to check status again*

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    Jun 02, 2010 @ 12:35:15

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  3. ehoyden
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 12:49:43

    I’d really like to see Texas, and other states, take a bite out of Apple’s ebook ass.

  4. Lisa J
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 13:02:26

    What ehoyden said. Then I hope publishers realize readers are their customer and remember we are the ones to buy a book and put it on the best seller list.

  5. Ridley
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 23:11:49

    “Any citizen can make a complaint to their state's attorney general's office.

    Shame my AG is Martha Coakley.

    Since she managed to lose a senate race to a Republican in friggin Massachusetts I can’t see her having much luck against Apple.

  6. Mikaela
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 06:35:26

    Nope, Aluratek isn’t Pixel Qi but a Jetbook clone.

  7. MaryK
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 13:39:50

    I don’t have much luck with physical bookstores. They rarely have what I’m looking for so I don’t look for new releases there any more.

    It’s rare for me to Need a Book Now. I think the last time was Nalini Singh’s first Angel book. I desperately wanted it and my bookstore didn’t have it. So I ordered it from them, and during the week it took to arrive, I saw the book in WalMart.

    I wasn’t happy. I mean, come on, a popular author starts a new series and they don’t carry it? Apparently, the buyers for my local WalMart are savvier than the bookstore buyers.

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