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

Wednesday Midday Links Roundup:

In non shocking news, while first day sales of the Kindle version of The Lost Symbol were strong, digital sales represents only about 5% of the 2 million copies sold so far which was in line with what I thought last week:

Over time, obviously, the digital version cannot outsell the print version because of the limited number of digital readers (even assuming 50% of the digital consumers read on their laptops). What it does show, however, is that digital readers are important consumers.

Shelf Awareness had a nice piece about paper goods and how digital isn’t quite overcoming the desire for people to write with a pen in a nice journal. I personally love my moleskin notebooks (I use them to take notes in about my reviews) and I can’t wait for the paper products from Harlequin to show up somewhere…

Whether it’s a practical matter like ease of use or something more intangible, journals, day planners and the like continue to hold their appeal. “There are people who find it important to write things down,” said Whitelines’s Walters. “We can do digital artwork, but we still paint, we still draw, we still sculpt. The sense of expression in human nature is always going to be there.”–Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Best Buy will be selling the iRex Reader which contains a 8.1″ screen and is priced at $399.   The connected bookstore will be Barnes & Noble (which at last look did not have Can’t Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards or Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle, but lack of content notwithstanding, you’ll be able to buy direct from the device. O_o).   Best Buy will be carrying the Sony Reader as well so readers will have an opportunity to do an instore comparison.

A group of readers are trying to egg Kendra over at Lurva La Mode to read Outlander. I’ve never “read” Outlander either although I did listen to it on tape on snowy ride North to the hinterlands.   Kendra, don’t give in.

The AAP has released the July sales statistics.   The numbers are up by 2% for the month and 1.9% for the year.

  • Adult hardcover up by  6.9 percent:   $88.7 million; year-to-date sales were down by 15.5 percent.
  • Adult Paperback sales up by 9.0 percent: ($124.0 million); YTD sales down by 11.2 percent
  • Adult Mass Market down 13.5 percent:   $68.2 million; YTD sales down by 5.3 percent
  • Children’s/YA Hardcover down 5.4 percent: $55.8 million; YTD sales up 22.2 percent
  • Children’s/YA Paperback up 4.1 percent: $58.2 million; YTD sales up 2.0 percent
  • Audio Book sales up 3.5 percent:   $11.7 million; YTD down 29.9 percent
  • E-books sales up 16.2 million: no specific sales number; YTD up 173.9 percent

The Guardian has a well intentioned piece about the marginalization of female horror writers but gets its sub genre facts so wrong that I am embarrassed for   the paper and the reporter.   Also? There is something tragically ironic about an article arguing against marginalization of female horror writers while at the same time insulting PNR writers.    Seriously, that takes some skill.

Perhaps this sexism, intentional or not, is fed by the horror sub-genre that has come to be known as  paranormal romance. The last few years have seen an explosion in the type of novel “sucking and fucking” – the sort featuring sexy vampires, kick-ass female demon hunters, werewolves who are all man in bed, and the inevitable sexual collisions between tough female protagonist and the male horror staple of choice. Current examples include  Charlaine Harris‘s Sookie Stackhouse series of novels, which have formed the basis for the TV series  True Blood, andStephenie Meyer‘s Twilight books.

Paranormal romance is the chick-lit of horror. That’s not to say it is in any way inferior, but it seems to have become a fresh ghetto into which to push female writers. The assumption is that a woman writing in the horror genre will be writing paranormal romance.

Microsoft is releasing one of the most lustworthy tech gadgets of recent memory. It’s a dual screened tablet device.   I had to go offline after I watched the video until I stopped drooling. I was afraid I would short circuit my netbook.

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

23 Comments

  1. Keira Soleore
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 12:06:45

    Jane, regarding Microsoft’s device, I’m wondering about battery life with the two screens. The big deal about dedicated devices like the Sony or Kindle is that the battery lasts a good long while.

    ReplyReply

  2. Elise Logan
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 12:07:02

    Funny how I thought immediately of the MS tablet when you were talking about your moleskin notebooks. After watching the demo myself, my immediate thought was that there might actually be a gadget that fulfilled my composition book requirements.

    ReplyReply

  3. RStewie
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 12:27:58

    The Microsoft Courier is beyond awesome. I want it with the fervency of 1,000 suns. Wow. With the size of it, I wonder what the entry price will be. I’m guessing around $900-$1300?? Anyone have a clue about that?

    The “ghetto” that is PRN is my home, and I love it; PRN is by far my favorite romance genre. Refering to it as “Chick-lit Horror” is making me laugh. Are they suggesting that PRN actually evolved from horror? Maybe they’re trying to slidle those PRN sales numbers into the horror genre? What’s the deal with that? That’s ridiculous…how are they even making this determination? Show me the evolution there, please.

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  4. DS
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 13:21:47

    Courier– definitely lust worthy. I will be looking forward to the launch. Microsoft seriously needs something to give it a little luster.

    ReplyReply

  5. Janine
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 13:32:31

    Really like the look of the Microsoft Courier. But what I want most is a netbook with both a keyboard and tablet function — and I’m waiting on Windows 7 to come out first so that I can get something that works well with it.

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  6. Robin
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 14:10:14

    The sheer magnitude of the Outlander hype has kept me from reading the series. Maybe I’m missing out on the read of a lifetime, but I’ll just console myself with The Windflower, Black Silk, To Have and To Hold, and For My Lady’s Heart.

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  7. Janine
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 14:36:14

    @Robin:

    Maybe I'm missing out on the read of a lifetime,

    Not in my opinion. I stopped reading Outlander about a hundred pages from the end. There were a lot of things to like about it, but also a lot of things that made me gnash my teeth.

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  8. GrowlyCub
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 14:47:57

    Oh, my. My laptop on which I’m typing this is pouting because I did drool on it while looking at the Courier (what a stupid name, it invokes an ugly font that’s soooo yesterday). If it can do half of what they claim and doesn’t cost more than 1500 bucks I’m so there, new laptop and Sony reader or not. Wonder how long it will really take to get to market though.

    I never read ‘Outlander’ because I didn’t feel like giving money to a woman who was horrified to be told her books were considered romance.

    Snotty folks who pee on their readers don’t do it for me.

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  9. Chicklet
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 14:48:40

    Maybe I'm missing out on the read of a lifetime,

    I liked Outlander (I bought it off the New SF/F rack back in 1993 without any idea it was classified as a romance until I got to the first sex scene), and even read 2-3 of the following books, but I gave up partway through The Fiery Cross when it took Gabaldon 200+ pages to describe a single day. Much like Jesse Ventura ain’t got time to bleed, I ain’t got time to read that much detail.

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  10. Annie Mullin
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 15:13:22

    The Courier looks very cool in concept. Now if we could see the specs and the actual product… :)

    I loathe the label “chick lit.” (I have the same knee-jerk reaction to it as I do to things labeled “girly” or hear the phrase “like a girl” attached to something.) I’m not the only person who reacts that way to it, am I?

    There is something tragically ironic about an article arguing against marginalization of female horror writers while at the same time insulting PNR writers. Seriously, that takes some skill.

    It does. It’s probably is a result of the same outlook (male) as the guy who edited the anthology that caused the outcry in the first place.

    ReplyReply

  11. Janine
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 15:54:28

    You’re a better woman than I, Chicklet.

    ReplyReply

  12. katiebabs
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 16:28:33

    Those who haven’t read Outlander, you are missing out. Jamie puts many heroes to shame… dare I say even Roarke?

    ReplyReply

  13. Christine M.
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 16:38:16

    @Chicklet:

    200+ pages to describe a single day.

    You got to be kidding?

    ReplyReply

  14. Sandy James
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 16:44:08

    Paranormal romance is the chick-lit of horror.

    Gee. I write both chick lit and paranormal romance. I suppose I should feel doubly insulted by The Guardian.

    ReplyReply

  15. GrowlyCub
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 16:45:23

    S
    P
    O
    I
    L
    E
    R

    Katiebabs,

    you mean the part where he spanks Claire ‘for her own good’? Yeah, right, great hero material. Sorry, doesn’t float my boat.

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  16. MicheleKS
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 18:03:01

    I gave up on the ‘Outlander’ series after book 4. They were like plowing through a snow-storm with some memorable moments but Jaime isn’t that much of a hero for me.

    Now Roarke… I can’t fight Eve for him but I can dream.

    ReplyReply

  17. Suze
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 18:11:18

    That's not to say it is in any way inferior, but it seems to have become a fresh ghetto into which to push female writers.

    Ghettos not being in any way inferior. Feh.

    ReplyReply

  18. Meljean
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 21:32:39

    @katiebabs: Ha! I read the In Death books for Eve, not Roarke, so that argument won’t sway me :-p

    I can only shake my head at the Guardian article (and flip the bird in the Guardian’s general direction.) A non-inferior ghetto. Hmmm. Not sure how that works.

    ReplyReply

  19. KMont
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 08:02:24

    Outlander seems to power an entire fleet of romance reading boats so it’s obviously got a lot to offer many, many readers. For me that happens to be a non-narcotic sleeping aid – but that’s just my particular boat. It’s just been a lot of fun to rag on Kate about the book and get ragged back in return. I’ve got another dear friend that is literally aghast that I will not try further to read Outlander and I admit to having a lot of fun jerking her chain too. :)

    Oh, and I’m going to prove right now what a simple creature I am because I can’t figure out what exactly that lust-worthy tech gadget is supposed to do. I admit, I’m woefully behind in my gadget education; apparently my iPhone had not brought me as into the Tech Age as I thought it would.

    ETA: Went and looked at the tablet again and I think I felt as I did above becasue it seems to HAVE to do SO many things. I’m a little intimidated by gadgets that have to do it all. Using the iPhone again, I never wanted that many options on a phone. I’m betting my phone keeps me happy on multi-use tech gadgets for a while. Hell, I don’t even give a frigg about Sony’s ebook reader model with the touch screen.

    ReplyReply

  20. readerdiane
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 09:22:19

    Never got into the Highlander series. I tried and put the book down; it is still in my TBR pile and I may never get to it.

    I would really like an all in one device. I can do a lot with my Blackberry-can’t use the phone carrier that I-phone requires. I love my Kindle and my laptop. I have had netbook envy but can’t justify it yet. I think the Courier may be a step toward the device I want but it isn’t there yet.

    Many years ago I read a SF book about being plugged into the Net through the brain. The worst punishment was to be unplugged. Are we getting there yet?

    ReplyReply

  21. Edie
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 10:01:30

    mmm.. another non-fan of Gabaldon here, could not get into the first one.. but my nan loves them..

    Chicklit Horror?
    That article is a whole basket of peeve.

    ReplyReply

  22. Randi
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 13:11:20

    Ah, so more trash by The Guardian. Whatever.

    BTW: Did that writer even READ the Sookie books or Twilight? ‘Cause, I sure as shit wouldn’t categorize either heronie as “kick-ass”. Nor would I call either of them “men in bed”. Which…really? What an….interesting way to describe a sexually confident woman. A man. Huh!

    ReplyReply

  23. HeatherK
    Sep 25, 2009 @ 00:29:30

    The MS Courier looks AWESOME. I could so use a device I can handwrite on that will then convert to text since I do so much of my writing long hand first then I have to go through the process of transcribing everything. It would save trees and cut way down on the amount of paper I go through working on any given project, not to mention, it would get rid of that doing it twice feeling I sometimes get while working. I’m also a tech lover, which only adds to the thing’s drool worthiness.

    As for the whole Outlander thing, I’ve never read it either and I have no plans to. That thing is a huge book, and with how slow I read, it would probably take the better part of a month to muddle through. I just don’t have the time or the patience for it. Not to mention I’d likely forget what happened in the first part before I finished it.

    ReplyReply

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