Wednesday News: B&N Rebrands PubIt! and Water Is Wet
But only 11% of overall revenues are from digital (but circulation revenue is not being separated out entirely because many of the subscriptions are a print + digital access). But the worst data point is that three of ten readers have abandoned news outlets because “it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to.” Anyway, interesting stuff there. Newsonomics
The part that I thought was interesting was this tidbit “Customer demand for great independent content continues to dramatically increase as 30% of NOOK customers purchase self-published content each month, representing 25% of NOOK Book™ sales every month.” Amazon has said that a quarter of its top 100 books are self published. That’s not exactly the same statistic but those numbers give weight to the encroachment of self publishing into the book budgets of consumers.
The Nook Press Terms of Service indicate that the self published author is not in charge of retail pricing. “Customer Prices. We have sole and complete discretion to set the Retail Price at which your eBooks are sold to the customer.” Royalties are paid off the list price, however, similar to Amazon. Also, like Amazon, the price cannot be greater “at any other the eBook’s List Price at any other retailer, website, or sales channel.” Meaning, if you put a book on sale at Smashwords, it should be lower at BN as well. DRM is optional. Publishers Weekly | Press Release
But it’s the formula that Vivanco is critiquing here, not the writing. Because these novels are so formulaic, they are policed rather than edited. Anything that transcends the formula will be edited out if the publisher thinks that The Reader or The Buyer (much more important) will not like it, so applying the principles of literary criticism to a formula seems a bit pointless.
Don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, though, because, after all, WHO ARE THOSE WOMEN WHO READ THOSE BOOKS? ““But clearly there is a vast and satisfied readership out there who want to read novels written like this: they choose to buy these books, and that’s the problem.””
Romance is often criticized for being formulaic, but in a way that suggests that the genre is synonymous with formula, and that formula is bad.
Romance, as a form, has come to be known by three main elements: a) a romantic love story, b) that is central to the narrative, c) and resolves in a happy ending for the lovers. But within that form are many formulae. For example, take one broody rake, mix with an impoverished but noble housemaid, add in a dash of villainy from a long-lost mother, and shake until true love prevails.
When people call Romance formulaic, it’s generally in a denigrating way, as if to imply predictability, triteness, and staleness. However, both form and formula are important to generic integrity, because while form ensures coherence and definitional consistency, formula provides familiar elements that a reader may like and want to see in particular combinations. Category novels, for example, often rely on formulae, and in the case of lines like Harlequin Presents, the formula is practically announced in the book title: The Incorrigible Playboy; The Greek’s Blackmailed Wife; Spanish Magnate, Red-Hot Revenge. The common mistake people make in denigrating genre as formula and formula per se, is the assumption that structural and narrative limits are bad, and that they contravene artistic freedom and creativity.
But Defensive Romance Reader(TM), no need to head over with pitchforks out because Rosyb says “First of all, VL is friendly to ALL genres and is regularly invited down to the Romantic Novelists Association Awards because a lot of people and a lot of writers appreciate that we do read and critique all genres – whilst not being a specialist site. If you want a specialist romance or Mills and Boon site, this isn’t it.”
There are problems within the Harlequin lines, of course, but it’s pretty insulting to describe these lines as policed and the authors oppressed. A category title is supposed to be rigidly defined. That’s the point of the category but there are voices that are stars within the category lines and authors who are more popular than others. In sum, some of Kate’s assumptions she draws from reading a conclusory scholarly work on the HMB category books aren’t wrong. But identifying readers as problems and authors part of the same hive mind comes across as insulting and, well, inaccurate. Vulpes Libris