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

Wednesday News: Smashwords contracts with OverDrive, menstruation’s non-effect on women, Jennifer...

OverDrive and Smashwords Ink Deal to Distribute Indie Author Ebooks to Libraries – Good news for self-published authors and their readers: OverDrive has made a deal with Smashwords to allow 200,000 books to be distributed to public libraries through the OverDrive network. Smashwords will, apparently, be “curating” the titles, giving libraries different options for bulk purchases, including lists by genre and by bestsellers.

Under this agreement, readers may borrow each eBook an unlimited number of times on a one copy/one user model on a perpetual basis. Alternately, patrons can purchase the eBook from the library website and support their local libraries through OverDrive’s “Buy It Now” feature. Readers are also able to recommend titles to their library from the Smashwords catalog. Smashwords’ full Premium Catalog of non-erotica titles is eligible for the program, including new releases. –Digital Book World

Study Finds That Women Aren’t Run by Their Periods. Scientists Everywhere Are Confused. – I tried to find a different source for this story, but could not (except for the actual study, which is also linked to in this article). Anyway, score one for socialization here, as the study’s authors found that some studies actually estimated the monthly fertility window at 12 days, which resulted in more errors. Earlier studies were also not really duplicable in later studies (those after 2003), and the researchers theorize that the cultural desire to view behavior in an evolutionary context is largely responsible for the long-term misapprehension about the effect (zero) of menstruation on certain female preferences and behaviors.

Last month, psychologists at the University of Southern California published a meta-analysis of 58 research experiments that tested whether a woman’s preferences for masculinity, dominance, symmetry, health, kindness, and testosterone levels in her male romantic partners actually fluctuate across her menstrual cycle. The answer: They do not. –Slate

All Blurbed Out – I’m sort of amused at the irony of Jennifer Weiner appearing in the Sunday Opinion section of the NYT in the wake of the Abramson scandal. I have many thoughts on this, but will refrain from expressing them (you’re welcome). Anyway, Weiner has a pretty interesting piece about the way in which book blurbs have become so hyperbolic and promiscuously provided that they seem to have little value. She offers a couple of good theories for why this is, including the idea that writers tend to blurb other writers out of empathy for the difficulty of the book writing and publishing process. Further, she argues,

Buy a book on an e-reader, or listen to it on your smartphone, and you’ll see only the front cover in miniature. It takes sharp eyes to make out more than the title at that size.

Maybe that’s why blurbs have gotten so over-the-top. With fewer eyes to see them, an endorsement must be big to gain any traction. Thus, a trip to the New Releases section of a bookstore offers more “gripping” than a glue factory, enough “absorbing” for the feminine-protection aisle, and enough “transcendence” for a hundred ashrams. “Stunning” is mundane, “gorgeous” is commonplace, “brilliance” and “genius” are positively de rigueur. –New York Times

Complaints about Crescent Moon Press – So we have become aware of some complaints about Crescent Moon Press. What follows is a sample of those allegations. Just a heads up for anyone with a financial or professional interest in CMP.

1. Royalties not paid within timeframe stated in contract.

2. Attempted to change royalty payment schedule by announcing it in a Yahoo group without rewriting the actual contract or providing a contract addendum.

3. Failure to send royalty statements even when a check isn’t issued as the contract states. –Anonymous

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Darlynne
    May 21, 2014 @ 10:02:33

    The OverDrive/Smashwords deal is enough to make one swoon. I gave up hope of ever seeing some of those words–support, libraries, perpetual, purchase–in an article that includes “publisher.” This rainy Wednesday is definitely looking up.

  2. Fallen Professor
    May 21, 2014 @ 10:59:40

    In other publishing/book news, I just saw that Scribd has just added Simon & Schuster books to its subscription service. So that’s 10,000 more books, including many romance titles. They already had all of Harper Collins. I use Scribd for a lot of my reading, and although I’m stuck with some geo-restrictions for not being in the U.S. (come on, publishers…) there’s a ton of good stuff.

  3. batgrl
    May 21, 2014 @ 15:03:15

    I think the only time I’ve ever read book blurbs are when I’ve been ridiculously bored and traveling – otherwise my brain just files it under “stuff on the cover I’m not interested in.” A blurb has never sold me on a book or author – it’s kind of like a bumper sticker (and whatever cause it’s for) that way. A book review or a mention in a column or essay as an example of what an author read as background material – now that can sell me on a book. If I’m wandering a bookstore “It’s Better Than Fried Cheese!” will get me to stop and look – but only to find out the scale of how you’d even rate fried cheese.

    Is there a history book just on wacky studies/beliefs about women somewhere? I hung on to these quotes because I knew I’d want to refer to them again – from A Literature of Their Own by Elaine Showalter (p 121, 160):

    “…Menstruation, 19th century physicians worried, could drive some women temporarily insane; menstruating women might go berserk, destroying furniture, attacking family and strangers alike… “Those ‘unfortunate women’ subject to such excessive menstrual influence,” one doctor suggested, “should for their own good and that of society be incarcerated for the length of their menstrual years.”
    “..Dr George Black warned in 1888 that incautious perusal of such [sensation] novels had a “tendency to accelerate the occurrence of menstruation.””

  4. Elizabeth Cole
    May 21, 2014 @ 16:22:25

    Keep covering the Overdrive news! Speaking as one who comes from a long line of librarians, I’m very interested to see how Overdrive works with libraries and if it will have a positive impact on how people see libraries.

    Of course, depending on what time of the month I read about it, I might get REALLY emotional and stuff.

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