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Digital Publishing Has to Step Up Its Game

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Photo: SkiTripper

Epublishing is unquestionably a vibrant opportunity for publishers and authors but because it is relatively new to the publishing world, it is still viewed with suspicion and disdain. Because digital publishing is seeking legitimacy with readers, writers, and others, it needs to step up its game.

First, there is the barrier to entry. According to a recent poll at DearAuthor, 58% of the respondents said that they don’t read ebooks because they don’t have an ereading device and don’t want to read on the laptop. This means that whatever being offered in digital publishing isn’t strong enough to overcome this barrier to entry.

Second, there is the quality issue. 43% of poll respondents had purchased more than five ebooks but still maintained a perception that the quality of digitally published books is lower than the quality of NY print published books. I believe this is due to a couple of things. First, it is fairly easy for anyone to start up an epublishing business these days particularly if the impetus is to publish works no one else will obtain.

Second, there is a certain segment of digital publishing that is publishing porn under the guise of romance thereby diluting the brand of serious romance digital publishers. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with publishing porn and profiting from it. I do have a problem with digital publishers coopting the romance genre for the sole purpose of attracting the large buying segment without actually delivering romance. Porn publishers should own up to what they are publishing and be measured against other porn publishers.

In order to address the quality issue, romance digital publishers must work hard to differentiate themselves from the morass of digital publishers out there whose product is not acceptable, either because of poor editing decisions at the acquisition stage, poor editing after the acquisition stage, or in production. Books such as this or this do nothing to further the image of romance digital publishers. Books from digital publishers must have good, tasteful covers. The websites must reflect a professional interest. Each and every release must evince high standards of editing. Failure to accomplish any one of these markers degrades the goal of legitimacy, not only to writing organizations, but with authors and readers.

Everything that ePublishers do must be at the level of NY or better than NY. This is because Digital Publishing is the new kid on the block. Any misstep makes it easy to dismiss digital publishing as valid. Every strident voice in opposition to print publishing serves to turn print people off, those include the readers of print books. It doesn’t matter that NY published books are badly edited. It doesn’t matter that NY publishing can give the shaft (and does) to its authors with measly $1,000 or $2,000 advances. NY has the benefit of 70 years plus of publishing behind it. While it really can’t afford to look down on digital publishing (and it doesn’t, in fact, as evidenced by the fact that no contract is obtained these days without digital rights), it has legitimacy that digital publishing does not.

I do not say these things in order to support delegitimizing digital publishing as a path of publishing, but to acknowledge that digital publishing is relatively new and therefore skepticism is to be expected. We should continue to fight for legitimacy but the greatest weapon that digital publishing has now and will have in the future is in the product.

There is no question that there are books published in digital only format that rival anything that New York is putting out. Evie Byrne’s latest vampire romance from Samhain, for example, exceeds anything I’ve read from the Silhouette Nocturne line (Byrne’s book is about the length of a category). Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tatoo was an emotionally charged book as good as any woman’s fiction romance published by New York. I know that there are other readers who would agree that the quality is there but we need more of it and we need it to be more uniform.

The advantages to readers of digital publishing is obvious. The books are DRM free. The genres and tropes can be (but are not always) wildly innovative. The pricing is right and the books are always available on the dates promised. Digital publishing has many benefits, but we advocates of digital publishing need those forming and releasing the product to step up their game.

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

58 Comments

  1. Dominic Took
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 05:33:26

    It’s tricky because there are so many things required to make this work – not for the industry but for the consumer. They need to have books they can access, ease of reading, enjoyment (best not forget that) and financially accessible books/equipment.

    I think three factors is when something starts to reach the tipping point. But there are still far too many at the moment. The advent of electronic paper and its use might well help, but if its not biodegradable then the environmental elements inherent in today’s world governments are likely to have a field day.

    I also have this one thing – which is sort of similar. If I take notes, I take them on paper, if I want to get back to my writing roots (so to speak) I write on paper. I don’t like to write down my ideas on the computer because regardless of how backed up or safe it might be, it’s not actually real, it’s just electronic data stored on a disk. Call me paranoid but I’m 23, so it’s not as if I’m the generation that’s paranoid about this sort of thing.

    “Megan Fox – Needs to grow up.” ?
    http://tiny.cc/film629

  2. Jane O
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 06:55:33

    Books such as this or this do nothing to further the image of romance digital publishers. Books from digital publishers must have good, tasteful covers. The websites must reflect a professional interest. Each and every release must evince high standards of editing. Failure to accomplish any one of these markers degrades the goal of legitimacy, not only to writing organizations, but with authors and readers.

    I don’t think you can put too much emphasis on this. Epublishers face a very different situation from that of traditional publishers. When I go to a bookstore, I am not looking at books from a single publisher, but at everything the bookstore carries. I don’t even know who the publisher is 99 times out of 100, and I couldn’t tell you who publishes my favorite authors because it never occurred to me to look.

    If, on the other hand, I have to go to an epublisher’s website to see the offerings and find myself faced with one of the covers you linked to here, I wouldn’t just say “Yuck” and go on to the next book. I would close out the website and never return on the assumption that this publisher offers nothing but garbage.

    There are going to have to be tons of books offered only as ebooks that I really want to read, books that I can’t get from the library or buy as paper books, before I would even consider investing in an ereader.

  3. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 07:41:13

    I will probably be bashed for this, but I agree very much with this post. While it’s true you can’t please all the people all of the time (and if you could I’d argue that you’re doing something wrong) I do think that there needs to be an effective organisation to help with the image of epublishing. There are so many dangers there – the loud voices of people who are excluded, the infighting that can take part – but something needs to be done, somehow. And I am not talking about EPIC, which lost its way a couple of years ago, IMO. But at the moment, that, and Espan, is all there is and both are from the author’s viewpoint, not the publisher’s or the reader’s.

    I write erotic romance, and that in itself is hard enough to find acceptance for, even amongst romance readers, but I do the best I can and I’m proud of what I do. I receive rigorous edits for everything I write and I wouldn’t have it any other way because I am asking a reader to part with her hard-earned to read it. Being compared with pron or with badly written or badly edited stuff is worse and drags the reputation down.

    I also think there should be an effective cross-publisher organisation to cope with piracy, which is leeching off the legitimate side and costing authors and publishers far too much money.

  4. AQ
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 08:03:07

    Jane, Nice article. Interesting points that I wish I had more time to argue about. But I really have to take on this point:

    The pricing is right

    Comparing NY pricing to small publishing digital pricing? Not a valid comparison. Using one of your examples:

    Bound by Blood by Evie Byrne
    Words: 29911
    Price: 4.50

    Called by Blood by Evie Byrne
    Words: 43569
    Price: 4.50

    From the writing guidelines of Silhouette Nocturne
    Length: 70,000-75,000 words

    Sample Pricing: List: 4.75, eharlquin site: 4.20

    I know this is a very simplistic comparison and that a more indepth analysis would need to be done (including how each publisher determines word count) but seriously what are we really talking about when we talk pricing?

    If I’m willing to pay $4.50 for a digital copy of Bound by Blood then how much should I be willing to pay for a digital copy of a book like Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Mercy or Stephen King’s The Stand?

    Yes, I do understand that we already have that pricing discrepancy within the NY paper pricing model. I’m not arguing about that, I’m arguing that when it’s said that small publishers get pricing right that there’s much more than $$ per product that needs to be taken into that comparison.

    Do we really want NY to follow the small publisher pricing model for their digital products or is it just that we want NY’s digital product to cost less than their cheapest print counterpart?

  5. DS
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 08:29:57

    From my viewpoint I simply don’t have the time to go from publisher’s web site to publisher’s web site looking for books I might want to read– and then there is the issue of putting my credit card number on web sites I don’t know. If I hear about a book I might want to read it had better be on Amazon or I probably won’t buy it.

    I am not saying this out of loyalty to Amazon or the Kindle– it is a combination of trusting the company since 1994 to get my books to me, protecting my credit card number and ease of use. Especially ease of use. I signed up for Fictionwise but never used it because it is more complicated than I wanted to deal with. In my opinion ease of use and access to a large number of books rationally catalogued and easily browsed are essential to increasing digital book readership.

  6. Claire
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 08:32:52

    Truthfully if you have any half way decent cell phone you can be reading an ebook in minutes. Just about everyone has cell phones. The equipment thing is not a legitimate complaint in my opinion. I used to have a jornada hand held for reading my ebooks, but when I got back to the mainland us and could use a cell i quickly realized how much easier it was to read them on my cell, which I take with me everywhere anyway.You don’t really need specialized equipment or expensive toys to make it work. IMO that’s an excuse for technophobes to avoid even trying out digital publishing.

    And re pricing-digital works cost so much less than print works to create and maintain that the lack of a decent price difference between paperback and the same book in digital format irks me regularly.
    Claire

  7. Srsly
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 10:33:25

    I think I lost my other comment.

    But basically I just wanted to say that we’re working on all the points you’ve made, and we’re taking it very seriously.

  8. GrowlyCub
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 10:42:39

    I agree with AQ on the pricing. I consider most offerings by e-pubs hopelessly overpriced. One reason I haven’t bought from Loose Id in quite a while is because they raised their prices from when I first started buying. In general, I’ve been buying fewer e-pubbed e-books because they either refuse to give wordcount or they charge more than I’m willing to pay, especially for the shorter works.

    I sincerely hope that NY does *not* take a page from the e-pub’s book on pricing!

    ETA: But I’m afraid they are. HQN’s Dahl story was $3.00 for only 19k.

  9. md
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 10:56:00

    According to a recent poll at DearAuthor, 58% of the respondents said that they don't read ebooks because they don't have an ereading device and don't want to read on the laptop. This means that whatever being offered in digital publishing isn't strong enough to overcome this barrier to entry.

    This may be true for many readers, but for me personally it isn’t the reason I have not switched to an e-reader over print. You could put the most beautifully written, fabulous stories ever on digital. It still wearies my eyes terribly to read very much on the computer.

    It isn’t the quality of the work. I’ve seen some epubbed stories that are high quality (granted, the larger portion is just pure pornish garbage in my opinion) but even the quality stuff I can’t read on the computer except in very brief stretches over days. I tried the Sony reader at the store and found it somewhat of an improvement, but still not as easy on my eyes as print. I’m not putting the money into a kindle to find out if it is any better.

  10. Jessica G.
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 13:37:46

    @GrowlyCub- I got Wicked West for $2.84 on the Sony store, and I was pretty happy with the price. That seems to be the price point for short stories from the bigger publishers. I paid it for Alpha & Omega by Briggs, which I was also OK with. But I think this is only because I’m familiar with both authors, and am willing to pay more for them. I think any other time I’d only shell out 1.00.

    @md – Sorry to hear the Sony wasn’t great on your eyes. Were you trying the touch screen one? That one is less clear. The non- touch Sony (the 505) has the same screen clarity as the Kindle, FYI.

    I think the biggest hindrace for me from buying from digital publishers are 1) the covers and 2) availability. If you’re cover is terrible, I’m sorry, but I won’t read it. If you can’t manage to pull together a halfway decent cover on Photoshop, then I have to question your editing ability. As for availability, my laziness reigns supreme. Your book needs to either be at the Sony store, or elsewhere in a format it can read natively. I’m more of a minority on that, I know.

    Finally, give me something to give your books a shot. I have yet to try a Samhain book. When I see them giving away books for free on Amazon, but not on Sony or elsewhere, I die a little inside. Here is a great opportunity to get more readers, yet they ignore it? Uggh. Too bad, I fall for promos hook line and sinker.

  11. Lynn Crain
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 14:09:39

    You make a lot of good points in this blog. And there is only on point I want to dispute.

    Good erotic romance is NOT porn. Yes, there are some things which even I can’t read out there and I shy away from the stories. Yes, there are some ebooks out there tying romance to their site when in no way are those things romantic. But comparing a good erotic romance is like saying you can’t have sex in space.

    For many years, it was hard for women to break into the science fiction realm because it was a male dominated field. Once allowed into said field, it was hard to introduce a book with a relationship theme never mind a romance. Today this barrier has been breached thank goodness but the whole time I was trying to break-in, all I could think was, they don’t have sex in space? Give me a break. Yet, I was rejected over and over because of the romantic elements, not because of the story or the writing.

    Sex is part of life. Everyone of us here are here because someone had sex sometime in their lives. Sex is a necessary part of living and should be viewed as such. Sex is very enjoyable when two people are in love and that’s the way it should be. Why NOT write about one of the most glorious aspects of being human?

    Saying every erotic romance, as implied, is porn is wrong.

    Lynn

  12. MB (Leah)
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 14:58:17

    That was a good post Jane.

    While I choose ebooks over print already and have been buying ebooks for a long time now, there are still many issues that really burn my butt.

    My main issue is the DRM. I have a reader, but of course it doesn’t read all formats. It’s one of the main reasons I will not buy a particular book.

    The next issue is the price. Even epubs are getting very expensive. And for what? Can’t resell them, or give to a friend. I find many mistakes in editing. At least one or two in all books and some books are ridiculous. The only reason I keep buying ebooks are that I love reading on my eReader. It’s too painful for my hands to keep a book open and the font is large on my eReader. Plus, I like reading stories that NY won’t publish.

    @Growlycub:

    I agree with AQ on the pricing. I consider most offerings by e-pubs hopelessly overpriced. One reason I haven't bought from Loose Id in quite a while is because they raised their prices from when I first started buying. In general, I've been buying fewer e-pubbed e-books because they either refuse to give wordcount or they charge more than I'm willing to pay, especially for the shorter works.

    I recently did a chart comparing several major epub prices per word count. It’s a bit loose and not exact mainly because I was too lazy to write things down exactly, but it’s pretty accurate. I’ve been really pissed off lately with how expensive ebooks are per word count and did it for my own reference. If you’re curious it’s here.

    http://bi-curious-romancenovel-chat.blogspot.com/2009/06/epubs-ebook-price-comparisons.html

    Loose-ID is rather expensive, but Total-e-Bound takes the cake really. And when I did all this I found that many don’t have word count listed, which I think is very tricky of them. I had to go to Fictionwise, who do list word count for all books, to get the info. It was rather shocking to me, but it lets me know which epubs to support unless I want a specific author’s book really, really bad.

    @DS:

    From my viewpoint I simply don't have the time to go from publisher's web site to publisher's web site looking for books I might want to read- and then there is the issue of putting my credit card number on web sites I don't know.

    I hear you on this. But just so people do know in general, many, if not most epubs use PayPal. So there’s no need to give CC info in many cases. And I agree with you on Fictionwise. I hate that I have to input my info every. single. time. It’s one of the advantages of Amazon, although I would never buy a Kindle.

  13. Chicklet
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 15:11:46

    According to a recent poll at DearAuthor, 58% of the respondents said that they don't read ebooks because they don't have an ereading device and don't want to read on the laptop.

    If anyone at Sony is reading this, please know that the only reason I don’t own a Sony ereader yet is because I have a Mac, and I’m not willing to drop over $200 on a reader if I have to download a third-party app (Calibre) in order to purchase books. When Sony releases a Mac-friendly ereader, I will buy it.

  14. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 15:29:07

    Another thought – are the people who are buying digital the people who buy 5 plus books a week? Because targeting product at people who read a lot is more efficient than targeting people who might not read as much.

    Lynn, if you follow the links Jane gave, you’ll see what she means. I’m proud of the erotic romances I write, but there is a lot of porn masquerading as erotic romance, and I would love for that to stop because it’s giving readers the wrong idea of what erotic romance actually is. I have no objection to this stuff appearing, it’s not my choice of reading matter, but it isn’t erotic romance.

  15. Heather
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 15:44:33

    Truthfully if you have any half way decent cell phone you can be reading an ebook in minutes. Just about everyone has cell phones. The equipment thing is not a legitimate complaint in my opinion. … IMO that's an excuse for technophobes to avoid even trying out digital publishing.

    I have to disagree with this. I have a halfway decent cellphone with a screen slightly bigger than a postage stamp. I also have a plan that covers phone calls, but I chose not to pay extra for the all-internet, all-the-time package.

    To read a book on my current phone (assuming eye strain wasn’t an issue), I would need to pay extra for the internet option to download them. To read on a bigger screen, I would need to buy a new phone and pay for the internet package. Either way, I’m spending money. Buying a new phone would put me in the category of needing new equipment.

    It’s not technophobia that keeps me from reading e-books on whatever technology, it’s a lack of unlimited funds.

  16. Nonny
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 15:50:46

    Lynn Crain said: “Saying every erotic romance, as implied, is porn is wrong.”

    I didn’t get that from Jane’s post. What I read was that publishers that try to market porn as erotic romance are not helping the industry or the genre. It’s actually one of my frustrations with buying erotic romance, because there’s a lot out there that seems to be more “porn” (or “erotica”, which I prefer as a term) than “romance.” Far too often, the love story is unbelievable; the characters fall in love “because” rather than it being a natural progression. The near entirety of the story rides on the sex. Mind, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing in and of itself; there’s some awesome erotica out there. But it should be called “erotica” not “romance.” That’s what Jane was protesting, I think.

  17. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 16:19:21

    Saying every erotic romance, as implied, is porn is wrong.

    That’s not what Jane said. I’m assuming you’re not a regular here, or you’d know by the reviews that it’s certainly not what was meant. Plenty of erotic romance read and reviewed around here. . .

  18. Claire
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 16:29:31

    HI Heather,
    You do not need to buy an internet option to have books on your phone if you have a computer at home or work that you can download on. Just download the books you want from either the publisher or fictionwise or another third party provider and sync your phone to the files. A two step but very easy process.
    Claire

  19. EC Sheedy
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 16:36:48

    I don’t believe Jane intended to say every erotic romance is porn–because it isn’t.

    And I certainly didn’t get that impression from what she said. I think she’s just suggesting–as I might–that epubs call a spade a spade. Sorry about the cliche, but it works.

    I don’t know why some sites try to wrap romance gauze around porn. I can’t see how it benefits either the customer for porn or the customer for romance.

  20. J L Wilson
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 17:26:22

    My books, which come out in download and in print, are with smaller publishers who have a ‘hot’ line and a ‘not-so-steamy’ line (mine fall in the latter category.) That said, it’s very hard for a mainstream author to get attention in the crowded erotic market. That’s where a lot of money is made in digital releases.

    I don’t think erotic writers in digital have as much competition as mainstream authors do, since those of us in mainstream have to compete with bookstore books (few bookstores carry a large amount of erotic titles). It’s tough to compete when there’s not a shelf for browsing and people have to seek out our books at the publisher’s site or at Fictionwise or Amazon and when we’re competing with established names in romance fiction.

    I do sometimes cringe when I point people to a publisher web site to find my book and there’s a ‘hot’ cover on that site. I try to redirect people exactly to my book page but there have been some glitches with publishers, and my readers occasionally land on a page listing some very racy covers. It’s made for amusing email, that’s for sure…

    I’m very proud of my books and the editing that has gone into them — I write mysteries for one publisher (and am starting a paranormal series with them this fall), romantic suspense for another, and time travel for a third — and ALL have high standards of editing and production. Covers? I wish I had a say over them, but I don’t. I have been fortunate, though, and have been pretty happy with most of them. I think my publishers take care to match the content with the cover.

    I no longer buy paper books, but buy for my Kindle (and later transfer content to my I-touch). I have to admit, though, that I don’t read as much as I used to before I was published. I simply don’t have time with 3-4 books releasing a year plus a full-time job in addition to my writing. I travel a lot, too, and having portable content is essential.

    I think the next few years in publishing will have some watershed events. I’m co-teaching a class on writing for publication this fall, and I’m frantically taking notes about all the changes going on. I suspect I’ll be writing and rewriting the syllabus up until the moment I start to talk…

  21. Lisa Hendrix
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 17:36:20

    From my viewpoint I simply don't have the time to go from publisher's web site to publisher's web site looking for books I might want to read

    I had a Twitter conversation about this and the issue of impulse buying with Barry Eisler a while back. He was pointing to JA Konrath’s recent comments about his success with Kindle sales and what easy money it was. I commented that Konrath is already well known and that it would be difficult for someone without a ready market to achieve the same results so easily.

    A large part of Konrath’s name recognition comes because people see his books on shelves and supermarket racks, so when they stumble on an ebook on Amazon, they may pay attention. There’s also the possibility that he is gaining Kindle sales at the expense of his paper sales at Amazon. I find it hard to imagine that everyone who decides to buy one of his Kindle books also buy the original mass market they set out to purchase.

    Another unexamined factor in the move toward digital is what is going to replace rack browsing and impulse sales. We all know that a good portion of book sales happen because a reader is scanning the shelf for Nora Roberts’ latest and happens to see an interesting book from Sheila Roberts right there. I’ve stood in B&N and watched more than once as someone reaches for Virginia Henley and takes my adjacent book as well. Yes, you can browse Amazon or Fictionwise, after a fashion, and yes, actually purchasing digital books is easy and immediate. But ease of purchase is only a factor when you set out to buy a book to begin with. And online browsing is really pretty crappy and oriented toward leading you from one bestseller to the next. To find anything not in the top 100 of any category, you pretty much need to know what you want by title or author before you even log on. Serendipity and chance encounters with “that wonderful little book” go out the window.

    Then there’s the money factor. Digital books are distinct transactions, fully documents. We all know that a fair number of paper books get bought only because their cost can be buried in the grocery budget or dribbled out as cash at the airport newsstand. It’s hard to fool either yourself or your partner when the charges show up on your credit card statement.

    All of this is going to make things really interesting over the next years. It will be interesting to see how publishers, authors, and retailers address them.

  22. Jennifer McKenzie
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 19:53:36

    I agree with all of these issues Jane.
    I buy books on friend recommendation or because I know the author. Why? Because I can’t count on a snappy blurb to show me what is REALLY between the covers. Hell, I can’t count on that from ANY publisher, electronic or print.
    If a book doesn’t offer an excerpt? I’m not interested. Why? Because I like to see if I want to read it. It makes sense.
    I’ve read quality, stunning ebooks. “Paul’s Dream” by Rowan McBride. “Invasion Earth” by Loribelle Hunt. “Natural Law” by Joey W. Hill. All are erotic romance. But I’ve also read some excellent NON erotic ebooks. “Go Between” by Dayna Hart. “Hot Contract” by Jodi Henley, “The Living Legend” by Emily Wayne Porter and “Mayan Secrets” by Ciar Cullen.
    All of these books were either recommended to me or were authors I knew and TRUSTED would produce quality books.
    It’s going to happen. Digital books will be a regular part of all our lives. But I think we do have to address the issues you’re talking about or we will constantly struggle for recognition.

  23. ReacherFan
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 20:56:05

    I only started buying ebooks in pdf format about a year ago. I own about 300 individual titles. What I have come to resent the the high pricing for novellas and ‘short novels’. They are much to high for the word count – not to mention less story and what there is is less complex and satisfying. I’ve noticed the pricing tricks – and the latest crap of serialization of a novel getting pulled over on Siren’s site – has reduced my buying significantly. Granted, there are fewer titles that draw me, but when I’m on the bubble the price will make or break it. I won’t pay $3 for what is, effectively, a short story or a total of $12 or more for a novel sold in 3 sections to up the price, as Siren is doing right now. (Sold as a novel the price would be about HALF the serialized cost.) On the plus side, Siren DOES include the word count, not just a very broad target range that’s 20,000 words wide.

    These publishers are not offering a product I can’t live without. They sell entertainment and there is a limit to what I’ll pay. And once I get resentful and feel like I’m being taken advantage of, I’ll find a different kind of entertainment.

    There is a perception that ebooks offer some kind of price advantage. They don’t. They offer convenience. That is offset by the inability to resell, trade or donate the used book as can be done with print. ebooks remain a very small portion of what I read – and unfortunately, that portion has not grown, but shrunk in the last 6 months, even though I routinely visit 5 epubs sites. Prints books have held steady, but my willingness to buy new releases in hardcover has diminished to a small handful of authors. Buying habits are constantly changing, but guess what – libraries are still free!

  24. Heather Massey
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 21:03:20

    Another unexamined factor in the move toward digital is what is going to replace rack browsing and impulse sales.

    The genres and tropes can be (but are not always) wildly innovative.

    I’m wondering if digital publishers–at least for now–should even try and compete in the arena of rack browsing and impulse sales. Perhaps one possibility is that digital publishers could increase their efforts to target readers of (non-erotic romance) niche genre fare who may be the same consumers as readers who are more likely to base their purchasing decisions on specific genre/story types and competitive pricing. Assuming, of course, that authors are submitting these stories to begin with.

    Just yesterday I wondered how much of a risk it would be for digital publishers to embrace more niche genres of romance, especially those involving, as Jane said, innovative content. I sometimes hear that these stories don’t sell as much as erotica/erotic romance–but is it because they don’t have enough of it to promote or because the readers who would buy it don’t know it’s there (or they do but shy away simply because of the racy covers)?

    If it’s a viable option, why not routinely create non-erotic romance covers for fantasy romance, SF romance, etc.? I’d like to see them take more of a risk with covers in this regard, and move away from the “one-sized erotic romance cover” fits all.

  25. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Booking back to work after the holiday
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 02:02:39

    [...] Great article over at Dear Author about what ebook publishers need to do to improve their image. [...]

  26. Diana Peterfreund
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 05:22:20

    By “halfway decent cell phone” do you mean a large screen smartphone? Even then, I doubt it.

    The latest iphones have a 3.5 inch screen. Blackberry Storms have 3.25, but most blackberries have ~2.4. I have an LG ENV2, which has a 2.5 screen on the flip up. I can see about 25 words max (no para breaks) on the screen at once. It’s satisfactory for quick text messages or short emails, but nothing more.

    To compare: Small mass market category size paperbacks (the smallest paperbacks, judging from my shelf) have an 8 inch “screen” (i.e. page) which usually holds about 250 words, including paragraph breaks.

    Some kindles have 6 inch screens, some as much at 9.7″. Sony ereaders also have a 6″ display. I think half or less that size (as on most phones, even the “large screen” touch phones) is going to make it VERY difficult to read. The scrolling alone would make it nearly impossible, especially in scenes where there’s a lot of dialogue.

    The reason kindles and other e-reading devices are revolutionizing ebooks is because it gives people a chance to actually read the way they are used to reading. But I don’t even read most twitter messages on my cell — way too small of a display. It’s not luddite tendencies. It’s not a good medium.

  27. Karen
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 06:11:52

    I think online booksellers could do a lot better when it comes to browsing and recommendations. None of them do a great job, whether it’s a big store like Amazon or a small e-publisher. I noticed this over the weekend, when I was buying some music at Amazon. I planned to buy one song, and ended up buying 20, because Amazon kept recommending interesting new music – not just top sellers, but more obscure artists and albums that I didn’t know about. But in books, I rarely get those kinds of recommendations. Amazon only seems to recommend books by the same author, or top bestsellers. I hardly ever get a recommendation that’s interesting or surprising. But I think it’s possible, and I think it would work even better than browsing at the bookstore, because the recommendations would be more targeted. If I’m buying an angsty historical, I want to find more angsty historicals, and that’s hard to find if you’re just looking at random books on the shelf.

  28. Evangeline
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 06:47:05

    Just yesterday I wondered how much of a risk it would be for digital publishers to embrace more niche genres of romance, especially those involving, as Jane said, innovative content. I sometimes hear that these stories don't sell as much as erotica/erotic romance-but is it because they don't have enough of it to promote or because the readers who would buy it don't know it's there (or they do but shy away simply because of the racy covers)?

    As a consumer, I know there are non-erotic romance titles published in the e-market, but I don’t or can’t see them. As a writer who supports e-publishing and consider it an option, I nonetheless hesitate to submit because the overwhelming majority of writers making an income, or even a decent living, are writing erotic romance and its latest trends (first menages, then bsdm, now m/m, etc). And for that matter, I have yet to see non-erotic romance title obtain significant amounts of buzz on par with their NY-published titles. It could be a catch-22 scenario: contemporary, inspirational, historical, romantic suspense, romance writers don’t submit to e-publishers because they associate it with erotic romance, or those books don’t sell because loyal e-book readers only seek erotic romance. Either way, e-publishing is overwhelmingly synonymous with erotic romance and I don’t know how that image will change.

  29. Christine McKay
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 07:05:43

    Whenever I’m reading on my e-reader, wherever I’m at, I attract people. People who are interested in e-readers but have never encountered them before. There’s a lot of questions that are asked and answered.

    The most interesting thing? The age group of the askers ranges from 18 to 60. Basically, there is no generational gap.

    I think if a big box store like a Best Buy or Office Max/Depot or the local college offered a free hour seminar on e-readers, you’d draw more buyers. The curious folks I’ve met want to hold one and see how it functions and be reassured that it’s no more difficult than understanding a DVD or a VCR.

    The quality of writing available for download is never discussed.

    I’ve even had farmers ask if they could read PDF tractor repair manuals on it. How handy is that in the field? Not having to lug around a 600 page manual.

    I think training on the e-reader needs to come first. Drum up the interest. And quality will follow as the readers begin to demand more material, better material, and more functionality from their e-readers.

  30. Mrs Giggles
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 07:09:09

    As a consumer, I know there are non-erotic romance titles published in the e-market, but I don't or can't see them.

    And whose fault is that? If we focus only on Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id, and Samhain, of course we are going to see all those erotic titles. I find it bewildering that we are complaining about how hard it is to find non-erotic romances when we keep going back to the same three publishers who are known to focus either exclusively or heavily on erotic romances. Kinda like constantly going to an apple orchard to complain that there aren’t enough oranges on sale.

    Just on top of my head, these epublishers publish more mainstream romances than erotic stuff:

    http://www.awe-struck.net
    http://www.mundania.com
    http://www.amberquillpress.com (their mainstream line)
    http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com (their mainstream line)
    http://www.thewildrosepress.com (their mainstream line)
    http://www.belgravehouse.com
    http://www.trebleheartbooks.com
    http://www.hardshell.com

    There [i]are[/i] epublishers out there who have been in business for a long time while staying out of the erotic romance market. And it’s not like I have an “in” with the industry – I knew of all those publishers above by following links or using Google. You just have to know where to look, and really, it’s not that hard.

  31. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 07:59:28

    As a consumer, I know there are non-erotic romance titles published in the e-market, but I don't or can't see them.

    I write erotic and non-erotic romance. Both sell well, but there’s no denying the erotic does better, as a rule. I am proud of what I write and I work hard at whatever is my current project, so the quality isn’t an issue, at least it isn’t in my work.

    But you can’t force a market where there is none. You can encourage it, you can promote it, but what you need at the end of the day is buyers to sustain it. Publishers, whether e or trad, aren’t there for the good of their souls. They might love the industry they work in, they might feel passionately about some of their authors, or all of them, but without that profit, they haven’t the money to invest and the whole thing goes belly-up.

    If you want to see more non-erotic romance, more genres other than romance, the titles are out there, but readers need to vote with their pocketbooks.

    For a non-erotic romance which engendered buzz – try Alex Beecroft’s books (m/m but not graphically erotic) or Deidre Knight’s. My own Yorkshire, when it came out, did pretty well and got a fair amount of buzz, and Linnea Sinclair’s Gabriel’s Ghost was an ebook first, where it became a runaway bestseller, before it went to Bantam and became a RITA winner. It does happen.

    Christine – you are so right. I’ve done a few talks recently in the UK on ebooks, and once I get out the readers, the audience gets it. I don’t have an eink reader, but even with the ones I have, they start to get interested.

  32. Epublishers should get their act in order - says Jane of Dear Author | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 08:47:28

    [...] Author has an excellent commentary today on how digital publishers must get their act in order. You should go over there and read the whole [...]

  33. Back to the Grindstone Just Sayin’ « Redneck Romance Writer
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 08:56:57

    [...] Dear Author (Jane) I think this post breaks down what the next steps for digital publishing will be. I appreciate how clearly you put [...]

  34. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 09:24:32

    I want to add that Cerridwen Press (I know, part of Ellora’s Cave and the website IS difficult to find, so I wouldn’t fault anyone for not knowing to Google or look further on EC’s home page) has some nice non-erotic romance. I haven’t bought much from Cerridwen (about five titles), but I’m batting 1.000 on what I have, which, for me, is pretty spectacular.

  35. Noticias Edición Digital » Blog Archive » Epublishers should get their act in order - says Jane of Dear Author
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 10:16:09

    [...] Author has an excellent commentary today on how digital publishers must get their act in order. You should go over there and read the whole [...]

  36. Aoife
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 10:47:27

    You just have to know where to look, and really, it's not that hard.

    Actually, it is.

    When I am looking for a book, especially if I don’t have a recommendation or review for a specific book, I’m very seldom in the mood to spend hours searching the web on the off chance I might find something that appeals to me. Especially if I have no idea about the overall quality or reliability of the e-book or publisher. At Borders, BAM, or any of the other bricks and mortar bookstores I can browse across publishers, and within ten seconds of picking up a book can have a fair idea of the quality of writing and content.

    I’ve bought e-books from some of the e-pubs listed, and it was enough of a hit-or-miss thing that I haven’t been back in a while. I realize that every reader is different, but that has just been my experience. I’m reading more paper books, and fewer e-books because my interest in erotica is limited, and I can’t find enough quality non-erotic e-books.

  37. Carefree in Canada
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 11:35:17

    Bottom line, ladies (and gents, I should not discriminate…)

    I am currently carrying 77 books around in my purse, and that is thanks to the wonderful eReader that I purchased from Sony. I have a few comments to some of the concerns that people still have of using this new medium:

    1. Price – yes, you will have to invest some $$ to purchase the actual unit, but you save in the subsequent purchases of books, a lot of which I have been purchasing of late come out in hardcover or large paperback format, but with e-version the price is ALWAYS cheaper, and yes, I am also considering the exchange rate as I live in Canada.

    2. Esthetic/Quality – other than the cover, some of which I RATHER was not on the book, the rest of the book is black and white, so what gives!? With eReader you can also skip pages, go from chapter to chapter, and the newer version of some readers you can do word find too! (though I am not sure why you would). And yes, you can also fold the corner of your page to mark it, but the beauty is you don’t ruin the page! Multiple bending for you frustrated benders…

    3. Content/Quality – yeah, the two links that Jane put as bad samples of ebooks are hilarious bad. But seriously, even in print versions there are many options of which offer a vast range of quality. It’s up to you as consumers to choose the one that is right for you, or if you are offended then complain to the retailer, that’s how things are changed! But generalizing a lot of ebooks as sleazy or pornographic content is wrong. As well, quite a few of the mainstream romance authors that are not popular started not so long ago writing and showing their work on the smaller e-publisher sites/formats.

    4. Finally, I want to say that my eReader will never replace the traditional paper and binding book, especially not for my cookbooks or books where illustration is part of the reason I am buying. Everyone needs to think of eReader/ebooks as an alternative/ a convenience for consumers to take books around with them to work, to travel, etc. Can you image if I carried all 77 of those books in actual paperback? NO WAY! I actually have a couple of ebooks in that eReader now that I have a second copy in traditional paper. That’s the beauty of ebooks. Convenience.

    If you are interested, it’s up to you to do your homework and decide which reader is right for you. As well, if you live outside of the US, you will not be able to use Kindle.

    Don’t fear the technology! Keep reading!

  38. Angela James
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 12:32:41

    Bound by Blood by Evie Byrne
    Words: 29911
    Price: 4.50

    You have no idea how panicked I was when I saw this, because that would have been a pricing error and the screw-up mine. Thankfully, that’s the incorrect word count (it’s 40k+ words) and I can now practice my deep breathing to bring my heart rate back down.

    Finally, give me something to give your books a shot. I have yet to try a Samhain book. When I see them giving away books for free on Amazon, but not on Sony or elsewhere, I die a little inside. Here is a great opportunity to get more readers, yet they ignore it? Uggh. Too bad, I fall for promos hook line and sinker.

    Jessica, you’re not the only reader who’s expressed feeling this way. When we first started doing the free books, it was something totally new to us, and really, somewhat new to the digital industry (except for Baen who’s been doing it for years!). Kindle was a good place to try it because it allowed us to track the sales of subsequent titles and see how effective the promotion actually was. Which is, of course, the desired end result of any business’s promotional efforts: being effective. I know there were readers who felt we were ignoring other formats or being just plain mean, but we have a responsibility to our authors (and, let’s be honest, our own bottom line) to make sure we’re not just giving their book away with no satisfactory end result. That’s not really good business!

    Now that we’ve been doing it for awhile, we can say that it’s definitely effective and other bookstores have taken notice. So you’ll be happy to hear that we have plans to do similar giveaways with Sony in the future, once we can get the plans in place.

  39. Mike Cane
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 12:51:40

    I suspect those who claim a smartphone screen is “too small” either haven’t tried the right phone (iPhone/Pre/Android) or the right software.

    I’ve just read six books on my LifeDrive with MobiPocket. And I used the MobiType option, which makes the text *teeny* almost.

    I resisted doing this for the longest time, citing the above objection. Then I finally made the connection that all the Mobi eBooks offered at the NYPL were just sitting there while I kept racking up overdue fines with the print books!

    What I’ve found is this: If it’s something you are *really motivated to want to read*, the teeny type and wee screen melt away and the words of the book remain.

  40. Maili
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 13:15:27

    Although I prefer the ebook format (of print books) to print books nowaday, I agree with Aoife’s comment where native epubs are concerned.

    It’s surprisingly tough to be an ebook browser. Most ebooks I bought were because of others’ recommendations/suggestions and a couple of book reviews.

    When alone and without recs, it’s extremely hard to buy with confidence. I’m thinking it’s because:

    a) most ebook authors aren’t familiar. There seems to be an assumption that I – a casual ebook buyer – know who writes what kind. I don’t. Paranormal author? Great, but what kind? Dark, comedic, bizarre…what? There’s nothing to compare with. With a print book, I can flip through the book and figure out what it’d be like. Since I can’t do this with an ebook, I need more clues a better guide.

    b) surprisingly, excerpts aren’t always available.

    c) when a title looks good, a short excerpt isn’t enough. I’d like a sample. I don’t know if this is possible, but Amazon’s See Inside function is incredibly helpful, so I’d like something similar from epubs/shops.

    I do try visiting an author’s blog or web site to get a better idea, but most don’t bother with longer excerpts. That said, why must I spend time and effort to visit those authors’ sites when I could see it at epub’s site?

    Browsing is ideal for impulsive buys, and it won’t happen if I have to make an effort to do homework.

    d) surprisingly, some epubs don’t bother with summaries and excerpts at all. It’s as if book covers, word count and tags (m/f, m/m, etc) are good enough to snag potential buyers. Some book covers are rather off-putting and the tags? What’s the point? I want good stories. :D

    e) Navigation for browsers isn’t always user-friendly. This applies to Waterstone’s, WH Smith and Blackstone’s as well. It’s incredibly hard to browse in their sections. You have to have a specific title or author to get what you want from there.

    I think it would be helpful or useful if some would try the ‘If you like so-so, you might like so-so’ function.

    The point is, epubs or ebookshop (native ebook or not) are supposed to be like a high street bookshop: easy to browse and with minimal effort. Please don’t make me feel browsing is a chore.

    Because of these issues, my ebook shopping is based solely on readers’ recommendations and suggestions, so no casual browsing for me at the moment.

  41. Sue T
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 14:59:28

    I agree with Aoife completely.

    I also think those that find it perfectly fine to read an ebook on their cell phone must be under 40. I’m 45 and I just had to get reading glasses to enjoy my beloved paperback books. The mere thought of trying to read over a cell phone makes me shudder. Same thing for ereaders but not because their viewing size is small. I’m just not an ebook person. I work on a computer all day and the last thing I want to do is either sit down at a computer or another electronic equipment to read.

    The other thing I have to say is that while some of the sites Mrs. Giggles referred to (thanks for them – some I’ve never heard of), I’ve been on those sites and maybe I’m off about the definition of erotic romance but when I scan and see sex in the excerpt, that’s erotic romance, not straight romance. I do only look at futuristic/paranormal but still see that in the excerpts. Ugh.

    Before I will plunk down my hard-earned money on ebooks (yep, I’ve tried – can’t find any of the quality or taste I like over paper pubs), the quality has to increase. And while I suspect I’m missing out on some of the quality writers, they are too dang hard to find and I don’t have time to look for them. Or the eye sight.

  42. GrowlyCub
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 15:12:40

    I’d never in a million years consider reading a book on my cell phone. It has a teeny tiny screen and it’s backlit.

    I love my Sony Reader, though, because I can blow up the font size as big as I want it to be (we wouldn’t want to deprive all those stealth readers around us from joining in the experience, grin) before I even import the rtf files. I was skeptical about whether the reading experience would be different and better from my laptop, but I have to say there is absolutely no comparison. The Sony wins hands-down by a margin so wide it’s not even in the same universe.

    I just finished reading a paperback and it was a real hassle. The font was relatively small and having to hold that beastie open without totally cracking the spine and making the pages fall out was really annoying.

    That made me realize how much I enjoy reading on my e-reader. I was really annoyed to have to stop eating lunch/stop reading because doing both at the same time with the paper book just didn’t work!

  43. kirsten saell
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 15:38:45

    Agreed, Growly. I prefer my Sony to paper books in almost every way.

    I can enlarge the font, bookmark pages, prop it up on the pillow when I read in bed and snake my hand out just to turn the page so my fingers don’t grow icicles and fall off, put it in a ziploc bag to read in the tub or even in the rain (and OMG does it ever rain where I live), eat while reading, fold napkins at work while reading, switch to a different book at will, and read for hours and hours without getting hand fatigue. Plus, it keeps track of exactly where I stopped reading, even if I have multiple books going at the same time. AND I can buy a book the moment I want it, even if it’s 11 at night and I’m in my jim-jams.

    You practically have to hold me down and make me read a paper book nowadays. Mass market paperbacks are hard to keep open–and some publishers put the margins way too close to the spine, IMO. You practically need to flatten the book to read it. And hardcover? If I wanted to weightlift, I’d use dumbells. Trade paperbacks are so floppy when you read lying on your side, and you have to roll over every time you move onto the next page. PITA.

    I looooove my Sony. I love it so much, I almost want to marry it. But I don’t think it swings that way…

  44. Neff Rotter
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 15:53:48

    When I started my epub business in 1999, I chose to only publish ebooks of previously paper-published books. This seemed the simplest way of maintaining quality–the books would already have been edited by New York editors and I wouldn’t have to choose which book were worthy of publishing.

    I still hold to this pattern, only occasionally publishing ebooks by authors who are already multipublished and offered on the website. My assumption was that no matter how industriously a reader had applied her/himself, they could not possibly have read all the romance/mystery/paranormal/historical/etc. books that had been published in the previous twenty years.

    Authors who are published in mass market paperback see their books on the racks for a month or two and then disappear. Epublishing is an opportunity to see their books available once again–and permanently.

    Because very few traditional Regencies are being published these days, I developed a second site to specifically offer Regency and Georgian romances. These books have a chance to find new readers.

    Every ebook offered on the sites is DRM-free, has a word count, a blurb, a one-or-two chapter sample, is offered in 10 different formats, is instantly downloadable (with PayPal or credit card), has a $5 (for novels) or $3 (for novellas) price, and there are several free offerings–a contemporary romance, a Regency novella, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

    So what are you waiting for??

    http://www.BelgraveHouse.com
    http://www.RegencyReads.com

  45. Robin
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 16:46:20

    Although I am sometimes an early adopter, it’s not usually in technology, as I’m hardly savvy in that area. However, because so many people around me are tech early adopters AND readers, I’ve been fortunate enough to have opportunities to become an active and happy ebook reader. I also love paper books, and I even collect antique and rare books, because I love the physical artifact that is an old book.

    Anyway, my point is that as someone who was always open to ebook reading but not very educated about it, I needed help in crossing over to that new paradigm. I needed information about reading device options (and I read on my iPhone, laptop, and Sony reader very happily), understanding of where and how to purchase ebooks, and awareness of what was being offered in electronic format and why. And I do not think I am alone.

    Clearly digital is here and it’s growing. No matter how readers stand on the digital market currently, enough are engaged in ereading that it’s a rapidly growing market. IMO digital publishers absolutely need to focus on quality and professional appearance both, and also IMO, they would do well to assist the reader who is currently on the precipice of ereading take the leap.

    There is always, IMO, going to be a proportion of readers who don’t want ebooks, who will always choose print, and who don’t want to be converted. Which is fine by me, because I certainly don’t want to see print books disappear. And I don’t think those readers should be the focus of any kind of conversion efforts, because for whatever reason, they just don’t want to read differently.

    But between the current and potential (aka on the precipice) readers of ebooks, there is definitely, I think, a need and opportunity for epublishing to build the viability of the market by providing quality books with a quality name recognition (i.e. a professional front). And by helping readers find and purchase those books (insert rant about DRM here). Unlike many readers, I do not find it unreasonable to pay $5 and more for ebooks (as long as I’m not being asked to pay OVER the print price for books in both formats), but then I never paid attention to word counts before reading Romance.

    In any case, I think there are many readers who would move quite naturally into the ebook market if only they had more incentive and assistance from epublishers, and so much of that, IMO, is just good business sense and professionalism. It’s not going to be too long before NY steps into the breach, so it seems to me that this is exactly the time for professional independent epresses to establish themselves as every bit as legitimate as NY print houses. The market might not be huge now, but it’s also not unreasonably crowded – yet.

  46. Jane
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 16:47:39

    @Neff Rotter I am a big devotee of Belgrave House and so is Jayne! I was thrilled to see you publishing formerly oop Joan Wolf books. Her Signet regencies are some of my favorites of all time. I am also a big fan of Joan Smith and Laura Matthews, the latter I hear is a pseudonym for someone else. ;)

  47. Evangeline
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 21:29:12

    @Mrs Giggles:

    And whose fault is that? If we focus only on Ellora's Cave, Loose Id, and Samhain, of course we are going to see all those erotic titles.

    I am familiar with those imprints but e-book reviews are hard to come by, and no one can deny that the e-books that are reviewed at the biggie review sites like here and Karen Knows Best, are more often than not, erotic romance. As someone else said above, there’s a bigger risk in just trying unfamiliar e-book writers because you cannot donate them to the library, turn them in to the UBS, nor can you pass them on to a friend who might like it if the book didn’t impress you.

    Also, those three publishers are spoken of often because they’ve branded themselves and marketed their “house”–you can’t deny that Angela James is the “face” of Samhain. If she weren’t such a dynamic proponent of e-publishing and Samhain, most would be as leery of trying their e-books are they are of the lesser known houses. I myself will try an unknown Samhain author simply because the imprint presents itself as devoted to quality and innovation in all romance sub-genres–which is exactly how Aoife says she browses brick and mortar stores for NY pubbed books and why the so-called average reader will reach for Avon Romance for historicals and Berkley Sensation for paranormals. So rather than I singeing my fingers on so-so reads and turning away from the e-publisher, why shouldn’t they reach out and establish a “brand”? (Which, IMO, will also help distinguish the legitimate, professional e-publishers from the fly-by-nights).

  48. Carefree in Canada
    Jul 06, 2009 @ 21:47:56

    OMG! Kristin and Growlycub! I luuuuurrrvvvv my Sony eReader as well! My wrist loves it even more, cause I am not doing wrist lifts when reading with it, unlike when I am reading the traditional paperback. My wrist and my physiotherapist thank the eReader when I devour JR Ward’s latest book in a day!

    So much talk about erotic fiction, can I just say that there other genres of new entry romantic e-fiction available!? If you don’t believe me, go to the Sony ebook store site and check it out! The mass market and popular authors have their work available in both traditional and electronic versions!

    All I want now from Sony is for them to put and extra set of back and forth buttons on the top of the screen, so I can really curl up on my side and read with it cradled in my arm…:) If Sony does that, I am better than married to that thing!

  49. Tor’s Open Door Policy is Perfect for Readers | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 04:02:03

    [...] people would like one site with all the major publishers new release information.  Mrs. Giggles correctly identifies that there are a number of ebook publishers that publish sweet and mainstream ebooks yet readers [...]

  50. Maili
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 05:24:15

    @Neff Rotter
    I just paid a visit to your site – BelgraveHouse.com – and it’s quite awesome.

    While the site isn’t pretty-looking, the navigation is very user-friendly, which is a massive relief when comparing with better known epubs’ sites. The sheer ease of the navigation alone makes me not mind the site’s 1995-era appearance at all. I really do love samples. Not too short or long, just right.

    The only serious criticism I have is (which applies to some of other epubs as well), the site offers just word counts and prices*. No clue to whether it’s a short story, novella, novel or whatnot, which makes it quite tough for a person with dyscalculia like me.

    (*When I see $5, I may read it as $S, $9, $8, $6, $$ or $Z (and $ as S) because of the similarities among these. As you may see, the price isn’t quite a useful guide. Most times, word counts appear as alphanumerics to me. This is why I appreciate another visual guide, in form of written words.)

    Thanks.

  51. Eirin
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 07:53:04

    Neff Rotter @ 44:

    Every ebook offered on the sites is DRM-free, has a word count, a blurb, a one-or-two chapter sample, is offered in 10 different formats, is instantly downloadable (with PayPal or credit card), has a $5 (for novels) or $3 (for novellas) price, and there are several free offerings-a contemporary romance, a Regency novella, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

    So what are you waiting for??

    I’m off.
    I can’t think how I’ve managed to overlook Belgrave House, especially as it seems like just the thing for me. Thanks for linkage.

  52. Jane
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 08:06:22

    I just wanted to insert a comment here that Amazon’s plan is not just devoted to ebooks. The Patent Application clearly indicates that it wants to offer printed books with printed ads. The idea that Amazon is presenting is that to reduce waste and returns for print publishers, they can turn to instant print on demand. The reader then is offered the option at checkout to either purchase the book with ads at a “lower” price or the book without ads IN PRINT FORM.

    This is far more pervasive than ads in ebooks and ads killing the ebook market.

  53. DS
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 08:25:22

    Oops wrong thead. But won’t this affect the ability to use media mail if the ads are for something other than other books by the same publisher.

  54. Neff Rotter
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 12:50:57

    The only serious criticism I have is (which applies to some of other epubs as well), the site offers just word counts and prices*. No clue to whether it's a short story, novella, novel or whatnot, which makes it quite tough for a person with dyscalculia like me.

    The indication as to whether it is a novel or novella comes after the description. Unless an ebook is indicated as a novella, it is a novel. And, as I mentioned, the novels are $5 and the novellas $3, so that’s a further indication. Neither Belgrave House nor Regency Reads offers short stories.

  55. AQ
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 16:49:06

    @Angela

    You have no idea how panicked I was when I saw this, because that would have been a pricing error and the screw-up mine. Thankfully, that's the incorrect word count (it's 40k+ words) and I can now practice my deep breathing to bring my heart rate back down.

    Sorry, Angela, I pulled the info from Fictionwise. Didn’t realize it wasn’t correct.

  56. Bookish Things That Have Me Thinking on a Thursday Night. | Quartet Press
    Jul 09, 2009 @ 21:48:55

    [...] over at “Dear Author” also set my heart aflutter laying down the gauntlet and demanding digital publishers step up their game. At Quartet, we’ve all printed this out and taped it up where we can see it. We WILL make [...]

  57. Mari
    Sep 22, 2009 @ 23:02:28

    If it hadn’t been for Ellora’s Cave I wouldn’t have found Lora Leigh, Lacey Alexander, Jaci Burton and Rhyannon Byrd- all authors who I later started reading in paperback- and may have come from the digital world originally?…yes I like my romance spicy so thank you to Ellora’s. I think it’s made erotica more mainstream and I am a consumer who is pleased at the shift. As a reader I have a lot of options now. I do feel kind of bad though for people who don’t realize what they are buying – what a shock they must get!

  58. Connie Bures
    Nov 05, 2010 @ 15:49:53

    “That's As well great, when it is available in india desire it could create a Rocking area for youngster.. wish that appear accurate.”

    ———————-
    Michigan

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