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Monday News: Harlequin print and digital consumer sites merge; Kobo says...

Kobo has chased the “heavy reader” segment in particular. Book buying resembles many consumer markets, where the 80/20 rule operates: 20% of the customers buy 80% of the product. So by Kobo targeting heavy users, they can efficiently sell a larger volume. It’s difficult to get comparable figures internationally, but according to management consultant (and my colleague) Brian O’Leary, the average U.S. consumer buys about 4 books per year, and the frequent buyer purchases 12 to 45 books per year. Humphrey reports that his readers via a Kobo device buy on average four books per month, or 48 per year. Forbes

The upcoming clinical trial, to be conducted in November at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, will evaluate the ring in 60 women over 14 days. The trial will assess the ring’s safety and measure how much of the drug is released and the properties of the ring after use.

The ring stays in place for 30 days.  The ring can be used deliver other drugs in the future such as contraceptives or other STI killers. Maybe a new and better condom doesn’t need to be invented? News | McCormick School of Engineering | Northwestern University

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. mari
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 05:59:17

    The new vaginal ring sounds interesting but one would have to actually believe that one is at risk for the disease and that the disease is deadly. Many people don’t believe they are at risk. In this country anyway , I am finding many young people regard the risk with a shrug,having known people who have lived with HIV for many years as a manageable, non-life-threatening condition. Married women especially are probably not going to use this.

  2. Patricia Eimer
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 07:19:48

    It’s cool that they’re at least trying to find a new– more effective– way of combating HIV. It has it’s issues, sure, but I hope that the trial goes well.

    As far as the Kobo thing? They’re a billion dollar company? How? Who reads on a Kobo?

  3. Ros
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 07:39:32

    @Patricia Eimer: A lot of people who don’t live in the US.

  4. Lisa J
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 08:26:16

    @Patricia Eimer: I don’t read on a Kobo, but I do buy books from them. They have ePub I can use on my Sony.

  5. library addict
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 08:32:57

    @Patricia Eimer: I don’t read on a Kobo, but I shop there a lot. They sell mainly ePub and have great coupon codes. And now all publishers are coupon eligible.

    Yay for the Harlequin site. Though I do need to learn how to navigate around again now.

    I think the medical ring sounds promising, but how sad that it will be yet another excuse for males not to take equal responsibility.

  6. Lynnd
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 08:48:07

    @Ros: Definitely. I read on my Kobo (reader and app) and they are my chief source for book-buying. Amazon can be a pain for non-US residents, they charge additiional fees for their international customers and they rarely have any of the “deals” which US folks get for their international customers. The Kobo coupons are great.

  7. Zara Keane
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 08:57:44

    @Patricia Eimer: What others have said. Kindle ebooks are usually the most expensive option for me due to the crazy international surcharges, and their deals are almost always restricted to US customers. While I have issues with Kobo’s search engine, I love their prices.

  8. Willa
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 09:20:41

    @Patricia Eimer:

    I do – I have a Kobo Glo after a disastrous experience with a Kindle and *I* personally find it a better reading experience all round combined with Calibre, and you are not locked in to buying from the Amazon walled garden. As others have said they have great coupon codes too .

  9. Christine M.
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 09:28:49

    @Patricia Eimer:

    People who live outside of the US? Sony’s store sucks but their reader is fab so it’s a mix and match of non-Amazon products that works best for most of us. :)

  10. Amanda
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 09:48:31

    The whole Harlequin site merger really is along time coming. I wonder if this means that the new eBooks will be available to download when their book counterparts are. It seems odd that I can purchase and read the paperback long before the eBook is available to read.

  11. Darlynne
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 10:02:22

    Forty-eight books a year is a “heavy” buyer? What comes after that, Super Size Me or maybe DA Reader? In September alone, since discovering their coupons, I bought 14 books, without a Kobo device. It’s a good thing I buy my clothes from Goodwill.

  12. Renda
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 10:04:55

    I do hope with the Harlequin site merger that they totally retool the site. It was/is cumbersome and not at all conducive to shopping around.

  13. cleo
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 10:48:10

    @Darlynne: I know – I’m still trying to wrap my head around only buying 4 books a month, let alone only 4 a year. I buy so many more ebooks than I ever bought print books – I’m sure my average is way above 4/month.

    This past month and a half I’ve been on an extremely restricted budget and I’ve been so good about going to the library and reading books I already own. I was really proud of myself for only buying about 3 or 4 (cheap) books in 6 weeks and it turns out that I’ve already bought more in 6 weeks than the “average” person buys in a *year*. I don’t get non-readers.

  14. SusanS
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 11:14:26

    Sorry to ask a stupid question – can you purchase ebooks through Kobo for a Kindle Fire? I always assumed the answer was no, so I didn’t pay much attention to those Kobo coupons.

    Also, while I read approximately 200 books/year, I probably only buy a quarter to a third of them. Thank god for public libraries.

  15. SAO
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 11:19:01

    Wouldn’t a permanent anti-retroviral medication cause the disease to become resistant? Because I can’t see women who want the ring using it just one month. It might be a good choice for women whose partners are HIV positive, but I can’t see it for anyone else.

  16. Willa
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 11:44:35


    No – Kobo books are epubs and Kindle books are Mobi format. There is a way around this if you use Calibre – whereby you can change the format of the book from epub to mobi and then read it on your Fire.

  17. kamlin
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 12:17:30

    oh yes… we are part of the kobo heavy users.We buy a lot of books probably 10 or more each month and a lot of them from kobo.
    They have great marvellous coupon discount codes which really goes a long way to alleviate the cost of e books…
    I believe they are on their way to generate a billion dollar company.
    they are owned by rakuten… japanese..
    btw we reside in asia and kobo is easily accessible here unlike kindle…

  18. Anne
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 12:41:30


    Yes, you can purchase books from Kobo by downloading the Kobo app on your fire.

    You have to have your fire set to allow install applications from unknown sources:
    Swipe down from top> Other> Device> Turn on installation of applications.

    Then on your fire go to: Goodereader app store
    Search for the Kobo app and download and install to your fire. It will then show under your apps.

    NB: I gave you the link to because that’s the store I usually use for apps outside of Amazon. You can also try and You can also download the Nook app from goodereader if you like. There are other reading apps as well but these are the two I use.

  19. farmwifetwo
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 15:14:35


    Yes if you download the Kobo app. They have decent coupons but their customer service is poor. They reply quick but can’t fix things and getting them to send you to someone who can… Good luck. Also watch for pdf’s. They stopped marking them separate. I haven’t been able to tell if it’s fixed. Lastly all books may now have a coupon slot but they won’t all take one. Tried it last contest.

  20. JL
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 15:31:32

    The trial study for the ring is short, only 14 days with a small number of women. They will only be testing the amount of drug secreted, not the effectiveness. The press releases are a bit misleading. Usually, when they test effectiveness, researchers will offer the option to half of the sample and look at overall rates of transmission, while taking in account factors like whether it was used properly, etc. It is not as sketchy as deliberately exposing a bunch of people to HIV and seeing who gets it. I do think the ring will be quite effective but the risks of taking tenofovir as a continual prophylactic scares me. As much as HIV treatment works wonders for viral suppression, we know very little about the impacts on bone health, livers, and other vital organs. Well, we know it’s bad, but not whether it is bad enough that a continual dose prophylactic should be ruled out.

  21. JL
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 15:43:49

    A permanent prophylaxis probably wouldn’t cause resistance in the wider population any more than existing arvs would. Once the semen is in the woman’s body, the virus won’t survive to infect others if the woman herself isn’t infected. So the mutations from prophylactic treatment should be minimal. If the woman does get infected, then I would worry about individual resistance.

  22. Jolie Jacq
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 17:14:40

    Unfortunately, the changes at Harlequin also mean Australian buyers have been given the boot. We’re now directed to another site with higher prices and less books to choose from.

  23. Ros
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 18:09:25

    @Jolie Jacq: Oh no! I haven’t tried buying there from the UK yet. Hoping I still can…

  24. Cindy
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 18:40:08

    I read on a Kobo. Aside from their customer service (took a week to learn why I couldn’t add books to my device, and that was after I pretty much figured it out on my own), I really like the device. When I need a new device, it will also be Kobo. I like the coupons (especially the multi- use ones) and it has the SD card slot, which was why I went there in the first place.

    And 45 books per year is heavy buyer? Really?

  25. library addict
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 19:54:05

    @Ros: Doesn’t look like it. Per email

    We can continue to fulfill ebook purchases to International customers (excluding the U.K. and Australia); however, we cannot fulfill print book purchases internationally

    emphasis is mine

    I do wonder why when they are so big on world rights.

  26. Kaetrin
    Sep 30, 2013 @ 20:20:37

    Like many others in this thread I read on my Sony reader and I buy from Kobo quite often. Especially with their coupons. If they keep those up I can see why they might get to a billion dollars – I’ve bought more from Kobo in the last month than anywhere else.

    Sad that the new Harlequin store excludes us Aussies. :(

    Is the Carina site still separate?

  27. SusanS
    Oct 01, 2013 @ 07:40:48

    @Anne: Thanks!

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