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Tuesday Midday Links: RWA Tips Hints and other stuff

Tuesday Midday Links: RWA Tips Hints and other stuff

RWA is coming up and even though I have been degowned (as opposed to defrocked) I am going to meet up with editors, authors, publicists, and other bloggers and readers.  As part of the TBR newsletter, I’ve offered some tips on packing.  I’m a big believer in carry on only but this year will be a real struggle.

I’m also meeting with various houses to find out what new titles for which we readers should be on the look out.  Is there anything you want to know?  Here are a list of publishing houses that agreed to meet with me:

  • Berkley
  • NAL
  • Avon
  • Hachette
  • Bantam/Ballantine
  • Sourcebooks
  • Kensington
  • Harlequin
  • Carina Press
  • Samhain

I’ll be filing daily reports of these meetings.


At the literacy signing, a number of authors are participating in the romance trading card venture.  Look for the red RTC button or print out this list.  I will tell you that this is a great way for a reader to break the ice with an author. I’m reluctant to go up to people I’ve never met and this is a great excuse.  The Romance Trading Cards are the brain child of Jeannie Lin whose September book, The Dragon and The Pearl is about a real courtesan.  Can’t wait. Take a gander at these:

Jeannie Lin's RTC

From Jeannie:

The best way to find the cards is to look for the RTC buttons and stickers which authors will be displaying on their badges and on their signing table. Also check out for a list of authors and sample cards. I’m hearing buzz about groups of authors such as the Ruby Slippered-Sisterhood (of which I’m a part) issuing special series and doing a scavenger hunt during the Literacy Signing so fans can collect all the trading cards. I know there were similar ideas being batted around in other groups.


I will be collecting a set of 4 cards to giveaway here on the blog. I have 4 sets from RT to giveaway as well.  Author Meljean Brook has had art specially commissioned for these cards.


Galley Cat brings up a good concern.  Publishers are bragging about how fast they are going to digital press with new books but what does that mean for the reader in terms of quality.

But is this quickness to turnaround copy realistic? Even cutting out manufacturing and distribution times, it seems awfully quick for a book to be written, edited, laid out, copyedited and formatted in just a couple of days. Is eBook publishing changing the expectations of book turnaround times?


There is a lot of chatter amongst authors about the underreporting of royalties.  One publisher expert suggests that the problem extends even further, from publishers to retailers.

We are not questioning the integrity of any reseller service, we are merely pointing out that the digital ebook world is built on a lots of trust and not a lot of counter balances. Some aggregators do provide some statistics of sales online, others you wait for the sales report to tell you the facts after the event. In all cases money sits in cash flows waiting for yesterday’s financial processing to grind into action.

Obviously there are a number of problems in the existing system.  One other expert in the multimedia sales arena has shared that flash reports of sales can be given daily with monthly true ups.  It probably behooves authors to move away from 6 month based royalty reports to something quarterly.  This will be a seismic change for traditional publishing, but probably a necessary one.  As authors’ opportunities for publishing grow, publishers will have to modify their behavior to provide a more attractive service for authors, outside of the advance itself.


New York Post is now blocking access to its web page if you are using an iPad.  Instead, it directs people to purchase the App.  I think this is a terrible idea but what do I know?  How this is done is by the website recognizing what browser you are using. The browser you use has a footprint based upon the size of the webpage it reads and the operating system.


Overdrive has been the sole digital book vendor to libraries for a long time, but competition is heating up causing Overdrive to become more aggressive in its offerings.  Yay for us.

To meet both demand and respond to librarians concerns, OverDrive said it will introduce a series of new features that eliminate the need for librarians and readers to deal with various e-book file formats, allow multiple patrons to simultaneously check out the same title, and add thousands of new e-books and audiobooks. It will also provide support for Kindle Library Lending, and add an opt-in feature that let patrons recommend desired titles to their libraries.


In the Kindle and other etailer stores, readers will be seeing a whole slew of Harlequin category titles.  Harlequin has a goal of digitizing over 10,000 books in 2011 and books from the 1990s and earlier will be designated as “Harlequin Treasury” titles, in part to make readers aware that these may not have the most modern of sensibilities within the covers. I keep asking for Charlotte Lamb books.  Someday.

Dear Author

Friday Midday Links: Let the Battle for BN Begin

Liberty Media, owner of QVC, Starz, Pro Flowers, and a few other internet companies, has made a bid for Barnes and Noble at $17 per share which is a little over $1 Billion. Publishers Lunch intimates that this is the beginning of a bidding war for BN. I suspect we’ll see the company sold before the summer.


Mike Cane posits that this is because BN is about to make an international move. Waterstones has been bought by a Russian billionaire.  Gary Price has a fuller listing of Liberty Media’s assets.


If agents are going to circumvent publishers, then Random House’s direct deal with author Tom Sharpe should have come as no surprise.  Futurebook announces that RH has signed a deal with Tom Sharpe.

The news that we report today that Random House has approached the author Tom Sharpe direct and concluded a deal for his backlist e-book rights without recourse to his agent (Sonia Land chief executive of Sheil Land) shows that publishers will not go quietly into the night, and simply let the author brands they have built discard them.


Quarterly results show digital is up and paper is down in terms of sales.

While adult hardcover and mass market paperback did better, posting gains in March, all the print segments had declines for the first quarter with the nine mass market houses that report results showing a 23.4% sales decline, and the 14 children’s paperback publishers had a 24.1% decline in the quarter. E-book sales easily outdistanced mass market paperback sales in the first quarter with mass market sales falling to $123.3 million compared to e-books’ $233.1 million in sales.

In March, the mass market sales were actually up 1.2% (which is, I think, the first increase in mass market sales in months).


This is consistent with Amazon’s report that it now sells 105 Kindle books for every 100 paper books sold, regardless of format (trade, mass market and hardcover).  From the press release:

Recent milestones for Kindle include:

  • Since April 1, for every 100 print books has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.
  • So far in 2011, the tremendous growth of Kindle book sales, combined with the continued growth in Amazon’s print book sales, have resulted in the fastest year-over-year growth rate for Amazon’s U.S. books business, in both units and dollars, in over 10 years. This includes books in all formats, print and digital. Free books are excluded in the calculation of growth rates.
  • In the five weeks since its introduction, Kindle with Special Offers for only $114 is already the bestselling member of the Kindle family in the U.S.
  • Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.
  • Less than one year after introducing the UK Kindle Store, is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books, even as hardcover sales continue to grow. Since April 1, customers are purchasing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than 2 to 1.


Bowker says that print production was slightly decreased in fiction category.

Fiction remained the top production category, representing 15 percent of the total, but it declined 3 percent from 2009 (48,738 versus 47,392).



Someone is coming out with a digital reader that will sport a Mirasol screen.

The good news, however, is that the company’s 5.7-inch, low-power display actually will see the light of day by the end of 2011, with at least one “converged e-reader” slated to bring a 3x battery life improvement to a mobile reader format.


Backlist eBooks is having a sale.

BACKLIST EBOOKS is comprised of print-published authors who have re-released our out-of-print backlist titles as reasonably priced ebooks.

Our authors include NYT and USA Today bestsellers, as well as those who have won major literary awards–including the Hugo, Nebula, RITA, Romantic Times and more.

The sale books include titles from Marsha Canham (a favorite of Jayne’s) and PB Ryan (a favorite of Janine).  In fact, the first in the PB Ryan series, Still Life with Murder, is totally free.


CDC has a page on Zombie preparedness.  Even if you aren’t ready, the CDC is.

If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated.


Finally, it is hard to believe that this is a photograph but it is.