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LA Banks

Wednesday Midday Links: Author Leslie (LA) Banks Has Passed Away

Wednesday Midday Links: Author Leslie (LA) Banks Has Passed Away

surrenderthedark_500Yesterday the sad news came out that LA Banks lost her battle with cancer and has passed on. Sarah Wendell is headed to a celebration of Leslie’s life in Philadelphia. Join her and others to celebrate Leslie’s personal and professional contributions.

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Shifty Jelly posts that it is removing itself from the App Store because Amazon is a crappy business partner. ShiftyJelly complains that while its initial terms indicated that if Amazon choose to give away the product for free, the developer would still get 20% of the asking price. However, Amazon offered the Free App of the Day space to ShiftyJelly only with the provision that the developer would be paid nothing. ShiftyJelly agreed to these terms and over 100,000 apps were downloaded.

What actually interests me about this story isn’t that ShiftyJelly feels like it got shafted. They didn’t. They choose to participate in a promotion that gave away their product for free. What is interesting is the low number of downloads (only 100,000) and the fact that the product didn’t generate any significant sales after the promotion.

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Dan Lubart, Principal, Iobyte Solutions has offered another analysis of book sales and the Amazon store. The goal of promotional pricing should be to increase a title’s visibility and in Amazon’s case, pushing the title onto the top 100. According to Lubart, HarperCollins achieved that with nine of its titles. My guess is that the HC titles were $1.99 and under.

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Another author signed with Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s mystery imprint. I think Amazon has a better handle on what is selling in the mystery imprint if the titles, covers, and blurbs of the Montlake books are anything to go buy.

However, while indies might be snubbing Amazon’s published books, Costco is not. The Hangman’s Daughter is the featured title in this month’s Costco Connections (a magazine sent to Costco subscribers). The Hangman’s Daughter was originally published in Germany and part of the Amazon Crossing’s program, where Amazon buys and translates books from foreign markets.

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Speaking of foreign markets, apparently Macmillan has been doing bad stuff overseas. According to this Wall Street Journal article, Macmillan’s UK branch was accused of participating in bribery in order to secure educational contracts in Africa.

The company said it’s agreed to pay a fine of GBP11.2 million levied by the Serious Fraud Office over illegal payments made by its education division to secure contracts in East and West Africa.

Another school related publishing scandal, Scholastic has decided to reduce the corporate sponsorship of books that it pushes into schools:

Two months after Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher of children’s books, was hit with a barrage of criticism for distributing an unbalanced curriculum sponsored by the coal industry, the company is cutting back its InSchool marketing division’s corporate-sponsored projects, and creating a new review board to vet its materials.

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Digital sales are about 14% of Penguin’s business worldwide. At Simon & Schuster (aka Pocket), digital sales have doubled but have not offset the decline in print sales.

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I’m opening up the 2012 advertising. I have one slot in August available. If you are interested in rates and terms, email ads at dearauthor.com

Dear Author

Tuesday Links Roundup: Author LA Banks and President Obama

Author LA Banks introduces President Obama at a Healthcare Summit in Philadelphia. Banks writes the popular The Vampire Huntress series published by St. Martin’s Press and a new angel based series for Pocket. H/t to Rose Fox.

Ms Banks blogged about her experience and it’s pretty moving:

But my speech had gone out of my head! Things I'd wanted to say-’like telling the President how I took my father's tie and my mother's ring into the voting booth with me because they didn't live to see him get elected- or how my daughter had just turned 18 years old and how she and I went together early in the morning to vote for her first time by pulling the lever for him. I didn't get to say any of that. It was an amazing, ephemeral moment that went by in a flash like a dream.

Also? I found it quite endearing that she refers to Facebook as “Face Book.”


I guest blogged at The New Sleekness about how editors and publishers could participate at a greater level in reader communities. Have you got some other tips?


Sarah Weinman writes about Borders financial troubles. It laid off over 164 employees a month ago and is continuing cutting its workforce:

According to multiple sources, on March 4 — a date employees are already referring to on internal message boards as “Black Thursday” — Borders instituted a company-wide layoff of all inventory supervisors, and also let go an unspecified number of part-time employees.

Is there anyone left? A $42.5 million loan is due in April. If this loan cannot be refinanced, it might doom Borders.


The good news is that Amazon is looking to develop a good browser for the Kindle. The bad news is that Amazon’s desire to build a warehouse in Canada (thus making fulfillment of Canadian orders easier and less costly) is being opposed. More states are seeking to tax affiliate programs causing Amazon to withdraw those affiliate programs. Will this mean less sales for Amazon? More from Shelf Awareness and Daily Finance.


Not content with the nook or the Plastic Logic Que or the partnership with Iliad, Barnes and Noble opens up its bookstore platform to yet another eink reader. This time it is Samsung and it’s a stylus based touchscreen with a pull out navigation system. A year ago, I may have been excited about this but at the $299 price point, it’s a complete yawner to me.


Entertainment Weekly takes a look at self publishing and suggests that if a number of big name authors validate this alternative publishing model, the landscape of publishing could change a great deal.


Courtney Milan is doing a three part series on copyright and authors. It’s instructive for readers too. Parts 1 and 2 can be read now. We are awaiting Part 3.