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Friday Midday Links: NY Times brings forth its ebook bestseller list

Friday Midday Links: NY Times brings forth its ebook bestseller list

Update: A reader mentioned that I forgot to point out that Barnes and Noble is having a groupon where you pay $10 for a $20 gift certificate that can be used on anything. Be sure to use your Groupon before April 10, 2011.

# Limit 1 per person. Valid on all items – including sale items. Not valid on previous purchases and/or adjustments. Not valid with other offers.
# Except as prohibited by applicable law, on April 10, 2011, any funds remaining on the BN Groupon shall be reduced by $10.00. For example, if you use your BN Groupon to make a $6.00 purchase sometime in March (meaning your BN Groupon would have a remaining balance of $14.00) but do not use it again thereafter, on April 10, your BN Groupon will be reduced to $4.00 (because $14.00 minus $10.00 is $4.00).


India may be the fastest growing market for English language books but the digital craze isn’t gaining a foothold there yet or so say the major publishers in India.

The sales of digital books in India is expected to pick up in coming months but that will not impact the aficionados love for hardcover books as has been the case in the West, say major publishers here.India may see good rise in sales of digital books as downloading them on mobiles becomes a possibility but their growth trajectory may not be same as in the West, they say.

As I understand it, India is replete with cell phone users but whether cell phones = ebook adoption remains to be seen.


The New York Times unveiled its new set of Bestseller lists this week to be published in the Sunday issue.   There are several new additions:

  • ebook
  • ebook + print
  • all print formats

Strangely, the Times will not count any individual vendor sales such as self published books citing “market instability” as the reason.   I think that is a bunch of hooey, but this is the Times and the Times list is what they want to make it, damn the market reality and all.   So the ebook and print list doesn’t represent a huge change given that the Times is excising a big portion of the ebook market.

Having said that, there were some interesting findings.   For example, Catherine Anderson’s book, Here to Stay, was number 3 on the mass market list but 23 on the ebook plus print list and did not appear on the ebook bestseller list at all suggesting that her numbers are primarily built upon print sales.   Susan Elizabeth Phillips made it to 12 on the NYT hardcover list and 31 on the ebook + print list but like Catherine Anderson, did not generate enough ebook sales to make it onto the Times list.   Conversely Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Consort was number 8 on the mass market list and number 18 on the print + ebook and number 18 on the ebook only list.

This week’s list is dominated by thrillers and mysteries.   In fact, of 96 slots on the mass market, hardcover, ebook, and ebook + print list, 51 were filled with either thrillers or mysteries titles compared to 24 titles with a romance designation.


Book By You is a personalised romance novel service wherein you fill out a questionnaire and receive a romance novel starring you and the hero/heroine of your choice.   The reason I am mentioning it is because the services is now offering a gay and a lesbian title.   While I am not a fan of the service myself, I am glad to see that they are recognizing all sorts of love:

To spice things up in time for Valentine's Day, the company has just released a couple of hot, steamy same-sex novels catering to gay and lesbian readers.

"Hot Blooded" tells the erotic story of two gay men -’ one vampire, one mortal -’ who fall deeply in forbidden lust and love, while "Seduction Games" follows a sexy romance between two lesbians who pine for each other after they become rival contestants on a reality-TV game show.


Our friend and fellow reader, Keishon, is shutting down her romance blog to focus on her current love: mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction.   Keishon started the To Be Read challenge and is one of my inspirations for blogging. I am glad that she isn’t leaving the blogging scene entirely.   You can still find Keishon at Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog.


Carriger_Heartless-MMGenerally, I think Orbit is a genius imprint.   They do cool things and great promotions (think the online paper doll thing for Gail Carriger’s series) and I think that their publishing blog is one of the best in the business.   Their covers are great.   Amanda Downum’s covers, in particular, are just striking.   I’m not a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction, but their blog posts are so interesting, I still follow along.   I think because I have such high expectations, I was struck nearly dumb by the really awful cover for Gail Carriger’s next book, UHeartless.   The hair looks like a wig that is about to fall off and the face is too realistic for the cover. It looks like a bad SIM.   I don’t know what happened here.

Dear Author

Monday Round up Links: A New Kind of Book Tour

Cover Cafe nominations for 2010 are now open. If you want to nominate a cover for a book that has been published in 2010, please go to and click on Nominate. The new 2010 nomination form is now available.

All About Romance has launched its annual readers’ poll.

Author Stephen Elliott wrote an editorial about his very different book tour. Instead of going to bookstores, Elliott booked appearances in people’s homes. Sometimes the group would stay up very late to talk about the book and issues the book brought to readers’ attention.

They asked interesting questions about murder and confession and the moment the lie mixes with the truth like red and yellow paint, becoming orange, the original colors ceasing to exist. Afterward people went back to talking, grabbing another drink or a snack. Leaning against the kitchen counter, I thought to myself that they weren't a standard literary audience: they were better.

I loved that statement “lie mixes with truth like red and yellow paint…the original colors ceasing to exist.”

Xerox has partnered with Espresso Book Machine to provide on demand books for consumers. Espresso used to use a machine from Kyocera but the Xerox is supposed to provide better quality and faster output.

The Espresso Book Machine can produce paperbacks in variable combinations of trim sizes between 4.5″ x 5.0″ and 8.25″ x 10.5″ for a production cost less than one cent per page and can produce a 300 page book in about 4 minutes

I really love the idea of the on demand book because it can use digital technology to deliver books to those who want print and there are definitely opportunities for customization (choose your own cover) and personalization (inscribe a line for a gift).

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) released an iPhone App that uses Occipital’s barcode scanning technology. Take a photo of a book’s barcode and the OCLC iPhone App will bring up whether your local library has a particular book and whether it is on the shelf or checked out. It will also provide you with places to purchase the book in case you don’t want to use the library services. That’s pretty awesome.

The Times is going behind a paywall which means we won’t be reading as many stories like Elliott’s without paying for it. Times knows that there will be a steep dropoff in readership but the possible revenue is worth it.

What makes the decision so agonizing for Sulzberger is that it involves not just business considerations, but ultimately a self-assessment of just what Times journalism is worth to the world. ..Hanging over the deliberations is the fact that the Times' last experience with pay walls, TimesSelect, was deeply unsatisfying and exposed a rift between Sulzberger and his roster of A-list columnists, particularly Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd, who grew frustrated at their dramatic fall-off in online readership.

A game developer posted on slashgear asking why people pirated. He’s trying to see if there are ways in which to modify his behavior to make the product less attractive to pirate and more attractive for legitimate purchasers.

The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reports that HarperCollins is in talks to bring ebooks to the Apple Tablet rumored to be announced later this month.

HarperCollins is expected to set the prices of the e-books, which would have added features, with Apple taking a percentage of sales. Details haven’t been ironed out.

The article suggests the ebooks will be enhanced editions and if so, that would mean a very meager catalog for Apple so I have some doubts about the veracity of the entirety of the article, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see ebooks as part of the Apple catalog. Of course, you can still get the Amazon app on the Apple iPhone and thus, likely on the tablet. Therefore, pricing would need to be competitive. The article speculates that the pricing for “enhanced ebooks” would be $14.99 to $19.99. Frankly, publishers are barely doing ebooks right let alone delivering value added enhanced versions.