Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Publishing Sales

Dear Author

Friday Midday Links: Courtney Milan’s Win Win for RWA

Jason Pinter wonders whether being online and so accessible removes the mystique of an author and thereby reduces one’s ability to sell books.

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More authors are getting into the casual gaming platform.   Orchid Games released Heartwild Solitaire Classic and recruited a few authors to write short stories that players are allowed to read after winning a game of solitaire.   The game and the stories are free.   Sherry Thomas has allowed us to host her free story here.   Right click to save the RTF on your computer or click the link to read the story in a browser.

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Courtney Milan has a great idea on how to resolve the business between RWA and Harlequin over Harlequin’s partnership with Author Solutions.   It reads like a win win to me.   Milan’s solution involves requiring all the Harlequin lines to be separate publishers and requiring Harlequin not refer any authors solicited from the conference to Dell Arte Press.

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October was a good month for book sales.   Nearly every category saw a positive increase.   The increase in adult hardcover is probably attributable to Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.

  • Adult paperback increased 37.5% to $130.4 million.
  • Children’s/YA hardcover fell 0.5% to $87.9 million.
  • Children’s/YA paperback increased 20.2% to $52.7 million.
  • Adult hardcover rose 6.3% to $259.9 million.
  • Adult mass market was down 1.8% to $61.2 million.
  • Audiobooks dropped 1.8% to $19.7 million.
  • Ebooks were up 254% to $18.5 miillon.

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Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster blames a soft market on the dismal S&S sales year:

Reidy noted that the bookselling marketplace "has been truly lackluster, and year-on-year sales at most of our major customers have declined significantly. Books from many of our continuing authors, as well as our higher-margin backlist, are selling at levels well below their peak." And although S&S had solid gains in its conservative and teen markets and strong performances in the U.K. and Canada, "the lower sales volume attributable to the soft marketplace was impossible for us to overcome."

I have a feeling the year end balance sheet at Simon & Schuster is grim.

Dear Author

Wednesday Midday Links Roundup:

In non shocking news, while first day sales of the Kindle version of The Lost Symbol were strong, digital sales represents only about 5% of the 2 million copies sold so far which was in line with what I thought last week:

Over time, obviously, the digital version cannot outsell the print version because of the limited number of digital readers (even assuming 50% of the digital consumers read on their laptops). What it does show, however, is that digital readers are important consumers.

Shelf Awareness had a nice piece about paper goods and how digital isn’t quite overcoming the desire for people to write with a pen in a nice journal. I personally love my moleskin notebooks (I use them to take notes in about my reviews) and I can’t wait for the paper products from Harlequin to show up somewhere…

Whether it’s a practical matter like ease of use or something more intangible, journals, day planners and the like continue to hold their appeal. “There are people who find it important to write things down,” said Whitelines’s Walters. “We can do digital artwork, but we still paint, we still draw, we still sculpt. The sense of expression in human nature is always going to be there.”–Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Best Buy will be selling the iRex Reader which contains a 8.1″ screen and is priced at $399.   The connected bookstore will be Barnes & Noble (which at last look did not have Can’t Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards or Wicked All Day by Liz Carlyle, but lack of content notwithstanding, you’ll be able to buy direct from the device. O_o).   Best Buy will be carrying the Sony Reader as well so readers will have an opportunity to do an instore comparison.

A group of readers are trying to egg Kendra over at Lurva La Mode to read Outlander. I’ve never “read” Outlander either although I did listen to it on tape on snowy ride North to the hinterlands.   Kendra, don’t give in.

The AAP has released the July sales statistics.   The numbers are up by 2% for the month and 1.9% for the year.

  • Adult hardcover up by  6.9 percent:   $88.7 million; year-to-date sales were down by 15.5 percent.
  • Adult Paperback sales up by 9.0 percent: ($124.0 million); YTD sales down by 11.2 percent
  • Adult Mass Market down 13.5 percent:   $68.2 million; YTD sales down by 5.3 percent
  • Children’s/YA Hardcover down 5.4 percent: $55.8 million; YTD sales up 22.2 percent
  • Children’s/YA Paperback up 4.1 percent: $58.2 million; YTD sales up 2.0 percent
  • Audio Book sales up 3.5 percent:   $11.7 million; YTD down 29.9 percent
  • E-books sales up 16.2 million: no specific sales number; YTD up 173.9 percent

The Guardian has a well intentioned piece about the marginalization of female horror writers but gets its sub genre facts so wrong that I am embarrassed for   the paper and the reporter.   Also? There is something tragically ironic about an article arguing against marginalization of female horror writers while at the same time insulting PNR writers.    Seriously, that takes some skill.

Perhaps this sexism, intentional or not, is fed by the horror sub-genre that has come to be known as  paranormal romance. The last few years have seen an explosion in the type of novel “sucking and fucking” – the sort featuring sexy vampires, kick-ass female demon hunters, werewolves who are all man in bed, and the inevitable sexual collisions between tough female protagonist and the male horror staple of choice. Current examples include  Charlaine Harris‘s Sookie Stackhouse series of novels, which have formed the basis for the TV series  True Blood, andStephenie Meyer‘s Twilight books.

Paranormal romance is the chick-lit of horror. That’s not to say it is in any way inferior, but it seems to have become a fresh ghetto into which to push female writers. The assumption is that a woman writing in the horror genre will be writing paranormal romance.

Microsoft is releasing one of the most lustworthy tech gadgets of recent memory. It’s a dual screened tablet device.   I had to go offline after I watched the video until I stopped drooling. I was afraid I would short circuit my netbook.