Saturday News Roundup: Borders having liquidity issues
- 1/1/2011 to 1/31/2011 Oleander House by Ally Blue
- 1/1/2011 to 1/14/2011 Rough Cut by Mari Carr
- 1/15/2011 to 1/28/2011 Big Girls Don’t Die by Crystal Jordan
- 12/15/2010 to 1/15/2011 Going All In by Jess Dee
- 12/15/2010 to 1/15/2011 Make Mine Midnight by Annmarie McKenna
- 12/15/2010 to 1/15/2011 The Bite of Silence by Mary Hughes
- 12/15/2010 to 1/15/2011 With this Ring by T.A. Chase
BestBuy has the nookColor for $199 from January 2nd until January 8th. This is a pretty good deal if you want a color reader. I prefer the eink for reading but the lcd is snappy and it’s the right size (although it could be lighter). This article suggests that it might be BestBuy.com only but you may want to check your stores. Here’s the review of the nookcolor we posted at Dear Author.
Publishers Marketplace broke the story on Thursday that Borders sent out a notice that said there would be delays in payments to some publishers due to a liquidity shortfall. Borders needs refinancing in order to meet its credit agreements in 2011. Ironically, this is not a dissimilar story than what appeared in January of 2010 wherein Borders delayed payments to small publishers. The difference is that big publishers are now being jilted. Expect stock to be dramatically reduced at Borders as publishers begin to withhold shipments of books.
There is an interesting post by literary agent Joshua Bilmes on the rise and fall of Borders. The upshot of this is that if you received a Borders gift card for Christmas, you should probably use it now.
Why is this a big deal? Borders is the second largest brick and mortar retailer of books in the U.S. Hardcover print sales are the core of many publishers’ businesses. If one of the main retail sources go under, then the overall sales from the publisher to their customer (book sellers) will decline dramatically.
For the author, this means their advances will be reduced even further as print runs will decline. However, on Twitter, yesterday, Moira Rogers and Melissa Schroeder had a conversation that I “overheard” in which they discussed the fact that the explosion of digital readers had turned their digital writing careers into something very profitable.
Via WSJ (first link).
Reviewing can be a tough business. Recently, a restauranteur outed a food critic who had successfully hid her identity as a reviewer for over fifteen years. The owner of the restaurant made the food critic’s party wait then snapped her photo and asked her to leave. After she left, her picture was posted on facebook for every one to see. The LA Times posted about why food critics are anonymous:
This concern with anonymity has been a peculiarly American trait, growing out of restaurant reviews’ roots in consumer reporting. In Britain, restaurant critics tend to be among a newspaper’s celebrities, and photos run alongside their reviews. In France, they’re regarded -‘ at least by themselves -‘ as public intellectuals. And far from being anonymous, they announce their visits days in advance.
But in this country -‘ at least for critics at major newspapers -‘ we recognize that for most of our readers, a big night out at a great restaurant is a major expenditure as well as a celebratory event. That’s also why we base our reviews on multiple visits -‘ to make sure we’re not catching a restaurant on either its best or worst night.
I think this story really goes to the heart of the reviewing dissonance. Reviews are for the consumers but are felt deeply and personally by those being reviewed, whether it is restauranteurs or authors. Thus, the expectations and desires of those being reviewed often aren’t in concert with the expectations and desires of the consumers. Reviewers have to decide for whom they are reviewing. In the LA Times case (as in ours), the reviewing is done for the consumer and thus the way in which they conduct their reviews may be at odds with whom they are reviewing.
Amazon rolled out lending for Kindle. It has the same “features” as the nook. You can lend one book for 14 days one time. During that time, the owner of the book has no access to the lent book. I put features in scare quotes because this type of lending is very limited, very restrictive. Further, very few books seem to be lendable. As I perused by Kindle book list the following publishers were allowing lending (or Amazon had allowed lending by default per the contract):
- Kensington (this was hit or miss for me but mostly hit)
Smaller publishers were more likely to allow sharing as well as publishers who don’t traditionally impose DRM. Harlequin, Avon, Penguin, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Random House books all had the lending feature disabled. I’ve sent out emails to the various houses to find out what the stance is regarding lending. Will keep you all posted.
Barnes and Noble put out a press release that it now sells more digital books on its online retail site, BN.com, than it does paper books.
the world's largest bookseller, today announced that with millions of NOOK eReading devices sold, the line has become the company's biggest bestseller ever in its nearly 40-year history. The new NOOKcolor Reader's Tablet, introduced just eight weeks before Christmas, is the company's number one selling gift of the holiday season. Barnes & Noble also announced that it now sells more digital books than its large and growing physical book business on BN.com, the world's second largest online bookstore.
Ironically, BN’s successful selling day wasn’t met with a successful delivery day. Christmas day was plagued with technical problems on BN’s side as it wasn’t fully prepared to meet demand. So on Christmas, you could purchase nookbooks but you couldn’t download and read them. This is the second year in a row in which Barnes and Noble has been unprepared for the internet traffic during the holidays. Perhaps three times will be the charm?
Kobo also set ebook sales records over the holidays.
Over a million people connected to Kobo, and hundreds of thousands of devices were activated each day since Christmas Eve, fuelling the highest eBook download rate in the company's history. People around the world chose Kobo this Christmas, with the popular easy-to-use Kobo Wireless eReader, dozens of compatible eReaders, top-rated applications for iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and one of the largest catalogues in the world with over 2.2 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines.
Self publishing was a hot topic in 2010 and it will become an even hotter topic in 2011. Heading up the chorus of self publishing is awesome is new evangelist Joe Konrath. He posted his story about how he is selling more books published by himself than he ever did with a New York publishing house. Mike Cane reminds Konrath of how he, Konrath, viewed self publishing as a pathway of the delusional author. Chuck Wendig posts a “should I self publish” checklist.