The results of the AAR Top Ten Lists are in and the winner is….

loverawakenedBack in April, we began, on each Tuesday, publishing a reviewer’s Top Ten list. There were no rules other than the books be in the romance genre. Over the next five months, we published twenty-three lists. Out of the 230 entries, we listed 201 books. We hit every genre (although we have a definitive fondness for historical romance), and waxed upon the works of 121 authors. After every one had weighed in, only one book garnered five–the most–votes: J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened. Continue reading

E-Lending and the LendInk Brouhaha

kindlebook The latest Internet scandal about piracy isn’t about piracy — it’s about misunderstanding what eBook lending is all about. What happened proved that social media can be a powerful force, but those powers aren’t always used in the right way. Just ask the owner and users of LendInk, a legitimate eBook lending site that did not host any files. LendInk was taken down because of erroneous takedown notices from concerned authors. This story even made news in Australia.

Writers are one of the biggest forces in getting eBook pirating sites shut down. This power is a good thing. But what if the site isn’t actually a piracy site? What if, like LendInk, it’s one of several lending sites, sites that are allowed by Amazon, B&N, and other eBook vendors? Then we have a problem. Continue reading

Yes, Virginia There are Legal Free eBooks

300-thumb-lifestyleIf this is Tuesday, there must be a new controversy about eBooks. Recently, the Technology section of the Washington Post reported that both Amazon was selling Project Gutenberg titles in their eBook stores. This was picked up by other sources, including the Huffington Post. Amazon bashing ensued. People quickly found similar titles available on Barnes and Noble. Of course, B&N bashing ensued as well.

As usual, the blame, if there should be any, was misplaced. Many people were pointing fingers at  Amazon and B&N, forgetting that in most of these cases, they aren’t the publishers. These titles were put up by people selling PG titles through CreateSpace at Amazon or PubIt at B&N. Just copy the text from Project Gutenberg, reformat it, and upload it for sale at Amazon and B&N. Presto, you’re a publisher. It’s not illegal, and it is allowed by the Project Gutenberg license, but some argue that it’s unethical. After all, the PG volunteers put a lot of effort into scanning and proofreading the eBooks, only to see someone selling the very same editions.

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Silhouette in the Shadows

sinclairMany long-time romance readers didn’t know what to make when Harlequin announced that they were changing the name of the Silhouette line to Harlequin in April of next year. Until the details became better known, there was even fear that the Silhouette lines were being discontinued. Luckily, as it turns out, this was simply a name change.

I should have seen it coming. In June of this year, Harlequin announced that the Silhouette Nocturne was now the Harlequin Nocturne line. According to a post from a reader on GoodReads, Harlequin announced, “If you’re looking for the Nocturnes on eHarlequin, be advised that starting in June Nocturne is making a slight switch from Silhouette Nocturne to Harlequin Nocturne. Don’t worry, the authors, books and elements you love about Nocturne aren’t changing, they’re just trying it make it a bit easier for Harlequin fans to find more paranormal romances! There is now a page for Harlequin Nocturne on eHarlequin.com, and the backlist titles still under Silhouette are available here. ” As far as I can tell, this text is no longer visible on the eHarlequin site.

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Publishers and the Web: Highs and Lows

computerI have a confession to make. In the past month, I bought more collectible anthologies than I should from Cemetery Dance, a small press specializing in horror. When I signed up for their newsletter, I wasn’t expecting this, not when so many publisher newsletters give me the doldrums. Whoops. Before you knew it, I had ordered several gorgeous hardcovers. They enticed me from right off the bat with phrases words like “72% off” and “Free book” right in the subject lines. Usually, I hate it when companies fill my inbox with lots of offers, but I couldn’t wait to see what they were offering next. Who wants to be left behind?

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The Rise of the Nonbook: How Bookstores are Trying to Change with the Times

bearBookstores all over the world are feeling the pinch, just like all other retailers. Many of the bigger chains are coping by selling nonbook items. Today’s B&N or Borders customer can see everything from a funky coffee mug to stuffed animals and Japanese treats. Oh, and don’t forget the coffee and cookies.

This summer, my favorite Barnes & Noble started remodeling, making room for a new section selling educational toys and games. This happened all around the country. All brick-and-mortar bookstores are competing with Amazon as well as stores such as Wal-Mart and Costco that carry fewer books but discount what they sell. They are also competing with the growing eBook field. In the article, Carolyn Reidy, the chief executive of Simon & Schuster (talk about an industry expert) predicts that eBooks could make up 40% of her company’s revenue in the next 3-5 years. Yet publishers are worried that as more brick-and-mortar bookstores close, fewer people (eBook readers included) will be exposed to the latest books. Without the displays, customers won’t know what’s out there.

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PW Select: Boon or Bust for Self-published Authors

Publishers Weekly is a trade journal read primarily by booksellers and librarians (although some authors subscribe because of the industry news, and book geeks like me will spring for a copy now and then). They review releases from large and small publishers alike, and their reviews are respected by industry professionals who use them to determine which books to order.

Last week, their reputation took a hit because of a new program, PW Select. PW describes it as “a quarterly supplement announcing self-published titles and reviewing those we believe are most deserving of a critical assessment.”

Authors have to pay to be included – without promise of a review. The listing will include include author, title, price, description, etc., which is not a lot to go on if you’re a bookseller deciding which books to order. PW explains “We briefly considered charging for reviews, but in the end preferred to maintain our right to review what we deemed worthy.” They also promise that at least 25 of the titles will get reviewed, but for now, there is no way to tell how many books will be listed. Will that be 25 out of 100? Or 25 out of 500? Or 25 out of 1,000 or more?

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Happy Read an Ebook Week

Even if you’re a big fan of ebooks, you might not realize that March 7-13 is Read an Ebook Week. The first Read an Ebook Week was started in 2004 and the first Amazon Kindle didn’t come out until more than three years later. Read an Ebook Week may be an idea most of us are only now catching up with. I celebrated it by accident yesterday, starting by downloading Michael Palmer’s new medical thriller The Last Surgeon on my Nook.

This year, lots of ebook vendors are participating. The Ebook Store page lists participating vendors. While the list includes stores I had shopped at in the past (cough Ellora’s Cave cough), there are lots of stores I had heard of and always meant to check out. For example, Diesel eBooks, AllRomanceEbooks, and Kobo. And even a couple of stores I wish I had heard of. (Did you know that you can buy digital copies of 2000 AD comic books like Slaine, Strontium Dog, and Judge Dredd from DriveThruComics? And they have back issues of Fantasy Book, a magazine I could never find at newsstands? Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? And people who like that site might also love WarGameVault, which is offering free downloads of RPG stuff this week.) There was even a site specializing in Spanish and Catalan ebooks.

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