News and Announcements

Decisions, decisions…. – If you haven’t voted yet, don’t forget that our Annual Reader Poll runs through Sunday, January 20, 2013. I’ll admit that I’m one of those still procrastinating over my ballot. My votes for some of the categories jump out at me right away: The Siren was definitely the most unforgettable erotica I read this year and nothing was as much a tear-jerker for me as The Sleeping Night. However, it’s very hard for me to vote for just one book in some of the other categories.

So, what books are you all thinking about as you go over the poll this year?

Harlequin on TV – Harlequin Books is pairing up with ABC on The Bachelor tonight. It sounds like Sean and the various female competitors will be learning about what it takes to be a cover model, and the one who looks the most natural while posing in various scenarios will get a three-book contract with Harlequin. If I’m being totally candid, I’d have to admit that I’ve never really understood the RT-style cover model obsession. For me, the story’s the important thing. Still, if this convinces more readers to try romance, I’m all about pushing books for people.

Vacation Reading! While I was on vacation recently, I finally got time to read some of the books piling up in my TBR. One of those was Fatal Affair, the first in Marie Force’s Fatal series from Carina Press and a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. I really like the idea of a series that follows one couple, and this particular book was one of those “I have to read it all in one sitting” types of books. It has its weaker points, but the strengths kept me flying through the story. If you like romantic suspense, definitely check it out! There are five books so far, and a sixth is in the works. And if you prefer to read in print? Well, Marie Force is coming to HQN! The series will start being published in print June 2013 by the HQN imprint.

Book freebie Those who have been missing Marsha Canham no doubt rejoiced when she started re-releasing her historicals as eBooks in 2011. And if you haven’t discovered this author yet, you are missing out. Her historical romances feature strong writing, and even though she is one of the authors I discovered in my early days as a romance reader, some of those stories are still seared into my mind. So, definitely give her books a try. And if it helps, Across a Moonlit Sea is even free right now.
Barnes & Noble? For romance readers, my town has been without a real bookstore since Borders closed. We have some indie bookstores, but they look down their noses at romance to put it mildly. A couple jumped on the Fifty Shades of profit gravy train, but that’s about it. Not surprisingly, there was much rejoicing (and a line around the block) when we finally got a Barnes & Noble. I don’t know if other readers have had this experience, but I have to say it’s been rather disappointing here. The store seems to have a giant Nook section and lots of gift items, but the selection of actual books is somewhat lacking. Romance only gets one bookcase of space – and most of it seems to be taken up by Danielle Steel’s entire backlist. Not surprisingly, I’ve overheard more than a few conversations at the customer service desk along the lines of, “You don’t have x by Julia Quinn/Eloisa James/Nalini Singh/JR Ward/etc..?” “No, I don’t want to come back and pick it up here later; I’ll just go online.”

Barnes & Noble has reported that sales are down and the Nook seems to have flopped big-time over the holidays. I don’t use the Nook app, but Jean Wan here at AAR mentioned that the Nook for Mac app hasn’t been working and a quick look at various Apple forums turns up tons of users complaining about problems with it. Not good signs for Barnes & Noble. As a romance reader, I find their cruddy customer service and lack of selection in-store frustrating, but I don’t like the idea of Amazon or anyone else gaining a monopoly either.
EDITED TO ADD: And I found out via the Avon blog after I ran this piece, that Beverly Jenkins has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Literary Work – Fiction for her book, A Wish and a Prayer. I haven’t read this particular book, but I have enjoyed some of Jenkins’ historicals(Winds of the Storm is probably my favorite so far), which I have long hoped would find wider readership.
And if you have any big book news that you would like to share, please do it in the comments!

– Lynn Spencer

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9 Responses to News and Announcements

  1. Lynn M says:

    Gotta say I’m sorry to read the news about Barnes & Noble’s troubles. I’m worried for the future of brick and mortar bookstores in general, and with the loss of Borders, I fear what may happen if B&N can’t manage to to boost sales. The idea that I would have no place to physically browse makes me kind of sick.

    Too, I have a Nook and have purchased quite a nice library of e-books. If something happens such that the Nook disappears, what happens to those purchases? Since B&N DRMs its e-books, how would I be able to transfer my library to another format?

    My mother is retiring this month after working at B&N for the past 15 years. One of the biggest reasons she is quitting is because of the company’s policy of pressuring employees to push sales of the Nook and beating up on them for poor sales. She says it’s like having a giant cannibal sitting in the middle of the store. Books are now so secondary to all of the other crap in the store – toys and movies and games. Perhaps B&N needs to scale back to its roots.

    • AAR Lynn says:

      That’s really sad. I love my ereader, but I also enjoy print books and browsing. When a bookstore makes it harder to browse actual books because they aren’t carrying as many of them, that’s a pretty fundamental failure. I could tell that B&N was pushing the Nook, but I had no idea they were pressuring employees that hard.

  2. Maggie AAR says:

    My town used to have a few Indie bookstores that snubbed romance (and genre books in general) They went out of business. The stores we have in town now are the B&N, which is really just a coffee house with books you can read while drinking and two UBS. The UBS have good romance sections and one stocks new Harlequins at $2.75. Sweet!

  3. Gail says:

    Congratulations to Marie Force. Her books are great especially the Fatal series.

  4. SandyH says:

    We have a Barnes and Nobles in the next town. I life in a fairly large college town and you would think that we would have lots of independent bookstores but that is not the case. The last one went out of business awhile ago and their customer service was horrendous. I tried to patronize them but it was hopeless. I went to purchase some DVDs at the BN store but their prices were much better online. I was told that the stores charge a stocking fee so that is why one DVD was almost 10 dollars more than at BN online. For the first time, I did not renew my BN card. I mostly buy from Amazon and actually I buy new books from Paperbackswap Market which offers some new books.

  5. willaful says:

    Much though I hate contributing to Amazon taking over the world, my recent customer service experiences with Barnes and Noble have been so dismal, I can’t see ever giving them my money again. Kobo isn’t great either. My sister wanted a Nook for her birthday, but she’s getting a Kindle.

  6. Judy K says:

    I have had a Nook tablet for a little over a year. The transition from paperbacks to ereader was fairly easy. For one thing, I really enjoy the text sizing and backlight control. I have been price comparing and searching the lists of ereader books between BN and Amazon. What I found was, for the most part that Amazon’s prices were somewhat less to a lot less. I have found that Amazon has books that BN does not carry.
    I agree with the opinions that Amazon is becoming a monopoly, but then I am in the same situation with cable TV, one cable company in the area that I live.

  7. Martha Lawson says:

    We don’t have any big box stores locally – you have to drive at least 100 miles to a BAMM or BN store!I have a college town 18 miles from me, but the only bookstore is a small one and doesn’t carry romance unless it’s Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele. However, they are more than happy to order for you. I purchased a kindle over a year ago. I would much rather have purchased a Nook because I like BAMM. However, I purchased the kindle because they offered a 3G version which the Nook didn’t. At the time, I had no access to wireless without traveling to a larger town. After checking the prices between amazon and nook books, I am really glad I got the Kindle!!

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