Connie Brockway Is Launch Author in Amazon’s New Romance Imprint

connie-199x300We had quite a party around here when Connie Brockway announced her intentions to self-publish several books that readers have long been waiting for, including sequels to As You Desire and, my personal favorite, All Through the Night.  While this discussion was punctuated with many booyahs, there were also quite a few complaints from those who don’t have an eReader and no plans to get one.  Turns out more than just readers were listening.

Here’s Connie:

About a month ago I was here announcing my intention of “going rogue” by writing and publishing my own books. The announcement certainly garnered more attention than I’d expected, including from Amazon. Soon afterward, they contacted me with a fabulous proposition: Would I like to be the launch author Montlake, brand new digital and print and audio publishing imprint dedicated to romance.

It didn’t take long for me to say yes –even though it meant I had to down-grade my status from “rogue” to “roguish.” Because I’d been impressed with AmazonCrossings, and I knew they could do similar wonderful things for the romance genre. Now I don’t mean to sound disingenuous, but my first consideration really was the reader. One of my greatest regrets in “going e” was the thought of disappointing those of you without an eReader. (Oh, yes. I read every comment.) Montlake will make my books available to everyone, in every variety of formats, including print, though digitally the books will only be formatted for Kindle—but remember, you can download a free Kindle app that you can use on your phone or your computer.

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Poof! The Amazing Disappearing Stories

banned According to techie news site Ars Technica, Selena Kitt, a self-published author of erotic fiction and a publisher, reported that Amazon removed some of her stories from the print store and from the Kindle store. Other authors affected include Esmeralda Green and Jess C Scott. Amazon did not give an explanation to the authors, but the stories had one thing in common — they all contained erotic incest fantasies.

Kitt’s non-incest stories seem unaffected. Early reports that Amazon was removing the stories from readers’ Kindles were wrong. However, they did remove the stories from readers’ archives, so if those readers want to read the stories later, they are out of luck. They may be able to get a refund, but that depends.

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Kindle 3: A Consumer Review

With a lower price, a smaller size, and improved contrast and faster page turning, Amazon may be offering an irresistible temptation to those who have yet to jump onto the eReader bandwagon.

I’ve been a Kindle user for close to three years now.  I’ve had all the versions and noted the significant improvements Kindle 2 offered over the original.  But, now, Amazon has topped all other versions with the new Kindle 3.

What I Love:

  • The faster page turning.
  • The smaller size.
  • The easy to use navigation buttons that all but eliminate accidental page turns.
  • The improved contrast that makes an already user-friendly reader experience even friendlier.
  • The ease of buying books without having to connect to a computer.
  • The longer battery life – Amazon says up to one month.
  • Storage that Amazon says will handle up to 3,500 books.  Wow.

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Publishing Drama Queens

DramaI’ve reached the end of my rope here.

In case you’ve somehow missed it, there is a labyrinthine mess about ebook pricing going on involving publishers, Amazon, and Apple.

First of all, rest assured that I’m not going to weigh in with a long-winded diatribe on the subject because (a) that’s not my style and (b) I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Let me also make clear that I’m not – nor do I pretend to be – a publishing insider.  I am a consumer.  And, as a consumer, I want to know that a book I want to buy is available at the place I choose to buy it at a fair price.

Not asking a lot, is it?

Well, apparently the pinheads in charge don’t see it that way.  In yet another episode of dick-waving – much like the dick-waving that took place when Macmillan pulled all ebooks from Amazon a month or so ago – publishers have withdrawn many ebooks from Amazon and other  retailers.

Including a book that I pre-ordered for Kindle:  Changeless by Gail Carriger.

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Amazon and Barnes and Noble Online Pricing: What’s Up With That?

If you haven’t heard by now, there was much outrage in Romanceland in the days before and during the Thanksgiving Day weekend. The issue? The Kindle price for Eloisa James’ When the Duke Returns was reported by AAR Alert Readers to be an incredibly inflated $14.99.  

Much sputtering later (and, okay, so I was one of the sputterers), it turns out that the price was a mistake (I have no idea whose) and a correct price was later posted. Only there’s a problem: It’s $7.99. The exact same price as the paperback edition. And, gee, isn’t the cost to produce an ebook a mere fraction of the cost to produce an actual paper book? Well, good luck with that, Avon.

Being the sleuth that I am, however, I noticed something equally outrageous: The paperback price is listed on Amazon as $7.99. Not the $6.49 or the like to which we’ve all grown accustomed. What the heck happened to the Amazon discount?

But it’s not just Avon. To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt is priced at $6.99 (Forever), Catherine Mulvany’s Wicked is the Night (Pocket) is $6.99, Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts (Jove) is $7.99, and Robin Kaye’s Romeo, Romeo (Sourcebooks) is also $6.99. Berkley Sensation seems to be pretty much alone in holding the discount line with Erin McCarthy’s trade paperback Flat Out Sexy priced at $10.78, down from $14.00.

As for the prices at Barnes and Noble online: Ditto. On all of the above.

And guess what? Of the books that I checked, the prices on the backlists of the authors above are list prices, too. So, in effect, any discounts seem to have been retroactively removed.

The good news is that Avon seems to be standing alone in that Kindle pricing thing. All of the books above – except Avon new releases – have discounted Kindle prices. Which is as it should be.

Since I’m a fan of vast conspiracies, I wonder if there was some sort of meeting in a smoke-filled room amongst various publishers to abandon online discounts? As Amazon repeats over and over, publishers set prices for books.

So, what do you think? In a time when almost everybody is feeling the squeeze, will the price increase affect the number of books you buy? Are you outraged? Or, on the other hand, do you accept the higher prices as a manifestation of the grim reality that many publishers (as discussed here last week) are facing the same economic pressures as consumers? Are higher prices…well, just the price we have to pay?

-Sandy AAR