Archive for the ‘Ebooks’ Category

Karen Russell’s Lastest: e-Book Only

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Sleep DonationIf you heard the promo for Karen Russell’s interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, and thought, “I didn’t know she had a new book out,” you are not alone.

Her new book is actually an eBook-only novella titled Sleep Donation. Dozens of writers have released eBook-only short fiction, many of them “bridge” stories between titles in a series, to tide fans over between books, (such as Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novella, High Heat, RH/Delacorte). But when an author with Russell’s literary cred does it, it gets attention.

Adding further to the media allure, this is the first release from Atavist Books, a joint venture between media mogul Barry Diller and movie producer Scott Rudin, run by former Picador USA publisher Frances Coady (more on the company here, but fair warning, this story buys the Kool Aid that it is “revolutionary,” even though there are many others in this business). Adding even more media-worthy names, it comes with an audio read by indie actress Greta Gerwig, and even has an interactive cover designed by that oxymoron, a famous book designer, Chip Kidd. Plus, it has its own website.

Unfortunately, however, it does not seem to be available to libraries.

Appropriately, the novella is about an insomnia epidemic ravaging America, the result of people paying too much attention to electronic devices (take note, Arianna Huffington; this could be a cross-promotional opportunity for your book).

Gone McCann   New Year's

In addition to the attention from Fresh Air, the novella was also the lead title in Entertainment Weekly’s book section last week, in a story titled “Let’s Get Digital” that includes Joe Hill’s short story Wolverton Station (from HarperCollins/Morrow and available to libraries), Greg Iles’s novella, The Death Factory (also HarperCollins/Morrow and available to libraries) plus upcoming titles by two other literary darlings, Column McCann’s Gone (released March 18 by another ebook-only publisher Byliner and apparently not available to libraries) and Adelle Waldman’s New Year’s, a companion story to her The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., coming in May, from the old world publisher where Francis Coady used to work, Macmillan/Picador (presumably one of those places she refers to as “print originators [who] tend to see digital as a slightly embarrassing offshoot of print.”)

Sudden Backlist Best Sellers

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

We’ve written about backlist titles hitting the NYT E-Book and Combined Best Seller lists as a result of sudden discounts by retailers.

The NYT explores the impact of  such “flash sales” in a story that appeared yesterday. Sourcebooks was a recent beneficiary. Their 1994 title, The Oracle Glass, by Judith Merkle Riley, hit the list last week after being featured simultaneously as a Kindle Daily Deal and a Nook Daily Find.

While some of these books quickly return to their former level of sales, for others, it has helped readers discover authors raising the sales of all their titles.

Don’t discount old-fashioned marketing, however. It can still renew sales of print backlist titles. See, for instance, City of Women, by David R. Gillham (Penguin/Putnam/Einhorn), now on the trade paperback list.

Best Seller Withdrawn

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Until I BreakWe’ve been following some of the changes to best seller lists brought about by e-books; backlist titles making their debuts as a result of Amazon discounts, titles appearing before print publication, and erotic fiction making inroads.

A new twist arrives this week; Until I Break, an erotic fiction title by Michelle Leighton debuts on the 6/2 NYT E-Book Only list at #13. That should be cause for celebration for any author, but in this case, Leighton has already withdrawn the book from publication.

Backlist Title Debuts As A NYT Best Seller

Monday, May 20th, 2013

oracle glassBest Seller lists used to be the domain of newly-released titles, but e-books are beginning to change that.

The Oracle Glass, by Judith Merkle Riley, a title originally published in 1994, was released by Sourcebooks last fall in both trade paperback and as a $1.99 e-book. On May 6, it was offered as both a Kindle Master of All Desires“Daily Deal” and a Nook “Daily Find.” It debuted at #8 on the NYT Combined Print & E-Books best seller list this week (arriving at #7 on the NYT e-book only list but not on the trade paperback list).

The author, who died in 2010, was not able to enjoy her book’s belated success. Sourcebooks will release another of her historical novels, Master of All Desires, in July. Her books are available from library e-book vendors.

The Penguin Returns

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Penguin Coming SoonLibraries can once again offer Penguin’s ebooks to their users on the same day that the hardcovers are released, reports the Associated Press. Beginning Tuesday, libraries will no longer have to wait six months after the hardcover release date.

The AP further reports that Penguin’s ebook pilot programs with libraries have shown that the “effect of library downloads on commercial revenues has been acceptable.”

Libraries will be charged the same as consumers, but, according to American Libraries, Penguin is expected to impose a one-year expiration date.

This is the opposite of the Random House model, which charges more to libraries than consumers, but for an unlimited period. Since the two companies are merging, many wonder which approach will prevail.

Nancy Pearl, RA Guru

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

When Nancy Pearl talks books, buyers listen. On NPR’s Morning Edition yesterday, she presented four of her “Under the Radar” picks (the full list of seven, along with a link to the audio, are on the NPR site). Two of the titles received dramatic bumps  on Amazon’s sales rankings.

America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, David Goldfield, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury). Rose to #189 from #102,066)

Nancy says this book that claims the Civil War could have been avoided, made her “look back and reassess my knowledge and beliefs” about the war and its aftermath.
 

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein, (Hyperion). Rose to #216 from #5,238)

This one is not “below the radar” among YA readers. It’s on both the Publishers Weekly and Amazon’s Best Books lists. However, it may be lesser known to adults, who, as Nancy says, will also enjoy this “story of deep friendship, incredible bravery and the difficult choices that life sometimes forces on us.”

Publishers May Expand eBook Programs to Libraries

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

It’s estimated that 75% of the public libraries in the US lend ebooks, a fact many people are surprised to hear.

NPR’s Diane Rehm Show gave exposure to the practice yesterday with a full program devoted to the subject. Responding to a question about why some publishers don’t make ebooks available to libraries, Jeremy Greenfield, editorial director of Digital Book World, said they are worried that lending will result in reduced sales. Carrie Russell, from ALA’s Office of Information Technology, countered that libraries are “confused by that argument since the evidence shows that library borrowers are the same people who buy,” referring to Library Journal‘s “Patron Profiles” and a Pew study.

Later in the show Greenfield said, based on his meetings with publishers, there is good news for libraries; publishers who make their ebooks available to libraries believe it helps, rather than hurts, their business and are planning to continue as well as expand their programs. In the coming year or two, he expects to see other publishers make their ebooks available to libraries.

However, he said, some publishers look at the studies skeptically, believing that library borrowers buy ebooks only when they are unavailable through the library and that a change in policy would result in fewer sales.

Also featured on the show were Vailey Oehlke, Director Multnomah County Library and Allan Adler of the AAP.

EBooks Win Romance Writers Awards

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Marking another step in the growing acceptance of ebooks, two titles published by digital imprints were among the dozen titles winning RITA awards from the Romance Writers of America at a ceremony in Anaheim over the weekend.

The winner for best Contemporary Single Title is Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe. Originally published as an ebook by Harlequin’s Carina imprint, it was released in paperback as well. Currently it is an ebook-only title, available via OverDrive and B&T’s Axis360 platform.

The winner for best Romance Novella, I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden, is published by HarperCollins/Avon’s digital imprint, Impulse. It is also available via OverDrive and Axis360.

The RWA Librarian of the Year is Mary Moore, Reference & Adult Services Manager, Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, Huntsville, Alabama. She is profiled on the RWA site.

In addition, nine unpublished manuscripts won the association’s Golden Heart Awards.

We Know What You Read

Friday, June 29th, 2012

The Wall Street Journal looks at the information now available on the reading habits of people using e-readers.

Ever wonder if you’re a slow reader? It took the average reader an hour to read 57 pages of The Hunger Games on an ebook.

Barnes and Noble has begun studying this information. They admit that “Some of the findings confirm what retailers already know,” but some of the insights are “already shaping the types of books that Barnes & Noble sells on its Nook.”

True to form, Amazon decided not to reveal what they do with their data.

What do writers think? Scott Turow tells the WSJ, ”If you can find out that a book is too long and you’ve got to be more rigorous in cutting, personally I’d love to get the information.”

Privacy? According to the WSJ, “Some privacy watchdogs argue that e-book users should be protected from having their digital reading habits.”

Penguin Making EBooks Available to Some Libraries

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Cautiously returning

Penguin announced yesterday that they are working with 3M on a pilot program to again make their e-books available to the New York and  Brooklyn Public Library systems.

The catch? Titles will not be released until six months after they go on sale through retailers and they will expire after a year, with an option to renew. The prices will be “in the same range as prices that retail consumers pay.” (the Wall Street Journal).

Chris Platt of NYPL tells the Wall Street Journal that he hopes Penguin will eventually “agree to make some titles available immediately, while retaining the six-month delay for hot-selling titles. Exposure of first-time authors in libraries, for example, could boost sales.”

The deal was announced just three months after Tony Marx, NYPL President and CEO told publishers that he would be willing to  consider introducing more “friction” into the lending of ebooks to address their fears that library lending would affect the nascent consumer market for ebooks.

It’s a sign of the times that the story of this cautious change was broken by the Wall Sreet Journal (Libraries Cut E-Book Deal With Penguin). The NYT also ran a story in their Media Decoder blog.

NPR On Ebooks in Libraries

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

NPR’s Morning Edition today looks at the “promise and problems” of ebooks in libraries, focusing on New York’s Queens Borough Public Library. The NPR reporter describes the major problem this way, “libraries are struggling to stock ebooks. Most major publishers impose heavy restrictions or refuse to lend their titles. They are afraid that could undercut digital sales.”

Hollywood Discovers Ebooks

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

It seems three instances are sufficient to declare a trend. Variety rounds up the news of three ebooks optioned for movies recentlyWool, On the Island and, of course, Fifty Shades of Grey. Says literary agent Jody Hotchkiss,”The effect is that [producers are] looking more closely than ever at the ebook [best seller] list for the original ebook bestsellers.”

Variety provides a list of  ”currently high-charting ebooks” that have not yet been optioned, some of which are self-published. The list illustrates the range of publishing options these days, as well as the range of challenges for selectors.

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst — from Entangled Publishing, a non-traditional publisher that selects titles from submissions, and focuses on marketing and promotion, rather than editing (or, as they say, “we let writers do what they do best”). As profiled by Publishers Weekly in January, the company was launched in 2011 by a group of authors to expand publishing opportunities for genre writers, the selections focus on romance. The Marriage Bargain has been on the NYT Combined Print & E-Book best seller list for 6 weeks, as of the current list, reaching a high of #10. A sequel, The Marriage Trap, is coming in June.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire — from CreateSpace, the self-publishing company owned by Amazon. Available in both paperback and ebook, it is on the NYT eBook only list, at #25, after two weeks. The paperback is available through wholesalers and the ebook from B&T’s Axis 360.

Mongoliad by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear and others — began life as an online subscription. Amazon Publishing’s science fiction imprint, 47North, released Book One in paperback, available through wholesalers. It’s not on the NYT lists but is at #89 on Amazon’s Science Fiction and Fantasy list. Brilliance (also now owned by Amazon) released the audio.

Beauty by Laurell K. Hamilton — is a 33-page ebook-only “Vampire Hunter outtake,” published by Penguin/Berkley. It landed at #14 on the NYT eBook only list this week and is not available for library lending.

 

FIFTY SHADES At The Beach

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Following the bidding wars for Fifty Shades of Grey (which began its life as Master of the Universe on a Twilight fan fiction site) and the sci-fi Wool, Hollywood continues its fascination with self-pubbed titles.

Film rights to Tracey Garvis-Graves’ On the Island, a NYT E-Book Fiction Best Seller (currently at #9 after 4 weeks; down from a high of #7), were just won at auction by Warner Brothers, reports Variety. In addition to the ebook format (available on B&T’s Axis 360), it is available in paperback (Amazon/CreateSpace, 9781466363212, 3/14/12). WorldCat indicates that few libraries own it.

The NYT On Justice’s Suit Against Publishers

Monday, April 16th, 2012

In today’s New York Times, media columnist David Carr examines the suit that the Justice Department entered last week. It charges Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster of colluding with Apple, against Amazon, to fix prices on eBooks. All but Macmillan and Penguin have agreed to settle (the text of the filing is here).

According to Carr, the action gives Amazon a major advantage; “Amazon has the Justice Department as an ally to rebuild its monopoly and wipe out other players. ”

Time Magazine's Person of the Year, 1999

The press has been in agreement with Carr. The WSJ offered a similar opinion last week, remarking on Justice’s “hyperventilating account of Apple’s negotiations with the publishers” and that “The book industry is defending the very survivability of a book industry whose products are anything but uniform.”

Amazon’s home town paper, The Seattle Times, reports on speculation that Amazon is behind the law suit.

Harry Potter eBooks Now for Sale (and Library Loaning)

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

As of today, Harry Potter ebooks are available for consumer purchase exclusively via the Pottermore.com shop.

As of tomorrow at 9 a.m., ET, the entire series will be available for checkout from OverDrive, according to an email sent by the company earlier today. Pre-orders, which had been temporarily halted, have now been restored (and the 10% discount extended through 4/30). The company also says that all holds place on earlier ordering will be honored.  The HP books are available in EPUB, Kindle and MP3 audio formats.