Sunday, January 29, 2012

Amazon per BusinessWeek

[Sorry about the ads -- believe me I didn't put them there and I don't actually earn any money from them.  Thank BusinessWeek for the ads.]

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seth Godin on the "Downside Up" of Publishing

As usual, Seth Godin gets it.  Here's his latest post.  The red highlights are MINE. 

"The single biggest change in book publishing is this:

The industry was built around finding readers for its writers.

And new technologies and business models now mean that the most successful publishers and authors find writers for their readers instead.

Traditionally, a book is signed, written, edited, designed, printed and distributed and THEN the publisher runs around like crazy trying to alert people about the book, get shelf space and media attention and reviews… all a way of finding readers for the writing that was published.

In the era of permission marketing, the writer already knows her readers, the writer already has the ability to contact those readers. If not the writer, then the publisher or the bookstore.

And that connection is an asset, a valuable one. It means that the attention is already there but must be re-earned regularly. So someone like John Scalzi or Cory Doctorow wakes up in the morning thinking about what he can write for his readers, not how to get more readers for what he’s already written.

[Think about a successful conference. They can invite high profile speakers because they already have an audience. Or think about being asked about appearing on a talk show. You go for free because the talk show already has an audience. This isn't new, it's merely new to publishing.]

And thus, everything changes. The risk. The timing. The deals. The personalities. The books themselves.

The losers at the end of this round are obvious: entities that haven’t bothered to build a direct connection with readers. Everything else is commentary."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Barnes & Noble will carry Amazon titles

Laura Owen Hazard at describes the new unhappy "marriage" of Amazon and B&N -- not even sure if you can call it a marriage.
Booksellers should not expect to be visited by a friendly Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Publishing sales rep anytime soon. Rather, in an agreement announced today, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish the print versions of all of the adult titles from Amazon Publishing’s New York-based division (run by publishing industry vet Larry Kirshbaum), and will distribute them everywhere in North America outside of

Best of all from Amazon’s point of view: Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) will not get a penny from the e-book sales of Amazon Publishing titles.

Check out the piece "Well, Here’s How Amazon Publishing Will Get Its Books Into Barnes & Noble" here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Romance Novel, or My Novel Romance

I'm in a odd position of feeling so happy and proud and satisfied and gaga about my husband in a world of couples who are not doing so well, I am torn.  Show me your rooftop, I'll shout from it, I LOVE MY HUSBAND!  But wait, I better do my SHOUTING ... quietly, so as not to upset the other guys and gals we know who aren't so happy.

He made me the most wonderful dinner last night -- pasta, wine, candles, the works -- and we whispered to one another in candlelight, just us two, co-conspirators, "If they don't like the person they are with, why don't they try to fix it or leave?!"  Shhhhh!   We can't share our dirty little secret -- that we're happy as can be.

Do we anger the gods by being so happy?  Will the plot of our story twist and turn and our tale will end badly?  Maybe, but not for now.  Are most people unhappy?  There are days when it seems that way.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How to Borrow "Free Books" for Amazon Prime Members

I've been seeing a lot of confusion around this subject -- how you actually get "free" books if you are a Kindle owner with a Amazon Prime membership.

If you go to Amazon, you will see many books listed as $0.00 for Prime members, and below this, you may see a price like $3.99 to buy, but don't click BUY.   You'll notice even if you are a Prime member, you will be billed for the "free" book.  "Huh?!"  you may say.  It's all about language.  The key word here is "borrow."

What you get as a Prime member is the ability to "BORROW" one book per month for free, read that book and then return it.

And how do you "borrow" free books?  You do not borrow the same way you buy books on the Amazon site page for a given book, but rather you initiate "borrowing" on your Kindle device.

This link will explain all the details.  Start here.

As you'll see here, you must click the "BORROW FOR FREE" button which appears on your Kindle screen, not on the site.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kindle Fire Test Drive

I loaned my Kindle Fire to a friend since she was thinking about getting one and wanted to give it a try. I loaned it to her a week ago ... and big surprise, she still has it and keeps coming up with good reasons to keep it longer. Makes me laugh. I knew she would LOVE IT! Who doesn't it?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paint It Black

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Is It Really 5 Degrees Here? Great Weather For Reading!

Yes, this lovely Sunday morning started out at 5 degrees F... warming up now to 12. What a perfect day for reading. How about Dr. Zhivago?! You can get it here on Amazon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are You Important? Social Media Thinks So.

With Steve Job's death last year, it's hard to be in the world, or particularly in the world of technology and not be thinking about death and what matters.  As you get older and see people around you die, you should be asking yourself, "what really matters?"  

Life is strange.  We know we were born and celebrate that fact yearly, but we have an odd way of avoiding the only other fact we can count on -- we die.

Yes, even you.  You WILL die.  (Unless biotech gets really innovative!)

So you will die and when you think that over, you should wonder, who will care?  Who will think my death matters?  Who will think my life mattered?  Who thinks I am important?

People who lived before us became known, or famous or important by waging wars, inventing things, writing books, building buildings, painting paintings, giving birth, curing diseases, traveling to unknown places, among other things.  

In our times, I think social media has given us all a new way to be important.  We might never be "famous" but we are important to our social media followers.  

We matter to a group of people -- some family, some friends, some strangers.  We matter right now thanks to social media.  We are famous to our circle of friends.  They miss us when we don't tweet or post.  They worry about us.  They learn from us when we link to interesting things.  We can make them laugh with YouTube videos.  We can stop dictators.  We can share a recipe and help them make dinner.    

When you rush to see who's been writing on your Facebook wall, you do it because the secret of social media is that it makes you matter.  Social media thinks you are a very important person. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Best Books According to Whom?

There are so many "Best Books of 2011" lists circulating and as a book lover, I want to blow a whistle and yell back, "best according to whom?"  

Take this book I had been hearing a lot about -- The Art of Fielding -- by Chad Harbach.  There were endless rave reviews about it and I ended up getting the idea that it was about publishing.  I bought it.  I read it.  I had the completely WRONG idea about it.  This is likely because half the reviews went on and on about how this book was changing publishing forever, or some nonsense.  This book is about BASEBALL and I hate baseball.

I mean, this book is about a shortstop. A guy on a baseball team.  (Insert a big "Who Cares?!" here please.)  I didn't really know what a shortstop did, nor did I care.  I spent the first half of the book figuring the guy who was a shortstop would graduate, go to New York and work in publishing and that was going to be the interesting part.  That never happened.

And I also don't know why anyone thought it was such a great book -- even leaving the baseball stuff aside -- I didn't think it was particularly well written.

So I guess I would say that finding a TRUSTED source for book recommendations is different from trusting a list of someone's idea of "best books."  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Now For A Really Happy New Year!

I've made my tea, it's early as can be and I'm thinking about 2012.  Back to work and school here today, so now it feels just really 2012-ish to be sure.

Repeat after me, "Twenty Twelve, Twenty Twelve, Twenty Twelve!"  And get out your checkbook and scribble some "2012's" on the date lines.  Go ahead, it might be in a different ink, but who cares.

There was nothing much 2012-ish about Sunday morning, but today, now that we have to get back to the real world -- it's a very big new year.   Make it even better in a simple way.  Walk.

I don't want to say the "R" word, but if you do want to make some changes in your life and get into some healthy new patterns, try to add one hour more of walking to your day.

I've been doing it for the last few days and it does make an amazing difference.  I'm feeling better and sleeping better.  Your body wants to move.  You body wants to get up from the desk and leave the computer for at least an hour.  Get up and move.  I'm not asking you to add an hour of running, or jumping or more obvious full throttle exercise, just trying adding an hour of walking, you'll be glad you did.