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Archive for the ‘Kindle’ Category

Finding your favorite eBook romance and erotica from small press and independent publishers on the Kindle is still hit and miss. Some make nearly all their titles available in Kindle format, while others only a few.

Often a time lag exists between when a book is available from a publisher’s website, or other eBook retailer such as All Romance, My Bookstore and More, or Books on Board, and when it becomes available for the Kindle.

Here are the results of several searches I conducted recently at the Kindle Store on Amazon.com.  I entered a publisher’s company name into the Kindle Store search box and then sorted available titles by date of publication. Search engines are far from infallible, so if you have additional information about these publishers and the Kindle, please feel free to comment!

Available on the Kindle

  • Amber Quill Press (not all titles available; gaps of months between titles)
  • Liquid Silver Books (most recent Kindle editions are from June 15)
  • Lyrical Press (Kindle editions coincide with release dates)
  • Pink Petal Books (most recent Kindle editions are from beginning of July)
  • Red Rose Publishing (most recent Kindle editions are from end of July)
  • Red Sage Publishing (Kindle editions appear to coincide with release dates, though this publisher hasn’t released anything for several weeks)
  • Samhain (Kindle editions coincide with release dates)
  • Sapphire Blue Publishing (Kindle editions appear to coincide with release dates)
  • The Wild Rose Press and Wilder Rose (Kindle editions appear to coincide with release dates)

Not Available on the Kindle

  • Cerridwen Press
  • Ellora’s Cave
  • White Rose Publishing (though this is the inspirational catalog for The Wild Rose Press, I could not find any White Rose titles on Kindle)
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Blogger David Rothman of TeleRead: Bring the eBooks Home offers a current guestimate of the number of Kindles vs. Sony eReaders now sold in the U.S.:

Of U.S. dedicated e-reader sales of a bit more than a million a year, Kindles make up 45 percent, according to the Cleantech Group. Sony is 30 percent, while rivals are just 25 percent.

In some ways this parallels the eBook Stats reports here on Kindling Romance each Friday, which show Sony is well behind the Kindle in terms of romance titles available, 18.7K titles in the Kindle Store as opposed to 11.4K titles at Sony’s The eBook Store.

The same blog post predicts 29 million eBook reader devices, all brands included, will ship in 2013. Hyperbole or no, eBooks are gaining critical mass with consumers.

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Here’s a bright spot on the horizon for every romance fan with a Sony eReader. The company just announced that they will drop their own proprietary eBook format in favor of ePub. Reports the New York Times:

…some publishers and consumer electronics makers are aiming to give e-book buyers more flexibility by rallying around a single technology standard for the books.

Not only great news for readers, but it will help Sony take on Amazon and the Kindle in the marketplace.

On Thursday, Sony Electronics, which sells e-book devices under the Reader brand, plans to announce that by the end of the year it will sell digital books only in the ePub format, an open standard created by a group including publishers like Random House and HarperCollins.

Sony will also scrap its proprietary anticopying software in favor of technology from the software maker Adobe that restricts how often e-books can be shared or copied.

That’s just one step on the road to industry-wide standardization of eBooks, but it goes a long way toward leveling the playing field, not just for readers, but eBook romance authors, as well, who will then be able to connect with more potential buyers of their books.

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Getting noticed as a romance writer is hard work. Competition from bestselling novelists can suck the lifeblood out of a newbie’s promotion efforts faster than a vampire on a drinking binge.

A writer may go on tour, build a website, start a blog, make a trailer, create bookmarks, host a giveaway, attend conferences, join romance loops, and twitter until she gets carpal thumb, and still have more to do. Of all the fiction genres, romance writers strike me as being the savviest, most upbeat promoters of their own work today. They never stop working and networking, or looking for ways to get their books in front of readers.

Here’s the word. FREE is the new black.

According to the Associated Press, free books are now the latest weapon in the sales arsenal. It sounds counter-intuitive, but giving away an entire novel, not simply an excerpt or a short story is leading to dramatic increases in sales for known and lesser known romance novelists.

“There’s always going to be someone who wants free things. What we’re trying to do is link free with paid,” Maja Thomas, senior vice president of digital media at Patterson’s publisher, the Hachette Book Group, said. “It’s like priming the pump.”

“What we like to do is make the first book in a series free, usually a series that has multiple books,” said Scott Shannon, publisher of the Del Rey/Spectra imprint at Random House, Inc.

You can witness this dynamic in action at Amazon.com where a significant number of the top 25 romance novels for the Kindle are free.

For the last several weeks, Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning has bounced around in the top five to ten books on the list. No mystery there. It doesn’t cost readers a dime to download. Not coincidentally, two of the author’s other books, Bloodfever and Faefever, have nearly kept pace in sales, even though the price for these is $6.00 and $6.39 respectively. Lara Adrian is another writer to benefit from this trend with her novels, Kiss of Midnight (free) and Kiss of Crimson (not free).

Del Rey Publisher Shannon is quick to add one caveat in the article by AP:

“We have had phenomenal success with using free books to get people to buy others by an author. But in the long term, we have to guard the market. We have to make sure people understand that time and energy goes into writing a book.”

Newbie eBook authors take heart. If you don’t have an entire novel you can afford to give away, or should even want to give away, apparently free is free and free sells romance. Short stories are just as sought after when the price tag is $0.00.

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Another week, another weekend. It’s time for your Friday download! Here are six free romance eBooks, perfect for a lazy summer day.

Upon a TideUpon a Tide of Wintry Morn by Rae Lori

Publisher: Free Prequel to Within the Shadows of Mortals slated for release in November by Lyrical Press.
Subgenre: Dark Fantasy Romance
Length: 5,463 words/18 pages
Formats: Adobe PDF, Kindle, ePub, LRF, HTML, Palm and Plain Text
Author’s Website:
http://www.raelori.com

A greater threat looms over the three houses as they move westward for a better life. Shades of the past return as Ariya senses a connection between Alexandru Drago and his prince, Vlad Tepes III aka Vlad Dracul, as she relives their conspiracy to retake the throne of Wallachia using a secret army. At the same time, Jace relives his father’s burial in the Highlands of Scotland and muses over living with Ariya in the Aziza fairy realm.

Dragon Lust by Tilly Greene

Publisher: All Romance eBooks
Subgenre: Contemporary Erotica
Length: 6.5K Words
Formats: Adobe PDF, HTML
Author’s Website:
http://www.tillygreene.com/

Two friends are set to spend their Friday night out with one goal: to release the week’s tension with a night full of wicked indulgences. They hit a bullseye when they meet a woman who is looking for the right person, or people, to set her passionate soul free. It all happens at O’Reilly’s. Debauchery abounds and on this night, the dragon’s lust rules them all.

brassbedblog2The Brass Bed by Jennifer Stevenson

Publisher: Ballantine
Subgenre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Full Length Novel
Formats: Kindle, iPod, iPhone
Author’s Website:
http://www.jenniferstevenson.com/

THE CURSE: Satisfy one hundred women or be trapped in a brass bed forever
Lord Randall was a lousy lover in 1811, so his magician-mistress turned him into a sex demon. Lucky for him, his bed fell into Clay’s hands.

THE CON: Sex therapy for women on an antique brass “treatment bed”
Clay has the perfect scam going, until that pesky, foxy fraud investigator Jewel comes sniffing around. Lucky for him, she has a soft spot for hunky con men.

THE CHOICE: Sex demon or sex fraudster?
Jewel is Randy’s hundredth woman. Now he says he’s her personal sex slave, and her case against the con artist is dissolving in a hail of hormones. Lucky for her, she’s a tough cop with a lusty libido.

Unexpected Comfort by Kelly Ferjutz

Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Subgenre: Historical Romance
Length: Short-short
Formats:
Adobe PDF, HTML, MSReader, Mobipocket, Rocketbook

Homesteading in the American West isn’t easy. Emilia and Sam Hubbard had made some progress in carving a homestead for themselves out of the isolated prairie country. Then renegade Indians attack, killing Sam and forging an unlikely partnership between Emmy and a wanderer, Ben Murphy. In the midst of all the turmoil, she discovers unexpected comfort from the one man she should avoid.

SmokinSmokin by Samantha Sommersby

Publisher: Linden Bay Romance
Subgenre: Contemporary Erotica
Length: 2.25K Words
Formats: Adobe PDF, HTML
Author’s Website:
http://www.samanthasommersby.com/

Sharon and Brian have been roommates for months. As each day passes the sexual tension between them mounts. Brian’s routine of cold showers and hard runs just isn’t doing the trick anymore. Why did he say he’d quit smoking? If he could just have a cigarette to take the edge off…but no, Sharon’s hidden them. What happens next is Smokin’ hot!

Blue Spring’s Queen by Lauri Robinson

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press (from their Cactus Rose line)
Subgenre: Contemporary Sweet
Length: Short-short (8 pages)
Formats: PDF, MSReader, HTML
Author’s Website:
http://laurirobinson.blogspot.com/

Abigail Christenson wanted out of Blue Spring, but little did she know that Evan Hollingsford wasn’t about to let her go.

Are You an Author or Publisher Who is Offering a Free eBook?

Email me with the details. I love to hear about free eBooks, and so do Kindling Romance’s readers. Your book may be featured in the next Free eBook Romances post.

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Romance eBook authors and publishers received a boost of confidence today from a post by Book World editor Steven Levingston, blogging at The Washington Post.

In “E-Books Sales: Tiny Today, Towering Tomorrow?” Levingston breaks down the numbers and trends on current eBook sales. Hint: eBook sales are shooting through the roof, while print sales are lagging. Levingston is quick to point out that sales figures are growing from a modest base. Still, there’s reason to cheer:

Latest figures from the Association of American Publishers showed e-book sales up 167 percent through May of this year. Printed book sales were down 4 percent.

Not quite that surprising, the majority of eBook buyers are men:

In 2008, men accounted for 55 percent of e-book purchases, with the figure growing to 57 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 accounted for 52 percent of e-book purchases last year.

However, the article describes a “burgeoning audience for romance e-books,” pointing to the huge crowd that showed for Nora Roberts recent signing at the Post, plus this blog’s own growing following and its eBook romance bestseller lists. What really gives me hope for the eBook romance market are positive comments such as those found in the article’s final line:

Who knows, after seeing the hordes and the enthusiasm for Nora Roberts, I may just have witnessed the key to the future of e-books.

Considering the enormous marketing savvy of the authors in our genre, I’d agree, we have a strong potential of making a dent in current eBook sales demographics, attracting more and more print book readers to digital. Of course, we can always convert all those ready-to-buy male eBook consumers to romance!

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Plastic Logic Reader

Plastic Logic Reader

Late to the eBook reader party, Barnes & Noble announced their plans Monday to offer some serious competition to the Kindle and Amazon’s eBook store, by partnering with Plastic Logic to sell their own reader early next year. Also in the works, book offerings from www.bn.com in multiple platforms: iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows, and MacPCs, though not the Kindle or Sony reader.

Here are the highlights:

  • Plastic Logic’s Reader is approximately the size of a standard sheet of paper (8.5″ x 11″) and uses the same type of e-ink technology as the Kindle.
  • No price has yet been announced for the new device.
  • Barnes & Noble claims it will have 700,000 eBook titles online at launch and thus be the world’s largest eBook store, but a caveat applies, as the 700K includes half a million public domain (older, historic) titles. They do expect to increase the total to one million within the year. No word on how many will be romance, of course.
  • New releases and bestsellers on the site will be priced at $9.99.
  • An upgraded version of the eReader application the company purchased last year from Fictionwise will support both wireless and wired downloads.

What does this mean for writers and readers of eBook romances? While the electronic format may not yet have been fully embraced by the Romance Writers of America®, or many traditional print publishers, the marketplace itself is clearly headed in that direction.

Here are a couple of possible scenarios:

One…A glut of new eBook readers on the market from Barnes & Noble, Kindle, Sony, and the numerous start-up companies working on their own readers, causes intense competition, and thus a drastic drop in the price of readers. This puts an eReader within reach of more consumers. eBook reader sales soar and those who own them demonstrate they are hungry for product (aka books to buy), thus publishers will need more of it to fill the void.

Though I’d like to say that this would mean more contracts for more writers—and it may—my feeling is that the status quo would largely remain. Traditional print publishes would simply nudge their current stable of print authors towards a larger electronic, smaller wood pulp footprint.

However, any time there’s a shift this large in business models, older, less nimble players tend to get shut out, while those ready to take on the new technology find ripe opportunities opening up for them. Romance writers who figure out how to adapt many not just endure, but prosper.

Two…A glut of new eBook readers on the market causes, that’s right, a glut of new eBook readers on the market. If the economy gets worse, or not enough consumers decide they like to read digitally, the market for eBooks sputters or becomes stagnant. One or two readers emerge as the winners, but the eBook market doesn’t take the same wild, heady ride that other media have enjoyed in the transition to digital. eBooks, as a format, continue to bump along in their own specialized niche, possibly still growing, but at a slow and steady pace.

Knowing the track record of most predictions, it’s possible, even likely, that a third, as yet unforeseen scenario develops. However, as Jane at Dear Author remarked today in a thought provoking mini-essay about the state of the romance industry, “books are the only form of entertainment that isn’t fully digital…[as readers] We want to be entertained and we want in now.”

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