Whose Side Are You On??


Where would books be without readers?  Nowhere.  So, in an effort to reach out to more readers, Book Expo America introduced Book Con.  A Comic Con for books.  Scheduled for this Saturday, May 31.  Sounds great, sounds exciting, especially when Book Con promised a rock star list of authors, insider information, and cool panels.  Awesome galore!  Unfortunately, when you look at the actual Book Con line-up, you see why so many people are sounding off.   We live in a world with diverse readership and diverse authorship, yet there is an appalling lack of diversity at Book Expo America.  Instead of honoring and celebrating America’s rich tapestry, Book Expo America offers fifty shades of celebrity white.


It’s hard to miss.  Amazon and Hachette are fighting, and Amazon broke its silence to say it doesn’t expect a resolution anytime soon.   How does this war affect Indie Readers?  We’d like to know.  For example, some readers wrote on the New York Times comments page that they will boycott Amazon, and shop elsewhere.  Welcome news to the many independent bookstores struggling to survive and compete against Amazon.  In the U.K., bookstores have joined forces to form a cooperative to bolster their strength and power.  Some are raising money by issuing community shares.  These bookstores wish to serve as community hubs and change the world for the better one book at a time.  There are currently 16 cooperatively-owned bookstores in the U.K. with more to come.  As Kelly Jensen, a blogger and librarian, says, your local brick and mortar bookstore is a privilege that not everyone has access to.


Romance dominates the April 2014 bestseller list for self-pubbed books published by Smashwords, and distributed by Kobo, Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.  Smart, Sexy and Secretive by Tammy Faulkner takes the top spot, but her Calmly, Carefully, Completely is not far behind at #7.   Only four titles from other genres made the top 25 for the month of April.


If you enjoy e-books and your library of e-books keeps on growing, you might be wondering when you can sell some of these “used” e-books.  Apple and Amazon actually filed for patents last year to help facilitate the sale of used e-books, but so far, no progress.  One major stumbling block is most e-tailers are selling you a license to the book, not the actual book, which makes it impossible for you to resell.  So, if you really want to own something with resale value, for now, buy hard copy.


Speaking of sales and resales, beloved Indie Readers, how much do you spend on books per year?  Rebecca Joines Schinsky may be right, we love to talk about books, plot points, favorite characters, how we organize, which ones are keepers, how we discovered these compelling voices – but maybe now is the time to share how much we spend?  Ssssh.  Don’t worry, nobody has to know.  Book Riot is taking an anonymous poll.   Please complete the poll by June 4th.


In spite of cool new features like embedded audio, and more interactivity, enhanced e-books have failed to take off.   The main reason why, according to Peter Costanzo, is publishers can’t deliver the same enhanced features across all digital platforms.   A Kindle is not an iPad is not GooglePlay is not a Nook, and what works on one, won’t work on the other.  Until publishers figure out how to deliver the same enhanced experience across all channels, readers will stick to plain text.