Books On Sale

Ebook Sales and YA Showdown

Book CoverLinks, news, and various things in convenient list format (mostly because I’m afraid I’m going to forget something and there’s three things I want to tell you about).

1. One of the best historical romances ever, beloved by many, is .99 cents today for Kindle, nook, and Kobo.

Additionally, Caroline Linden’s A View to a Kiss is also .99c (AMZ | nook | Kobo) digitally right now. I don’t know how long the sale lasts, but if you’re craving historical romance like I am, then join me in a celebratory WOO HOO!

I recently bought The Duke and I, (Kindle | nook) a book I already own in paper and in digital, simply because for $1.99 I would have a digital copy I could access anywhere via my phone’s Kindle app, my Kindle, or my laptop. This is a new type of purchase for me: a price low enough that I’ll buy something I already own just to have the convenience of being able to read it pretty much anywhere I’m waiting in line. It’s my “digital cloud convenience price.” I’m all over that. 

2. Related to the Lord of Scoundrels sale, Robin directed me to this thread at the ever-active Amazon boards that’s all about publisher-discounted ebooks: Discounted/Price Dropped Kindle eBooks.

You an subscribe to the thread and receive an alert each time a new post is added, and there are a lot of people actively hunting down the bargains. I tried to find an Amazon subscription service that would alert me just to Kindle bargain books, but the Amazon email subscriptions at present are pretty paltry – you can subscribe to “bargain books” and to “romance” in general, but no “bargain/sale Kindle romance.” It would be spiffy to be able to subscribe to that sort of info.

Via that thread, I also learned that Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries is on sale digitally for $1.99 – and for nook too. There is a woman named Emily on that thread who is worth her weight in gold, I tell you.

3. And not related to books on sale, but with generally kicking ass and taking names, today Maureen Johnson debated on NPR the subject of YA literature with journalist Meghan Cox Gurdon, who wrote a hair-setting-on-fire-exasperating article for the WSJ on why YA literature is dark and scary and how terrible it is that our poor teenage children are being exposed to such dark and terrifying themes.

Her article, Darkness Too Visible inspired a hashtag #YAsaves on Twitter, and a written response from Sherman Alexie, who pretty much wiped the floor with Gurdon’s specious argument in his essay, Why the best kids books are written in blood.

Maureen Johnson, who I believe was the originator of the #YASaves hashtag, also responded clearly and cogently in the live interview today, which you can listen to online at WHYY.org (mp3). Going on a live radio show to debate something can be terrifying – especially when you feel strongly about it. Go on with your bad self, Maureen. Well played.

4. What books have you bought recently that you loved? Share share!

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  1. 1
    Sarah L says:

    I

    <3 Maureen Johnson! I got Suite Scarlett and 13 Little Blue Envelopes as free ebooks and I could not put them down.

    Also, you can follow

    http://blog.booksontheknob.org/ for notifications of free ebooks. This has seriously saved my sanity by ensuring that I have enough ebooks to read one-handed while nursing my one-month-old, whose world, much like a badly written romance “hero”‘s, begins and ends with the boob these days.

  2. 2
    hollygee says:

    Thanks—I’ve been trying to track down LoS—MY LIBRARY DOESN’T HAVE IT!!!!!!!!!!
    I’ve been reading Brits. I’ve been loving the books of Jill Mansell, Gil McNeil, Annie Sanders, Trisha Ashley, Veronica Henry and Erica James. These writers are the English equivalent to Jennifer Crusie as they write strong women with strong communities. In the case of Gil McNeil’s books (and she writes more slowly than even Crusie), the books have satisfying conclusions that don’t necessarily have the protagonist hooking up with her love interest.

  3. 3
    Jrant says:

    I’m so glad you included information about Gurdon’s article. I heard her on NPR’s “Tell Me More.” Her response to all the criticism was “either people didn’t understand my article or they are purposely misrepresenting it, neither of which is very attractive.” Which is totally how you establish credibility AND seize the moral high ground.* I thought it was exactly the kind of issue the bitchery would sink its collective teeth into. And yes, Sherman Alexie’s response was seven kinds of awesome sauce. I’m using both essays in my Comp I class in the fall.

    *The thing is, I wish she had been more measured. It’s worth discussing trends in publishing for ANY genre, I LOVE that shit. But then she had to get all “the sky is falling and we must protect our defenseless children and the publishing industry needs to do a better job of coming up with books that meet my specifications.” Which is just silly.

  4. 4
    kylydia says:

    I just discovered Loretta Chase after reading a review here (maybe last week?). I’m almost through the Carsington Brothers series, and I’m really enjoying her style. Now, I’ve picked up LoS for $0.99!

    Thanks for being so awesome!

  5. 5
    Hannah says:

    Thanks for the links—I’m thrilled about all the ebooks I’ve been picking up on sale this summer!

    Regarding the YA showdown I also heard a show on my local public radio station (Midmorning with Kerri Miller) that was a follow-up to an earlier program with Megan Cox Gurden. It featured Andrew Smith who wrote The Marbury Lens, one of the books mentioned in “Darkness Too Visible.” Very thought-provoking. I can’t wait to listen to the interview with Maureen Johnson.

  6. 6
    HeatherU says:

    I think a lot of the talk is really missing one of the key points: how and who the books are being marketed to. Meghan picks some of the “darkest” themes to discuss, but if you look at a lot of these novels they aren’t geared towards those imaginary 12 and 13 year olds she continues to focus on. By focusing on such a young group, she misses the much large age range that is reading this literature.

  7. 7

    LoS is $8.17 on Amazon and $6.99 on Kobo for Canadians. I was stunned, however, that B & N actually let me buy and download the ebook (for $0.99). They used to bar Canadians from buying their ebooks, and I believe most people believe that is still the case. Something must have changed.

  8. 8
    Anne says:

    YEEE HAWWW

    I found a way to be notified when things are posted in Amazon!  I took the URL of the page in Amazon, pasted into the Add A Subscription part of Google Reader and voila!

    I use google reader a lot for fun and libraryland stuff.  I recommend it to anyone trying to stay on top of the news in their field.  And, of course, finding out about new books

    In non-digital/price drop stuff, you can get a feed for Romantic Times that only gives the ratings for each month but you at least know what is new and has a good review.

    I also swear by Reader’s Advisor Online.  Notification of what’s new on the bestsellers lists, What’s being published this week, and general reader’s advisory, links galore, and reading lists from various sources.

    For staying up to date, Google Reader just can’t be beat.  I login to read the feeds every day.

  9. 9
    Chelsea says:

    @HeatherU that’s a very good point. There is a huge difference in how mature and how impressionable the average 12 old is verses the average 15 year old.

    I was always frustrated with how light and fluffy the young adult section of my library was when I was a teen. I wanted gritty, interesting stories that spoke to me. And I found them (in the adult section). And most importantly, I’m no worse for wear from having read all of that dark literature.

    I picked up The History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig without really knowing what it was about…and I love it! Yay!

  10. 10
    LG says:

    Thanks for linking to that mp3! I had read the article, the follow-up of the article, and some of the #YASaves stuff, so this was a nice addition. I remember reading a blog post in which someone noted that Cox Gurdon usually reviewed children’s books (which is not the same thing as YA) and seemed to be considering the audience for children’s and YA as one and the same, but this show really brought that home. Like HeatherU notes, every time she brought up a specific age, it was always 12 years old.

    Very interesting. Although I did cringe at the couple callers who seemed to be calling in mostly to promote their books (or just their names? I can’t remember if the one guy had published anything yet or if he was just complaining about the publishers who wouldn’t take his stuff).

  11. 11
    Emily says:

    I have to say as a young teen; I hated most Young Adult literature, because so much of it was dark and depressing. It really was too dark and dreary for me. The only reason I read any of it was because the schools pushed it on me. I gave up reading for a few years (When I was 13)! I really wished back then we could real literature and not the young adult stuff.
    I don’t always like dark and depressing; that’s why I like romance.
    I think young adult is fine as long as the young adults and adults and anyone who wants to read has a choice on whether to read it. I don’t think it should be forced on anyone, and I think that schools should be careful about giving to kids at an age which is a dark time for a lot of people.
    Place25:hopefully I’ll be in a better place at 25 then I was at 13.

  12. 12

    Sherman Alexis hit the nail on the head. My mother threw me out of the house when I was 10. Nancy Drew didn’t exactly do it for me after that, if you know what I mean. =) Thank you for linking to the articles.

  13. 13
    Elizabeth says:

    Well, got all excited, followed the links, went to Amazon, but these titles are ‘not available to customers in Austrailia’. I really hate geographical restrictions – and cannot see the point of them with e-books. Sigh….

  14. 14
    Alpha Lyra says:

    Thanks for the heads up! I bought the 99c Lord of Scoundrels for my Kindle even though I already have a print copy.

  15. 15
    morwen says:

    I will agree with Gurden in that there has been a trend in YA novels for “darker” themes. I don’t mind that there are darker books for teens that are hitting on hard topics. My problem is that there are so many being published that are just badly written excuses for vapidness or gorn or just the same old tired vampire/werecreature/supernatural motif over and over again.

    I think that if you took some points from Gurden’s article and took points from Alexie’s article and discussed quality then you’d have an interesting article that actually got somewhere.

  16. 16
    Lisa says:

    There are approximately 10,000 books published each year for young adults. Are some of them dark? Of course. Some of them are works of literary genius, some are middlebrow, some are silly, some are as fluffy and insubstantial as marshmallows. With a pool of 10,000 books from which to choose, you can find something to support whatever random thesis you’ve come up with.

    The thing that has annoyed me most about this whole kerfluffle is the commenters at the WSJ and elsewhere who go on and on about how when they were eleven and twelve they read Hemingway, Shakespeare, the Brontes, Milton, and whatnot, and had no use for kids/YA books. The moral superiority is really nauseating.

  17. 17
    Lizabeth S. Tucker says:

    Tough call on the dark YA books.  If that was all there was, I’d say someone needs a reality check.  But there is more than that out there.  There was no such thing as YA books when I was a young adult (which I assume would be 14-21?), so I tended to read adult books, from mysteries to science fiction to history to general fiction, etc.  The only thing I didn’t read then were romances, other than Georgette Heyer and Emilie Loring. 

    But if we look at children’s books, we have to admit that fairy tales are incredibly violent, so why are we upset that it continues to YA literature?  And let’s discuss Harry Potter.  I love the books, but there is a level of violence in them, particularly toward Harry himself, that can be disturbing to many readers of all ages.

    And there there are the YA television series and movies aimed at that age group. Sex, violence, and dubious morals.  In other words, same ol’ same ol’.

  18. 18
    Karin says:

    4. Vienna Waltz by Theresa Grant. It’s all kinds of awesome, with a very morally ambiguous heroine. Great local color if you’re tired of London.

  19. 19
    Emily says:

    I have to tell you guys – I read my first romance novel this week, and it was Lord of Scoundrels, recommended to me by this site. I’m still growing out of my poo-pooing of all books that aren’t “lit fic,” but I LOVED Lord of Scoundrels. I literally sat down and read it in a day (being unemployed helps). Thanks, SBs, for the great recommendation! I’ll be buying a copy for my Kindle app!

  20. 20
    JoyK says:

    In honor of the release of the latest in her Parasol Protectorate series, Heartless see the ad for it on the side of the blog, Gail Carringer’s publisher is selling the first 3 books in her series as a bundle for $9.99.  I snapped them up at Amazon for my kindle since I’d read them at the library and liked them, especially the first one in the series.

  21. 21
    Sabrina D. says:

    Recently read Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Incredibly good young adult paranormal. Found this review, bought the book and found that it was better than advertised! http://www.foreveryoungadult.com/2011/05/10/blue-jean-baby-wolfman-lady-diviner-for-the-band/

  22. 22
    saltwaterknitter says:

    This is a battle that I have fought with myself, as a mother.  I don’t want to censor what my daughters read. I truly don’t. But I remember times in libraries and bookstores when they were younger, and they wanted a book that I considered too adult, or violent, or dark, and wow, did it bring out a part of me that I didn’t know was there, the “No, put the book down and back away slowly!” part. I thought I was the most liberal person in the world until I had kids, until philosophy met reality.  Sometimes I was able to guide them to a book I considered more suitable, most of the time they got the book they wanted.  I remember waiting for some kind of fall out, after they read the book I was concerned about, and there never was any. Mostly,  the author was able to talk about a difficult subject in an artful, sensitive, and perceptive manner, something I don’t think I could have done as well. I’ve learned, the hard way (which seems to be the way I learn damn near everything), to let my kids read what they want to read. They already know life can be broken, and frightening, and bleak. This is not news to a teen, whether the subject matter is a reflection of their life or not. And I absolutely do not think that YA books are predominately dark. There are so many wonderful, lighthearted, romantic, fun books out right now for YA readers, along with the brutal, challenging, and bleak books; I think it’s a great, great time to be a YA reader.

  23. 23
    Carin says:

    (I got blacklisted for posting a link to Dear Author, so let me try again without the eeeevil link.)

    Dear Author posted a list today with books under $2.99.  I first saw Lord of Scoundrels listed there and snapped it up on Kobo for my Sony reader.  I don’t understand why it was still full price at Sony, but they lost a sale.  SB Sarah, you are right – 99c is definitely low enough for me to buy an ebook I already have a paper copy of!

    I also bought the Parasol Protectorate.  I’ve heard a lot of good about them and it was a nice price.

    As to what I’m reading?  I downloaded Bettie Sharpe’s free short story Ember from her website.  It’s a retelling of Cinderella and I loved it!  Dark and imaginative, on the erotica side of things, I think it’s my favorite Cinderella retelling ever.  And it certainly made me go buy her other two stories that ARe was selling!

  24. 24
    Chisai says:

    Honestly, I can’t decide whether the amazon price drop discussion thread is magnificently awesome or evil as hell.  This is largely due to my complete lack of impulse control.  Since I found the thread a while ago, I have added so many books to my kindle, that if these were DTBs I would have several TBR stacks up to the ceiling.  I am particularly fold of the ban on author self-promotion and the scant indie offerings that make their way through.

    Even77 – about a quarter of what’s in my pile.  Sad, yes?

  25. 25
    Sandra says:

    @kylydia:

    I just discovered Loretta Chase after reading a review here (maybe last week?). I’m almost through the Carsington Brothers series, and I’m really enjoying her style. Now, I’ve picked up LoS for $0.99!

    Wait till you get her newest one. I just finished it last night. The Earl of Hargate and an unidentified son make cameo appearances at the end. The heroine is a Dreadful DeLucey. Wonderful, wonderful book. I was hooked from the first paragraph.

  26. 26
    JaniceG says:

    Lizabeth said:

    There was no such thing as YA books when I was a young adult (which I assume would be 14-21?), so I tended to read adult books, from mysteries to science fiction to history to general fiction, etc.  The only thing I didn’t read then were romances, other than Georgette Heyer and Emilie Loring.

    The term “YA” is a fairly recent publishing convention. Books for this market have been around for a while but they were often lumped with “juveniles.” In science fiction, for example, most of Robert Heinlein’s earlier work is probably classified as YA today, and Alexei Panshin’s Rite of Passage from 1968 is one of the best YA SF books out there even after all this time. (It’s partially a romance, too :-> )

  27. 27
    E! says:

    If you’re looking for ebooks for kindle, InkMesh is a pretty good site.

    http://inkmesh.com/

    It might help you look for the deals.

  28. 28
    bookstorecat says:

    Fabulous posts! Of course I bought a copy of Lord of Scoundrels—it’s already my most re-read romance in my library, and now I can take it with me everywhere I go!  And then I got the sample of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, which looks good. And then I just had to download Ember (wirelessly downloaded direct to my nookcolor from the author’s site). And then I went ahead and added http://blog.booksontheknob.org/ and the amazon discounted/price-dropped-books-blog to my internet favorites list (after confirming that all the prices listed for kindle books were the same for nookbooks).

    Phew! Busy day.

    Thanks to Carin, SabrinaD., SarahL. & SB Sarah for all the useful info.

    Now I’m going to check out this YA controversy ‘cause I love feeling indignant on behalf of the things I love. Almost as much as I love getting stuff for free.

  29. 29
    lorenet says:

    Thanks for the info re the podcast.  I subscribe to this show using itunes. 

    I check the kindle forum daily for posts from Happy Reader “Joyce”.  She posts “FREE Books”, usually daily, in the forum.  This is where I discovered that 9 of The Last Apprentice books were being offered for pre-order at $0.  I grabbed them for my grandson.

    If you are waiting on a specific book to drop in price, you can go to http://www.ereaderiq.com/ and enter the ASIN #.  They will email you when the price drops.

  30. 30
    SB Sarah says:

    I have NO idea why a link to DA wouldn’t go through in the comments. I link there all the freaking time. Time to go lecture the spam filter again. Sorry about that!

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