Friday, August 20, 2010

Linkage From 'Round The Web

Wow. Unlike myself, who seems to be at a blogging ebb at the moment (think Wendy, think...), I opened my Google Reader this morning to find several really great posts, chock full of musings, news, and other interesting tidbits. And since I have no imagination at the moment (more so than usual) - y'all are gettting a linky goodness post. And away we go....

  • The Kobo Reader (KristieJ has one and likes it bunches) is going to dump it's price to $99 in time for the holiday shopping season. This is excellent news. I'm not one of those Print Is Evil, Digital All The Way people, but I like readers to have options. The majority of the reading public can't have those options until ereaders dump in price dramatically. That said? It still doesn't solve the problem of digital reading being a pain in the ass and confusing. We've still got a gazillion formats, DRM, geo-restrictions, and $99 is still a bunch of money compared to say...going to the library, picking up a book and reading it for free. But still, it's a step in the right direction.
  • The news coming out of Dorchester is actually getting worse (which is what I feared). The latest scuttlebutt is that Chris Keeslar is now their entire editorial staff. Leah Hultenschmidt popped up over at the Smart Bitches blog, but neither confirmed nor denied that she had been handed her pink slip. Confirmation in general hasn't been terribly forthcoming as of yet (ETA: Publisher's Weekly has confirmed) - but it doesn't bode well for what my biggest fears were when I first heard of Dorchester's plans to save themselves from ruin. I know this is a predominantly romance reading blog, and my first thought should always be on that genre - but I honestly think this is just more insanely bad news for traditional western and horror authors/readers. Plus I really, really hope that Hard Case Crime is able to land somewhere. Because hot damn - at this point I need to read the new Christa Faust book more than I need oxygen.
  • Lynne Connolly has a good post up over at TGTBTU about how Mills & Boon/Harlequin was able to reinvent themselves for a new generation of readers. I think most of the flack Harlequin gets from various idiots is the one reason why they're so successful. It's The Branding Stupid. All publishers do branding (have you seen book covers for cozy mysteries?) but nobody is as in-your-face and blatant about it as Harlequin. When you "see" that Blaze, Presents, SuperRomance etc. cover art and packaging? Yeah, you know what you're going to get. Naysayers will say that's what the problem is, that if the "surprise" isn't there, what's the point - to which I say horse-hooey. One thing I've learned in my 10+ years as a librarian? Readers rarely, rarely, rarely like being surprised. If you don't believe me? Give 'em a book where a beloved character or the family dog gets killed. I rest my case.
  • SarahT has posted a series of "Why?" questions. My favorites? Why do some category authors not update their web sites (grrrr!) and why don't ebooks feature back cover blurbs (double grrrr!)?
On the Bat Cave front? I finally seem to have broken through the mini-reading-slump I was having, and am trying to get through my massive backlog of category romance. Hopefully you'll be seeing more of my reviews over at TGTBTU in the near future.


SarahT said...

Thanks for the linkage, Wendy.

I agree with you on branding being a huge part of Harlequin's success. The have so many lines, all of which have a different focus. Sometimes the difference is subtle (e.g.: Harlequin Superromance and Silhoutte Special Edition), but it is there. Readers are more inclined to try a new-to-them author if they know and trust the line.

Lynne Connolly said...

|agree. Branding is hugely important. But it's who that branding attracted ten years ago and who it's attracting now that interested me. They've moved their socio-economic profile up and that's really hard to do with an existing brand. One essay can't show all the ways they've done that, but it's damned clever.
They didn't just repackage, they got their authors to write in a fresher way. Most of them, anyway. The content has changed, although it's still Harlequin. Bunches of respect for how they did it. Now that's how to go digital the right way.
I started to think about it two years ago when I saw a huge, huge PINK poster outside Manchester Public Library, a bastion of academic excellence, and it was celebrating Harlequin.
It deserves the capital letters.

Anonymous said...

Janet W: "It's the branding stupid" ... too bad ole James Carville didn't patent that remark! It's so useful for cutting right to the chase. I used that phrase for a title for a guest blog recently and I think it in my head a ton of times a day!

I'm going to have to disagree with you tho, not that the "branding" doesn't work, but that it doesn't work for everyone. Does that make me have to wear the Idiot brand? And I fully admit to loving some branding (like old-fashioned Penguins: so reliable!) I don't like Harlequin branding for their historicals. It, for me, does not enhance what are often really great stories by terrific authors. So I'll never buy a Harl Historical based on their new snappy titles and typical covers but I will follow my fave authors there & rely on reviews from people I trust to try out new books (like the Harl Historical Blaze line). I'm afraid to figure out where I fit w/Lynne Connolly's fascinating charts but I guess I may be a bit of an anomaly.