Round up #240: S&S profits way up, AmazonLocal deal on e-books

Round up #240: S&S profits way up, AmazonLocal deal on e-books

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

AmazonLocal: select Kindle books for $0.99 each

AmazonLocal is an Amazon deals site. You have to belong to it (that’s free), and then typically what happens is that there is a coupon available for a limited time. You get the coupon, and you have a limited time to use it.

It might be that you buy the coupon…pay $10, and get $25 off, something like that.

In some cases, the coupon is free.

That’s the case with this one…it’s free:

Here is the deal page, so you can see what books are available and the rest of the details. Remember, though, that there is a process to this: you can’t just go to that page and get a book (up to thirty of them, actually) for ninety-nine cents:

Exclusive Offer for Amazon Local Customers: Select Kindle Books for $0.99 Each (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There are some interesting titles here. People sometimes worry that deals like this are only on obscure books, but this time, certainly, there are some with quite a few reviews (which can be considered somewhat of an indicator for how well-known a book is. Here are the ones with more than 100 customer reviews (I’m not linking, because I don’t want people to buy them instead of going through the proper procedure, and end up paying more than $0.99 for them):

  • Doc: A Memoir by Dwight Gooden (4.3 out of five stars, 225 customer reviews)…a good gift for a baseball fan
  • Silent Harmony: A Vivienne Taylor Horse Lover’s Mystery (Fairmont Riding Academy) by Michele Scott (4.3 stars, 171 reviews)…teen/children’s fiction, and the categories include “detectives”, “horses”, and “peer pressure”
  • Angel Wings by Harold Kaminsky (4.3 stars, 120 reviews)…mystery/police procedurals
  • Harrowgate by Kate Murayama (4 stars, 115 reviews)…horror/suspense
  • Downward-Facing Death (A Matt Bolster Yoga Mystery) by Neal Pollack (3.6 stars, 106 reviews)…mystery

Hm…you know what else all of those have in common? They were all traditionally published by Amazon. That might even be true of all of the books in this deal.


NOOK lay-offs

You know how many people work in Barnes & Noble’s NOOK division?

Fewer than before.


New York Times article by Julie Bosman

and other sources report a recent lay-off of “fewer than 100 people” in Barnes & Noble’s NOOK division.

If this is really a lay-off, that’s significant. That means that the jobs were eliminated. As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, I can tell you that a lay-off means something different from someone being fired.

At least in California, you couldn’t hire somebody to replace somebody who was laid off. By definition, the job was gone. You were also supposed to offer the job back to people you laid off if you needed the position again.

Obviously, this suggests that B&N needs fewer people working on the NOOK than they used to need.

They say they are committed to continuing in the device business, and they may well be. These weren’t necessarily development people. For example, let’s say that B&N decided that selling NOOKs in the stores was a bad idea, but selling them online was fine. In that case they could be eliminating people involved specifically with selling the NOOKs in the stores.

Another real possibility to me is that they plan to drop part of the business…let’s say they stopped making either the tablets or the non-tablets. That could mean a need for a lot fewer people.

If they did that, my intuition is that they would drop the non-tablets, and maybe just start selling the Kobo.

That’s all speculation, though.

How did Wall Street react?

The stock went up.

Sure, you know how investors feel: “Employees…ew.” 😉 Employees are expensive, and eliminating them eliminates some costs, which investors see as a good thing.

Of course, a sinking ship also looks to lighten the load…

My sympathy to the people who lost their jobs…here’s to hoping they find something new, and change the world!

A Farewell to Adverbs

Here’s an interesting (and fun) one!

You can paste text you are editing into

It will analyze your writing, and make suggestions…like cutting out adverbs, avoiding the passive voice, using shorter words, and so on.

I guess you’d end up with a more Hemingway-esque work, if you followed the advice…but I’m not sure how accurate that is, or even if that’s always a good thing. 😉

When you get to the page, you can do CTRL+A (on a Windows computer), and then paste in your text.

Have fun!

H.M. Ward: “I turned down over a million bucks in trad deals”

My guess is that many people who are publishing independently would be thrilled if one of the Big 5 publishing houses came to them and said, “We want to pay you $200,000”.

Certainly sounds good, and I think it’s one many people still think being a “real author” means…being paid by someone else for your work (besides readers, of course).

Well, this

The Passive Voice article

quotes H.M. Ward (at AmazonSmile) as saying (this is just a short excerpt…I recommend you read the article):

“The most recent offer was for a high six figure deal on my next novel, on spec, sight unseen from one of the big 5. I gave the same terms – show me a kick *ss marketing plan and I’ll consider it. They were excited and on it! They were going to wow me. Like I was gonna be so wowed that I’d die of the wowness. True story.

Dude, the marketing plan I got back was the equivalent of, ‘we’re gonna do stuff.’ Their email list – yeah, they don’t personally have one, but this archaic place does – had 2K people on it. That was the bulk of their plan.”

Ward has the credentials to make a claim like that. According to the author’s Amazon Author Central page (linked above),

“H.M. Ward is the #1 bestselling New Adult author in the world, having sold over 4 million books in 2013. This NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY, and Amazon #1 bestselling writer’s series…”

It’s going to get increasingly difficult for tradpubs (traditional publishers) to attract newer authors. It may be possible for authors to make more money as indies with  more control, and get it faster.

However, that won’t be true for everyone. The trick is always going to be to understand the difference between the possible and your own situation. In some cases, it may make sense to take the money and run. For example, if you are shy and/or not willing to promote yourself, you might not make as money as the tradpub will pay you.

Everybody say, “Aww…”

Okay, I may get a reputation here as a cat person…not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😉 I’ve had cats (and dogs…and exotics, although I don’t recommend the latter), and I’m definitely an animal lover.

I did think this was super-cute, though, and a clever program to stimulate reading in kids:

Taxi article by Dorothy Tan

According to the article

The Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Pennsylvania

has set up a “Reading Buddies” program where kids read books…to shelter cats!

Seriously, take a minute to take a look at the photographs…both cats and kids look thrilled.

Cats do, in my experience, like the sound of the human voice…they are especially amused by it when it is telling them to do something and they are completely ignoring it. 😉

Speaking of pets, I was quite surprised to see a picture of our dog, Elf, in my morning Flipboard (at AmazonSmile) read!

What happened is that I wrote about our dog recently in this blog, and one of my readers wanted to see a picture, so I added that…and then the tweet that goes out whenever I post something got re-tweeted, and that ended up in Flipboard!

Elf is a bit unusual looking (in a good way, I think), and so I was first thinking, “Wow, that dog looks like Elf!” 🙂

Bookstore sales are down, Simon & Schuster profits are up

Here’s a reason for Barnes & Noble to be concerned…er, another reason. 😉

Bookstore sales were down 1.3% last year, according to this

Publishers Weekly article

citing the U.S. Census.

Not too worry, though, right? Publishers still need bookstores.

Well, maybe not as much as they used to need them.

This other

Publishers Weekly article (this one by Jim Milliot…PW doesn’t always put a byline)

reports that Simon & Schuster’s profits were up 32% in 2013.

Those are profits…not just sales, like we often hear about with Amazon.

Here’s what should concern B&N (and those NOOK owners which rely on it):

“[CEO Carolyn] Reidy said she is feeling very positive about where S&S stands. She said because of less consumer traffic in retail stores S&S has done a better job in reaching consumers directly and that those efforts will continue.”

Yep…I’ve talked about that before. Publishers may figure out real ways to connect directly to readers, cutting out retailers (including Amazon, of course).

Amazon can counter that to some extent with traditional publishing of its own (as we saw above), but if the bricks-and-mortars increasingly are seen as only one channel, and not even the most convenient channel, to buy books, that’s bad for B&N.

What do you think? Do your pets like you to read out loud to them? Do they just like it when you settle down to read, or are they jealous of your Kindle? Can publishers cut out the middle and go directly to readers? Would B&N drop the non-tablets first, or the tablets? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

2 Responses to “Round up #240: S&S profits way up, AmazonLocal deal on e-books”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Well, I tend to agree that younger authors are not as eager to do business with tradpubs these days — they have other options. And as for advances — unless your name is Bill or Hillary, they are going to be pretty thin on the ground, and oh yeah: tradpubs are starting to use clawbacks, if they don’t like your stuff.

    Now, in a burst of self referentiality, I’m going to copy this post up to here

    And then paste it into the Hemingway site (:grin) –the result is here:

    Hemingway highlights long, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow highlight, shorten the sentence or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so

    Well, I tend to agree that younger authors are not as eager to do business with tradpubs these days — they have other options. And as for advances — unless your name is Bill or Hillary, they are going to be pretty thin on the ground, and oh yeah: tradpubs are starting to use clawbacks, if they don’t like your stuff.

    Now, in a burst of self referentiality, I’m going to copy this post up to here — dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red.

    The upshot was that first sentence was yellow (hard to read), and the rest was red (very hard to read). I’m disappointed — I thought it was going to take my post and turn it into lucid Hemingwayese — instead what do I get? Criticism — I just don’t get no respect! 😀

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I do think that newer writers have less of the traditional concept of what a writer is. A 20-year old could have been reading independently published works on a Kindle since they were about fourteen…and therefore, might see it as of a greater degree of normality than someone who was forty.

      Nope, the Hemingway site doesn’t do the “translation” for you (although it will suggest shorter words). Interestingly, and I found this, too, part of your re-paste includes the instructions from the site. It would be nicer if they had an empty text box into which you could paste.

      Years ago, there was a fun site called the “T-inator”, which translates things into Mr. T talk (and inserted pictures of Mr. T as well). It sadly doesn’t seem to be available any more, but that did what you suggest…although, with Mr. T instead of Hemingway. There are some sites that translate into dialects, but I would say that the results aren’t always…respectful.

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