Wednesday, June 03, 2009

DO YOU DOWNLOAD?

People have been doing it for years with music, even with films, but in the last twelve months there has been a huge increase in downloading books to read straight from the computer, or one of the new eBooks on the market.

How do I know this – apart from Jeff Bezos telling me so?

I’ve just received my half yearly royalty statement which lays out in black and white not just how many copies of my books have been sold, but where and how. Anthologies (that’s when there is more than one book in a volume); reprints; manga cartoon strip editions and “chunking” – downloading a chapter at time to your phone -- in Japan; translations everywhere from Indonesia to Finland.

The newest way to buy a book is straight off the internet and while a year ago the downloads were a matter of hundreds, now they are in their thousands. Mirroring the way internet sales of books took off a few years back.

Okay, words on a screen can never replace the joy of bookshop browsing – where you discover and buy authors you’ve never heard of.

It mystifies me why some independent book stores are so snooty about stocking romance. Romance readers have to be the biggest book buyers on the planet and while they’re getting their fix of their favourite series romance they pick up books for their kids, cookery and craft books, books for presents for friends and family – because when you love to read, you want to share the joy, right?

But there are moments when you just can’t wait for the latest book by your favourite author. Now you don’t have to. You just go to the Harlequin or Mills and Boon websites, or any of the on-line bookstores, download it and you can be reading it within minutes. No trip to the store, no postage. The pure joy of instant gratification.

The really terrific thing about eBooks for Harlequin/Mills & Boon authors – and readers – is that the books don’t disappear after a couple of weeks. The online book stores have done a great job lengthening the time that series books are available – but the postage is a killer unless you’re multiple buying and once their stocks have gone that’s it. With a download, however, it’s there forever and even if you want to buy just one book, there’s no postage.

So there it is. Instant gratification, no postage, saving the planet – it takes a lot of trees, power and water to make paper – and for those of us (that’s all of us, right ) who haven’t got an inch left to spare on their bookshelves, no storage problems.

And there’s one last great bonus if you’ve missed a book by one of your favourite authors. You can actually go here, click on Enjoy Effortless Entertainment 2 and put in a request for a backlist book by a favourite author to be re-issued as an eBook. Or simply email ebookrequests @ harlequin.ca -- without the gaps, natch. How great is that!

In the meantime, since you're here and presumably interested in my books, here are all the Liz Fielding titles presently available as eBook downloads –

At eHarlequin --

The Valentine Bride
The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella
Reunited: Marriage in a Million
The Sheikh’s Unsuitable Bride
The Bride’s Baby (free at http://www.harlequincelebrates.com as well as Amazon for the Kindle and Sony for the Sony eReader)
Wedded in a Whirlwind
Secret Baby, Surprise Parents
The Secret Wedding

At Mills & Boon --

Wedded in a Whirlwind
Secret Baby, Surprise Parents
The Temp & the Tycoon

13 comments:

Anne Gracie said...

Liz, I'm certainly interested. There are so many books I've missed and can't buy as books any longer, so I can certainly see the appeal there.

I don't own a kindle or sony bookreader or anything, and I've never read an actual ebook, but my resistance to them is crumbling slowly, having read a number of manuscripts (by friends) on my little Asus eeepc. I found it surprisingly enjoyable, and it wasn't just because the stories were wonderful. I made a ritual of it, make a big mug of coffee, and climb into bed (decadent in the daytime, I know)-- with a big pile of pillows at my back and read.
I doubt if I'm likely to read on a phone -- though if I were stuck somewhere it might be a possibility.

I got my royalty statements yesterday and I haven't looked through them yet, but I will now. I know one of my books was sold by downloadable chunks onto phones in Japan, so I should be able to work that out, anyway.
I think I'll always prefer an actual book-in-hand, but still, there's a whole new world of reading out there, which is fabulous.

Penn said...

Oh, Liz, it's great you posted that link.

Anne Gracie and anyone else who has fears or questions about reading an eBook, stop by the eBook discussion thread at eHarlequin (the link that Liz provided). I'm the host, and I can assure you that no one there bites. It's a quiet thread, but the people are very helpful.

I moderate all of the discussion threads that you'll see when you "land" at the link that Liz provided, so don't worry about posting in the "right" one, you can be assured that I will read them and pass any requests on up to Toronto.

I strongly strongly suggest, though, that you mark as "My Favourites" any thread that you post in so that you can know when someone has posted/commented after you and so that you can find it again later.

As for reading eBooks, you'd be surprised at how many of us avid readers did NOT have a hard time transitioning to eBooks. Once we're into the story, we forget what format we're reading. And you'll find that there's a good mix of people over there who read on things from laptops to dedicated devices to their PDAs and smart phones.

So come by and see me in my eBook threads and at the very least, request some backlist Liz books! I haven't had any requests for HRs in a long time, so I'd love to see people requesting those, as HR is one of my favorite lines.

Penn

Liz Fielding said...

I love the sound of your special occasion reads, Anne. I'm going to try a download to my phone -- if i can figure out how -- with one of the mini books.

The dh is addicted to his iPod; I doubted the pleasure of watching a film on such a tiny screen, but he says it's great. He can't read while moving (on a train for instance) so it's absolutely perfect.

Liz Fielding said...

Penn -- thanks so much for stopping by and giving us all the facts! I was delighted to notice that The Sheikh's Guarded Heart has been requested. It's linked to The Sheikh's Unsuitable Wife but came out just before the eBook program started, so it a pretty good example. Lots of requests for Anne McAllister's Greeks, too, I noticed. My first download was her latest, so I'm all for catching up with the older books I missed.

I'll try and bookmark the page, but my bookmark is playing up. First I lost everything. I put back a couple of dozen but it's refusing to hold any more. Sigh.

Anne McAllister said...

I've resisted reading ebooks myself, but I keep finding people stopping by my blog who've read one of mine in ebook form. So I think I must have to get with it!

Thanks for the push to do so, Liz. And I know Anne says she has enjoyed reading on the Asus -- and I have one -- so I might try that.

Charley wants to know if that lovely computer at the top of your blog is "the Liz Machine?"

And Penn, if you read Liz's comments, I'll be stopping by to check out the ebook threads on the harlequin site.

Liz Fielding said...

Anne, sadly The Liz Machine is not the pretty pink one, tell Charley, but a rather sleek and silky black job. The dh gave her her name when she had a new hard drive (her third -- and she's on her second keyboard) recently and had to set it up. I don't remember being asked to give previous incarnations a name.

She doesn't get out much because her battery is shot and she needs to be connected introvenously to a power "drip". :(

She did sit up an take notice when she saw Charley, though!

Lacey Devlin said...

I'm a hunter. I love books. Give me a great second hand bookstore (and my standards are high, I've been spoiled ;) ) and you won't see me for the rest of the day. I love the fact that when I just CAN'T find a book I won't end up grinding my teeth down to stubs or pulling out my remaining hair, but with the click of a button I can get my interactive hands on it :)

It's great that you get a statement telling you what selling methods are working best. Fascinating stuff, thanks Liz!

Anonymous said...

I love "real" books. Perhaps it's my age? I am 38. Reading electronically is not an enjoyable experience for me. I do it on my laptop for educational books and for research,but never for pleasure reading.

Although I admit many do. I don't have a hand held gadget that might be useful for this pursuit, if I did maybe my thoughts would be different.

Anne Gracie said...

Liz, you can give the Liz Laptop a mini-makeover with a laptop skin. You can buy them ready made for whatever laptop you have (google laptop skins) or you can design one yourself here:
http://www.schtickers.com/

People use the excuse that it's to stop their laptop being mistaken for someone else's, but really it's just fun, I think.

Liz Fielding said...

I'm always up for fun, Anne! I'll consult TLM and see how she sees herself. Not pink and fluffy, that's for sure!

Snookie said...

I read ebooks on my laptop. Not the same as holding a book in your hand and cuddling with it, but it does work for back books and instant gratification! I've read at least 2 and I htink it might be 3 of Liz's most recent books on my laptop. The problem I have now is that I have two TBR piles, but at least one of them is not toppling over :)

Liz don't bookmark the Eharlequin pages, add them to your favorites. THere's a button at the beginning of the posts that you can click on to add a particular page to your favorites. I kept losing things when I bookmarked, but now that I us favorites, I always find my page. IT also tells me if there are new posts. You can also remove pages from your favorites. I do that after an online discussion is over or archived.

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Snookie

I belatedly worked out the "favourites" route. I do have some favs already -- the brain was out to lunch when I was struggling.

Snookie said...

LOL, I know all about the brain being out to lunch! Let's just say first hand experience!