Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

Bookmate & Scribd: Two very Different Business Models for Subscription eBooks

Posted: 31 May 2014 09:13 PM PDT

bookmateBoth Scribd and Bookmate are in the news this past week, raising funds for expansion. While these two companies ostensibly offer similar services in the ebook subscription market, they have very different business models.

It’s widely known that Scribd uses a pay-per-read model, but less is know about Bookmate. I spent a few minutes talking to the folks from this Russian startup earlier this week at BEA 2014, and it is clear that the company has several advantages over Scribd.

Scribd’s deal with publishers was revealed by Smashwords back in December:

For Scribd's subscription ebook service, authors will earn 60% of the list price on all qualifying reads, and here they've added a cool twist.  With subscription services, the author or publisher earns credit for a full read when the reader reaches a certain trigger point, measured by the percentage of the book that is read.  The first 10% of the book is a free sample, similar to a retailer.  Excluding the sample, once the reader reads an additional 20% of the book, a full sale is triggered and the Smashwords author earns 60% of the list price, up to a maximum of about $12.50 per read.

The exact terms offered to publishers likely vary somewhat based on the quality of each publisher’s negotiator, so it is unlikely that all 400,000 titles in the Scribd catalog are limited to $12.50 per read. (On the other hand, that $12.50 ceiling might apply to all of Scribd’s catalog; it would explain why Wiley only offers a limited section of titles.) Scribd’s catalog is likely also limited by the size of the advance which they are rumored to be paying to larger publishers; this too may have affected Wiley’s offering.

Scribd charges $8.99 a month for their service, and it doesn’t take an accountant to realize that the numbers don’t add up. All it takes is for the average reader to finish a fifth of an expensive ebook, and Scribd is in the read for a given month.

Is Scribd doomed? Maybe not, but I do think the terms they offered to Smashwords were generous to the point of being financially nonviable.

Bookmate, on the other hand, has a couple advantages that Scribd lacks. It started in a market where piracy was so rampant that publishers had nothing to lose by signing with Bookmate, and it pays publishers from a pool that consists of 50% of its revenues. Safari Online has used a similar model for over a decade, and it does okay.

(Now that I mention it, I would have thought that Scribd could have gained a similar benefit from focusing on markets where Amazon is so rampant that publishers have nothing to lose, but Scribd does not seem to have turned that to their advantage.)


With 300,000 titles from publishers around the globe, Bookmate now has around 1.5 million subscribers, about 7% of which pay around $5 a month for the service. The fee is collected by Bookmate’s partner telecoms,which brings us to another unique advantage Bookmate has over Scribd.

In addition to apps on smartphones and tablets, Bookmate has also developed reading apps for feature phones. This has let them partner with MVNOs including pay-as-you go companies similar to Tracfone here in the US. In some cases, Bookmate’s partners charge on an incremental day-by-day model, not a monthly fee.

While it is almost a truism that everyone has a cellphone, feature phones still outnumber smartphones in a lot of markets, and not everyone in the world has a credit card. Bookmate’s partnerships enable it to access market segments which Scribd cannot touch.

On the face of it, Bookmate is the more viable business model, but to be honest it is too early to tell. Bookmate’s focus on smaller payments and lower income brackets might give it an advantage in building up a subscriber base, but the smaller payments might not equal what Scribd earns from its monthly fee.

Frankly it is too early to tell.

The post Bookmate & Scribd: Two very Different Business Models for Subscription eBooks appeared first on The Digital Reader.

So I’ve moved to a new webhost …

Posted: 31 May 2014 04:08 PM PDT

After much thought, I have chosen a radical solution to the ongoing access issues my site has been suffering for the past few days.

I’ve moved The Digital Reader from 1And1 to MediaTemple. They have a decent reputation, don’t appear to engage in astroturfing or have fake spokespersons, and MediaTemple offers a $30 a month managed WordPress service. That last detail means they (hopefully) know more about WordPress than me.

But TBH the first reason I chose MediaTemple was that they offered a $150 service for having a tech move the site for me. Yes, I was that desperate, but luckily I didn’t have to pay the fee; MediaTemple’s automated functions moved the site just fine.

It only took 24 hours from setting up an account to getting the site moved over and fully operation on their servers. (And that includes 6 or 7 hours I spent sleeping, as well as waiting for tech support to tell me that they had an automated process for moving a WordPress site.)

Aside from 5 or 6 lost comments, I seriously doubt anyone will notice that I moved (or so I am hoping). This post is part of my testing the new site to make sure it works. Let’s see what happens.

P.S. Ask me in about 6 months what I think of MediaTemple. Today it is too early to say.

The post So I’ve moved to a new webhost … appeared first on The Digital Reader.

A Tale of 3 eBook Retail Platforms

Posted: 30 May 2014 01:49 PM PDT

4880157508_dd2f144a45[1]As the second (and my last) day of BEA 2014 draws to a close, I am reminded that new ebook startups aren’t the only ones showing off a new take an an established idea. Today I encountered 2 new ebook retail platforms (and via a press release, a retailer) that are all moving into a crowded market niche.

Independent ebook retailing runs the gamut from Smashwords to BookBaby Bookshop to Gumroad, and it can be informative to line up 3 different companies to highlight their difference.

To start, let’s look at Snapplify.


This is a 3 year old startup which I found for the first time at the Startup Alley at BEA 2014. They have a DIY ebookstore platform which enables authors and publishers to actively sell their own content. In many ways Snapplify is like Smashwords, but Snapplify differs from Smashwords in offering a DRmed platform.
Snapplify also distributes ebooks (at a rather high commission when compared to Smashwords), but I want to focus on their own DRM. This startup rolled their own DRM, and the ebooks sold via Snapplify can only be read in Snapplify’s apps for Android and iOS, or in your web browser. That strikes me as a bad idea for most markets, but that can’t be said for all ebook markets – just the ones where you have to compete with major ebookstores like Kindle, etc.

0s&1s Novels

A consortium of independent publishers announced that they are collectively launching a new ebook store this week. This ebook retailer is following Baen Books in selling DRM-free ebooks at a reasonable price. The standard price will be $6, 80% of which will be paid to the author or publisher.

0s&1s Novels has 13 publishers signed up to sell ebooks through the site, and they are looking to recruit more, but there’s a catch. This site is not open to all; you can submit a manuscript but it will only be sold on the site if they accept it. That sets 0s&1s Novels apart from pretty much all other ebook retailers, and it makes them more of a publisher.

The curated aspect is what caught my eye at first, and I think it makes 0s&1s Novels worth watching.

And last but not least, let me tell you about Redshelf.


Redshelf is one of a number of startups focused on digital textbooks, in some ways making them a competitor to Inkling. In addition to selling and renting textbooks from the major educational publishers, Redshelf is also working to help professors and schools publish and sell their original work (a la Flatworld Knowledge). They offer a whitelabel ebookstore platform which has its own DRM. There aren’t any apps, but customers can read the content in a web browser.
Redshelf caught my eye because they are doing for academic publishing what Smashwords does for general publishing. They have 1,200 publishers in their store, and currently work with around 200 schools.

The Redshelf platform is by no means perfect; the lack of downloads means that it is subject to the same access vissitudes as Coursesmart and other cloud-based platforms. Nevertheless, Redshelf is the first startup I have come across which specifically focuses on academic self-publishing.

Are any of these companies doing something especially new?

I would say no, but they do remind us that, in a year when a couple major players bowed out of the ebook market (Sony, Samsung) and one (Kobo) announced that they had given up on the US ebook market, new companies are still launching all the time. The future is by no means set.

The post A Tale of 3 eBook Retail Platforms appeared first on The Digital Reader.

A Once-in-a-Century Opportunity to Re-invent Publishing, and Books

Posted: 30 May 2014 09:07 AM PDT

The working title for this article was, "These Days, Monopoly is Just a Board Game."

I started to argue that Amazon wasn't and isn't a monopoly, but then I also managed to argue myself out of becoming an Amazon Cheerleader. Since I was looking into anti-trust statues and case law (spoiler: it's dry) we're going to wade into that half of the post first. But stick with me; I hope by the end I've also convinced you of the promise of that over-ambitious title up there.

I've set up a shortcut for those that want to skip Supreme Court Case precedents (no blame attached) and get to the second part: click this link

Also, I'm not a lawyer: just throwing that out there before we get started.


"Proponents of Amazon's lower pricing strategies argue that Amazon is the underdog in the publishing monopoly, not the other way around. But the fact remains that Amazon is a company that single-handedly controls 30% of the market share of the entire publishing industry. And unlike its competitors, it has a publishing arm, a distribution arm, and a retail arm."
Amazon strongarms publisher, won't allow pre-order of new J.K. Rowling book : 24 May 2014, The Daily Dot

"Amazon's strategy against Hachette is that of a bullying combine the size of WalMart leaning on a much smaller supplier. And the smaller supplier in turn relies on really small suppliers like me. It's anti-author, and in the long term it will deprive you of the books you want to read.
"Final note: some time in the 1980s the US Department of Justice's anti-trust lawyers changed their focus from preventing monopolies from forming to preventing companies from colluding to preserve their margins ('price fixing cartels'). As a result, Amazon very nearly gained a monopoly of ebook sales; they're still around the 85-90% mark in the UK, and peaked at over 80% in the USA. (The irony of the DoJ-Apple iBook store settlement is that the DoJ went after the market incomer with the higher prices and 10% market share, rather than the near-monopolist who was using predatory pricing to drive their competition out of business.)"
Amazon: malignant monopoly, or just plain evil? : 26 May 2014, Charlie Stoss

"People have a choice on where to buy books. Amazon being the biggest bookseller on the planet doesn't make them a monopoly or monopsony. If readers demand Hachette books, Amazon has not prevented them from being sold. There are thousands of other retailers who sell Hachette titles.
"I have five books published through Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint, and more than a dozen self-pubbed through Createspace. Guess what? Indie bookstores and B&N don't stock my paper books. And they are allowed to make that choice. And I don't publicly whine about it." …
"And there is a big difference between sales and profits. But no matter how you slice it, Hachette isn't a helpless neophyte. They have power and capital and lawyers and have been around for almost 200 years. Amazon has the power advantage here, because they have customers Hachette wants access to. If Hachette wants to reach those customers, it will either accept Amazon's terms or withdraw its catalog. And if Amazon can't stand the idea of losing Hachette's sales, it will back down."
Fisking Charlie Stross: More on Hachette/Amazon : 27 May 2014, Joe Konrath


"The Rule of Reason is a doctrine developed by the United States Supreme Court in its interpretation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The rule, stated and applied in the case of Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911), is that only combinations and contracts unreasonably restraining trade are subject to actions under the anti-trust laws. Possession of monopoly power is not in itself illegal.
"The Rule of Reason can be therefore considered a complement to per se illegality. Under the latter, the action, without consideration for circumstances, is illegal. Under the rule of reason, the circumstances in which the action was committed must be considered." …
"On the same day, the Supreme Court also announced United States v. American Tobacco Co., 221 U.S. 106 (1911). That decision held that Section 2 of the Sherman Act, which bans monopolization, did not ban the mere possession of a monopoly but banned only the unreasonable acquisition and/or maintenance of monopoly."
— Wikipedia: Rule of Reason – see also the entries for Standard Oil Company of New Jersey v. United States and United States antitrust law

I also like the finding (in other cases) that 'geographical market division' is straight up illegal, and I wonder how that could be applied to, say, cable companies in an argument. Do the cable companies collectively form a price fixing cartel more pernicious than, oh, I don't know, Apple and 5/6ths of the Big Six publishers?

The phrase used is "illegal per se" — in and of itself illegal, 'inherently illegal' —
"The United States Supreme Court has, in the past, determined activities such as price fixing, geographic market division, and group boycott to be illegal per se regardless of the reasonableness of such actions. Traditionally, illegal per se anti-trust acts describe horizontal market arrangements among competitors.The illegal per se category can trace its origins in the 1898 Supreme Court case Addyston Pipe & Steel Co. v. U.S., 175 U.S. 211 (1898)." – wikipedia

Cartels are illegal, a monopoly in-and-of-itself isn't (in 1911).

Modern day Justice Department lawyers (in my opinion, burned in 1999-2001 when the Microsoft monopoly case amounted to a whole-lotta-nothing) have been skittish, loath to prosecute, and have also taken a very narrow view of antitrust laws: Monopoly power when exercised to deprive consumers of "the benefits of competition" is illegal — and the US Dept. of Justice sees the price charged to end-consumers as the only yardstick to measure that by. (The final price is only one benefit of competition and healthy markets, but whatever.)

It would also seem that players in an industry can collude all they want, too — so long as they do so in the open, in public view, and have excellent lobbyists. This is the reason the cable companies can all charge $90 a month, and raise rates every year, while offering neither better service nor more programming options. The mistake that Apple and the publishers made was attempting the old fashioned back-room deal: They should have hired more lobbyists, set up a think-tank or two, and then debated the 'issue' in back-and-forth newspaper editorials and NPR interviews; heck, the CEOs could legitimately spell out the whole deal, in the context of a cable news appearance. After six months of that, they could legitimately claim Agency Pricing was just 'natural' and the way 'everyone' was doing business.

Or at least, that seems to be the MO of the Cable Cartel — in my opinion.


Coke isn't a monopoly, because Pepsi.

Visa isn't a monopoly, because Mastercard.

McDonalds is big and profitable and ugly, but isn't a monopoly.

Walmart is pernicious and certainly isn't playing fair in several ways, but they do not have a monopoly.

We, as individual consumers, may not like some very successful firms because we dislike how they do business — or object to the business entirely — and so we don't eat at McDonalds or shop at Walmart or drink either brand of fizzy diluted corn syrup.

De Beers is a straight-up monopoly — (not that this will ever be an issue, but) if I ever find myself needing a diamond ring, you can bet your ass I'm shopping vintage, or even going to a pawn shop, and if need be having the stone reset, rather than giving them any money.

Even when consumers exercise choice (free market, etc.) there are always times-and-places where some non-Monopoly with plenty of competition still ends up being the only choice. Cable TV and Broadband Internet are two lovely examples — as I can all but guarantee you have only one choice for each, and it's the same company. For rural US customers, away from the coasts, Walmart may not just be the only discount department store, but the only grocery store for miles.

Walmart is a monopoly to the folks out in Podunk and West Bumble, though those folks are often glad to have them there. The options that existed before were both limited and more expensive. I still don't think Walmart is 'doing good' but they're serving markets, and if all we consider are outcomes and prices (and not awful practices) then Walmart deserves (some, slight) praise.

Amazon isn't a monopoly… right?

Amazon has 'competitors' in the book market, and the small electronics market (that's their real retail bread and butter), and online streaming video, and music downloads, and cloud computing services, and small goods (anything that fits in a box). Amazon has barely started in the grocery delivery market — a market which doesn't even exist yet, honestly* — and in a number of other fields-of-competition, Amazon is in 2nd place, 3rd place, or worse. There is no way** to call Amazon a monopoly

* natural monopolies in markets where no active market previously existed have also been addressed by the courts; we'll get to that eventually.

Amazon is much more than a bookstore these days anyway. No matter how small a percentage of the business, though, Amazon is always going to sell books — because books are the key to everything else:

"[B]ook markdowns are extremely visible. Sellers can tout their low prices compared to what's on the back of book covers, the price publishers want to sell it for. And that can be a convenient psychological device — especially if you're a big retailer with lots of other stuff to sell. 'When the customer sees a book at 40, 50 percent off,' Teicher says, 'the presumption is that everything else that that retailer is selling is also equally inexpensive.' And books bring in some pretty attractive consumers. 'Book buyers are good customers,' Teicher adds. 'They tend to be slightly more affluent, they tend to be consumers who shop and therefore are always in the marketplace for other products.'"
Why books always seem to have a discounted price : 8 May 2014, Marketplace

Amazon can and should price books however they want. They do the same for MP3 players, hard drives, digital cameras, headphones, blenders, kitchen wares, blu-ray players, electric razors, board games, golf clubs, auto parts, and industrial shop equipment.

Amazon is just doing what every retailer does, though: sell at a discount. Nearly every manufacturer or supplier has a MSRP — notably the "sticker price" on the window of a new car; publishers aren't the only ones who print the price on the 'cover' — and nearly every retailer ignores it.

Sometimes the items are discounted right out of the gate — especially on the fourth Friday in November. Those of us who shop for clothes know that the retail ticket price is only there to make the eventual clearance/close-out discount seem that much more attractive. If you're shopping for a TV set, I'm willing to bet that the MSRP is also the in-store list price on 90% of the new models on display; there will be one "flyer" item on sale, to get you in the store, and of course last year's models are discounted (to 15% margin instead of 50%).

There was one notable retailer exception: book stores. Book stores charged the price on the book. Books as a commodity are different, though — the exact same book will be available in at least two formats, with a price differential between 'prestige' hardcovers and the soft cover. Having two paperback versions ('trade' and 'mass-market') further clouds the picture, as do remaindered hardcover books. It is technically possible to walk into a bookstore and find a $6.98 hardcover, a $8.99 mass market paperback, a $18.00 trade paperback, and a $28 'new' hardcover all of the same book, same words on the inside and everything, with only a matter of size and paper quality (or the detail of a remainders auction) to differentiate them.

So books were being discounted; the publisher just found a very convoluted way of doing it, and the booksellers were more than willing to play into it. Customers know the score, and they buy — or wait, and wait — depending on the current format and asking price, and their enthusiasm for the book.

Book stores used to be an exception in that they "always" charged the cover price — but only up until the chain booksellers began to routinely and without exception discount their bestsellers, not because of online prices (not at first) but rather to compete with the likes of Costco and Sam's Club — which were selling the headline, bestselling authors' books at discounts of 30% or more. That was in the early 90s, before Bezos had turned his bookstore into a behemoth. Amazon didn't invent the discounted hardcover, they just had lower overhead, and so they could do it even better.

Amazon entered into the book market, where pricing and formats were already a muddled mess, and then further complicated things: by organizing a network of 3rd-party resellers of used books, by lowering their own margins on all books including the backlist, and (the clincher) by choosing to list all editions—new, used, remaindered, 3rd party sellers, paperback, hardcover, and collectible signed first editions—on a single product page. "Oh look, this book is only $2!" exclaimed thousands of customers simultaneously, even if they then went on to buy the book for $5.99 or $18.79 or $65.

Customers' perception of [physical] book prices had already changed by the time the Kindle launched in Nov. of 2007 — and immediately sold out. Others had tried to sell ebooks online, and ebook readers pre-date the kindle by 10 years but Amazon had an edge: their customer base consisted of early adopters, avid readers, folks comfortable with or at least willing to try new technology if it meant they could save money, and folks affluent enough to drop $300+ on a gadget — no, those last two points aren't a contradiction: I think the mindset is that books are a commodity good so of course you buy for the cheapest wherever you can find 'em, but a gadget, especially the best-in-class gadget, is a one-of-a-kind (and potentially, a must-have) so price is no object. ('Best in class' and a price insensitive fan base is Apple's whole business in a nutshell.)

The major selling point of the kindle was $9.99 brand new bestsellers; the initial price on the Kindle was $399. Enough people did the math and figured it was still cheap at that price. It shouldn't be surprising — Amazon didn't launch Kindle without knowing their market. When you have a database of the customers who buy at least two New-York-Times-Bestselling books a month, and can send them an email, you've already done that math.

[more on '$9.99': NYTWashington PostAmazon itself]

Amazon launched into a market that didn't really exist, and so quickly became the only major player worth talking about. Barnes and Noble (fatally?) took two years to enter that market, and Apple now famously only entered the market in 2010 as an 'add-on' and initial hook for their new iPad — and when they could stack the deck in their favor. So it should be no surprise that Amazon is the major player, with 60-75% of the ebook market (or more, and growing).

** And at what point could we say Amazon is a monopoly?

Of note is the 2nd Circuit Court decision United States v. Alcoa, 1945 —
"Judge Learned Hand held that he could consider only the percentage of the market in 'virgin aluminum' for which Alcoa accounted. Alcoa had argued that it was in the position of having to compete with scrap. Even if the scrap was aluminum that Alcoa had manufactured in the first instance, it no longer controlled its marketing. But Hand defined the relevant market narrowly in accord with the prosecution's theory. Hand applied a rule concerning practices that are illegal per se. It did not matter how Alcoa became a monopoly, since its offense was simply to become one. In Hand's words,
[blockquote]'It was not inevitable that it should always anticipate increases in the demand for ingot and be prepared to supply them. Nothing compelled it to keep doubling and redoubling its capacity before others entered the field. It insists that it never excluded competitors; but we can think of no more effective exclusion than progressively to embrace each new opportunity as it opened, and to face every newcomer with new capacity already geared into a great organization, having the advantage of experience, trade connections and the elite of personnel.'[/blockquote]
"Hand acknowledged the possibility that a monopoly might just happen, without anyone's having planned for it. If it did, then there would be no wrong, no liability, and no need to remedy the result. But that acknowledgement has generally been seen as an empty one in the context of the rest of the opinion, because of course rivals in a market routinely plan to outdo one another, at the least by increasing efficiency and appealing more effectively to actual and potential customers. If one competitor succeeds through such plans to the extent of 90% of the market, that planning can be described given Hand's reasoning as the successful and illegal monopolization of the market." – wikipedia

In the end, the 1945 decision was mooted by changing markets —very much like the Microsoft/Internet Explorer decision in 2000 quickly became irrelevant as other browsers ate away at IE's market share — but Alcoa and Microsoft were both subject to court oversight after being found guilty, and oversight continued until the market caught up. Apple and the courts are still arguing over what "court oversight" might mean in the ebook-pricing case.

[The publishers already submitted to court restrictions when they settled the case before trial. They have to renegotiate their contracts, though the court allowed that these negotiations should be staggered. Hachette is the first of the five on the schedule; say, how is that going?]

Let's take a second look at "the possibility that a monopoly might just happen, without anyone's having planned for it. If it did, then there would be no wrong, no liability, and no need to remedy the result."

See: the 1st Circuit Court decision, Fraser v. Major League Soccer, 2002 —
"The Court of Appeals upheld the jury's finding that the plaintiffs did not prove that Major League Soccer illegally monopolized the market for player services, and failed to prove the product market and geographic market, because MLS competed with other soccer leagues in the U.S. for players, and MLS competed with soccer leagues in other countries.
"On the charge of a reduction in competition under the Clayton Act, the Court of Appeals held that 'the creation of MLS did not reduce competition in an existing market' because no active market for Division 1 soccer previously existed in the United States" – wikipedia

I don't know what soccer player salaries have to do with author royalties, but I think we all can agree that MLS—which owns every individual team, not just the league—is a de-facto monopoly on US Soccer and that likely does affect 98% of player salaries, no matter what the court found at trial.

However: "the creation of MLS did not reduce competition in an existing market because no active market for Division 1 soccer previously existed"

The same could be said for ebooks in 2007.

On the other side of the coin, the Alcoa decision — where control of part of a market (ebooks for example; just throwing that out there) can be considered as separate from the overall market (all books) — might just be a precedent if someone chose to apply it. Of course, any and all actions taken by Amazon in pursuit of book market share is just "good business". For Amazon to act differently would be stupid. Bezos is not stupid.

In fact, I'm sure that Bezos knows the distribution centers he's built in the last decade, combined with the ease of one-click shopping, an engaged and enthusiastic customer base (of readers!), integrated hardware/software that includes dedicated e-readers, andoid-ish tablets, and apps on everything, along with razor-thin margins and customer retention programs like Amazon Prime, all represent very high barriers to entry. The ability to drop a few or a hundred million to buy out a nascent competitor certainly doesn't hurt. It seems obvious to buy an online bookseller like Abe Books — but more vitally, Amazon is being proactive in acquiring any developing network of readers, including both Shelfari and Goodreads. The business is being won not just in market share but in mind share, and having a lock on enthusiastic readers is apparently worth at least $150 Million (for Goodreads, the purchase price of Shelfari wasn't disclosed).

"It insists that it never excluded competitors; but we can think of no more effective exclusion than progressively to embrace each new opportunity as it opened, and to face every newcomer with new capacity already geared into a great organization, having the advantage of experience, trade connections and the elite of personnel"


Following the precedents, the Apple ebook case makes sense in its own way — price fixing and cartels are definitely illegal. Monopolies in and of themselves are not.

Any theoretical Amazon case would also be a huge mess because you'd have to argue about who Amazon's customers are: sure, on the surface, Amazon's only book customer is the end reader — but if Amazon [eventually] controls 90% of the ebook market, wouldn't an author's only way to reach those readers be through Amazon? Isn't the author—attempting to use Amazon's services to reach Amazon's reader base—a customer too? Amazon buys books from publishers — but if you're a [dead tree] genre fiction publisher and Amazon accounts for 50% or more of your overall sales, online or off, who has the power in that relationship? What are your options outside of Amazon?

By placing itself across the whole book industry — and playing different roles in retail, distribution, and publishing but not controlling any of the three — Amazon in a way insulates itself from accusations of monopoly while also becoming a much bigger and more formidable adversary than it might have been otherwise.

In November of 1998, Barnes and Noble (with about 15% of the book retail business) proposed buying Ingram Book Group, which at that point had 11 distribution centers and shipped books, audio books, and magazines to stores nationwide — including to Amazon. While each was the number one competitor in their field, both Barnes & Noble and Ingram still faced strong second-placed competitors, and both parties promised that the merger wouldn't affect Ingram's existing distribution deals or customer relationships. The buy-out was dropped in 1999, about six months later, over fears the FTC would axe the deal; the respective companies felt dragging the process out any further would only damage their image, and potentially, their business [and certainly: B&N's stock price].

[Additional reading on that: AP, NYT, CNet]

Would the union of book retail with book distribution have destroyed competition? — Apparently it didn't; after 1999 both B&N and Amazon brought distribution in-house (spending hundreds of millions in the process), handling the majority themselves and buying direct from publishers instead of middlemen. But in 1999 the "major" player in book retail (with 15% of the market) was effectively blocked from consolidating its position by anti-trust fears.

And Amazon has 30% of the book market, but isn't considered an anti-trust candidate by anyone except those suffering from 'Amazon Derangement Syndrome'.


[Enough droning on about Amazon.]

Could the publishers be making major changes to the way they do business? Aw Hells Yes. Amazon is devouring the business like a pack of cheetahs because the old school, New-York based publishing business was and is very inefficient, a half-broken system that was in no way improved by the consolidation of imprints, and the consumption of New York publishers by Big Media conglomerates.

If I were to launch a publisher today, it would not be in Manhattan — well, Manhattan, Kansas, maybe, but not New York. The ghosts of Max Perkins, Book Row, and the Algonquin Round Table seemingly haunt the business —or perhaps, it is the publishers who cling and won't let go, not the ghosts who are refusing to leave. We're constantly lamenting either the demise of literacy, of literature, or just of good taste. (that link is a 1959 article in Harper's on the decline of book reviewing)

So lets rethink this a bit and reframe our mental image of publishing:

By the 1930s, rotary presses, offset printing, and hot metal typesetting had industrialized the manufacture of books, to the point where a paperback could be sold for just 25¢ (in 1939, inflation adjusted $4.15) — while simultaneously, the market for fiction in magazines (high-brow and low) fostered at least three generations of writers, the end result of which we see in Pulitzer Prizes, Noble Laureates, and (even better) the glorious era of Pulp. The modern day publishers were all born in this era (as previously, there was no way to profitably make the books—copies of books, in the manufacturing sense) and in a way, they are all still stuck in it.

Now, the word processor, digital publishing, and social media have again revolutionized the manufacture of books — In publishing, It's 1879 All Over Again, and every blogger is a newspaper onto themselves, every online author their own very small magazine or press, and every existing, accepted business model should be assumed to be wrong until proven otherwise.

But instead of seeing the revolution take off (like it has in other areas of tech), enterprising small publishers and aspiring authors still have to contend with the weight of the Book Establishment: the media conglomerates, their gatekeepers, and a self-appointed literary police force that values laurels and prizes over fun and pulp. The Established Book People control every approach to the market: breaking free from the slush pile and into publication to begin with; access to shelves in bookstores, or even better, front-of-store placement; getting your book reviewed by nationally-distributed newspapers and magazines, or even better …Oprah.

How does one crack into this market? Do you have to, anymore, to 'make' it as an author? If you go online, is Amazon your only way, or just the only way to reach Amazon's (numerous and book-hungry) customers? To date, only Pottermore has begun to explore (and exploit) what is possible — though of course we could argue that Rowling is in a unique position to do so. In time (5 years? 10?) others will definitely follow. The next G.R.R.M. will not be a greybeard with an existing publishing contract, but will instead use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and [The Next Great Social Media Thing that Hasn't Been Invented Yet] to pull readers into a totally independent website, to read appendices and argue minutia on forums and to buy, buy, buy digital copies of the books.

Rowling and G.R.R.M. had a lot of help though: movies and cable TV gave a boost to properties already pretty famous and selling themselves out in the bookstores. 99.999999% of new authors won't be able to take the same path (or sit on Oprah's couch, let alone Conan's) but the idea of doing it all yourself shouldn't be discarded just because we can't all win the lottery. Maybe the next G.R.R.M. will get his start writing fan fiction — maybe she has already done so, and just needs a push to go from posting on others' web sites to building and hosting her own. Sure, reader-outreach and fan interaction might 'live' elsewhere (twitter&tumblr, perhaps) but you'll need more than a few @handles and an Amazon landing page if you want to control your own destiny.

For authors that don't do it themselves? To go back six paragraphs, "If I were to launch a publisher today" it would be a website, not just an imprint — and the small editorial staff would include writers to maintain the blog, programmers to build the platform, and some social media savvists (yes I just made up that word and invented the job) to find and capture fans — and the staff would be given a mission to curate a small niche of publishing — or a large niche, or a whole genre, but whatever: our target is a target, and we're aiming for both the authors and the readers. IF I could buy the Analog or Asimov brand names: we'd be off and running, yesterday.

So long as I'm wishing: Give me the modern-day John W. Campbell or Lester Del Rey and let's do this already. Pitch it as a tech startup to con the VCs acquire some startup capital to pay the bills the first two years and *do it*.

If Vox, Whalerock, Ziff Davis, Conde Nast, or First Look Media want to get in touch with me about starting this new hybrid website-magazine-imprint, I can be on a plane and at your office on Monday. Have the contract ready for me to sign; no takebacks.


Publishing is ripe for disruption. Amazon found a couple of cracks and are working the wedges to split off their chunk of the market. Amazon is very successful at what they do; they are the first of a new kind of book company — currently more retailer than publisher, but doing just fine with their house imprints and also, more than willing to share parts of the infrastructure with others (authors; but authors direct and not their publishers) (at least: so far).

Amazon is monopoly-ish but the Justice Department has given them a pass (and will continue to) so long as Amazon isn't "abusing" their position to raise consumer prices. Anything else that Amazon does, including making publishers squeal, making B&N obsolete, and stomping (or buying) any upstart that even looks like it might be eyeing Amazon's business: that's all fine.


And this is aimed at the Amazon Cheerleader Squad,

Amazon's dominant market position isn't a good thing, in my opinion. It'd be great (and I'd certainly be less apprehensive) if there were a strong, and growing, and decently-popular alternative to Kindle Direct Publishing to threaten Amazon and keep them honest. A Pepsi to their Coke, or a Discover Card (or even a Square) to their Visa/Mastercard hegemony.

I think it's fine to use Amazon, but one shouldn't be enamored by it. In the current publishing landscape, Amazon has every potential to become a de-facto book monopoly — a utility like AT&T, maybe, something you don't notice and with flat rates that everyone gets accustomed to using — but being a comfortable and familiar monopoly doesn't make it less of one. If you think of Kindle Direct Publishing as a book utility service (which is more of a poetic analogy than a direct one, but I find it fits) and recall the abuses of pre-breakup AT&T, or perhaps that other de-facto monopoly, your local cable company — maybe you'll pause for just a moment before encouraging everyone to jump on board.

Additionally, there is nothing Amazon does for you that you, as an author, can't do for yourself. Sure, one can buy into Amazon's Kindle Ecosystem and that's great — it's easy and seductive.

But if you argue that Publishers don't deserve 95%, or 85%, or 75% for formatting, editing, production, and distribution when one can easily contract that out (for an upfront, one-time fee – not ongoing chunks of the revenue) and the parts that can't be contracted out have been made obsolete by ebooks…

…then maybe you can also see my argument that Amazon doesn't deserve even 30% if you're the one marketing the book, finding fans on facebook, slowly building up your backlist and 'brand' — and you only direct them to Amazon because you haven't set up your own website yet. (for an author, yes, 70% is way better than 5-17% — even the 35% Amazon offers for books outside the KDP Select program is better — but 100% and 100% control should be the goal, right? …right? )

Genre authors who are at the forefront of the Kindle Revolution might want to start reading web comics, and learning about how comickers are monetizing. Some of them even print and sell hardcover books, direct, at a profit, …without Amazon — and that's after they give away the comics for free. There is a lot to think about here.


Like I said, it's 1879 all over again and we've been given a once-in-a-century opportunity to re-invent publishing and books. A whole world of options is out there and a possibly brilliant future awaits.

But we can also learn from the past: let me tell you, no one in 1914 was arguing that Sears & Roebuck was the future of publishing just because they had revolutionized retail with direct-to-customer shipping, were leveraging the possibilities of the network (rail network) to ship faster and cheaper all the time, used massive volume to keep margins and prices low, and their ability to reach and inform millions of customers (through their catalog) was unprecedented, nation-wide, and ubiquitous.

Have it shipped direct and save 70 percent off new fiction!

Publishing was re-invented by the packagers and the pulps, not the establishment players. The revolution was led by the people serializing fiction to sell magazines, and the 25¢ paperbacks sold outside of bookstores — dozens, and then hundreds, and then thousands of independent players, of which only a handful were successful (those became today's imprints, handed around like poker chips by media conglomerates) but all of which were making and selling books. The first editors and publishers learned on the job, and often were the authors themselves; we are being given the same opportunity.

reposted under a CC license from RocketBomber

Today's Kindle Books

Today's Kindle Books

More Bargain and Free Books for 5-31-14

Posted: 31 May 2014 06:58 AM PDT

Relax with your Kindle and enjoy another set of 4 bargain books and 2 free books. Please "LIKE" and let all the book lovers in your life know about ENT.

Book Of The Day: Lovestruck In London by Rachel Schurig has a 4.2 star rating and is on sale for only 99 cents – save $3!


Bride of the Mist
by Christina Skye
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Romance
Price: $0.99 Save $3.00
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Bride of the Mist – Nook

“Skillfully using two time periods, strong characters, reams of rich Scottish history, and a couple of resident ghosts, Skye has written one finely-crafted, very romantic love story.” -Publishers Weekly

New York Times Bestselling Author

When Draycott Abbey calls bridal expert Kara Fitzgerald to help a man in mortal danger, Kara is helpless to fight the force of her psychic visions. But the man in question, security expert Duncan MacKinnon, has no time for vague warnings, even when they are delivered by a beautiful woman who knows far too much about his private life.

Yet coincidences begin to pile up, and soon the rugged Scotsman wonders if this beautiful stranger could be telling the truth. Determined to find answers, Duncan sweeps Kara north to his castle where, veiled in the Highland mist, the two are caught by blinding desire. Strangest of all are their hotly sensual memories of being lovers … separated centuries before.

Though it defies all logic, Duncan accepts Kara’s visions and her help to confront a boyhood tragedy. For her part, Kara needs Duncan’s strength to help re-awaken the eternal passion that will protect them as an old enemy stalks the crags of Dunraven Castle.


Honor Code
by Cathy Perkins
Rating: 4.4 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Price: $0.99 Save $2.00
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Honor Code – Nook
Honor Code – Kobo

“A solid story with characters you’ll admire right from the start. The novella is the perfect read to get lost in.” -Goodreads reviewer

In a small southern town where everyone knows each other’s business, veteran detective Larry Robbins must solve the disappearance of eighty-year-old widower George Beason. When evidence arises that Beason may have left town on his own, it would be easy for Robbins to close the case, but his gut instinct tells him more’s at stake. As he uncovers clues about Beason’s deceased wife and his estranged daughter, Robbins must untangle conflicting motives and hidden agendas to bring Beason home alive.


Fresh Cut Tales: A Collection of Dark Fiction
by Kenneth W. Cain
Rating: 4.7 Stars
Genre: Horror
Price: $0.99 Save $3.00
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“Expect the unexpected in this macabre and thoroughly entertaining collection from Kenneth W. Cain.” -Mike Davis, The Lovecraft Ezine

When darkness appears, so will those things that stay hidden during the day, anxiously waiting for you to stumble upon them. And when you do, you will find yourself immersed in a world so bizarre and strange. Will you escape unscathed? Or was it all just some horrible nightmare?

Fresh Cut Tales revisits eight previously published tales along with eight all new stories. Kenneth W. Cain has hoisted up his axe and given all sixteen stories a fresh cut. You'll get a little taste of it all here in the pages of Fresh Cut Tales.

You'll travel through doors not intended to open. You'll find yourself spiraling up through tight spaces and ending up in creepy places. Monsters will show their faces, and everywhere you look there will be traces of the unknown, the supernatural, the world we aren't so familiar with. Does it really exist?

In these stories you'll travel near, to your backyard, your own house, or your thoughts. You'll travel far, to Earth's core, outer space, or beyond. You'll discover strange new worlds and encounter horrible beasts, the most familiar of which will be that of man or woman, a loved one, a child.

Together we will test the human spirit, see who falls and who rises above. Who of you will champion this darkness, brave the unknown, face these fears and endure? Turn the pages and see.


PJ Chase Sports Romance 3 Series Boxed Set
by P.J. Chase
Rating: 5.0 Stars
Genre: Romance
Price: $0.99 Save $2.00
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“This boxed set was incredibly hard to put down….a great gift idea for anyone and is something that shouldn’t be missed.” -Stephanie K.

Raw Passion: After suffering a crushing upset, twenty-eight year old MMA fighter Colin Robinson fears that it might be time to throw in the towel on his career. Then he gets an amazing offer for another fight–but it comes with a catch. Before Colin can focus on another fight though, he needs to piece back together the shambles of his love life. After having his heart broken recently though, it won’t be easy. Then Colin meets a beautiful stranger with a past. Will she change his life for the better, or worse?

Going Long Series: Having grown up with an emotionally distant football coach for a father, the last thing Alyssa Stanton wants is to fall in love with a guy that’s just like that. But when she meets a hunky and sensitive football player at college, she finds that she can’t resist his charms and gives in to a temptation that will change her life forever. Alyssa’s younger sister Vikki meanwhile grew up never feeling like she measured up. She’s always had problems meeting men. Will she ever be able to meet a man, or will luck never smile on her?

Then finally there’s Maureen–the youngest of the Stanton sisters. Maureen finds her heart caught in a love triangle between two competing quarterbacks. But which will she choose, and will she come to regret her decision?

Hot Corner: Audrey Maxwell has always had a thing for baseball players. They just haven’t had a thing for her–until now. So when Audrey finally catches the eye of a hot prospect, she can’t resist him. But is he really the catch he seems, or will reality fall far short of her dreams?



Please make sure the price says "Kindle Price $0.00″ before clicking “Buy”. If it says "Prime Members $0.00″ “read for free”, it is NO LONGER FREE. All books are free at the time they are posted but are subject to change back to full price at any time. If you are outside of the United States, these books may not be free.

by DelSheree Gladden
Rating: 4.9 Stars
Genre: Young Adult
Price: $0.00 Save $10.99
Subject to change back to full price at any time.

Olivia's best friend is not imaginary. He's not a ghost, either. And she's pretty sure he's not a hallucination. He's just Mason. He is, however, invisible. When Olivia spotted the crying little boy on her front porch at five years old, she had no idea she was the only one who could see him. Twelve years later when new-girl Robin bumps into the both of them and introduces herself to Mason, they are both stunned.

Mason couldn't be more pleased that someone else can see him. Olivia, on the other hand, isn't jumping at the chance to welcome Robin into their circle. Jealousy may have something to do with that, but honest fear that Robin's presence will put Mason in danger is soon validated when a strange black car shows up outside Olivia's house. The race to find out what Robin knows in time to protect Mason from whatever threats are coming becomes Olivia's only focus.


All Natural Cosmetics Bundle
by Vesela Tabakova
Rating: 4.8 Stars
Genre: Non-Fiction
Price: $0.00 Save $5.98
Subject to change back to full price at any time.

1. Homemade Beauty Treatments and Skin Care Recipes (All Natural Cosmetics) – It`s Easy to Look Beautiful! Everyday average women in Bulgaria impress with their beauty and are usually described as gorgeous and irresistible. They are often pointed among the most beautiful women in the world. How do Bulgarian girls do it? Do they use some special make up or expensive cosmetics or is it possible to feel and look gorgeous by simply following grandmothers beauty tips and recipes?

2. How to Grow Long Hair with Herbs, Vitamins and Gentle Care (All Natural Cosmetics) – Best Kept Secrets for Long and Beautiful Hair! The secrets to having long and healthy hair have been known for ages but there are still lots of girls and women that do all the wrong things to their hair and never understand why it damages instead of growing. In this book I have put all the important steps you have to follow in order to grow long hair as well as almost all the herbal remedies, treatments and centuries-old tips that can help you in the process.

3. Simple Recipes for Easy Homemade Face Scrubs and Body Exfoliants (All Natural Cosmetics) – Do You Want to Get Rid of Wrinkles, Pimples and Acne? It is unbelievable how easy and pleasant it is to make your own homemade skin products and treatments. They are inexpensive, they are all natural, you know exactly what is in them and, most importantly, they do wonders for your skin! In my new Natural Cosmetics book I have collected 50 recipes for face scrubs and body exfoliants that you can prepare at home with ingredients you have in your pantry or fridge.

Next time you’re ready for a facial, try making a scrub at home – you’ll save time and money, and you will have radiant and luminous skin. And don’t forget that great skin makes you look younger and feel healthier, no matter what your age or physical condition is!


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More ENT Deals for 5-31-14

Posted: 31 May 2014 06:48 AM PDT

Add more books to your Kindle library with this set of 4 bargain books and 2 free books. Remember to "LIKE" and share ENT with everyone.

Book Of The Day: Lovestruck In London by Rachel Schurig has a 4.2 star rating and is on sale for only 99 cents – save $3!


Between the Lies
by Joy DeKok
Rating: 4.8 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Price: $0.99 Save $4.00
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“Her ability to intertwine creativity and art into the storyline gave additional depth to the story.” -Paula L.

Her Cinderella night turned Titanic. Everything was going just fine for Olivia Morgan. Until the dead guy in the elevator, her lover’s dismissal of her, the loss of her dream job, and an FBI agent who is looking into the past she’s worked so hard to hide. What’s a woman to do when she’s suddenly un-kept, a murder suspect, and has her own personal stalker? Olivia uses her artistic talent to remember and reveal what she knows. Will it save or convict her?


by Lawrence Kelter
Rating: 4.3 Stars
Genre: Thriller and Suspense
Price: $0.99 Save $4.00
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“….blistering action, unforgettable characters, and dialogue sharp enough to draw blood.” -Dani Amore, best-selling author of Dead Wood

It's a hot summer night on Long Island. The Suds Shack is packed—lots of kids partying at a bar. In the crowd is a girl who is different from anyone else. A guy on the prowl—plop goes a pill into her drink. Her world spins out of control. He thought he had her; now he's dead, and she's coming for his accomplice. They picked the wrong girl to mess with. She can look like you or me, or anyone else she may choose to become. Lexa and her brother Ax have a special talent, a unique gift.


Duck Dynasty: Guide To Happiness
by Darrin Wiggins
Rating: 4.6 Stars
Genre: Non-Fiction
Price: $0.99 Save $2.00
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“….an impressive educational and entertaining guide that points out many hidden gems in the rough!” -Cathy W.

This book offers you the kinds of life lessons you will learn from the Robertson family. This crew, which has become famous for their show, "Duck Dynasty" has also become well-known for their faith, strength as a family, happiness, and love of duck hunting. From their own experiences, they can teach us lessons about our lives. This book is about the little bits of wisdom you can glean from the words spoken by Phil and Si as well as the rest of the family.


The Raven’s Wish
by Susan King
Rating: 4.6 Stars
Genre: Historical Romance
Price: $0.99 Save $3.00
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“Powerful, magical… a delight!” -Romantic Times Book Club

Elspeth Fraser, a beautiful Highland seer, has a sudden vision of a handsome stranger’s death. Then he rides into her life. Duncan Macrae is the Queen’s lawyer, sent north to end the feud between Elspeth’s wild Highland cousins and a neighboring clan.

Determined to save his life, Elspeth resists her strong attraction to the queen’s handsome and mysterious lawyer, and tries to send him away Duncan ignores the vibrant Highland lass and the stormy passion she invokes. The Queen’s mission must be completed.

But then, a dangerous enemy threatens all Duncan and Elspeth hold dear. They must face their shared destiny—for if the prediction holds true, they will lose all… including the powerful love that could save them both.



Please make sure the price says "Kindle Price $0.00″ before clicking “Buy”. If it says "Prime Members $0.00″ “read for free”, it is NO LONGER FREE. All books are free at the time they are posted but are subject to change back to full price at any time. If you are outside of the United States, these books may not be free.

Early Daze
by Jennifer Gilby Roberts
Rating: 4.4 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: $0.00 Save $7.99
Subject to change back to full price at any time.

Life has always gone smoothly for Jess, but then she got pregnant and it wasn’t just her breakfast that started going down the pan. And now her baby has “fallen out” before she’s even started ante-natal classes.

Suddenly, she’s sucked into the bubble of the Neonatal Unit, where tensions run high and the real world feels very far away. She has a new home, new routines, new friends and even a new crush – and sleep deprivation, stress and separation are threatening to tear her neat little world apart.

When it’s time for Jess to leave, what will she be going home to? And who will she be going home with?


The New Wizards
by Joe Sharp
Rating: 4.8 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Price: $0.00 Save $12.95
Subject to change back to full price at any time.

Electro-magnetic fields have permeated our world, bombarding us from orbiting satellites, wriggling into our brains with micro-waves and radioactive cellphones, unseen and unavoidable. Everyday generations are born bathed in waves of radiation that, less than a century ago, did not even exist. We were told the waves were harmless.

The best science fiction and horror novels come together in this newest creation from the scary, mutant mind that brought you Viral House. When Evolution becomes a Revolution, on which side will you stand?


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Check out the lineup of Kindles here!

More Kindle Deals for 5-31-14

Posted: 31 May 2014 06:27 AM PDT

Here's another collection of 4 bargain books and 2 free books for you to enjoy! Make sure to "LIKE" and share these deals with fellow book lovers.

Book Of The Day: Lovestruck In London by Rachel Schurig has a 4.2 star rating and is on sale for only 99 cents – save $3!


Spice Box: Sixteen Steamy Stories
by Various Authors
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Romance
Price: $0.99 Save $2.00
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Spice Box: Sixteen Steamy Stories – Nook
Spice Box: Sixteen Steamy Stories – Apple iBooks
Spice Box: Sixteen Steamy Stories – Kobo

Whether it’s contemporary romance or romantic suspense, alpha vampires, shifter stories, or BDSM romance–Spice Box offers sixteen erotic romance books with something for everyone.

Raine Miller, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Cherry Girl – She will forever be his Cherry Girl…

Cathryn Fox, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Torn Between Two Brothers – She’s breaking all the rules…

K.M. Scott writing as Gabrielle Bisset, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Blood Avenged – I am everything you desire. I am vampire.

Janelle Denison writing as Erika Wilde, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. The Invitation – An invitation that will take them beyond their wildest, most erotic fantasies.

Nina Lane, USA Today Bestselling Author. Arouse – “Come here, beauty,” he says. “You need to be kissed.” with…

A.C. James – Eternal Ever After – A Gothic Cinderella re-telling with vampires and bondage…oh, my!

Kathy Kulig – Red Tape – Bondage in the White House.

Christina Thacher – The Bequest: A BDSM Romance – CFO by day, sexual submissive at night. When her Master dies suddenly, Sara discovers his will leaves her to his nephew…

Stephanie Julian – His to Keep – He has her right where he wants her…

Geri Foster – Wrong Room – Short, Cute, Sexy!

Lisa Adler – The Demon’s Deception – Certainly a Demon strong enough to survive being chained for a millennium beneath the Earth’s crust can resist one virginal princess when she demands his help.

Jan Springer – Sex With The Ex – Sky undertakes a dangerous mission to the dark sensual world of sex slave training…

Sarah Mäkelä – The Witch Who Cried Wolf – When her magic gets mixed up, supernatural forces are unleashed and suddenly she’s being pursued by werewolves that she didn’t even realize existed…

Maureen O. Betita – The Kraken’s Mirror – Where anything can happen. And usually does.

Riley J. Ford – Fifty Shades of Fifty Shades of Grey – Unable to withstand the pent-up ache radiating from his tender blue testicles, Ben decides to take Grey’s methods to a whole new level in order to relieve the pressure on his . . . er, marriage.

Travis Luedke – Blood Slave – From the ghettos of Spanish Harlem to a Manhattan penthouse, follow Hope’s shocking tale of life as a bloodslave to master vampire Enrique.


The Seventh Secret
by Irving Wallace
Rating: 4.2 Stars
Genre: Thriller and Suspense
Price: $0.99 Save $4.00
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The Seventh Secret – Nook

“This story is just excellent! The concept of “what if Hitler survived…” has always intrigued me.” -Kathie B.

Emily Ashcroft and her father, Sir Harrison Ashcroft, have set out to write a definitive biography of Adolph Hitler. Before they can finalize their manuscript, however, a cryptic letter from a German dentist sends Sir Harrison off to attempt the excavation of the site of the Führerbunker, where Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, lived out the final weeks of their life before committing suicide and being cremated in a shallow pit. The thing is – maybe they didn’t.

Unfortunately, before the excavation can begin, Ashcroft is run down in a hit-and-run that would seem accidental – except the driver backed up and ran him over a second time. Armed only with the dentist’s letter, her notes, and the determination to finish her father’s book, Emily Ashcroft makes her own journey to Berlin. She is joined by a Russian museum curator, an American architect writing a book on Nazi and Third Reich architecture, and a Mossad agent, posing as a reporter.

Together they uncover what may be the greatest hoax ever perpetrated – the faked death of the Father of the Third Reich, and the plan to bring the Nazi Party back to power. Through harrowing adventures, steamy romance, impersonators, SS guards, and survivors they piece together the missing puzzle pieces of what really happened so long ago. The only question is – are they up to the challenge, and, as they begin to close in, can they survive it?


Legacy Code
by Autumn Kalquist
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Price: $0.99 Save $2.00
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“…..well written and the author really did a great job crafting this world.” -Megan

The last humans fled a dying Earth 300 years ago, but there was something they couldn't leave behind: the Legacy Code. Every colonist in the fleet carries mangled genes that damage the unborn, and half of all pregnancies must be terminated.

The day Era Corinth is supposed to find out if her baby has the Defect, her ship suffers a hull breach. And it may not have been an accident. As the investigation unfolds, Era begins to question everything she's been taught about the fleet, their search for a new Earth, and the Defect. But the answers she seeks were never meant to be found…


Right Now
by Marie Hall
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Price: $0.99 Save $3.00
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Right Now – Nook
Right Now – Apple iBooks
Right Now – Kobo

“I love this author! You rock Marie! The story line and the characters will have you in tears one minute, and smiling the next.” -Lucy

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

Sometimes in life….Things were supposed to get better when Ryan met Lili. I was supposed to move on, get a life… but I’m stuck and lost. Things with my father are not good. There are demons in our closet, big ones. Ones I want to kill him for, I’m seeing a shrink, I’m trying to get better… but my life feels out of control, like I’m adrift.

I don’t know where to look, how to get anchored again, and then I meet Zoe Stone. Something about her draws me out of my rut, makes me laugh real laughs and smile real smiles, and for the first time in years I want to be more. But what will she think when she discovers who I really am?

…all we have…When Alexander Donovan, aka The Golden Adonis, walks into my tattoo parlor, I know I’ll do anything to make that man mine. There’s an instant connection, a need to know more about him.

Everything about him. But there’s also a mystery surrounding the guy, when people look at him they only see the man that laughs, that cracks jokes and makes the world think that everything’s okay, but I see the truth…

I see the darkness that lurks so deep inside few would ever recognize it. I want to help him, I want to be with him, now I just have to make him trust me enough to let me in.



Please make sure the price says "Kindle Price $0.00″ before clicking “Buy”. If it says "Prime Members $0.00″ “read for free”, it is NO LONGER FREE. All books are free at the time they are posted but are subject to change back to full price at any time. If you are outside of the United States, these books may not be free.

Quinn Checks In
by L.H. Thomson
Rating: 4.2 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Price: $0.00 Save $10.99
Subject to change back to full price at any time.

Quinn Checks In – Nook
Quinn Checks In – Apple iBooks

A gallery heist isn’t what it seems, and pretty soon, Quinn is running out of people to trust. The biggest mobster in town, a sweetheart named “Vin The Shin,” is calling him out; a steady string of lowlifes want his head, and the local police think he’s hiding something. But hey, when trouble comes knocking? That’s when Quinn Checks In.


Rise to Power
by Uvi Poznansky
Rating: 4.4 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Price: $0.00 Save $14.99
Subject to change back to full price at any time.

Here is the story of David as you have never heard it before: from the king himself, telling the unofficial version, the one he never allowed his court scribes to recount. In his mind, history is written to praise the victorious—but at the last stretch of his illustrious life, he feels an irresistible urge to tell the truth.

In the first volume, Rise to Power, David gives you a fascinating account of his early years, culminating with a tribal coronation. Rooted in ancient lore, his is a surprisingly modern memoir. In an era of cruelty, when destroying the enemy is deemed a sacred directive, the slayer of Goliath finds a way to become larger than life. His search for a path to power leads him in ways that are, at times, scandalous.

Notorious for his contradictions, David is seen by others as a gifted court entertainer, a successful captain in Saul's army, a cunning fugitive, a traitor leading a gang of felons, and a ruthless raider of neighboring towns who leaves no witnesses behind. How does he see himself, during this first phase of his life?

With his hands stained with blood, can he find an inner balance between conflicting drives: his ambition for the crown, his determination to survive the conflict with Saul, and his longing for purity, for a touch of the divine, as expressed so lyrically in his psalms and music?


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Bargain and Free Books for 5-31-14

Posted: 31 May 2014 06:11 AM PDT

Here are 5 bargain books and 2 free books for you to check out. Please "LIKE" and share with friends and colleagues.

Book Of The Day: Lovestruck In London by Rachel Schurig has a 4.2 star rating and is on sale for only 99 cents – save $3!


Home Away from Home
by Kimberly Rae Jordan
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Christian Fiction
Price: $0.99 Save $2.00
Make sure price is still $0.99 before clicking "Buy".

“…a beautiful love story. Showing how God can lead folks back to where they belong in spite of fear and doubt.” -Minnie

Laurel Collingsworth-Davis thought she had everything she could ever want: a beautiful home, a fulfilling career, financial security and a devoted husband. However, at the beginning of their marriage, she and Matt–each for their own private reasons–had agreed to never have children. When her grandmother dies, Laurel realizes that she does, in fact, want to be a mother.

She desperately needs Matt to reconsider his position, but when he refuses, she fears her storybook life may be over. Matt Davis has very real reasons for not wanting to become a father; reasons he’s never shared with Laurel. Now he realizes that in order to get her to understand, he may have to reveal more of himself to her than he’s ever revealed to anyone.

But doing that may very well cost him his marriage regardless. Will Laurel and Matt be able to trust God to help them overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that stand in the way of them staying a family? Or will their fears drive them apart and end the marriage that had seemed so perfect?


by Colin F. Barnes
Rating: 4.6 Stars
Genre: Thriller and Suspense
Price: $0.99 Save $4.00
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“This is a great read, suspenseful, filled with action, mystery and near impossible to put down.” -David S.

In 2014 humanity didn't stand a chance. A series of fatal climatic disasters struck, entirely drowning the planet. Now, just one hundred and twenty-five souls remain, surviving on a flotilla of damaged ships.

But their survival isn't guaranteed. Facing severe threats to their numbers by a fatal bacterium and increasingly warring factions, they discover a serial killer within their midst. When the murderer targets Eva Morgan's friend, her investigations draw her into a deadly mystery and a race against time before the killer's actions destroy the fragile existence on the flotilla.

The further she digs, the more secrets she uncovers, and the truth becomes a pawn in a game for ultimate survival. With humankind on the brink of extinction, the story of SALT will take you on a thrill ride of intense emotions and incredible revelations.


Secrets and Sacrifices
by Diane Wylie
Rating: 4.7 Stars
Genre: Historical Romance
Price: $0.99 Save $2.00
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Secrets and Sacrifices – Nook
Secrets and Sacrifices – Kobo

“Diane has a way of instantly connecting the reader to her characters. Her Civil War historical romances are filled with adventure, hardship, and love.” -Deborah A. Hymon, Historical Passions

The slowly starving South, lack of medical supplies, and desperate runaway slaves motivate Charlie and Daniel to take risks beyond their wildest imaginations. How could they possibly know that their paths would cross during the worst time in their lives and where that path would lead?


Ridiculously Happy!
by Carol Whitaker
Rating: 4.8 Stars
Genre: Non-Fiction
Price: $0.99 Save $17.96
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“I highly recommend this book for any pursuit in life.” -jennifer w.

Ready to live your very best life? Actually, the secret to becoming absolutely, ridiculously happy is already being conveyed to you every moment of every day. And, it's coming from right from within you. Now, life transformation coach Carol Whitaker can teach you how to tap into the positive potential of your physical and emotional well-being, and, by doing so, achieve your lifelong dreams.


The Whiskey Tide
by M. Ruth Myers
Rating: 4.6 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Price: $0.99 Save $3.00
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“Beautifully written, with interesting characters, well researched era.” -R. Kubala

At the height of Prohibition three sisters in a proper Massachusetts family begin smuggling whiskey from Canada in a desperate bid to keep their newly widowed mother and invalid brother in the family home. The novice rum-runners use the only vessel available to them, the family pleasure schooner.

Kate, the bookworm, hatches the plan, sacrificing her last year at Wellesley to make every grueling and dangerous trip. Rosalie risks her engagement to a clergyman to help on the home front – and tends Kate's gunshot wound from rum-pirates.

Aggie, a dazzling flapper hungry for adventure, uses the undertaking to catch the eye of a man she doesn't realize is a vicious killer.

Kate's courage in the face of storms, crooks on both sides of the law, and the treacherous tides of the Bay of Fundy changes her view of the world. It also changes the lives of those around her.

Joe, the teasing Portuguese-Irish fisherman she hires to captain Pa's Folly earns money enough to provide previously unimagined help to his poor but close-knit family — but must bear the secret burden of falling in love with Kate.

A wealthy old woman dying of loneliness in her cliff-top mansion finds reasons to live. Even Kate's cousin, shattered in body and spirit by his service in The Great War, is caught in the ripples. Kate and Aggie's every success makes their enemies more determined to ruin them. Their gentle cousin becomes an unwitting pawn in a deadly game.

The meeting of minds between Kate and Joe, and the mutual attraction they try to deny, forces each to confront the social chasm between them, and the cost of a romance they dare not begin.



Please make sure the price says "Kindle Price $0.00″ before clicking “Buy”. If it says "Prime Members $0.00″ “read for free”, it is NO LONGER FREE. All books are free at the time they are posted but are subject to change back to full price at any time. If you are outside of the United States, these books may not be free.

My Kind of Crazy
by Katie O’Sullivan
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Price: $0.00 Save $15.99
Subject to change back to full price at any time.

Kendall Roarke is betting everything on making her Harwichport Bed & Breakfast into the premier wedding destination on Cape Cod, despite her recent messy divorce. Jonathan Reynolds moved back to the Cape to take over his uncle’s business and start fresh after his own marriage ended. He’s not looking for anything complicated – until he meets Kendall, with her big plans and wild mop of curls. Throw an unruly foster puppy and an uptight new neighbor into the mix and things get a little crazy. Now Kendall has to decide if it’s the kind of crazy that she can live with… for the rest of her life.


The Sable City
by M. Edward McNally
Rating: 4.3 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Price: $0.00 Save $4.99
Subject to change back to full price at any time.

The Sable City – Nook
The Sable City – Apple iBooks
The Sable City – Kobo

For the first time in a hundred years, Vod’Adia – the fabled Sable City – is Opening. All across the known world, adventurers hungry for gold and relics from the Witch King’s era are making their way to the legendary ruins.

For many of them, the Sable City will claim their lives and perhaps even their very souls. But for one heroic fellowship bent only on rescue, entering this deadly place may do worse than destroy them. It may destroy the entire world. The journey begins in the Miilark Islands, where a most unusual dwarf makes a most unusual choice.

Captain Block, charged with finding the exiled heir of House Deskata, picks Tilda Lanai to accompany him – a young woman newly trained in the arts of the Guild, but completely untested.

With the help of a rag-tag company that includes a ronin samurai, a semi-competent wizard, a noblewoman in disguise, a healer, a warrior-priest and two ex-soldiers (one in danger of being hanged for desertion), Tilda’s quest leads her into the very heart of the Sable City–where devils and demons roam freely, and very little is what it seems.


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