July 5, 2010

July Books

Jonathan Tropper's How To Talk To a Widower is one of the books I most enjoyed this year. Because it was published under the Random House umbrella, I assumed that last year's hardcover, This Is Where I Leave You, released to great acclaim, was also published by Random House and looked forward to buying the digital version to coincide with the book's mass market release. Random House, as you might recall, did not switch to the agency model for digital releases, and as a result, their books remain discounted. Also as a result, their digital sales through Amazon have increased by upward of 40%.

Alas, apparently Tropper switched publishers in-between both books. His new publisher, Penguin, which sets its own prices for digital books at Amazon, is currently selling This Is Where I Leave You for $12.99 while the hardcover, which it does allow to be discounted, sells for less, at $11.23. When the trade paperback version is released tomorrow, it will sell for $10.20 at Amazon. If Penguin is true to form, the digital version should come down tomorrow, but my guess is that it'll match the paperback price of $10.20, which I find a ludicrous proposition.

I've decided not to buy the book because of Penguin's Kindle pricing policy and instead decided to fill in my Tropper back-list with Everything Changes - published by Random House and very nicely discounted at $7.20. It too is a digital version of a trade paperback, which currently sells for $10.20.

Here's what else I bought for July on my Kindle: Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare (published by Random House's Ballantine Books) and Susan Mallery's Almost Perfect (published by Harlequin, which, like Random House, did not switch to the agency model). The digital versions of both books are nicely discounted.

Though Dare's debut and subsequent releases have received great fanfare, I've never actually read her, so I'm hoping for a good read. As for Mallery, after hating the first couple of books I read for her and reviewed for PW - The Marcelli Princess and Sunset Bay - she seems to be growing on me. I actually recommended Under Her Skin and Chasing Perfect in my PW reviews.

As much as I'd like to buy Lisa Kleypas' Love in the Afternoon, Macmillan, its publisher, set the price for its digital version at $7.99 at Amazon. The mass market releases sells at Amazon for $7.19.

There is one book I'm wavering on for July: the third in Sharon Ashwood's Dark Forgotten series. I read and gave book one, Ravenous, a strong review for PW but put down book two, Scorched, mid-way and never finished it. This series is published under the Penguin Umbrella - by Signet - and, surprisingly, the Kindle price is $6.99, slightly less than the paperback will sell for ($7.19) when both versions go on sale tomorrow. But given my "meh" response to the unfinished book two, I doubt I'll be buying Unchained, book three in the series, even if Penguin is beginning to see the light.

It's a shame that authors have to suffer for their publisher's misguided policies, but rather than over-paying for the Tropper and Kleypas books, I'll likely be reading them at the bookstore instead.

One last thing before I sign off...in less than a week I've published two Amazon Vine reviews. I recommend both, with some recommendations. Please check out my reviews for Marcus of Umbria and The Bucolic Plague, both memoirs with a similar theme.

P.S. - This link will only work until next Monday, but if you want to read my newest PW review, for the new Susan Andersen, click here. The review is third from the bottom of the page.


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