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AlexandrasAdventures

Alexandra's Adventures in Books

The real world is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

 

Primarily reads Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Mysteries. From Children's to Adult.

Trade Pubs Again Focusing on Print Books

According to the Wall Street Journal article, "Book Publishers Go Back to Basics" (linked below), "Now, e-book sales are on the decline, making up a fraction of publisher's revenue, and traditional book sales are rising."

Several reasons for this are claimed, however one very important and significant factor is quite interestingly ignored - the overpricing of e-books by major publishers.

Not coincidentally a couple years ago publishers won a battle with Amazon over pricing for e-books, wanting to price them higher than Amazon was allowing at the time.  For a while now the big publishing houses have tended to price their e-books from $10 up to $20.  Often as much, or strangely even more than, the pricing for a print copy. And now e-book sales have dropped.  

Consumers do have preferences, and consider a variety of factors as well as price. But price cannot be ignored as a factor.  Putting aside for a moment considerations such as convenience, immediate delivery, and functions assisting in issues with sight, and looking at the product itself - print vs. electronic and there is no real sensible reason for an electronic copy to be as much or more as a physical copy.

Consumers are not idiots.  An e-book does not have the exact same cost involved in production as a physical copy. Furthermore an e-book cannot be shared, lended, given away or sold as used as a physical copy can.  So the value of the product to the customer is less.

Yes, e-books have a cost in production, and yes, they have value.  But both are less than that of physical books.  Part of that cost savings should be shared with the consumer. In my opinion that is the smart business move.

So, it's no surprise to me when a consumer is given a choice between purchasing a paperback for $7.99 or an e-book version for $9.99, they're more often choosing the paperback.

I know I will not purchase an e-book for $10 or more.  I also will not purchase an e-book that is not at least $2 less than the new paperback price.  And I know I'm not alone.  And I am one who doesn't even buy physical books anymore. So, how many sales are they losing with their lack of reasonable pricing I wonder, and they should wonder.

Big publishers may prefer selling physical copies, and may be happy e-book sales are down, and so they may not  be taking an honest look in the reasons for the decline.  However, as consumers do have various preferences and needs I think they'd be smart to serve their customers fairly in their pricing of either option, and not inflate their e-book pricing at the expense of their e-book customers.

Book Publishers Go Back to Basics

 

Snagged this Kindle Freebie

The Gauguin Connection - Estelle Ryan

I had two people tell me this series is pretty good, starting with "The Gauguin Connection".  Since I do tend to like police procedural murder mystery type books and it's FREE FOR KINDLE I went ahead and snagged a copy.

Can't personally give an opinion (yet), but wanted to give you all a heads up if you want to grab a copy.

Self-Pubs That Shine

The Book of Kindly Deaths - Eldritch Black Rewinder - Brett Battles Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper - J.L. Bryan Paladin - Sally Slater Haven - A.R. Ivanovich, Michelle Ivanovich Nightfall Gardens - Allen Houston Marking Time - April  White Slumber - Samantha Young Timebound - Rysa Walker Nefertiti's Heart - A.W. Exley

Most of us these days are aware of the flood of self-pubbed books and how difficult it can be to find a gem in the sea of mediocrity.  We often see reviews of the sub-par and/or reports of unethical marketing schemes or unprofessional behavior on the part of some authors.

But some of us who have stuck a toe or two into those waters have come across a few gems.  I thought it'd be good to share a few self-pubbed & small press books I really enjoyed and that I feel stand well among their trade-pubbed counterparts. 

So here are a few I've discovered that I am proud to recommend.

Quicky Review - Arabella and the Battle of Venus

Arabella and the Battle of Venus (The Adventures of Arabella Ashby) - David D. Levine

Arabella and the Battle of Venus is the sequel to Arabella of Mars.  I enjoyed it as much, if not more, than the first.

 

An adventure story with a plucky heroine and a Steampunk flair, flavors of Verne and Burroughs.  Airships in space, battles between the English and French over Venus.

Arabella is a delight, brave, independent but still believable.  And don't fear, this is not another "YA Romance disguised as Science Fiction or Fantasy". Nor it is angsty.

 

It's technically got a romance going in it, as Arabella is engaged and rescuing her fiancé is the premise of this adventure. But the romance doesn't overtake the plot. And, due to the genre and time period it's positively reserved in that regard.

 

Thoroughly enjoyed it, quite an adventure. Hopefully awaiting a next installment.



And if you enjoy this series I think you may also enjoy Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Rice Celebrates The End of the Amazon Discussion Boards

"Folks, I'm happy to share that Amazon has indeed ended its Amazon Discussion Forums, including the Top Reviewers Forum which was a gathering place for pernicious bullies who delighted in trying to hurt young writers, usually indie writers, in the hopes of destroying their dreams and their careers. I suspect some of these predatory people will now migrate to Goodreads to continue their vicious and destructive behavior, that is, if they have not already been banned there. Remember, when you see this people at work on Goodreads you can report them. Amazon respects its customers. --- Both Amazon and Goodreads are beautiful ideas; and certainly Amazon has worked a huge revolution in the book business benefiting writers young and old, and book lovers galore. ---- But there were parasites on the site, gaming the system to persecute targeted authors for petty and often stupid reasons, and the system was not efficient at handling this miscreants. This certainly did not benefit customers who deserve to have some faith in the reviews they read of everything from a pair of shoes to a volume of poetry. And now at least we can heave a sigh of relief that the Top Reviewers Forum where these bullies gathered --- identified targets and whipped up internet lynch mobs --- is gone. I will miss the good discussions I enjoyed in the Forums, especially the Christianity Forum. But when a system is not regulated or policed in a consistent way, abuse is inevitable. Why Amazon took down the Discussion Forums, I don't know. It was always a case of the majority of posters being good people, and respecters of the system and only a minority obsessed with exploiting the Discussions for hate. Well, it's all gone. I'm glad, must confess, and any friends I knew there can easily email me if there's a desire to get in touch."

https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/10155862686985452

 

 

Amazon Forums Closing

Hello Friends,

 

Haven't been active here for a while, but wanted to pop in and make a post about the Amazon Forums closing.  I'll sorely miss them, and am glad I am connected with some of the people there either on Goodreads and/or here.

For those who don't know (or don't remember), my nick on Amazon is Lessa.  Feel free to respond to this post if you'd like and share/connect with others or discuss the forums closing.

Review: Starflight

Starflight - Melissa Landers

I'd classify this story as a Romance, rather than a Sci Fi novel.

 

I'm disappointed, as I was hoping for a Sci Fi adventure, even if it contained a bit of romance. At about the half way point I'd have called this a romantic caper. A lighter story than I was hoping for, with a heroine who was a mechanic and on the run, I was hoping for something a bit grittier, more adventurous, and a MC who was a bit more kick butt.

 

But at that point, in spite of these disappointments and some eye roll inducing moments, I was enjoying it well enough. And I thought perhaps the second half would improve my estimation. At the half way point I'd have given this a solid 3.

 

Unfortunately the second half became more Romancy, with our heroine and her love interest sharing a fade-to-black night of bliss, and declaring their love for each other. That I could have handled, probably, but ugh, what we had to go through to get there.

 

Thankfully this story avoided the typical angst ridden back and forth of so many teen romance stories. But instead we got accidental ingesting of drugs, under the influence hickeys given, plus matching tattoos. We even were treated to a night on some planet somewhere, that just happened to be having some type of festival, where there were hay rides, a barn dance, a corn maze, and a rigged shooting game, just like you'd find at state fairs or country festivals. I kid you not. Yes, presumably this place was colonized by people from Earth, but come on!

 

This story could have been set on present day America with just a few tweaks. By the end I was just ready to be finished. I'd rate the second half a 2.

 

There are bad guys, chases and narrow escapes, but it all felt like an excuse and window dressing for the romance. I found the characters likable enough, and this story certainly isn't bad. But it's going to appeal more to the Romance audience than the Sci Fi Adventure audience.

Whoot! I read a graphic novel! Review: Mass Effect: Homeworlds #1

Mass Effect Homeworlds #1 - Anthony Palumbo

Am I one of the cool kids now?

 

Always had a soft spot for James, nice to get a bit of his backstory.  I wish it had been longer though, and covered other past events, such as the night Anderson convinced James to be Shepard's guard.  It's a pretty short story.  Showing James at the Citadel which I take to be when he was there at the start of ME3, then telling this story as a flashback, was a nice touch I think to tie the two together.

 

Although James is supposed to be a teen in this story, young enough to be referred to as a minor, old enough though to enlist in the military, he's drawn to look pretty much as he is later. A minor quibble, though.

 

Overall just a morsel for Mass Effect fans.  Others will have no idea who this guy is, or why we should care, or maybe even what the heck is going on.

Just Starting: Ravenscroft Conspiracy

Ravenscroft Conspiracy - Vic Connor

"So it's all real. They're going to kill me. According to their records, he murdered his parents soon after he turned sixteen. Only it was a lie. He hadn't seen them since he was six."

 

A Sci-Fi story with a virtual world setting.  A favorite premise of mine.

 

I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high, but do hope it's at least reasonably entertaining.

 

Here goes!

The Rook on sale for $2.99 (Kindle)

The Rook - Daniel O'Malley

The Rook is a Kindle Daily Deal today for $2.99.  I really enjoyed this one.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Rook-Novel-Files-Book-ebook/dp/B004QX07EG/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1469617842&sr=1-1&keywords=the+rook

Here's My Ticket

(And no, I don't want to discuss real politics :D)Comander Shepard & Garrus Vakarian 2016

 

 

 

 

Review: The Assassin Game

The Assassin Game - Kirsty McKay

"It is about 4:00 a.m. when they come for me.  I am already awake, strung out on the fear that they will come, and the fear that they won't."

I won't recap the basic plot, as that's covered in the blurb.  If you're worried (or hoping) this is a slasher type book, it is not.  It is a suspenseful Young Adult mystery.  There's a bit of romance, but it's more in service of the question of who the guilty party is than really romantic.  Something I actually preferred.

I enjoyed the isolation aspect.  With the island cut off from the mainland except at low tide.  Although it's not all that unique in the genre, I think it was handled well and added to the tension of the plot.  

We're fairly quickly introduced to the game, "Killer", and don't have to wait too long before it starts.  Still I found that things really picked up during the second half of the book, as it was then that I really started to find it un-put-down-able.  The first half of the book was fine, but the second half really gets good.

I had several potential suspects in mind while reading this, and kept going back and forth on who I thought the guilty party was likely to be.  It kept me guessing.

I was very impressed with the showing, not telling, in this book.  In Cate's head I could really feel the way we can freak ourselves out when stressed, just from her inner dialog.   Where you start to get spooked over things that aren't anything to be spooked over, just because you're so on edge or become suspicious of everything.

Another example of the showing, not telling, is the way I began to not trust one of Cate's friends in particular, simply due to what he said and did, and the way he said and did them.  He (to me) felt like someone who either had boundary issues or was socially inept, or he was a jerk in that fake nice way some people have a talent for.  And this was accomplished without the reader being told what to think.  I enjoyed that.

Overall I think this is a very enjoyable story for young adults who like mysteries and suspense.  

I do not think this one would do as well for those adults (like me) who enjoy reading YA.  Although well done, and having some personality of it's own, I think most adults familiar with the genre will probably find it a bit tame.

Amazon (Finally) Suing Sellers Over Fake Reviews

Authored by GreyWarden:

(reblogged from MarketingLand.com)

 

 

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One of Amazon’s most appealing features is the unbiased reviews provided to members. Unfortunately, it turns out that some sellers have taken it upon themselves to feed fake reviews to their customers-to-be. This wouldn’t be a prudent idea. Amazon is (and has been) suing those sellers that are buying positive reviews.

 

Amazon has previously sued to stop websites that sell fake Amazon reviews, along with individuals offering to write fake reviews. This latest batch of lawsuits is against the companies that buy fake reviews for their products.

 

A story from TechCrunch this week reports that three new lawsuits were brought against sellers where the fake reviews made up 30 percent to 45 percent of the overall reviews. According to TechCrunch, the defendants are Michael Abbara of California, Kurt Bauer of Pennsylvania and a Chinese company called CCBetter Direct.

 

We reached out to Amazon for comment and received the following in regard to these cases:

While we cannot comment on active litigation, we can share that since the beginning of 2015, we have sued over 1,000 defendants who offered to post fake reviews for payment. We are constantly monitoring and will take action against abusive sellers by suspending and closing their accounts and by taking further legal action. Our goal is to eliminate the incentives for sellers to engage in review abuse and shut down this ecosystem around fraudulent reviews in exchange for compensation. Lawsuits are only one piece of the puzzle. We are working hard on technologies that allow us to detect and take enforcement action against perpetrators while also preventing fake reviews from ever surfacing. As always, it is important for customers to know that these remain a very small fraction of the reviews on Amazon and we introduced a review ranking system so that the most recent, helpful reviews appear first. The vast majority of reviews on Amazon are authentic, helping millions of customers make informed buying decisions every day.

The rules in this type of a case are fairly straightforward. Amazon has sellers agree to the following:

You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review. Review solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer compensation are prohibited.

Furthermore, when sellers choose to break selling policies, they may find themselves without much recourse. The seller policies make it clear that any disputes or claims will be resolved by binding arbitration and won’t go to court and that each party waives their right to a trial.

 

So sellers take heed, if you want a good review, make sure your product/service earns it. To make sure that you are adhering to Amazon’s rules, read the full Participation Agreement in its entirety.

 

Just Starting: The Assassin Game

The Assassin Game - Kirsty McKay

Hope it's good!

Just Have To Laugh

Please excuse me while I laugh.  A certain BBA who ranted and raved about reviewers not liking her first self-pubbed effort, who chased them from site to site to site personally insulting them, published a second novel in March.

 

I just looked and it currently holds a 2.8 average on Amazon.  Most of the positive reviews look to me to be the Friends and Family type.

 

And while this author seems to have learned something - after being banned and blocked from various places - she still could not help herself from commenting on one of the negative reviews.

 

But still, I laugh.

The Looking-Glass Portrait

Authored by Grimlock ♥ Inhumans:

 

 

Kindle exclusive, so available for Kindle Unlimited members, at Amazon now.

 

When Thomasina Ryder inherits her grandmother's house, she expects to quickly arrange for the sale of the estate. She soon learns the disposal of her legacy will be a more complicated process than she expected. And nothing could complicate matters more than the return into Thomasina's life of a forbidden love from the past.

The further she delves into the secrets of that past, the more she is made aware of something sinister and hidden, never to be spoken of even in whispers. She begins to suspect this secret is connected to the silent forms she has seen moving in the old house, from the corner of her eye or in the distorted reflection of a mirror. Then, as her investigations bear fruit, the shadows in the mirrors become more threatening.