The Book Biz: A Changing Landscape

booksI’m finally relenting when it comes to contemporary methods of publishing, promoting, and selling books, after a year of reading almost exclusively on the Kindle. I’m a believer—I like it primarily for the ease of reading while eating!—and I’m joining the kids, as I call the go-getter 30- and 40-somethings who seem to read, write, publish and promote 24/7.

My main entry into this world is Goodreads, a fantastic site on which I spend far too much time. At one point I even requested an email every time someone commented on one of my discussion groups, but after a few days spent responding every two minutes to the beeps in my email box, my soaring blood pressure compelled me to cut and run. And I still spend too much time there! It’s probably equivalent to the way other people are with Facebook, where I rarely venture.

I come back from my journey bearing gifts for readers. In case you’re not aware of this new way of buying cheap or even free ebooks, I’ve got a list as long as my arm for you. These services email a list of books tailored to your tastes (though I’ve found their aim a bit off in this department) and with a click a digital book gets delivered to your electronic reading device. Rarely does a book cost more than $3.99, and many are free. Most are indies, that is, they’re self-published by the authors or a very small company. I can’t vouch for their literary quality in toto, but I’ve ordered about eight books by now, and thoroughly enjoyed five of them. That’s a pretty good percentage, especially since all but two of the books were free, and those two were just 99 cents with legs

There’s another side to this story besides the reader’s. For book authors and publishers these services will, for fairly reasonable prices, list your book  in one of their mailing blitzes. Many Goodreads authors report success with some of these programs. One drawback however is that a book has to have a track record before they’ll accept it—usually a certain number of reviews on Amazon or other sites.

Below is a list of the services I’ve encountered. I’m assuming most readers of this blog are more interested in the reading side of the biz rather than publicity—but of course you can find that information on the sites.

logo Fussy LibrarianThe Fussy Librarian sends subscribers a daily email. I like this service a lot, not least because they also list writing and editorial services such as mine, gratis.

Bookbub. This is the only one I still subscribe to. I used to get Book Daily as well, but I found that Bookbub has the best deals. The books I  liked came through them.

Bookblast sends email sale alerts in reader’s favorite genres as available.

Book Gorilla sends a daily email alert with the best deals on Kindle books that match your reading preferences, including bestsellers and freebies.

E reader news. Free books for the Kindle including some by well-known authors. Specializing in Kindle books, it includes tips and tricks for the device, promotional deals, and sample chapters.

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Kindlenation Daily. As the name suggests, this site also specializes in Kindle books, and is connected to Amazon. In case you didn’t know it, Kindle is part of theAmazon behemoth, set for world domination. I’m not knocking it: hey, when you’ve got a good product and treat your customers well, that’s what happens. “All Things Kindle Every Day” is their slogan, and they mean it! This is a website to visit, not just to register with and passively receive a daily list, though there’s that option. But there’s a lot here to explore: Kids Corner, Ebook Tracker, Kindle deals, to name a few. Note: Book Gorilla (see above) is prominently displayed on their  home page, so I assume they’re connected, as many of these services might be. I haven’t gone that far or deep with my research. Yet.

Barnes & Noble . Good ol’ B&N. Started life as a pretty good bookstore, even if it is a chain, and when the landscape started changing they got with the program by producing their own electronic reader, The Nook.  It’s probably one of the reasons they’re still standing, while the rest of the chains have crumbled to dust. Good for them! I didn’t see any email service, but there’s a page onsite promoting Nook books for under $5 that changes daily.

BookBuzz. From what I can tell, BookBuzz doesn’t do the email thing for readers; they’re more of a publicity service for authors, and they’re as pricey as publicists usually are.


And that does it for my list! If anyone knows of anymore services like these, please let me know in a comment box.

I plan to use at least one of these, most likely BookBub, next time I self-publish.

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