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Old 03-18-2012, 05:18 PM   #1
ATDrake
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Exclamation Free (Kindle KDP) Melodies of the Heart by Michael Flynn [Analog Awarded SF Novella]

Well, from the looks of all the greyed-out stuff that's now been yanked from being available in multiple formats at different stores and directly from them at their catalogue, Phoenix Pick has apparently gone ahead with its proposed plans for Kindle-exclusivity, as hinted in their Free eBook of the Month newsletter.

That's really too bad, and I'll miss having them as a viable place to shop for DRM-free sf/fantasy publisher direct-buys, since I'm certainly not going to spend my money on full-priced e-books at Amazon, given the inferior proprietary format and many other issues, and B&N does not sell outside the US (aside from that little issue of yanking books from catalogue also meaning that re-downloads for purchasers are completely screwed as well and they'd have to re-buy the books if they ever showed up again).

Good thing I bought much of what I'd been planning to buy last year when it was still available on sale. And I suppose this saves me money which I can then spend elsewhere at other places before they, too, decide to yank their stuff for Kindle-exclusivity.

Anyway, they offer a freebie novella via KDP which has garnered multiple award nominations, as a teaser for an upcoming collection by the author, for which they are offering a direct-buy pre-release discount which I may be willing to take them up upon, provided it's under the same mailed-direct-to-me-in-format-of-my-choice-without-DRM terms as previous ones were.

Melodies of the Heart by Michael F. Flynn (ISFDB, Wikipedia) is a near-future sf novella which has garnered multiple award nominations and won the one from Analog Magazine, where it originally appeared (ISFDB entry for the award noms).

This is supposed to be a lead story in the upcoming collection "Captive Hearts", but apparently it exists also in "The Forest of Time & Other Stories", which I bought last year direct from Phoenix Pick when they had a coupon sale, and which I would say is worth it just for the "There's a Bimbo on the Cover of My Book!" filk-song parody regarding exactly what it says in the title as far as stereotypical cover art (Y HELO THAR, BAEN!) goes. It's also got commentary and stuff on the stories by the author.

Anyway, free for who knows how long with or without DRM @ Amazon main UK DE ES FR IT

Desription
A Romance of the Soul, of Melancholy Melodies and Long Faded Memories.

“Melodies of the Heart” can be described as many things. It is is a heart-breaking story of a parent’s love for a child; of growing old; of helplessness; but most of all, of our inner most need to cling to memories long lost.

The Story has won many accolades from critics, has won or been short listed for a number of awards and is included in a number of collections (including a ‘Year’s Best’). But as the author himself puts it “the best recognition it received was from readers who wrote me or have commented on message boards that they wept uncontrollably when they finished it.”

Technically, the story has been classified as a ‘science fiction’ (it takes place in the near future). But it is, at its heart, much more than that. Like any great story, it is a mirror into our souls.

“Melodies of the Heart” is the lead story in the forthcoming collection Captive Dreams by Michael Flynn. Release date July 2012.

If you wish to be reminded of the release of the book and the opportunity to purchase a pre-release copy of the book (fully refundable) at a significant discount please email us at Melodies [@t] PhoenixPick [d0t] com
[actual email mildly obfuscated since I don't want to make the spambots' jobs any easier, especially if I decide to write in myself to inquire, though it's probably a moot point since they've spread it all over Amazon]

Other stuff which Came From The Slushpile!!!!! Not sorted, non sf/f/series repeats mostly skipped.

Robert W. Walker returns again with some more assorted horror/thrillers (may include repeats: Linkage for the lot

Minor ISFDBed Matt R. Jones offers more assorted things, some in his Hollywood Vampires series if you've been following it: Linkage for the lot

Speaking of vampires, Lee Killough repeats her previously title-featured 1987-Tor paperbacked vampire police procedural: Blood Hunt (Garreth Mikaelian Detective Series)

John R. Maxim returns with a 1999-William Morrow medical/conspiracy thriller: Mosaic

Minor ISFDBed mostly-self-pub Ian Woodhead has an omnibus of: The Shuffling Dead Box-set

Previously title-featured Berkley-published mystery writer Mary Monica Pulver/Monica Ferris contributes to this cookbook anthology of poetry and recipes: Hotdish Haiku

Minor ISFDBed mostly-self-pub Marilyn Peake who's had a YA novel praised by Piers Anthony returns with some assorted sf/fantasy: Linkage for the lot

Former Scotland on Sunday article writer and Zen monk Barry Graham returns with a gritty literary/urban fiction collection which probably includes some of the stories he says appeared in particular anthologies in his bio: Scumbo: A Novella and Stories

Allan Leverone says he has been multiply nominated for the Derringer Award and the Pushcart prize. Here's a collection of his noir and crime fiction: Postcards from the Apocalypse

Eva Hudson says that her self-pub-looking political thriller novel won the 2011 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize from Cambridge University: The Loyal Servant

D.L. Snow has had some stuff out from Ellora or Samhain, I forget which and am not bothering to look it up again. She offers a historical romance cross-dressing take on Robin Hood: Thief of Hearts: Wanted

Lyon-published Judy Powell returns with a contemporary multicultural erotic romance: Some Like It Hot

Ann Abelson says that she has been awarded a "National Endowment for the Arts Grant for her writing" and she does have a book dating back to 1960 published by Random House, so here's her self-pub historical fiction novel about the legendary violinist: PAGANINI'S FIRE

Video game designer Stephen Beam has another sf/fantasy story which looks like some kind of magical quest thing: Amazonian Transuniverse Nuclear Hub

Since this was last included, it's been read and recommended by some MR members in the What Are You Reading thread, so in case you missed it earlier, the probably-pseudonymous Barry Barroldson's self-published: Alien Chicks In Citrus Bras And Stalkers From Beyond The Stars

I forget whether this is a repeat or not, but since there's more than one book in the series and you might have missed it along the way, here's Jude Pittman's: Deadly Betrayal (The Indian Creek Texas Mysteries - Book Two) via Books We Love/BWLPP who do the Lee Killough reprints.

If you got the first volume of this parody series and liked it, you might as well pick up the second: 66 Plots Updated - Part 2 (Updating Classic Literature with Modern Technology)

Happy reading, if indeed you manage to spot something you think you might like, or the pre-order discount on the Michael F. Flynn collection turns out to be better than you anticipated.

Last edited by ATDrake; 03-18-2012 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Decapitated title
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:14 PM   #2
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I went to an author's website (Karl Schroeder) today and asked him whether he had an epub version of his short story collection available. I think I'm going to have to start doing that a lot in the future.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:59 PM   #3
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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Kindle version of "Melodies of the Heart" has the poor guy's name misspelled on the cover! (Micheal instead of Michael.)
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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Picked up two.

Thank you.



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Old 03-18-2012, 10:30 PM   #6
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Thanks, got a few of these!
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:57 AM   #8
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Publisher's Response

Hi,

My name is Shahid and I own Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick. I just wanted to address ATDrake’s (genuine) concerns about us going exclusively to Amazon and readers losing their choice of formats.

I made a decision when we were starting off to make the formats as reader-friendly as possible. With that in mind we have always supported multiple formats and DRM free ebooks and I think the only ones who offer lifetime money back guarantee on ebooks sold directly from us (for paperbacks it’s a lifetime money-back no matter where they were bought from).

So why are we suddenly giving Amazon exclusive rights to some of our ebooks?

We can’t utilize their most effective promotional programs without doing so. Now one can complain all one wants to about the unfairness of this, but you know what…it’s their house…their rules.

I wish Barnes and Noble and the others would get on board with coming up with their own creative programs…but they still are playing catch-up and I have given up hoping that they can be as creative as Amazon. It’s almost like they wait for Amazon to come up with an idea and then follow up with their own program.

In any case, as a publisher (a for-profit-publisher) I can’t ignore the reach Amazon has. There is too much money involved.

For example, our sales of Tau Ceti were doing poorly. That is the first book I put in the KDP select program and then enrolled in some of their promotional programs. I have earned more from Tau Ceti in the last two weeks than I have in January and February combined..

It would not only be stupid for me to ignore numbers like that, it would be unfair to my authors as well.

On the other hand I do realize that I have readers who have been loyal to us and without whom we would be nothing and not all of them are fans of the Kindle.

So I’m trying to come up with some compromise, and here is where we stand right now vis-à-vis Amazon’s (Exclusive Rights) Select Program.

1. All our books continue to be DRM free, even those sold through Amazon. That means that all books bought from Amazon are just a couple of clicks away (from a program like Calibre) from being made available for all formats.

2. Our current plans are to keep the number of books enrolled in the Select program limited to a small subset (about 10% to 20%) of our catalogue, and to have them enrolled in the Select Program on a rolling basis. Thus some books may not be available through other venues, but that will only be for a limited time (hence the greying out of options, not deletion…the grey will be becoming black in a couple of months).

3. You will see a number of books being offered free through Amazon. This, combined with the ability to easily convert the books, means you will actually get more free ebooks from us. In fact, I’m planning to announcethe titles of at least three additional freebees from Amazon in addition to our free ebook of the month in April’s newletter.

4. We will continue our own free ebook of the month program without any change (and here’s a heads up…Mike Resnick’s Adventures is going to be next month’s free ebook).

5. And if you buy any book directly from us through a promotion, like Captive Dreams (the one ‘Melodies’ is a lead for), you will either get them via email or get a coupon to get them directly from our store and those will always be available in multiple formats.

I hope this addresses some of the issues raised. I know it will not satisfy all of you, but I just wanted to give you our perspective. Feel free to respond to me here on the forum or email me directly at Shahid@arcmanor.com . I always welcome email from our readers.

Shahid
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:53 PM   #9
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Thanks, Shahid, for taking the time to respond and I am glad to hear that you will be keeping up some direct sales and deals, but this is really what concerns me most:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahid View Post
2. Our current plans are to keep the number of books enrolled in the Select program limited to a small subset (about 10% to 20%) of our catalogue, and to have them enrolled in the Select Program on a rolling basis. Thus some books may not be available through other venues, but that will only be for a limited time (hence the greying out of options, not deletion…the grey will be becoming black in a couple of months).
I flat-out don't really care if authors/publishers decide to go Amazon-exclusive with a new release for potentially better promotion/exposure and to boost their initial sales/word of mouth. It's their prerogative and I hope it works out well for them, and I just ignore those until they become available elsewhere on terms I personally find more favourable (and openly available to me as a Canadian without doing hoop-jumping with the buying of the US dollar gift cards and the faking of the US billing address and the using of the US-based VPN IP proxy), if they ever do and if I still remember it exists at that point.

But the thing about pulling existing books from other venues to KDP Select them is that it really does destroy the re-download capability in many venues for your existing customers who have already purchased the book, and they will then have to re-purchase the new version if and when it appears back in the catalogue.

This has already happened to some of our fellow MR members over at B&N and Smashwords who can no longer get a copy of their paid-for books in the store's archive and have seen new listings for the same book go up when it was re-added. Here's some linkage to their experiences: B&N (seems to start here, with more discussion over the following pages and more details here, Smashwords #1 #2

Perhaps it's B&N and Smashwords' fault for allowing an author/publisher's explicit removal of their books to really remove every trace of them, but in the meantime, pre-existing paying customers are left with no recourse (aside from issuing coupons on Smashwords to drop the price of the new version to free) and new customers who happen to buy things during the "rolling" period before the next grey-out will also be screwed and I would personally make a point of avoiding any author/publisher who made a habit of doing that, no matter where I bought my books.

Incidentally, Amazon adds an extra $2 to the price of every e-book purchase for people residing in a number of countries around the world, such as Sweden. This may not be a concern, but personally, if Canada still had that Whispernet surcharge, I simply wouldn't have bothered buying the few Kindle books I have from them, I don't care how cheaply they might otherwise have been priced.

Anyway, I wish you and your authors well with the program and I would also suggest when doing tie-in deals to the Free eBook of the Month, perhaps consider offer discounts on individual related titles by the same author, alongside whatever bundle there is.

There's been a number of times when I passed on the tie-in deal which did have some books I'd have otherwise liked to get, but I already owned a substantial portion of the bundle in one form or another, such that I might as well simply wait for a general coupon sale to pick up the "missing" parts, at which point I'd have forgotten I more-or-less wanted it.

Last edited by ATDrake; 03-19-2012 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Fix linkage so it goes to the actual relevant posts and not just the main threads.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:02 PM   #10
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Feature still free, minor updates below, though we've a couple of nice new fantasy things and some decent-quality horror/speculative repeats:

Baen-published Janet Morris, who contributed a lot to those Thieves' World anthologies, offers a fantasy novel inspired by that setting: Mage Blood

Star Wars tie-in novel writer Dave Wolverton writing as David Farland offers a satirical fantasy short: At The Virgin's Doorstep

Minor ISFDBed Simon Kewin offers a collection of his assorted sf/fantasy/horror shorts, including the printed ones (may be a repeat, but old enough I don't have it in the newer just-for-KDP auxiliary account): Perfect Circles

Ballantine-published Jeffrey Marks returns, this time with a non-fiction mini-history of: Atomic Renaissance: American Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s and 1950s

ISFDBed Stoker-nominee David Niall Wilson and James Roy Daley contribute to this anthology from Books of the Dead Press: Best New Werewolf Tales (Vol. 1) BOTDP also repeat if you missed them earlier: Best New Zombie Tales Trilogy (Volume 1, 2 & 3) and Gary Brandner's semi-classic: The Howling Trilogy

Books We Love/BWLPP have a mix of new and repeat freebies, some from established ISFDBed authors, some newbie stuff. Various genres including speculative and romance, mixed in with that Prime lending "free" which Amazon insists on cluttering the $0.00 search results with even for people in countries where Prime is not available at all: Linkage to start digging and dig some more.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:08 PM   #11
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I somehow beat you to all the ones I wanted.

Thanks for the additional listing, however.



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Old 03-19-2012, 08:47 PM   #12
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Thanks for responding, Shahid. And I appreciate your efforts to include my non-Kindle reader by going non-DRM:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahid View Post
...
1. All our books continue to be DRM free, even those sold through Amazon. That means that all books bought from Amazon are just a couple of clicks away (from a program like Calibre) from being made available for all formats.
...


... but, Amazon won't even sell me an ebook, even though my Jetbook Lite will read a non-DRMed .mobi file, because their records show I don't have a Kindle. I could get the Kindle for PC program, and then read it on my Jetbook, but I'd rather not do that.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cromag View Post
... but, Amazon won't even sell me an ebook, even though my Jetbook Lite will read a non-DRMed .mobi file, because their records show I don't have a Kindle. I could get the Kindle for PC program, and then read it on my Jetbook, but I'd rather not do that.
That's very strange, I buy/download Amazon books often, and I don't have a Kindle and I never downloaded the PC/mac software.

eP
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:17 PM   #14
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Well, it had been a while so I just tried it again with Ring Toss by Chris Grabenstein. When I get to "Please Choose a Reading Device" the only two choices are "Kindle Cloud Reader" or "Register a new Kindle." How are you doing it?
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Well, it had been a while so I just tried it again with Ring Toss by Chris Grabenstein. When I get to "Please Choose a Reading Device" the only two choices are "Kindle Cloud Reader" or "Register a new Kindle." How are you doing it?
Kindle Cloud Reader is the online reading platform, you don't have to download the Kindle for PC program to use it.
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