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Old 01-08-2008, 02:37 AM   #1
Zevs
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Decreasing number of "quality" books on Connect...?

Hi!

It seems to me that the quota of romance and thriller type of books have been increased lately on Connect, resulting in reduced number of what one could call main stream current fiction and literature. Perhaps I'm wrong, hope so .... because we need a steady supply of these kind of books also to make a real impact with the Reader

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Old 01-08-2008, 03:37 AM   #2
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I'm not sure I understand. Does the Connect store have an actual "quota" of books that they add each month, and each genre gets some share of that?

Also, going from a of the "New Releases" shelves in brick-and-mortar stores, I would have said that romance and thriller books are "main stream current fiction". Certainly aside from SF (and so-called "literature"), they often seem to be the big, seperate sections in those stores.

If they have a quota, I would imagine that they are responding to demand by splitting that quota in a proportion relative to their sales-by-genre, and so by doing so they are having a "real impact" by providing what their customers want. Of course, without knowing their sales figures, it is merely something I "imagine" at this stage.

If they don't have a quota, then the above still applies, with the added "bonus" that they are not supplying a "reduced number" due to any quota (perhaps, if there is a "reduced number" it is because of demand, or supply by publishers or authors?).

So, not knowing the Connect store"quota" details, or what you mean by "main stream current fiction" (do you simply mean "new releases"?), it's hard for me to completely see where your going, and therefore why your concern.

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Old 01-08-2008, 04:01 AM   #3
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Hi Marc!

No I don't think that the Connect sore has any defined quota of different kind of books, that is not what I meant. Sorry for not being more clear. It seems though that earlier on there were more what I call "mainstream fiction" in the list of new books every week, and just to give some examples of what I mean by that are books by authors like Joyce Carol Oates, Doris Lessing, Haruk Murakami, Mark Helprin, Patrick O'Brian, Paul Auster etc I'm not saying that there isn't this kind of books on Connect, there sure are, but I hope that the proportion of these will not be reduced. But as I said perhaps I'm wrong, it just seems the updates this year contain less of these kind of books than before..

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Old 01-08-2008, 05:25 AM   #4
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Look in your physical bookstore and you'll see that romance and thriller/crime/mystery are the bulk of the new releases each week.

Sony's ebook store simply reflects the trends of the buying public, although I'm not certain that the Sony Reader user population is actually reflective of the book-buying public at large.

Sony can only sell what the publishers release to them to sell -- I think that a three-pronged attack is in order to get more of the books you want at the Sony ebook store: contact Sony through their ebook store website (there's a link to suggest books/authors for them to carry) and also contact the publishers of the authors you want and ask them to please release those authors in ebook format through the Sony store (be specific, because they may already be released in MSReader format or MobiPocket format), and also contact the authors themselves.

Not all books are possible to be released -- not all publishing contracts include the right to release in electronic format and there are some authors (Martha Grimes, for instance, to my great disappointment, refuses to allow electronic publication) who are popular enough to have the clout to refuse electronic publication because they don't like the concept. But I think that the more people let the authors know that they want electronic releases of their books and specifically the Sony Reader version, the more likely the authors are to bow to public pressure.

But you do have to keep in mind that Sony can only sell what the publishers will allow them to sell.
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Old 01-08-2008, 07:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zevs View Post
Hi!

It seems to me that the quota of romance and thriller type of books have been increased lately on Connect, resulting in reduced number of what one could call main stream current fiction and literature. Perhaps I'm wrong, hope so .... because we need a steady supply of these kind of books also to make a real impact with the Reader

Zevs
This is not so. Just by adding romance and thriller type books does not decrease what they have of other genres.
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Old 01-08-2008, 09:13 AM   #6
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I guess the original poster means that the proportion is decreasing, rather than the actual number. As you say, the number won't decrease unless they are actively removing books from the store.
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Old 01-08-2008, 09:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zevs View Post
Hi!

It seems to me that the quota of romance and thriller type of books have been increased lately on Connect, resulting in reduced number of what one could call main stream current fiction and literature. Perhaps I'm wrong, hope so .... because we need a steady supply of these kind of books also to make a real impact with the Reader

Zevs
I'm not surprised that Sony is shooting at the Mainstream to try to get the product into people's hands.
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Old 01-08-2008, 09:23 AM   #8
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I see a lot of thiller/romance type boosk being added to other shops. It's not just Sony. It's what the publishers are publishing. And it does seem that romance ebooks do sell.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:09 AM   #9
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This may be the impression, but it's not an accurate picture. The number of ebooks available from Sony have increased mostly in the categories of history, business, science and nature, and education and reference (as a percentage of where they were in September). Lately, these are rising at 3 to 4 percent per week. The totals for romance novels and mysteries and thrillers have increased only slightly. I monitor this every two weeks and maintain a spreadsheet of the totals in each category - for giggles, I guess. I post updates here: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16810
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:59 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback and good advice on how to influence Connect/publishers/authors! Will try to use that!

I hope what you say is true Vivaldirules, will be interesting to see the statistics for the last 2 wees also. Could you possibly also publish this spreadsheet somewhere here, would be great to follow the trends over all the subjects (hope I didn't miss that you already has it published ..)

Zevs

Last edited by Zevs; 01-08-2008 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:52 PM   #11
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And it does seem that romance ebooks do sell.
Indeed they do. I read one (OK, part of one) once, and still can't imagine why anybody would read these. Or, for that matter, write them.
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:12 PM   #12
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It seems though that earlier on there were more what I call "mainstream fiction" in the list of new books every week, and just to give some examples of what I mean by that are books by authors like Joyce Carol Oates, Doris Lessing, Haruk Murakami, Mark Helprin, Patrick O'Brian, Paul Auster etc I'm not saying that there isn't this kind of books on Connect, there sure are, but I hope that the proportion of these will not be reduced. But as I said perhaps I'm wrong, it just seems the updates this year contain less of these kind of books than before..
This should not be a surprise. The Sony Connect store wants to sell books. To do that, they have to offer books that sell. Romances and thrillers sell. If a brick and mortar bookstore sold only "quality" literature, they'd likely go out of business very quickly. A web based seller will have the same constraints.

And you can make a case there there is no such thing as "mainstream" literature these days -- only an increasing number of genres popular enough to get separate classifications.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:17 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
This should not be a surprise. The Sony Connect store wants to sell books. To do that, they have to offer books that sell. Romances and thrillers sell. If a brick and mortar bookstore sold only "quality" literature, they'd likely go out of business very quickly. A web based seller will have the same constraints.
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Yes Dennis I understand that, but also Borders and Barnes & Nobles and Amazon needs to sell books, and they still have a lot of these other books I'm talking about, the ones that perhaps Connect are calling "contemporary fiction" or "other fiction & literature". I'm not saying that Connect should stop offering the romance and thriller books, but just that I hope that they will keep a balance like other book stores seems to be able to do.

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Old 01-09-2008, 02:43 AM   #14
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Yes Dennis I understand that, but also Borders and Barnes & Nobles and Amazon needs to sell books, and they still have a lot of these other books I'm talking about, the ones that perhaps Connect are calling "contemporary fiction" or "other fiction & literature". I'm not saying that Connect should stop offering the romance and thriller books, but just that I hope that they will keep a balance like other book stores seems to be able to do.

Zevs
They certainly do. There is a Barnes and Noble superstore in walking distance of me, and a large Borders even closer. But walk into a bookstore and see what gets front-and-center placement. It will be best sellers, and the fiction best seller list will be skewed to romances and thrillers.

So it is with Sony Connect, I think: without getting a full list of everything on the site, it's hard to talk about relative proportions, but the stuff on the front page will be the ebook equivalent of the best seller list. That's Retailing 101: you put the stuff people will most want to buy where they can get to it quickest and easiest.

The more interesting question is how easy it is to find the less popular stock, as well as what sort of selection there is. I couldn't say offhand, since I don't have a Sony Reader and am not a Sony Connect customer. (It was a bit of a challenge to find and download the Sony connect software, which I plan to use to test books I create in Sony format down the road. That didn't give me good feelings about the site design.)
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Old 01-10-2008, 03:56 AM   #15
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Be careful about what gets "front and center placement." That is all purchased by publishers and reflects nothing more than what they decide to pay for placement of.

Just as with shelf-space in supermarkets, the bookstore owners figured out how to earn even more money by selling that to publishers. I can't recall the figure I read so I won't try to repeat it here, but I remember thinking that one of those "front and center placement" book racks brought in more than double my annual income for ONE Barnes&Noble booktore!

So be careful -- that front and center placement is no reflection of what the bookstores want to sell but rather is a reflection of what the publishers want to push, knowing that a certain large percentage of bookstore customers make it no further than those racks before finding a book to buy. Not every bookstore customer is a deeprooted bibliophile who will search all the bookshelves looking for a rare gem. Many (most?) bookstore customers simply want to find the next book or two that they will read and leave.
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