Was LTER Staff Aware that HQN was going to do this?
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Yesterday, I received an email to get an ER copy of Her Vampire Husband from HQN (Harlequin). I have to wonder if LTER staff knew about the conditions and strings attached from this publisher.
First, this was listed an ebook, which is fine. However, when I received my email, I was required to register with NetGalley, a third party publishers service. Though the registration was free, I was still required to give all my personal contact information to these people. In less than 24 hours, I have already received several emails from NetGalley trying to push their site on me and asking for more personal information.
Additionally, the email made it clear that I had to provide links to my LT profile in order to get my book. I did this grudgingly. They are also now wanting to question me about all my reading preferences, etc., to further market their system to me. This does NOT make me happy.
I finally got to download the book only to discover that it is NOT a copy of the book for us to have. It is a DRM file that will expire in 60 days, removing this book from our libraries and making it so that we are no longer able to read the book. We do not actually get the book, just a digital LOAN.
Since I did get awarded the book, I acknowledged that I got it on my LTER page. I felt it would be dishonest to claim I did not have a chance to download it. I didn't want want not acknowledging the email or not reviewing it to damage my standing with LTER. I would never have requested this book if I knew the conditions and trouble it was going to cause me, including opening me up to further SPAM.
I feel like HQN/Harlequin, the publisher, has been dishonest in representing this as a "free book in exchange for review." We do not even actually get to keep the book. I could have checked it out from my local library with less risk to me and at less hassle. Although I like the book so far, I will not be writing anything more than the absolute minimum (and truly worthless) review of it since I don't know what these people are going to do with my review and my personal information. I don't trust organizations that pull such a Bait-and-Switch tactic or who misrepresent their intent in such a way.
These stipulations were never mentioned in the Batch information. I looked up the publisher info and it wasn't mentioned there, either. So, I have to wonder...
Was LibraryThing staff aware that HQN/Harlequin was going to do this to LibraryThing members?
If you did, why did you not let us know what we were getting into when we request books that have these strings attached?
If you didn't, is there a way we can prevent such misrepresentations and subterfuge by HQN and other publishers in the future where Early Reviewers are involved?
I'm still very upset by this and have lost a bit of trust in the LTER system as a result.
I'd write about HQN's bait and switch plus spam tactics in the review, rather than writing about the book. That should tell people more about whether they want to buy the book than anything else.
I agree this would be very disconcerting, but I'm guessing that it wouldn't have even occurred to Harlequin that this would upset people, Netgalley is getting to be a big way for publishers to offer egalleys to reviewers, and it is very common for them to expire after 60 days.
I would guess that the new policy of asking for and adding information about what sort of ebook it is will help this (just started with this current batch, I believe), although maybe Sonya could have publishers check a box if the egalley is offered through Netgalley.
Not okay. I think it should be plainly stated that you will have to provide personal information to another site to access the book. It should also clearly state that the "free book" is actually a "free loan". If not, I think reviewers who "win" the book should have every right to decline to review them.
Agreed on both points: There needs to be clear disclosure that the "free book" is a "free loan," along with the expiration date, and if you have to give personal data in order to access the e-book, that should also be clearly stated. Some people won't care, and some people will care very much. Both groups should know exactly what they are getting.
Of the two, the need to provide personal info concerns me most. LibraryThing seems to be a site that has strong feelings about user privacy -- I don't think it even required you to provide an e-mail address to join until just recently!
Frankly, if I had encountered such a requirement in the course of downloading the book, I would have refused and then sent an e-mail to Sonya stating why I would not be reviewing the book in hopes that she could pass it along to someone else who wanted it and did not receive it.
I've reviewed three books from NetGalley. The first was an ER book, posted as an e-book. The others I requested from NetGalley. I found the registration process a little annoying, mostly the part where they wanted to know in great detail what kind of books I might ever consider reviewing. How one reacts to this type of thing may depend on personal tolerance. But that part was to fine-tune reviewing matches. No library or algorithm.
But that 60-day thing doesn't seem to mean anything. I just checked and I can still open the first book from over a year ago. It did require that I sign in again. So, I'm guessing that the 60-days is how long you have before it asks you to sign in again.
I didn't mind the whole NetGalley thing as much as I minded having to read books on my laptop. Just not comfortable. And now my eye doctor is telling me she's finding vision degeneration from too much computer time. So, I'm not planning to ask to do many more reviews for them.
On the plus side, I got to review books I really wanted to read but didn't win from ER. I get a few e-mails from them, but not so many as to bother me. And if they're announcing a review opportunity on a book I really want to read, I don't mind them.
>1 Thanks for explaining what you received. For the April batch, I'd asked Harlequin what format they were offering their ebooks as, so the April ebooks from them say: Format: DRM-locked .pdfs, which can be loaded on Kindles, Nooks, Sony eReaders, or read on a computer using Adobe Digital Editions (which is free to download).
So, I was (recently) aware of their DRM-locking, and their third-party site, but not of the details.
I'll add more to the April ebook descriptions, to include the Netgalley site.
Generally, though, I'll talk to Harlequin about what's been raised here (and point them to this thread).
Frankly, if I had encountered such a requirement in the course of downloading the book, I would have refused and then sent an e-mail to Sonya stating why I would not be reviewing the book in hopes that she could pass it along to someone else who wanted it and did not receive it.
I can't "pass along" ER books that you've won. Once we pick winners, it's done. I don't take books off people's win lists for format, so if you win the book, it's yours to review.
That being said, I obviously need to get better information about the format of ebooks.
My plan is to talk to Harlequin (and the other ebook publishers), and respond here with what I find, definitely before the April batch is over.
Thank You, Sonya.
I appreciate you being so responsive and proactive about this for future batches. I didn't think LT was aware of the Third Party registration requirement or the temporary nature of the book offered.
Since I have a Nook, I actually prefer eBooks and may have pursued NetGalley on my own if I had been given the information up front. What upsets me most is that it was not clearly stated and I felt like I was not given an informed choice to opt out by not requesting that book or to research NetGalley and make an informed choice before submitting my request. The only alternative to providing them with all my information was to refuse a book from LTER that I had been awarded, which I felt would be wrong itself and unfair to the LTER program.
It is obvious to me from what you wrote that HQN failed to fully disclose the conditions to what they were providing. I'm glad to see that you are handling this for future ER batches.
Summary: You and the rest of the LibraryThing Staff ROCK!
Summary: You and the rest of the LibraryThing Staff ROCK!
Because this cannot be said often enough.
>8 I agree -- I hadn't asked publishers offering ebooks to state the format, but I think you're absolutely right -- there's a HUGE difference between a free-and-clear .pdf and a read-this-only-on-a-website file.
I asked Harlequin about the format, and they certainly gave me all the information I asked for -- we didn't get into the nitty-gritty of how Netgalley worked (and I wasn't familiar with it from before. They're pretty new to Early Reviewers, so there are some kinks to work out. I really don't think they're being nefarious.
In the future, I'm going to make sure all ebooks have format information!
>10 And if it is a DRM file, ask for what the DRM constitutes and the delivery method. I.E. Non-transferable but owned vs. limited timed loan/file expiration. Direct email or link to download vs. third party site registration required.
The whole DRM situation has really exploded with the use of Nooks and Kindles. Understandably it will take a while to catch up with asking the pertinent questions...or even figuring out what those questions should be.
OK! I've talked to Harlequin, and seen the email that was sent out:
*Netgalley doesn't have an option for long-term access, so in HQN's email, they say that you can re-request the book as needed (it's not limited to 60 days only).
*They wanted profile info, to know who was picking up their ebook. They're going to change from asking for the profile link to just getting your username.
The rest of the concerns, I think, have to do with showing information on the batch page. DRM and delivery method. Check.
Thanks for starting this Vivid, I was just coming to do the same thing, after finally managing to get NetGallery to give me the ER book.
the 60day thing could be a major issue - I've downloaded it to my Sony, and I won't be doing that every 60 days. It may be acceptible IF I was only reading in online via NG, and just a matter of clicking renew. But it spcifically claims to be downloadable - with no mention of the timeout.
If it times me out after that I will be very annoyed.
Sonya - Thanks for looking into this so quickly.
But it spcifically claims to be downloadable - with no mention of the timeout.
I believe in the email you were sent, it says this:
**Note: Your e-galley will expire 60 days after downloading. If you have not finished reading HER VAMPIRE HUSBAND, simply re-request the title and we will approve your request within 1 business day.**
What I don't know is if you have to re-download or if you just have to re-request. (Or if it doesn't actually time out.)
Please don't by annoyed with Harlequin. Their use of Netgalley, and of using DRM-encrypted galleys is not unique. (I'll save my soapbox lecture on DRM-free for another day.)
The big problem is that we haven't been saying what the ebook format is, which is something we're changing for the April batch.
So, be slightly annoyed that the publishing industry thinks that DRM-free egalleys would ruin their sales, and to me for not asking publishers of egalleys to provide information on their format BEFORE you requested and won the book.
Will it say in future ER batches whether the book will stay indefinitely after we download it or will disappear/have to be re-requested/some other inconvenience?
@7: "I can't "pass along" ER books that you've won. Once we pick winners, it's done. I don't take books off people's win lists for format, so if you win the book, it's yours to review."
Thanks for clarifying that. I won't be requesting any e-books in the future, knowing that those are the terms. No big deal. Good to know up front.
And yes, all of the LT staff totally rock!
>15 Yes. The DRM section will let you know if you get to keep it outright, or if there are limitations (and what the limitations are).
>12, 14, 17: Thanks, Sonya.
The impression I received was that I would have to re-request the book via email or the NetGalley site and then download a new copy and that the old copy would not work. As others have mentioned, with eBook readers (Sony, Nook, Kindle), that can be a pain. I don't have a problem with DRM-encrypted books and actually have quite a lot of them. Mine are simply the non-transferable variety with no printing ability rather than the time-locked type NetGalley is loaning out. If I wanted a loan, I would have just gone to the library.
I really did not like providing my information to these people or being required to register with a Third Party as a condition of a LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. However, as long as we have all this information prominently displayed and fully disclosed before we request the books, then it will be my own choice to make.
In your shoes, I would never have thought to question that the "free ebook" was not in fact, "free" or that it required additional registration or that it was merely a loan/timed file and not given to the reviewers, DRM-free copy or otherwise.
Obviously a learning curve for everyone. :)
Thanks for the quick reply and planned management of this issue!
After reading this thread, I decided to check out and test netgalley.com and wanted to post my personal insights, pro and con so far. First, I am confused as to a publlisher using Netgalley and LibraryThing both, but that isn't for me to know or understand.
Independent of LT, I decided to sign up for Netgalley. It states you must be a librarian, professional reviewer/professional blogger/professional book critic in order to sign up and request e-galleys. Winning a book on LT has no such requirements, so I am not sure how those needing to access their winnings through netgalley are able to get around that requirement when creating an account unless they have a separate sign up system for LT members, although it doesn't sound like it from what I've read on this thread.
As a student in an ALA accredited Masters in Library Science program and member of the American Library Association, I was qualified to sign up and did so. I was not disconcerted by the process at all. The information required did not seem excessive and the ability to choose how much information I wanted to provide was nice. Instead of a LT algorithm determining how the books are awarded, the user browses catalogs and requests books. The publisher receives the request, looks at the information you chose to provide about yourself - not your personal library - but your professional associations and literary interests and determines if they want to send it to you. I requested 7 books yesterday and this morning I was awarded 3. I was interested in this particularly because I have a kindle and enjoy reading books on it and the site said many books would be available on kindle. When requesting the book, I did not know if it would be or if I would have to read on the computer. After awarding, I received information on available formats. Since no requirement exists to read or review the book, I felt no detriment to requesting and then rejecting if not kindle available.
For kindle users, you should be aware of the following, whether awarded through LT or on your own through NetGalley directly...
In order to receive the kindle galley, in your profile you ckick the box "I have a kindle" and fill out your kindle email address (the --@free.kindle.com does not work). Then you must add email@example.com to your approved senders list on your amazon kindle account. When they send it to you, you WILL be charged by amazon. It is NOT free for them to send to your kindle. Amazon charges data usage charges for documents to be sent through whispernet. I was very nervous that it would be a large charge as it was a full book and not just a 5 page word doc. My three books cost me: $.15/$.45/$1.35 which I found worth it. I think they should have put in a reminder on netgalley that this would happen but the charge comes from Amazon and it is up to the Kindle owner to know those terms.
What I do not know and will try for my next book is whether I can upload the galley (not using Kindle delivery) and then email to my @free.kindle.com account and connect via USB cable for not cost.
To sum up, I had a very positve experience and received some practically free advanced copies of books for my kindle that I wanted with an amazingly quick turnaround. I will read and review them as I personally feel obligated to do so and decide if I want to continue using the service. I am likely to do so as Amazon is in contract war with the big 5 publishers causing a huge hike in kindle book prices this month.
Hi Viv, Sonya, and others:
I'm the Digital Concierge at NetGalley, and just wanted to respond with some additional information.
NetGalley is a way for publishers to offer digital galleys to readers, and readers can use the site to browse and request galleys they wish to review. NetGalley is intended for “professional readers”: book reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, bloggers, etc. Anyone who reads and recommend books can use NetGalley for free.
Harlequin is one of the publishers using our service, and they decided to use NetGalley to fulfill LibraryThing Early Reviewer galleys. As you can imagine, providing digital galleys allows Harlequin to not only save money and paper, but also allows them to give many more people access to their galleys.
NetGalley is committed to remaining neutral in the format and security settings that a publisher provides. It is entirely up to each publisher – for each specific title – to choose which format and what levels of security (DRM) are offered. Publishers are able to offer both DRM’d and DRM-free galleys via NetGalley. If they offer DRM’d galleys, then they can select an expiration time (most choose 60 days). However, if the reader needs additional time, they can simply log back into NetGalley and press the DOWNLOAD GALLEY button again to get another 60-day copy of the file. The publishers can change these settings for each galley at any time, and again, it is in the publisher’s hands – not ours.
We ask for information about each NetGalley member so that we can help connect readers with the galleys they’d like – and help publishers connect with them to send direct invitations to view their galleys in the subjects/genres they prefer. We want to avoid offering romance books to readers who only want political books, for example.
We never do anything with the information we get from our members – we do not share their contact information or use it for any purpose other than notifying them about titles in NetGalley. Also, readers can be anonymous NetGalley members (there is an option they can select in their Profile).
If you haven’t already checked out the site, I encourage you to do so: www.netgalley.com. We have quite a few LT Early Reviewers using NetGalley, which we’re very excited about. We welcome your participation and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, suggestions.
Digital Concierge, NetGalley
>20: Glad to hear you had a positive experience with NetGalley. However, you are entirely missing the point of this thread. It was your choice to enroll with them. For me, it was not a choice so much as an underhanded, after-the-fact, undisclosed condition imposed upon LTER recipients by HQN.
Either I registered with them or I went against the agreement I made with the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I was not given advanced notice of this requirement and, as Sonya has said, neither were LibraryThing Staff. Nor were we made aware of the DRM limitations on the digital copies we would "receive".
I resent the way HQN handled this situation. They should have been upfront from the start since Sonya and the LT staff had no way of knowing there would ever be such registrations, requirements, conditions, or limitations imposed.
So, I'm glad you enjoy your participation with NetGalley. It doesn't change the fact of how this was handled by HQN and their dishonesty in failing to disclose what they were doing.
Thank you for commenting. I actually recognize your name from the number of blanket emails I have received in the past couple of days that you sent out to NetGalley members.
I'm certain that NetGalley is a wonderful service for those who choose to subscribe of their own accord. My problem is not with NetGalley. I may even eventually use your site on my own, independent of the LTER program. However, that will be only after I have a chance to investigate it on my own and make my own decision as to whether or not I want to participate in your service. As long as it is my choice made with informed consent, I will have no problem with NetGalley or the numerous emails I receive from you as a result.
Again, my issue is with HQN and how this was handled as an after-the-fact undisclosed condition of fulfilling my LTER program participation agreement. As I'm sure you understand, the Goodwill of the public and customers has a tangible value in business. HQN has created Ill-will instead, both for themselves as publishers and NetGalley by pulling you into this situation. It may seem like a tempest in a teacup in the wider scheme of things in the publishing world. But for those of us who were forced to enroll in your service as a condition of which we were not informed, it is our teacup.
While I'm certain that there are many LTER participants at NetGalley, I have to wonder how many were required to register by just the sort of underhanded, undisclosed conditions as HQN imposed in this case.
22: "For me, it was not a choice so much as an underhanded, after-the-fact, undisclosed condition imposed upon LTER recipients by HQN."
That sums it up perfectly. Thankfully I wasn't one of those affected, because I don't request e-books. But I have to say that after this, I will not request any HQN books, ever, no matter the format. Publishers offering books for LTER assumeably (is that a word?) have certain rules to abide by. Deliberately tricking people into signing up for some other website, deliberately leaving out such crutial information in their offering, deliberately FORCING PEOPLE to participate in another website in order to fufill their obligation on THIS website, is the lowest of the low. I really hope HQN realizes how many readers this underhanded tactic has probably cost them.
So, I know nothing about the details here. I'm really glad Sonya's been dealing with it, since it sounds fairly complex. But I think Sonya came up with good response, though. We need to do what we can to make the exactly access situation clear, which will mean leaning on publishers to be as specific as possible.
For what it's worth, all this e-galley stuff is in its infancy, and everyone's trying different solutions, all with their problems. We will do what we can to make sure publishers understand what LT users need as far as information. And we can hope the technology situation calms down and standardizes soon.
I do wish there wasn't such a rush to digital formats. But printed ARCs are notoriously expensive to produce—much worse than even the hardcover—so there is a strong financial incentive.
So, if all of us had Kindles/Nooks/Sony readers/iPads/whatevers, it would make the whole ER thing much easier. Hmmm... just not sure my aging eyes can take that. I, too, wish there wasn't such a rush to digital readers.
I'm not sure I see digital as a good storage method for reading material in the long term. With the leaps and bounds in tech advances, stuff that I may buy (or win) digitally today, may be unreadable on the digital device of tomorrow... or the next day. We tend to think of everything digital as lasting forever but I seriously wonder if the life span for the *access method* is anywhere near as long as paper.
Excuse me if this has already been mentioned, I've skimmed above but I might have missed it. The bigger issue for ER is that if the book 'expires' after 60 days and therefore is not a book we own in our library, we are prevented from deleting it (if we happen to only catalogue physical books we own) because otherwise our review will go and our ER priviledges will, no doubt, be suspended due to lack of review ...
I also think that, if the book expires after 60 days, any unfulfilled reviewing requirement should also "expire".
It's interesting that HQN says they didn't have a choice about making it expire... but Lindsey from netgalley says that only DRM books have to expire. So HQN could avoid the whole problem by getting rid of the DRM?
#26 >> "because otherwise our review will go and our ER priviledges will, no doubt, be suspended due to lack of review ..."
That's the only reason there are read but unowned books in my catalog. I would prefer that reviews went on the work page rather than the book page so I could remove the read but unowned books and still keep my reviews up. Once my review is posted, I don't retain books I have no intention of reading again.
#27>> So HQN could avoid the whole problem by getting rid of the DRM?
Apparently so, and this leads me to believe HQN wants the reviews without giving us a copy of the book... which, to me, is deceitful and under-handed. I'll request nothing from HQN in any format.
Hi Vivid and everyone, I wanted to jump in and introduce myself and see if I can help with this situation. My name is Jayne and I manage the online Community at eHarlequin.com, and also our Harlequin Books page here at LT. I can personally assure you that this whole situation has got to be some kind of mistake (on our part, yes) but still someone clearly didn't think something through. I do know that another department at Harlequin has been working with LT on offering some of our books to reviewers, but I honestly think that this is a case of human error rather than an attempt on our part to be sneaky. Vivid can you please send me an email with your mailing address to my account at Jayne_Hoogenberk AT Harlequin.ca, and I will send you a copy of My Vampire Husband. Not MY copy, I was actually reading it until 1:30am this morning myself ;-) I'll get you a NEW copy :-)
I've also sent an email to the team who I THINK is responsible for coordinating this giveaway and booked a meeting for Monday for all of us to review. I'll find out more about what happened on our side and report back to all of you here...fair enough?
Cheers, and it's nice to see such passionate readers!
>22 No, I didn't misunderstand the point of the thread at all but did want to provide information for those that were going to find themselves in the position of deciding whether or not to accept the terms to get their ER book, most especially the potential for it to cost them money if downloading to a kindle via whispernet. I do not disagree with you at all that it should have been upfront and was unfortunately not communicated properly. In addition to giving advice to those trying to make their decision about whether to accept the terms, I wanted to share a positive experience on the topic of netgalley as I was disturbed that they and Harlequin were getting a bad reputation when I don't think the service or the products are at issue, just the communication between them and LT and how the give away would be portrayed to the ER users. Again, I completely agree that in the context of the ER giveaway, it should not have required you to sign up for netgalley without you being informed in advance when you made your request.
>25 My aging eyes prefer the kindle (no backlight so no eye strain) as I love the ability to maneuver the text size. As the daylight wanes and my eyes tire, I adjust the size larger and larger. There are many downsides to e-books, but in my kindle experience aging eyes is a positive.
FWIW, I want to thank HB's Jayne for jumping in.
Now I want to corner her and ask her questions about her job and where Harlequin is going in the digital future. Since starting LibraryThing I've done a lot of book-industry shows, and only then realized how absolutely enormous the Harlequin empire is. It's like a book industry within a book industry!
Also, does "I work for Harlequin books" attract or frighten potential mates? I'd worry about unrealistic expectations, although I do look like Fabio.
1> Though the registration was free, I was still required to give all my personal contact information to these people. In less than 24 hours, I have already received several emails from NetGalley...
These are the things that concern me the most. I understand why NetGalley might need to do that, but IMO the ER description should contain both information about the format of the e-book, as discussed above, but also a disclaimer that to receive the book the member will have to register and give personal information on another site.
Thank you for your reply. I appreciate the offer and will be forwarding you my information. However, I have to wonder about all the other LTER members that have been placed in this same situation. How HQN redeems themselves with the other early reviewers is not my position to decide.
I'm glad to hear that it appears to be the case of someone not thinking through the ramifications of their decision on the delivery method of books for review. Obviously, that is something that should be considered in the future. Though I have no difficulty with eBooks, others do. Even within DRM'd eBooks, there is a range of accessibility controls/permissions that make a significant difference to how the recipient perceives the usefulness of the book.
Given the legitimately high number of security concerns people have about providing personal information over the Internet, I would think that it would have been a huge red-flag to require a reviewer to register through a third party website. Doing so without having adequately informed the reviewer prior to book request is even more problematic since we did not have the opportunity to adequately vet NetGalley on our own. The fact that it was a DRM'd timed ebook is a further troubling point. Evidentially, full disclosure of these stipulations is not something that was considered by the HQN staff.
I hope that all the ramifications to the choice to utilize a third party for distribution of timed access, DRM'd eBooks to reviewers will be considered in the future. Regardless of the formatting and delivery choice HQN makes, I would strongly suggest that full disclosure of these conditions is made known upfront to potential reviewers so that we may decide whether or not we wish to patronize HQN and provide reviews in return.
>32 "Also, does "I work for Harlequin books" attract or frighten potential mates? I'd worry about unrealistic expectations, although I do look like Fabio."
Tim, I think you should cut the hair. Fabio is so 80s. Some of us like the clean cut look much better now days. ;-)
I have had experiences with Net Galley. Their concierge, Lindsey Rudnickas, is a helpful person, prompt in replying to queries. However. . . .yes, it is not easy to read on-line, and my other problem has been their sign-in system (that's how I know she's helpful!). I have reviewed four books but decided to opt out. They do still contact me. For what it's worth: their publishers cover a very wide range. I found a wonderful book about a family who built and lived in a most unusual house, and an account of going to receive the Nobel award, the full week of activities described in lovely detail. These two I wish I had in my library. (No need to mention the others! but their topics did meet my profile.)
Hi again everyone, and Tim I usually just mention to people that I work for a publishing company and try to leave it at that until a bit later in the conversation;-) I used to work in the Art Department for Harlequin years ago and actually had the good luck to use Fabio on an old American Romance cover by Anne Stuart. He was a perfect gentleman and totally lovely, but yes, Vivid, the hair thing is a total non-starter!
It's funny that people have pre-concieved notions of us Harlequin folks...question one is usually do you know Fabio? and question two is typically a two-parter A. Do you write romance? and B. so tell me about the formula that's used to write a Harlequin romance. At which point I start wishing I'd mentioned I was a bee-keeper or shepherdess.
I've only started using Netgalley myself to read some of our titles, and haven't had the good fortune to have met Lindsey yet, but I've exchanged emails with her, and she's lovely to deal with. I have noticed, and I will tell her exactly the same thing...that I'm getting email newsletters from them supposedly based on my reading tastes as evidenced by my requests, and that typically they are WAY off base in their targetting me. But you know what? All this proves to me is that this world of ebooks is new for everyone and we're bound to make a few goofs along the way. It's why I feel it's so important to jump in and let you get to know me, so that you'll see that I WILL take your issues and concerns seriously on behalf of the mothership and that we are committed to making your dealings with us the best experience they can be.
Oh, and Tim, when looking for dates, I find wandering around Home Depot looking clueless is the BEST tactic for meeting Mr. Maybes.
I'm loving this thread. A reader's concern, response from three big companies to that concern and humor to boot!
Oh, and Tim, when looking for dates, I find wandering around Home Depot looking clueless is the BEST tactic for meeting Mr. Maybes.
Ha. I'm sure glad my wife chose to trust Match.com instead; I hardly set foot in Home Depot. (My wife recently mentioned she was going to Lowe's, and I thought she meant the movie theatre chain.) The feeling I get at Home Depot is sort of like the feeling I get in the Harlequin booth at trade shows—there's this complicated, alien world out there, full of all an incredible variety of stuff, and vexed choices on topics I thought were simple—light switches and levels of sexual content, respectively.
Q: Does the Kindle or Apple platform allow you to give away ARCs to people? If the concern is piracy, I'd think their DRMed format would be adequate protection. Or are you aiming to distribute to people who don't have readers?
Tim, I manage our online Community at eHarlequin.com and as such I'm not involved in the distribution of ARC's, beyond the odd promotion, and by that I mean occasional as opposed to ...erm, peculiar. But I think it would be fair to say that we are aiming to distribute to people in whatever format is the most economically viable yet satisfactory solution for all.
And can I just say that I LURVS me my Kindle and as a reader first and foremost, I feel everyone's pain around DRM. So it's nice to know that our newest kid on the Harlequin block, digital first imprint Carina Press will be DRM free...yup, you heard me!
However, I must also share that the big boss of my department came down to my section of the cube farm on Friday and was showing off his iPad and it's functionality and WOW...
>42: "However, I must also share that the big boss of my department came down to my section of the cube farm on Friday and was showing off his iPad and it's functionality and WOW...
I don't see the sense in carrying around a big piece of glass in a comparatively flimsy frame and expecting it to survive. My Nook is great, but I have a case to protect it. I adore my laptop, too. iPod Touches and iPhones, however? Survivability rate is about 2-4 WEEKS for people I know. Maybe us in the Pacific Northwest are just a bit more rough and tumble...But dang! I wouldn't dare take an iPad on a bus, so I couldn't imagine taking one on a subway back East!
If you are able to make it work, you are a braver man than I am, Gunga Din (with apologies to Kipling).
Hey Viv, Have you really heard reports of them being delicate? All the ladies in the group remarked on the fact that there was indeed a HUGE fingerprint issue with the iPad. I know it would drive me nuts constantly cleaning it...but then that's the Virgo in me speaking I suppose...
I warmed to my Kindle. (I like the experience, although I hate the ownership/legal change ebooks entail.) It broke, though, and I didn't sent it back fast enough. Jerks.
I write a lot on the Thingology blog about how much I fear what the legal model will do to book culture. I won't bore you.
I saw my first iPad today and liked it. Tomorrow I'm meeting Abby, who bought an iPad for LibraryThing and is loving it. I love the reading experience, except that I can't take notes in it and, for me, that's a deal-breaker. I imagine that will change.
I've seen them. Saw one just today. The touch technology is inherently "delicate" for the sensors to be able to read the contact and those screens are very exposed.
I haven't heard any buzz about their durability, but I wouldn't expect that I would since they are brand spankin' new and Apple isn't likely to publicize any issues like that. I have seen touch screens on the iPhone shattered fairly easily. I've seen other touch screens that were cracked from average use. I would have a hard time putting out that much money for an iPad unless that screen was made out of transparent titanium (yeah, a totally geeky Star Trek movie reference).
Finger prints would drive me nuts too, and I'm not a Virgo. LOL I already polish the screen on my Nook quite often, even with a screen protector over it. It's the artist/graphics person in me that wants it PRETTY!
Did you know that the iPad does NOT run Flash platform at all? Considering how much Adobe is used in the graphic design industry, including web design, I have to wonder if that is Apple just slitting it's own throat or what.
There's an intersting article here http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2010/02/20/an-adobe-flash-developer-on-why-the-ipa... on why flash can't -- and shouldn't -- work for iPad and iPhone.
I must admit I would only interested in these toys for travel purposes and the iPad seems to have more functionality as more than just a reader. But if you can't take notes of bookmark a zillion pages for reference, it's attraction for me goes down.
I have to say, looking into netgalley has made me a lot more interested in getting an e-reader. I still think the iPad is crazy (I'll stick with a netbook with twice the functionality for half the cost), but I think the kobo e-reader for only $150 may be something worth trying out.
Re.#45: "that's a deal-breaker"
My #1 "deal breaker" on the iPad is that it's an Apple product and it will be a cold day in Hell before I give them a penny out of my pocket (it's a personal vendetta going back 25 years).
More to the point, my #2 "deal breaker" on the iPad is that you can't multi-task on it. I typically have three different browsers open, as many as sixty tabs open in one of those, and a half a dozen other programs running ... I suspect the iPad would feel like I was in a straight-jacket and trying to type with my nose.
I strongly suspect that I'll get the Microsoft Courier when it comes out. #1, it's a "real computer", #2 it's a "butterfly", so the screens are protected when not in use (and one can have a virtual keyboard on one while having a text display on the other), #3 it's got a really cool stylus interface, which should allow one to highlight, make notes, etc., etc., etc., on one's documents (and, hopefully e-books). I've also heard good things about the HP Slate (although that's going to be a flat tablet like the iPad, albeit with all the useful stuff that Steve Jobs deigned to not include).
Re.#47: "Apple just slitting it's own throat"
Be still my beating heart! One of my fondest wishes is that Apple would cease to exist ... I have never forgiven Bill Gates for bailing those ******** out back in '96 or '97 ... few things would please me more than to be able to include the Mac with the Osborne and Altair!
50: iPhone OS 4.0 has multi-tasking; it's supposed to be on the iPad this fall.
I have the Kindle app on my Itouch. Don't know if it includes anything fancy other than the book.
Haven't really investigated and they don't provide a lot of details. But I don't get the whole highlighting/note taking thing anyway.
I am relatively new to ereaders and so don't request ebooks through LT ER; don't want the pressure of having to review, if I decide I am not in the mood for an ebook.
I don't mind giving info that is public to a third party site - but it should be mentioned in the info so people have a chance to decide if they want to or not.
I just want to say thanks for the discussion of NetGalley. I'd never heard of it, signed up, and now have two galleys in which I'm interested, both on climate change. One I'm reading on my laptop, the other on my Kindle.
>53 Ficus, the highlighting function is great for keeping track of points you want to make in LT reviews, or for highlighting a reference to follow up on later.
Recently there was some concern around the wording we used when offering ebook ARC's to our Early Reviewer friends and I wanted to give an update after having met with our PR team this Monday as promised. After discussion with Library Thing, the wonderful staff there suggested the following:
Format: DRM-locked (they expire after 60 days) epub files, which can be loaded on Kindles, Nooks, Sony eReaders, or read on a computer using Adobe Digital Editions (which is free to download). Ebook provided through NetGalley, which requires you to sign up with them.
I wanted to see if you could offer an opinion on it before we post it up. Is the wording acceptable? Did we leave something out that you think should be included for clarity etc??
>55 It's my impression from reading this thread that while the file expires after 60 days, if you haven't finished reading it, you can download a new 60-day file at least once. If that's correct, you might want to add something to that effect, so that you don't turn away people who are worried about the deadline.
"Format: DRM-locked epub files, which can be loaded on Kindles, Nooks, Sony eReaders, or read on a computer using Adobe Digital Editions (which is free to download). The initial Ebook is provided by NetGalley, which requires you to sign up with them; it also expires after 60 days, but a new copy can be downloaded from Netgalley."
First, I'd like to voice my approval at how everybody here has handled this misunderstanding. LT, suppliers, users -- everybody's been notably reasonable and open to discussion. I'm impressed.
Also, I'd like to point out a blog post from an author who was asked to review an advance ebook, and got asked to jump through hoops when he tried to oblige: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/04/09/earcs-big-fat-publicityfail/
Admittedly, LT Early Reviewers aren't in quite the same starting position as Mr Scalzi -- we don't get free books thrown at us all the time -- but I think the main point stands. If you're asking for publicity, don't make it hard for people to give it to you.
#55 that's much clearer, thanks.
What is Harlequin's position on redownloads? I quite enjoyed my HQN title, and may want to re-read it again next year when the sequel is opublished. Can I re-download it then?
Hi everyone, I took your suggestions back to the team and the disclaimer has been ammended to reflect your worries about renewing the book if it hasn't been read beyond the expiry date. The most current disclaimer reads as follows:
Format: DRM-locked epub file or pdf file (60 day expiration, renewable — you don't own the ebook), which can be loaded on Nooks, Sony eReaders, Kindles or read on a computer using Adobe Digital Editions (which is free to download). Ebook provided through NetGalley, which requires you to sign up with them.
Thanks to you all, and please let me know if I can be of further assistance...oh, and I should introduce Penni who is our LibraryThing moderator. She is going to be my eyes and ears in this space moving forward, and manage the content on our Harlequin Books page. But I'll still pop in from time to time to see if you miss me.
Wow, how does one get a job as a LibraryThing moderator for Harlequin? I'm jealous! :)
DRM-locked books send a chill down my spine.
The idea that a book that I've been given will "cease to exist" past a particular deadline is noxious.
I fear that we will be well into a New Dark Age before the Intellectual Property wars are over.
#60 " you don't own the ebook "
Is this how ER is supposed to function?!
#62 - well it's how an e-library book works, and on that basis quite reasonable. Other publisher models (in general not relating to ER) include "renting" a book for $1 for 2 weeks or so rather than buying the book outright. I'm not adverse to the idea but it needs to be thought through very carefully.
#60 " you don't own the ebook " !!!!!!! Is this how ER is supposed to function?!
Everyone has a choice to request or not request a particular book. Some members must not mind the limitation, because they're requesting the unownable ebooks. The two books offered by PublishingWorks, Inc. can't even be read offline, and they have members requesting.
So, for right now, we're going to allow unownable ebooks. It's still early in the egalley game, and I'm willing to give it some time to see how things shake out.
#60 " you don't own the ebook " !!!!!!! Is this how ER is supposed to function?!
It sounds reasonable to me, if only because that's kind of like how a library functions? Though I guess there's a difference in that with a library book, you can make photocopies but you probably won't be able to print or copy the unownable ebook.
#63. >>> Other publisher models include "renting" a book for $1 for 2 weeks or so rather than buying the book outright.
If such books were included in ER or MG, this would need to be stated in the offerings so that those like me, who object to the "not free" books won't accidentally request them and therefore be obligated to follow-through with the rental and review.
I agree with #62 and won't be requesting the unownable books. It's bad enough that I don't have (can't afford) an e-reader so I'm locked to reading the e-galleys on my desktop PC or laptop... but the DRM allowing the books to expire... no, I won't be requesting books like that, and will be requesting few enough e-books because of the extant limitations. Being unable to print and take a copy of the book with me as I travel around town limits the time I have available to read e-galleys enough.
To HQN and other publishers and the authors out there who may be reading this:
Yes, I get that you wish to cut costs and that you don't like the possibility that some unscrupulous people could be profiting from selling e-book copies of the books you give out for review... so, despite the fact that I dislike DRM limitations in general, I'm somewhat okay with DRM that limits the transfer and printability of the files, but I can't ever be okay with expiring e-books.
#66- Sorry I wasn't clear. That's nothing to do with ER or MG. It's a general discussion point relating to time-limited ebooks as per #62. I've not even seen it in existance, but it's been discussed in some ebook forums.
I'll edit #60 to be clearer.
Ah well, I'm against time-limited e-books entirely, whether paid for or not. Paying for a time-limited book is even more senseless...
As Jayne (HarlequinBooks) told you, my name is Penni and I will be the moderator for Harlequin here at LT. I'm just getting my feel for this site (and what a site!), so please bear with me as I learn your culture and ways.
I think I've put this info in my bio here, but to give it to you without clicking around, I'll tell you now that, as you can imagine, I am a booklover. I read a lot of romance, but also love fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, YA (those last 4 with or without romantic elements). Mostly I read genre fiction, but now and then I do pick up non-fiction. You can tell how much stress I have in my life at any given time by what the mix of my reading is. The higher my stress levels, the more (often at 100%) romance you'll find me reading. Fortunately for me, life has been good lately and I've been reading a fairly even mix across my preferred genres.
I do ask (as I see this conversation has some strong opinions) that you know (now that I'm telling you ;) ) and keep in mind that Harlequin is in Toronto and I am in Texas (USA). So not only won't I have answers ready at my fingertips, I can't even wander down the hall to ask someone. But I will do my best to get you an answer.
#61 - how do you get a job a a LibraryThing Moderator for Harlequin? you get darned lucky! (Actually, first I moderated over at eHarlequin.com in their community - I still do that, taking care of the threads that discuss eBooks and audiobooks.)
I look forward to getting to know you all. I will be sure to pass the DRM comments on to Toronto. For those of you who are not into eBooks, I understand. If I "get" this discussion, though, it's important to let you all know what constraints are on the ER books from Harlequin so that you can make an informed choice before you accept a book, yes? And now the wording from Harlequin on our ERs does that, right?
I think there are 4 main issues here.
ebooks themselves (which is less of an issue, since it's stated on the request blurb)
*Netgalley registration (fixed by stating this on the request blurb)
What about turning off the 60-day expiration? The Netgalley person above said that's an option, not a requirement.
>70 I got the impression that turning off the 60-day expiration required turning off the DRM altogether. Which would certainly make all the readers happy, but I somehow don't think it's likely to happen.
-69,70 I think that publishers are welcome to add any limitations they like to ER review copies as long as the limitations are clearly apparent prior to requesting the book, and I think the new wording from Harlequin does that quite well. I don't particularly care for DRM or access expiration dates, but at least each potential requester will have a choice.
71: "Publishers are able to offer both DRM’d and DRM-free galleys via NetGalley. If they offer DRM’d galleys, then they can select an expiration time (most choose 60 days)."
Hopefully can means an option.
DRM-locked epub file or pdf file (60 day expiration, renewable — you don't own the ebook)
This is among the many reasons I don't even bother to request e-books on ER. It's also why I probably will never buy an e-reader.
I don't read romances and have no interest in eBooks (particularly DRM'd ones) but have been following this thread and am impressed by the responsiveness of Harlequin and NetGalley to the LT community's concerns. Thank you for chiming in (and keeping your cool).
As long as it is clearly stated upfront - as it appears it will be for all LT ER giveaways going forward - so that people know what they are getting (or not getting) I don't see any issue with the offering of DRM'd time-limited eBooks (the ability to renew is a bonus - don't know that I would automatically assume that it was indefinately renewable...but I'm kinda cynical that way...) as long as the offering meets all of the other ER requirements on the publisher side.
PS. LT staff: Being able to filter LT offerings by format (and other stuff - like genre) would be an additional (but OT) pony.
I find the nice thing about ER is getting to read a book before the general public and then being given a chance to review it early on before there is a widespread opinion. Owning the book forever isn't an important factor to me. In fact I mooched out my last copy as soon as I read it.
As in everything in life, it is all about expectations. It appears you are setting them appropriately for the future and those interested will still take advantage of your offers. With ebooks still being new, but being an affordable way for more users to be given the opportunity to read the galleys, I wonder if there is a way to make the opportunity more attractive to LT ER.
Sonya/Tim: with the new 2 book opportunity and the newness of the ebook community, has any consideration been given to separating out those two lists. I wonder if there would be more interest in ebooks if reviewers didn't feel that it took away their chance of getting a physical book. I imagine that if we could have two separate selection processes, there might be more interest. One list for physical books - everyone only able to win one copy and a separate list for ebooks - which you could win without it being taken into account if you had won a phycsical book that month.
As it stands now, I will use ER to select physical books and netgalley directly to select ebooks. I was very impressed with their site and the response time. As an e-reader owner, it is a wonderful opportunity for me.
Hi Penni! Hi again, Jayne! Hi again, Everyone!
I've been out of town and off the grid for this, but I see that you have accomplished a lot!
Comments regarding the wording?
I use the term "Digital Loan" to go with DRM-Time-Locked books. Loan because that's what my library does--loan books--and because that's also the terminology Nook's use when you can "Lend" a digital book to someone for a period of time. I think that may be helpful to incorporate somewhere.
Also, when referring to NetGalley, I don't know that "sign up" covers how much info is requested. I really prefer the term "register" since it is a registration process that you have to complete, not just an email list to get on by signing up with your name & address. I would prefer something to the effect of:
"Ebook provided through NetGalley, a third-party Internet site requiring separate registration from LibraryThing Early Reviewers."
Otherwise, I am very pleased with the responsiveness of Harliquin and the LT Staff regarding this issue. Thank you.
ark76 (@78) - RE: Your paragraph 3. This was discussed quite a bit in the ER thread 'New LTER preference: Occasionally receive 2 books in 1 batch' (and IIRC - already shot down).
Hi, everyone, esp Portia, Infinite & Viv! :)
Viv, I will make sure that your comments (in 79) get passed on to Harlequin.
Portia, well, Harlequin publishes more than romance, so hopefully you're picking up some of our books. But there are so many good books out there from all the publishers that even speed readers who don't have to work won't have time to read them all! It's that "so many books so little time" conundrum.
I'm so happy to know about NetGalley! As soon as I read lindseyrudnickas's post, I hurried to the site to investigate.
I signed up and used the browse function to look at B is for Bufflehead by Steve Hutchcraft. (It was marvelous, and I'm planning to order it at the beginning of our next budget cycle).
This is going to be a terrific way for me to choose books for my school library! I'm so tired of being unpleasantly surprised by grainy photos and atrocious grammar/spelling in titles I order sight unseen from our jobber.
So your LTER surprise led to a positive experience for me, Viv! Thanks for posting.
with the new 2 book opportunity and the newness of the ebook community, has any consideration been given to separating out those two lists
Some of the reasons for why we're not splitting up ebooks and paper books are:
*it would take development time to split out the ebooks, and we have other projects we'd like to work on first (stats for publishers is #1)
*It makes the program more complicated, like picking winners, letting you know which/how many books you won and keeping track of which books go with which program. I get a lot of emails and profile comments from members who won Member Giveaway titles, and message me to tell me they haven't received it yet, and it's not showing on their Books You've Won page :)
>79 Thanks for the nomenclature suggestions. I'm going to fine-tune the wording for the May batch, and may use them.
Although not true for ER books where you request a specific title, many times the organization distributing review copies gives you little choice. When I reviewed for LJ I was allowed to pick a general category, but it didn't always work out. I was signed up for UFO books and they'd send me books on animal rights, always with a short deadline of a few days. So I developed the attitude that the finished book was payment for my services rendered. Except in the case of a negative review I'm doing the publisher a favor because librarians order directly from the LJ reviews. It's a bit risky for publishers, but if a book gets a 'highly recommended' rating, that means 16,000 hardbacks sold just like that.
LJ's reputation is far higher than, say, Publisher's Weekly, in terms of quality book reviews; and it's place in the bookselling world is different than LT, I realize, but I'm still dumbfounded by HQ's attitude here. It's not like they are Amanda Quick. We're talking the romantic equivalent of the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, Jr., and his ultrasonic cycloplane, churn 'em out fast food for the grocery store check out line.
I guess if people actually want to review disappearing books that's OK if they know clearly up front, but it's a slap in the face to any reviewer.
I'm still dumbfounded by HQ's attitude here. It's not like they are Amanda Quick. We're talking the romantic equivalent of the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, Jr., and his ultrasonic cycloplane, churn 'em out fast food for the grocery store check out line.
Not being a romance reader myself, I've been trying to find a way of putting this that doesn't come across as being dismissive of the genre or of Harlequin, but I do wonder if something like this may be a factor. If you're a publisher who has the expectation that your readers read your books fairly quickly and don't reread them, the idea that reviewers may find retaining a permanent copy to be important might not be as obvious as it would be for other publishers.
Actually JAK aka Amanda Quick wrote a number of Silhouettes (now owned by Harlequin) as Stephanie James. Also many people collect those romances and Harlequin often reprints titles that are particularly sought after.
85 & 86>
Regarding the "Amanda Quick"/fast-food/non-rereadability comments -
It seems there's a bit of misapprehension. Yes, HQN is an imprint of Harlequin. HQN, however publishes 'single-title' (full-length) romance novels, not the category line romances. While I own a number of the 'category' novels that I re-read, I can see where you might feel they're more once-over sorts of books (though I certainly disagree).
But HQN titles are competing directly with other single-title romances (including Amanda Quick) and I would assume are likely to be re-read just as often if the right reader meets the right author.
Also - lorax, I'm not entirely sure why you think people don't re-read romances? (Not trying to be snippy, just trying to be clear). It may be the same point above regarding categories (replaced quickly by similar titles), but most romance readers I know have a shelf full of romances that they love and regularly re-read because they really speak to the reader.
Yes, it was the "category" romances I was thinking of -- I had thought that was all that Harlequin published. Apologies for my ignorance.
I sure wish I had read this thread before downloading The Hypnotist by MJ Rose. I had no ideal it was only a 60 day loan. I didnt like having to download the Adobe Digital to be able to read it. I still can't figure out how to load it on my Nook. Proably shouldn't since its only 60 days. =(
#91 - I think if you connect the nook to your computer, open ADE, you'll then be able to drag and drop the file, from within ADE to the Nook. (it should appear as an icon on the left).
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