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Samhain Closing

26 February 2016

From Erotic Romance Publishers:

Email to authors posted, for now, without any comment from me. Names and emails redacted and email shortened.

Dear Friends,
It’s with the heaviest of hearts and a great sadness I bring you the news of Samhain beginning the process of winding down due to our market share’s continuing decline. We’re approaching the point where we cannot sustain our business.

We prefer to go out gracefully and not get to the point where our overhead compromises our ability to pay the authors’ royalties. That’s would just be wrong. We want to stay on the high road and keep your respect. This company was started with the purpose of providing a safe and friendly house for authors to publish and begin or expand their career. If we have to end, then we shall do so in the same manner.

This has not been a decision made lightly. The recent sales numbers are not providing any hope for recovery and none of our efforts have been successful. For the last two years we have tried many and varied types of campaigns to promote your titles and have had no success in reaching the new customers we need to thrive. Each month that goes by our sales continue to shrink and it would be disingenuous to keep contracting new titles.

We’ve tried to renegotiate terms with Amazon in order to buy better placement within their site and perhaps regain some of the lost traction from the early days but have been met with silence. Other retail sites are trying, but the sales have never risen to the level of Amazon and are declining as well.

As it took time to grow to the size we became, it will take some time to shrink down and end our run properly. This means that we are NOT turning off all of the books and just closing down. It doesn’t work that way. We are going to continue on with selling our titles and launching the titles that are ready to go, but we are laying off about half the staff, and releasing all freelance people.

Many of you are going to ask for your rights back, I expect. Please be patient and understand it will take time to process those titles where rights are available to be returned. If your title/s haven’t yet reached the point to have your rights returned, we won’t be making any mass releases at this point. We need the income to continue while we wind down and ask that you understand that we will release the books when we can and we won’t be abusing your trust. I won’t drag this out any longer than I have to, but it isn’t going to be something that will be wrapped up in the next six months. Samhain has commitments to vendors other than writers and to turn it all off now would put me in bankruptcy. I hope you don’t want that any more than I.

. . . .

Saying goodbye is always hard. I will miss working with all of you. Samhain has been my greatest adventure and I’m bereft at having to give it up. Please accept my thanks for all the trust you’ve invested in Samhain and I hope you understand that this choice to begin the wind-down to close is made to honor that trust.

Link to the rest at Erotic Romance Publishers and thanks to Angie for the tip.


64 Comments to “Samhain Closing”

  1. One does hope they will be ‘returning’ the rights to the writers and not just ‘selling’ them off in the end …

  2. So sad to hear this. I love Samhain’s MM line.

  3. I think most romance writers make far more money on their own. That is why we are seeing these romance publishers closing. I do hope they get their rights returned but you never know.

  4. You sound like an honorable company and I am so sad that things have turned out as they have. Take care of your writers as best you can.

  5. So much classier than EC.

  6. “we have tried many and varied types of campaigns to promote your titles and have had no success in reaching the new customers we need to thrive.”

    This is one reason why I just write and publish. I don’t do marketing, it’s a frustrating waste of time.

    • I’m with you. I tried all the things, and none of them worked remotely well for the time and effort put into them.

      My readers have mentioned the fact they don’t have to wait long for a new title from me more than once in their reviews. That’s my best marketing move, right there: writing and releasing new stories.

      • Yes, releasing new books regularly and often is the best way. I took a two year break from regularly publishing anew and my sales slumped, now that I’m getting back up to a book every two months, sales are picking back up. And this costs me NOTHING.

        • A book every 2 months?!

          You’re my new heroine.

          I’ve been lucky to get 2 per year out the past two years. My goal’s 4 this year, and I’m 1 down so far.

        • Yeah, this. I see more sales with a new release than I do with any other strategy I’ve tried. It would probably be more effective if I was capable of writing shorter stories and releasing more often, but it seems I’m not.

    • Marketing some helps, but you can’t spend all your time (and money) marketing. You need to write, too.

      Advertising is giving less returns- because there are so many freebies out there. Yet promoters are charging more.

  7. Just a .02

    ought return ALL rights to authors. Now. Pay all authors up to date. Now.

    Then go bankrupt. Instead of holding author assets against their severely dwindling income and increasing debt. Want to do authors a long term favor? Free them. Utterly

    • Sorry, that’s just not how it works. These authors have contracts, and Samhain is still selling their books and honoring those contracts. Everybody is getting paid per the agreements they signed on with. So no, they don’t have to “release them”. Only authors whose terms are coming up. Authors who are still locked into their contracts will be in until Samhain winds down. This is the sane way to do this. Samhain doesn’t have to go bankrupt and you are ridiculous to expect them to.

      Samhain is being classy by letting authors know what is going on and that the company is winding down… i.e. they won’t be accepting any new submissions, they won’t be renewing any contract terms, etc. MOST publishers would just go until they hit the wall and then everybody would be screwed and contracts that were still going would be sold off in bankruptcy to another publisher.

      THAT would be the awful/dishonorable thing to do. Instead, Samhain is doing something fiscally SMART and ethical. This way nobody’s contracts gets sold off in a bankruptcy. this way they can slowly wind everything down and have the money coming in to do that effectively. This way they can slowly revert rights back (most likely based on whose contracts are up soonest and then going down the list from there.)

      This way nothing goes up in freaking flames. Again, you are ridiculous and don’t understand how business works.

      • well thank you for your thoughts Susan M and that I am “ridiculous”. Trust, I’ve been called far worse for imagining out loud, far less.

        However, I didnt say S “had to” do anything as you wrote, including “had to” go bankrupt as you wrote. And I didnt say that anyone’s contracts ought get “sold off in a bankruptcy” as you wrote.

        As for your assertion that I “dont understand how business works,” as you put it, and your iteration of my being now 2x ridiculous, I have to say, I’d put my business creds up against most anyone any day. Ridiculously, of course. lol

        I can see that you have a iron in the fire called Samain, but in actuality, this is a discussion, at least I thought so. Youve turned it into an ad hominem against someone who is actually supportive of authors for over 45 years– for them being free. Had JBezos and other ‘biz as usual disrupters,’ been told “Sorry, that’s just not how it works” as you opined, there would not be a new business model that soars in favor of authors going indie. If my time in law school serves me right, any contract or agreement can be changed when both parties agree. New business models renegotiate/amend contractuals. There is no contract in that sense that is scratched irrevocably onto Moses tablets.
        lol . And there are many many business models that ARE honorable to change direction, even in midstream. Far more than just the one you hold to. Pax.

        • Me thinks it’s your writing and reading comprehension that lacks. Your original post made it clear that you strongly supported Samhain’s bankruptcy in favor of reverting author rights NOW. So yes, that did make you look like your business acumen was ridiculous. It also made you look completely heartless.

          • Your “interpretation” “Donya” of what I wrote is baffling. I was imagining out loud. As mentioned, that is allowed here. I see you too have an iron in Samhain’s fire. And seem to be able to read minds. There is a lot of money in that I hear, lol.

            ‘Heartless’ and ‘Ridiculous.’ If you say so. lol

            • Honey, you are the only one here who is baffled. The fact is that you come off super aggressive and unintelligent on the subject of how business works. If you want to come off more intelligent and less aggressive then you can temper your tone a little. Freaking out when we call you on this is your problem not ours.

              Also, why are you putting Donya’s name in scare quotes? I feel like you’re trolling us because you’re bored.

        • Take a breath sweetie.

          I have no iron in Samhain’s fire. For someone who is as pedantic as you’ve proven to be you surely do continue to go on to assume a lot. (Your original post sounded like you were issuing edicts from on high. Then when I called you on it you decided to act “offended” and claim you never said they “had to”. Well, it sounded like an “order” to me. Were those not direct statements of what you thought they should do? Let’s not be dishonest now.)

          My statements were based entirely on your “orders”, and then you think I’m involved with Samhain. Dude, whatever. I’ve been indie from day 1. I have never worked in any capacity with Samhain, but continue… you are 0 for 2 now. Want to try for 3?

        • well let’s see, for starters, I dont know what a ‘scare quotes’ is, as you wrote. Im bewildered again. I think most in my gen would be. Maybe it’s a clash of cultures.

          But let’s see:
          You say I am
          pedantic [in your judgement
          issuing edicts from on high [in your judgement
          0 for 2 [in your judgement
          super aggressive [in your judgement
          unintelligent [in your judgement
          freaking out [in your judgement
          trolling [in your judgement
          comprehension lacking [in your judgement
          writing lacking [in your judgement
          ‘ridiculous’ [in your judgement
          once again ‘ridiculous’ [in your judgement
          ‘dont know how business works’ [in your judgement
          ‘the only one who is baffled’ [in your judgement
          Ridiculous again [in your judgement
          ‘acting offended’ [in your judgement
          ‘bored’ [in your judgement
          ‘proven’ to be pedantic [in your judgement
          have a ‘tone’ [in your judgement
          that I should take a breath [in your judgement
          that I ‘go on’ {in your judgement

          And I thought when you called me “Honey” and “sweetie”,
          you were being kindly. Wrong guess on ‘tone’ sounds like, given the list.

    • My understanding from some of the back chatter about the EC debacle is that if a publisher just reverts everything prior to/as part of bankruptcy that the courts can claw the rights back. Similarly rights reversion upon bankruptcy clauses are basically useless.

      • This is how I understood it. These contracts are considered assets and giving them away before a bankruptcy filing can be seen as an attempt to defraud creditors.

    • Yeah, I don’t really agree. Seems to me the right thing to do is to stick to the terms of the contracts for as long as the company is solvent and fulfilling their obligations according to those contracts. That’s what contracts are all about.

      And honestly, in a bankruptcy, preferential treatment to authors will just end up making a mess of things. It’s my understanding that the court can go back well before the bankruptcy filing date to look for that kind of thing and ask people to repay any money received and take back any assets that have changed hands. That kind of thing would mean a lot more trouble in the long-run for everyone involved.

      • All the more reason to have in the contract that it is non-transferable, so as not to end up with a new master holding your leash …

      • I’m NOT a lawyer but I HAVE run a public company bankruptcy as a senior creditor (very long story).

        Yes, the creditors’ committee (that’s who runs a bankruptcy until it’s settled) can seize back monies disbursed within a short period before the bankruptcy declaration. As I recall, that’s on the order of 90 days. I know that we fought to allow reimbursement of employee travel expenses out of basic fairness, something we could legally have walked away from.

        Remember, the responsibility of administrators in a bankruptcy (and in ordinary business, too) is to the the primary creditors of the company, including preferred stockholders, and then the regular stockholders, NOT to the employees or the customers. And so it should be, in a capitalist business society, else no one would invest.

        In the Samhain case, short of bankruptcy, it is in management’s control, and the stockholders’ (which are often the same in a small business) to decide how to unwind. As long as they adhere to the terms of their contracts, I should think they can do what they want, and their judgment of what constitutes “fair” for discretionary matters, like returning rights early despite what the contracts say, is what will (and should) rule.

      • Samhain hasn’t had a single mention that they were going bankrupt. They are doing the honorable thing and publishing out their contracts and considering closing doors when all of their debts are settled. At that point they would revert rights if they were no longer publishing the books. There’s no need to get all riled up right now. It’s too bad other companies don’t follow in their shoes and instead choose to declare bankruptcy and eventually end up paying 10 cents on the dollar to vendors that were owed big amounts of money.

    • Returning all rights to authors and then declaring bankruptcy would leave those rights in court for years and years as creditors sought to claw them back. The authors might never get them back.

    • USAF, I wonder if you are thinking something similar to what I am thinking: it is easy to write a polite letter of explanation outlining one’s good intentions. It is much harder to perform those promises, enough so that a realistic person can’t help wondering if the letter writer truly does intend to put action behind the words.

      I have no way of knowing, of course. I have no insider knowledge here. But my own observations have shown me that the big creditors get money, and everyone else does not, no matter what is said in a letter.

      I hope that my skepticism is wrong in this case, and that Samhain is able to treat both authors and employees well.

      • And I suppose slightly accusatory tone of the letter doesn’t help, with its somewhat under handed jab at Amazon.
        I have always been told that if you can’t Stand the heat, you should get out of the kitchen, And it seems as if this company is doing exactly that.

      • I agree J.M. Ney-Grimm. [You still have such a cool name].

        As I understand it, bankruptcy was meant to protect, not deflect responsibility. It often helps to give time to make arrangements with creditors while one tries to get back on one’s feet financially, paying down debt, trying new income streams, possibly finding a buyer, and etc. As in what is called a reorganization bankruptcy.

        Because many small businesses have mortgaged the farm in all good will, to try to make their business launch and grow, sometimes taking loans from family or putting up other personal assets as collateral– bankruptcy can shelter some of that.

        Danger is if a creditor, say a bank or distributor or other who holds significant loan or has not been paid, and the payments age and age and are not paid– one can demand in court whatever is in arrears, and that could throw a person/business into any number of legal judgements that a court may order; and the business owner loses the reins then …

        My brush with law school doesnt remotely qualify me to speak about bankruptcy law the way a practicing lawyer like PG likely can, but like you, following many bankruptcies of businesses and individuals in the news and in legal doc research over the years, even though a last resort, it is an option to protect and to pay off debt insofar as one can. There is a part of the law that speaks too JM to your concern about a big creditor getting all the percentage on the dollar, but as I recall from reading through the law to write one of my works, there are actually three options for all creditors/owed to be paid by varying formulas… but not sure how that plays out.

        • [You still have such a cool name].

          😀 Thanks, USAF!

          Ney from Ny which means ‘new’ in Swedish. My forebear was forced to change his last name when he served in the Swedish army in the late 1800s, because there were too many Paersons!

          My husband’s last name was Grimm, and we both became Ney-Grimm when we married.

          How lucky that I write fantasy! Fun to be the new Grimm á la Brothers Grimm. 😉

    • From what I gather they are not going bankrupt. They are winding things down slowly NOW so they don’t go bankrupt, and can continue to pay royalties as they wind down.

  8. I hate seeing any publishing company die out, particularly when a lot of people depend on them. We’ve been building our own company for about 6 years now… steady growth, but a very different business model. Hope this works out for everyone concerned, and that the authors will get a shot at getting their rights back if they want them. That was the worst part of the failure of the last round of the old NY publishers… that they held rights for unreasonable amounts of time – and in a lot of cases sold them to places like Amazon without really even consulting the authors.

  9. ‘We’ve tried to renegotiate terms with Amazon in order to buy better placement within their site.’

    Is better placement something anyone can buy? This is the very first time I’ve seen this phrasing.

    • If it was possible you know the qig5 would have paid it long ago — and paid even more to have everyone else locked out!

      Amazon doesn’t like having their system ‘gamed’, and any hint of ‘paid gaming’ would hurt Amazon far more than it would make them, so I see the statement more as trying to shift blame than anything else.

      Not that Amazon hasn’t hurt them, with the easy access for indie and self publishers, Amazon has removed Samhain and publishers like them from the loop of getting a writer’s story in front of their readers …

    • Yes, publishers can buy better placement through contract negotiations and terms. Any previously Amazon bestselling author can tell you that after Amazon’s legal battle ended with publishers last year, their Amazon placement tanked. Whereas they could once rely on landing a new release in the Top 10 of their genre or even overall, they’re now lucky to get inside the Top 100 with better sales numbers. You see more trad published authors in those spots now. And it’s because of “buying” better placement through contract negotiations.

    • My understanding is you can’t pay to change your top 100, etc. level but you can be shown in ads, emails, etc. if you want to pay for it.

      Nate Hoffelder has this from last year, not sure if there’s better explanations than his links to others in this:

  10. There is never any good way to lose your job, even if you own the business that represents your income. If it must be done, at least you are explaining your choices to the people affected, on a public forum no less. As a business owner, I understand the 24/7 work ethic you must have, and think you’re doing a perfect balance of client care vs. CYA.

  11. I’m getting two entirely different answers here:

    Allen F – ‘any hint of ‘paid gaming’ would hurt Amazon far more than it would make them’

    Donya Lynne – ‘Yes, publishers can buy better placement through contract negotiations and terms.’

    Amazon’s algorithms are proprietary, and closely guarded, but the first is the ‘level playing field’ and the other is ‘business as usual,’ and I thought better of Amazon. I know I have to earn placement on lists, but I prefer a system that isn’t rigged.

    I have never believed ‘bestsellers’ that have hundreds or thousands of reviews on launch day. Or, after reading a lot, the NYT lists.

    Anyone have actual data?

    • If you study the Kindle Top 100 bestseller lists (and I do in my genre), you’ll notice that the only books you see there anymore are:

      1) Amazon-published titles (Montlake, Thomas & Mercer, etc.)
      2) Kindle Unlimited titles
      3) Trad-pub books with big marketing budgets

      Except for 99c BookBub titles, it’s getting more and more unusual to see a non-exclusive indie book on the Kindle bestseller lists. It’s like spotting a rare and endangered species of bird.

      I know we indies like to believe that Amazon is “a level playing field,” and it used to be, but that’s clearly no longer the case. Their own bestseller lists tell the story. A-pub and KU titles are given advantages that allow them to dominate the algorithms and the store. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. Amazon is a business and it’s their business to choose which books/products they want to promote to their customers.

      But I don’t think it’s realistic to continue believing that Amazon is “a level playing field” for authors. For indies who chose to stay independent (i.e. not go exclusive) it’s now an uphill battle to get visibility and sales at Amazon.

      • Self-published romance authors have been KILLING it in the Amazon overall Top 100 recently with no publisher support. Check out Lauren Blakely’s Big Rock, Vi Keeland’s The Baller and Penelope Ward’s Roomhate as very recent examples of books that hit the overall top 20 and stayed there, sometimes for weeks. It’s not just Amazon and KU books.

        • Sorry, I shouldn’t have used the word “only.” Maybe “vast majority” would be more accurate. Yes, established indie stars who already have large followings can still hit the Kindle top 100. But they’re no longer dominating the list the way they did in the pre-KU era. The majority of the spots now go to A-pub and KU authors, because Amazon gives those books specific advantages (see my other comment below).

          My point is simply that Amazon is no longer “a level playing field.” It was before KU, but newer authors now face a much tougher climb to get onto those lists if they choose not to go exclusive.

    • Barbara Morgenroth

      I know of a thriller author who has a huge mailing list on which he works diligently to grow. I believe he sends out about 600 ARCs to his reading group. Because they are superfans, they leave reviews.

      That’s how a “bestseller” can legitimately have hundreds of reviews almost instantly.

    • A lot of people misunderstand the NYT lists. They are how FAST a book sells, ie…..a lot of sales in its first week of release NOT how many copies sold overall.

  12. No matter who your publisher is, getting an email like this has to be terrifying. Eek.

  13. I wonder two things:

    1) Like EC, Samhain is putting some of the responsibility on Amazon. Now, I wouldn’t believe EC’s principal if she claimed the sun rises in the east. But she blamed the tanking of EC’s sales on ‘Zon, and now we see Samhain saying the same. I wonder if two witnesses with similar observations is enough to give credibility?

    2) My three self-pubbed titles are on KU and I’ve never seen ‘Zon boost them in rankings or visibility at any time. Not even when newly released. So is it just selected KU titles in certain genres that are getting this boost to which EC and Samhain allude?

    No, three things. I fib sometimes.

    3) I wonder what Samhain is going to do about those recently acquired projects that are still in the edit/production phase and not yet for sale? I hope they will do the decent thing and revert those rights immediately.

    • Your ‘1’ is because of your ‘2’ …

      Though Amazon you are releasing your stories as quickly as you think they’re ready. No extra year or two getting them ‘ready’, no dribbling them out in a careful and semi-timely manner. Oh, and what you are self-publishing Samhain isn’t getting their cut of the profits.

      It’s not Amazon, but YOU and people like you that are killing Samhain and the other publishers by using Amazon without going through them for the nurturing!

      (No, this was not an attack on you or anyone else, just another angle of looking at things. 😉 )

      • That’s right.

        But Samhain books did suddenly become ranked awfully low on Amazon, a HUGE change from 2012. I heard rumours Samhain hadn’t been willing to pay some fee or other to Amazon for visibility, but I don’t know if those rumours were at all legitimate. But what she was saying in the email was that she was trying to renegotiate, but Amazon never replied to emails, so maybe there is some truth to these rumours.

    • “My three self-pubbed titles are on KU and I’ve never seen ‘Zon boost them in rankings or visibility at any time.”

      Pull them out of KU and watch what happens to your sales rankings. Just by being in KU, you get an automatic visibility boost in 2 important ways:

      1) Every free KU borrow counts as a sale for the purpose of calculating sales ranking — which determines position on the Kindle bestseller lists and in search results. At the top of the Kindle chart this weekend, you’ll also notice “Kindle First” books, which are A-pub titles that Amazon gives away for free to Prime members, while counting those free downloads as paid sales. This is why KU and A-pub books now dominate the store.

      2) KU books can get marketing support such as the “Amazon Delivers Romance” and “Kindle Exclusive Books for $2 or Less” emails that go out every week. Every book featured in those emails is now an A-pub or KU title. Independent indie books (i.e. non-exclusive) used to appear in those emails, but they don’t anymore and haven’t for some time.

      At the KDP workshop at the Novelists Inc. conference in October, the Amazon rep spent the entire session talking up KU. During the Q&A at the end, one unhappy author stood up and said, “You’ve spent this whole workshop talking about KU. I’m not in KU and don’t want to be in KU. What marketing support does Amazon offer to KDP authors who aren’t in KU?”

      He had to think for a minute, then he said, “Well, we have the Follow button.” That’s it. The Follow button. Everything else is reserved for KU authors. Amazon is no longer “a level playing field,” and they’re quite honest about it.

    • #3, agreed fully Deb.

      On #1, like “EC” I wonder about the sinking ship aspect with captains complaining about the weather. Which is a factor in sailing. But it’s also nature’s constant disruption pattern –weather– which one knows when one sets out.

      I’m inclined to say the crew of a small ship trying to weather a huge sea change [we’ve all been tossed about in for some years now], often hope the ship will make it to shore with cargo intact… but the crew of an embattled ship dont leave it just to the captain to do the ropes and sails and bails.

      There are shipwrecks a plenty on the floors of rivers and lakes and oceans worldwide [google for ‘aerial/ shipwrecks’ to see]. And often crew went down with ship for not knowing when to gang free. Too many stories of ‘no lifeboats’ or not lifeboats enough for all.

      Same in publishing by my sights.

      Running a small pub company for decades now, and being part of the small publishers professional assoc groups for years and hearing the stories from the inside, I’d say that given our changing landscapes /weather that is completely out of our control in the sense of we can ask, attempt to negotiate etc, but small press power has always been an issue when up against the publishers who have money to burn, and huge advert budgets still. Which runs into your #2.

      Favorable status exists. But usually not for small publishers. But if it does, Id like to know the very effective step by step from A to Z spelled out.

  14. While I am sorry for the authors who will be effected by this closure, The writing has been on the wall for this company since November, when they fired Don Dauria from their horror line.
    The. Zfull story can be found here, http://www.briankeene.com/2015/11/05/the-samhain-blackout-what-was-said-and-why-its-important/

    • very interesting Anon

      there’s often distant thunder before the storm arrives. Wish everyone the best.

    • An interesting read, thank you.

      It does make one wonder how many of the sheep in Samhain’s pens watched their beloved sheepherder dragged away and left the still open pen, only to discover not only was the grass greener but they now had a say in how they were sheared …

      “Just smooth it out a bit and take a little off the top. And I get 70% of it back? Great!”

  15. Though there are, I am sure, many reasons for the decline in ebook sales I believe there is a big one which I’ve not really heard anyone address.

    When I first got my Kindle (and my Kindle app as well) I bought Kindle titles whenever I heard about one that sounded like something I didn’t want to miss reading. That happened a lot as I read in a lot of different romance sub-genres and quite a few non-fiction sub-genres as well.

    This was fine at first. With a hundred books…or even 200 books it wasn’t too difficult to sort through the books in the cloud or the books on my Kindle to find the one I wanted to read. However, as I continued to buy books and the number rose to 1000 and then 2000 and then 3000 it became increasingly harder to sort through the titles I owned to find the one I wanted to read.

    Though there have been some improvements in the Kindle app with the ability to apply categories this is far from easy to do if you need to do it with 3000 titles.

    Amazon also insists on showing you every book you’ve ever purchased…including those that you decided NOT to read…and those you’ve read and decided you won’t ever read again.

    The result is that my Kindle library is about as organized as if I dumped all of the physical books I’ve ever owned into a giant closet sized vat and then tried to find a specific book on a specific subject.

    People buy books on impulse because they hear about it or see it and don’t want to miss it. We’ve known that for a long time. However…if my Kindle is a bigger black hole than Amazon is, with fewer sorting methods there is no advantage to impulse buying. I’m just as well off to leave the book on the shelf at Amazon and wait until I’m ready to read it and then search for it using Amazon’s search tools.

    I think Kindle needs better organization tools. And I think the success of publishers, both big and small, is linked to this.

    I would like the ability to mark books read or unfinished.

    I’d like the ability to toggle off and on the books I’ve read so that I can either search through books I’ve read or exclude them.

    I’d like the ability to remove books I chose not to finish from my search on Kindle.

    I’d like the ability to EASILY categorize books in the cloud according to categories that work for me (similar to how Goodreads’ shelves work) and have the books sync in the same categories on the Kindle or the Kindle app.

    I know that I don’t buy anywhere near the number of Kindle books I once bought, simply because buying them doesn’t guarantee that I won’t forget about them. With 3000 books in my TBR pile it’s not any easier to sort than Amazon so there is no advantage to buying now rather than waiting to buy until I am ready to read.

    I’ve ALWAYS bought more books than I’ve read. I think this is probably true for many readers.

    I would really like to see authors, publishers, and readers band together to make Amazon see the benefits of improving the organizational aspects of the Kindle and the Kindle app.

    I believe if people could organize the books they already have they’d be much more inclined to buy new titles when they hear about them, which means that the promotions authors and publishers run work better and sales improve.


    • I delete books from my Kindle after I’ve read them. If I know I’m not going to re-read them, no sense them being on there.

      Amazon’s never reloaded them onto my Kindle during syncing after I’ve done that. They are still there in my cloud library, just in case I want to download them again.

  16. LOL, Allen. I love being thought of as a tiny part of Le Eevil. Most empowering.

    • Heh, it’s the other side of the coin that doesn’t get too much attention.

      Why is Amazon ‘winning’ in so many ways?

      Because all the little people that tried it liked it better than what they were dealing with before.

      That’s it, there’s nothing more to it.

      How will someone topple Amazon in any market?

      By doing it ‘better’.

      Like this game of voting for a pezz prez talking head, the little people vote on it. In Amazon’s case they’re voting with their credit cards …

  17. The one part of the Samhain situation that no one seems to be talking all that much about is that their submissions had to be WAY down in the indie era and many of their top-earning authors have left and taken their lucrative backlists with them to republish as indies. In addition to the obvious challenges Samhain had with Amazon, it’s hard for primarily digital romance presses to survive in the indie age when indie romance authors are doing so well. I’ve seen more calls for submissions from digital romance presses in the last year than I have in the previous ten years combined.

    • The clues are there, in the Author Earning reports and the little things like Samhain canning a favored editor, publishers aren’t always the best way to get published so they are being cut out of the loop. First a few tried it, and then more when the first reported how much better it was.

      Now there’s a groundswell with many writers trying their luck out of the control of any publisher. Some will sink, some will swim, and a very few will walk on water — but all of them are taking eyes off the publishers’ offerings — and taking away money the publishers’ won’t be getting any cut of.

      Not all will make it, but they each have a better chance at selling their work as a self-pub, than they do of fighting the battle of getting an agent and then a publisher after who knows how many reject slips.

      Samhain and the others have the choices of adapt or die, Samhain has made its choice …

  18. @ Allen F

    “Samhain has made its choice…”

    Yay! Big fat Golden Parachutes for all us Samhain C-Suiters! 🙂

    • Gold — or lead?

      And while the Mythbusters did make a lead balloon float, it was falling apart on them …

  19. Can’t say I’m surprised by this news. Maybe that it happened so soon, but not that it’s happening at all. When they got rid of their horror editor and there were rumblings of closing to submissions, the writing was on the wall. (Actually I never saw the point of them having a horror line at all, as a digital-first publisher.)

    Fact is, publishers need writers more than writers need publishers these days. If you’re expected to do the lion’s share of the promo yourself, AND give away 65% of the profits or thereabouts, why bother?

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