Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

April 9

Comments: 4

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: Greed or Philanthropy?

by Ann-Katrina

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner In a few forums, people are griping about yet another non-Midnight Sun book being released in the Twilight Saga. (For the uninitiated, it’s called The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.)

Some are claiming that Stephenie Meyer (and her publisher) is merely out for more money, while her defenders are quick to point out that the book is being released for free on her website in tandem with the hardcover release and a dollar of the proceeds is being donated to the American Red Cross.

Well, I’m the voice in the middle. I believe the release of this book is geared by both financial gain and altruism. I see your eyebrows raising and mouths dropping. How is such a thing possible? Those two things are complete opposites, you say. Ah ha! But they are not. They are two sides of the same coin.

First, let’s look at the altruism:

“There was one thing I asked for: since this story had always been an extra for me, and was meant to be released with the Guide, I wanted to be able to offer it to my fans for free. […] starting at noon on June 7th until July 5th, it will also be available online at

One other aspect of this release is the plan to give a more important gift to people who really need it. One dollar of each book purchased in the US from the first printing will be donated to the American Red Cross for their relief efforts in Haiti and Chile and other parts of the world where people are in great need.” – Stephenie Meyer (*Seth really should discover the wonderment of permalinks.)

Now, let’s take a closer look:

“…starting at noon on June 7th until July 5th…”

The book will only be available for 28 days…online. I don’t know many people who will want to read a 200 page book on their computer screen—and on a deadline—or who would want to print a 200 page book from their inkjet printer.

Best case scenario for people who haven’t discovered FinePrint or iPrint, even if they opt for duplex printing, is 100 loose sheets of paper to wrangle. But hey, it’s still free…as in beer. Chances are, most people will opt to buy the hardcover simply so they’ll have something physical they can hold.

Plus, what happens when the deadline’s up and word of mouth has spread about how supremely awesome The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is? You guessed right, those people will likely purchase a copy. Or what if the book is so supremely awesome that the reader wants his own copy to love and cuddle with at night? Right again, that reader will purchase a copy.

But…but…the profit is going to a charity, so it’s all good right? Sort of.

“One dollar of each book purchased in the US from the first printing will be donated to the American Red Cross…”

Did you catch it? The embedded small print? OK, let’s have a look at it as taken from the Bree Tanner website:

“…donating to the American Red Cross International Response Fund $1 for every hardcover book sold from the first printing in the U.S. Donations will continue until all first printing copies have been sold or at the end of a two-year period from the initial publication date, whichever is the first to occur.”

After the first printing is done, or two years if the first printing isn’t sold off right away, no more donations. We have to look at this from two angles: 1) How many books will be printed in that first round? and 2) How much is the actual profit margin?

I’ve heard the number 1,000,000 thrown around and that’s no number to sneeze at; people in need can definitely use the help. However, what if the first printing is only 250,000 books? Or what if the profit margin per book sold is somewhere around $3? That means for ever $1 they donate, $2 goes into someone’s pocket.

(Please note that I yanked those numbers out of thin air. I do not know what the actual profit margin for this book will be, merely illustrating a point.)

Looked upon objectively, there is financial gain in being altruistic. I’m not upset about it in the least—a girl’s gotta eat. But it’s always important to look at the situation objectively before hopping on a particular (extremist) bandwagon. What this all comes down to is more clever marketing.

Now a few parting words as an aside: If you’re an author, publicist, or publisher, you should be taking notes. The genius behind the Twilight Saga’s marketing is staggering.

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October 30

Comments: 5

Reconnecting with Childhood

by Ann-Katrina

The Last Unicorn by the moon

Childhood, it’s a place we’ve all been at one time or another, where anything is possible and there’s usually that one (or possibly two or three) story that is its cornerstone.

Yesterday, I went on a mini-adventure as I was perusing the aisles of Amazon. I went through the usual adult fare, plucking out titles and covers I thought sounded or looked interesting. My shopping list grew, as usual. But before I clicked on the purchase button, I did something unexpected…I typed in the word unicorns. Continue reading »

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October 2

Comments: 81

Breaking Dawn Debacle, Twilight Movie Release Bumped Up, and Midnight Sun Chapters Leaked = Clever Marketing?

by Ann-Katrina

Twilight Movie

It’s safe to say that I’m not the world’s best Twilight saga fan because I didn’t even realize there was a scandal about leaked chapters of an upcoming book until recently. In fact, I didn’t even know there was going to be another book.

What I did know was there was a movie due out in December 2008. While waiting to see The Dark Knight, the trailer for Twilight came on and it looked interesting… Continue reading »

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October 1

Comments: 1

Blindness the Movie in Theatres Soon

by Ann-Katrina

A few weeks ago, I started seeing the preview for a movie due out in Oct. called Blindness. As soon as I saw it, instinct told me it was based on the awesome book of the same name penned by Jose Saramago despite the preview not mentioning it. Continue reading »

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