Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

December 18

Comments: 1

Amos Lassen Responds to Plagiarism Allegations, Sort Of.

by Ann-Katrina

After writing an expose-esque post on Amos Lassen, a former Amazon Top 50 reviewer who habitually plagiarised his reviews, Lassen offered a response, sort of. Continue reading »

1 Comment, add yours...

December 14

Comments: 32

Amos Lassen Falls From Grace, When Reviewers Attack

by Ann-Katrina

monkey-with-gun So often we hear of authors behaving badly. They’ll get a critical review and rampage throughout the comments section of the Amazon product page. (I’m looking at you Candace Sams.) But rarely do we hear of the reviewers behaving badly.

Recently, on the Amazon forums, I saw a thread titled “Plagiarism in a review?” This caught my attention because I, too, had been plagiarised by an Amazon reviewer. But before I could chip my two cents in, I was swept up on the roller coaster ride of reviewer infamy.

Back in November, reviewers discussed having been plagiarised by a certain individual, and two and two eventually added up to Amos Lassen, a well-known (former) Top 50 Amazon reviewer.

When the discussion started, it was merely a glowing ember, but now it’s a raging inferno. What was the fuel? A threatening email from Lassen in response to a request that he remove the infringing work from his review; shortly after, a Facebook fan page supporting Lassen went up with negative comments directed at those writing on the Amazon forum thread.

If you’re not inclined to read through all thirty-something pages of the thread, then I’d direct you to pages 22, 24, 26, 29, 30, and 32 where posters published side-by-side comparisons of Lassen’s reviews with their original sources. If even reading those pages seems like too much work, allow me to highlight a few transgressions. Continue reading »

32 Comments, add yours...

July 19

Comments: 4

Kindle Books Outselling Hardcovers

by Ann-Katrina

Kindle eReader from Amazon

Kindle books, according to Mashable, are outselling hardcovers. Over the last three months there was a 30% margin and in the last month there was a 44% margin. Granted, these numbers are skewed since Amazon doesn’t reveal all of its data (i.e. how many books were actually sold) nor does it compare to how many paperback books were sold.

The article, however, did get me thinking about why ebook sales might be on the rise. One thing that comes to mind is the intangible nature of the ebook. With a traditional hardcover, or even paperback, the customer will need to pick it up, hold it in her hands, sniff at it a little bit, figure out where she’s going to put it, and then flip it over to see the heart-stopping amount of money she’ll need to dish out for it.

On the flip side, ebooks are ephemeral. There’s no need to make room for it and it’s (usually) much cheaper than the hardcover equivalent. For the price of one hardcover, you can grab two ebooks (assuming that it’s not a bestseller or renowned author). Plus, it’s easy.

With the click of a couple buttons, sometimes only one, you have a new book waiting to be read. It’s so easy to be caught up in the whirlwind of buying that you don’t realize how many books you’ve just bought…and it all goes back to ebooks having an ephemeral quality. With physical books, you can look at the stacks and say to yourself, I think I’ve picked up too many books, but with ebooks, you don’t have that. Or am I wrong?

I’m curious, if you’re an ebook reader, why? Do you appreciate the books taking up less space? Do you appreciate the blazing speed at which you can have the book and start reading? Is it something else altogether?

4 Comments, add yours...

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.

4 Comments, add yours...

October 12

Comments: 17

Meet Belle Goose and Edwart Mullen in…Nightlight

by Ann-Katrina

I have nothing against Twilight (I admit, I did read the entire series and see its addictive qualities), but this made me laugh a little on the inside.

Nightlight Cover

According to the Vintage release, Nightlight follows a “pale and klutzy” girl named Belle Goose, who moves to Switchblade, Oregon, and meets Edwart Mullen, a “super-hot computer nerd with zero interest in girls.” The vampire-obsessed Belle becomes convinced Edwart is one of the undead after witnessing events she considers otherworldly (”Edwart leaves his Tater Tots™ untouched at lunch! Edwart saves her from a flying snowball!”). [EW]

Found via Jezebel: Sparkle-Vamp goes Geek in Twilight Spoof (hint: read the comments.)

17 Comments, add yours...


© Copyright 2005-2023 Today, I Read…. All Rights Reserved. (Please don't steal.)