Frankly, it's an increasing challenge to get attention for novels, particularly first novels.
We want everyone to know about these books.
Boy, do they EVER.
Wonderland received an email today informing us that The Powers That Be at Front Street Books & Boyd Mills Press have encouraged the executive director of the Highlights Foundation, which is their umbrella company, I guess we'll call it, to take a gamble on eBooks. Between now and April Fools' Day (that's April 1, if no one's pranked you lately) if you visit them online, and put in a unique I.D. code for each book, their site will allow you one downloaded copy in whatever format you need. (They believe they can work with any eReader device, and Steven Roxburgh is available to answer any questions.)
This is called Stepping UP.
I've wondered, to myself, how long publishing companies could afford to send out ARC's to bloggers and other reviewers. I knew that smaller, indie publishing companies don't always have the budget for the all-out 24-7 onslaught many houses use to trumpet the news of a new novel. And the YA market is ...tight. There's tons of new stuff out every week, and not all of the good rises to the top where it can get noticed.
Enter Front Street/Boyds Mills Press - offering free ebooks.
A business using the word "free?" Stepping out of the mold of "this is how we've always done it?" That takes guts, people. Necessary, crucial-to-survive-in-the-new-game guts.
These are the books available -- all this year's first run books: ACCORDING TO KIT by Eugenie Doyle (2ce4), CITY OF CANNIBALS by Ricki Thompson (d35f), THE DOG IN THE WOOD by Monika Schröder (3bd5), and WARRIORS IN THE CROSSFIRE by Nancy Bo Flood (2ac4)
This is how you get your free electronic copies:
...go to www.namelos.com and locate the book by title or author by browsing or use the "search" option. When you get to the book page, enter the unique code provided for each book (shown in parentheses above) in the box in the lower-left corner of the page (under the list of prices) and click "submit." You will be asked to provide your name and e-mail address and to select the file format you want. You will receive an e-mail with a link that will download the file you selected to your hard drive, from where you can transfer it to your preferred reading device.
Those who read ebooks probably have more questions -- queries about digital rights management, how and if the author really benefits from this, why anyone thinks this is a good idea -- but I'm intrigued, and interested to see how all of this goes. Is there really a YA audience for this, or will the ebooks only be for reviewers? Would that be a good enough move to level the playing field? Time will tell...