The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

Amazon, Kindle and iPhones! Oh, my!

I was scrolling through my New York Times yesterday morning when lo!  Amazon releasing a Kindle application for the iPhone?  With alacrity I set about downloading said app — a painfully slow process, what with the wonky Edge in the concrete bunker of an auditorium in which I was sitting.

On the subway ride home, I tested out my Phindle.  Although I found it amusing that I could simultaneously enjoy Kanye and Stephanie Meyer on the very same device (and by “simultaneously enjoy” I mean “be equally distracted by” since I can’t quite imagine how Bella swooning over Edward  makes us harder, better, faster, stronger), it’s no Kindle killer.  For the iPhone users among you, it’s adequate and convenient, but pages must be turned with a flick and you can’t view them horizontally.  Plus, the iPhone battery is, well, an iPhone battery.  Still, I’m guessing that somewhere at Apple heads are rolling.

As a human being, ebooks interest me because I live and die by my gadgets.  As a book publicist, I want to know more because I’m starting to get more requests from journalists for review copies of books in an electronic format.  I would love to shoot off PDFs of our books to reviewers — saving time and money — but that of course raises the concern that nefarious deeds could be committed with a PDF easily resaved as text.

Sarah from Soho Press blogged the other week about emailing a book to a reviewer.  As Sarah points out, this saves loads of time, money and trees.  Not to mention space — some of the massive tomes we publish are simply begging to be categorized under “Weapon, lethal.”

As a book publicist, how do you feel about distributing ebooks to reviewers rather than mailing hard copies?  As a journalist, would you want the flexibility of an electronic copy of a book?  For those book publicists who have sent out ecopies of books (or for those folks who have provided free downloads of a book in an attempt to promote it), how do you ensure the book — or large parts of it — cannot be easily reproduced?  Do you care?  Weigh in at will.


Yesterday when I updated my list of freelance book publicists, I did (or didn’t do) something idiotic and a lot of people couldn’t access the document.  I’ve made a change so this revised revised list should be viewable whether or not you have a Google account or are signed in.  Also, if you haven’t already seen it, Bella Stander maintains a list of freelancers too.  Her list is smaller because she only lists people with whom she has worked (and whose work she recommends).  I took the other route and listed everyone who submitted information, so I think you get the best of both worlds.


March 5, 2009 - Posted by | ebooks, Freelance publicists, review copies | , , ,


  1. Yes, to eBooks for review copies. NO to it being PDF, unless the PDF has been optimized for current eBook hardware:

    Forget print. It’s dead:

    Comment by Mike Cane | March 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. My biggest concern about the Kindle, and about digital publishing platforms in general, is that they could seriously compromise both privacy and the sanctity of the written word:

    Comment by urbzen | March 5, 2009 | Reply

  3. Yes to electronic editions. Love my UPS guy, think my FedEx lady is terrific, have a great relationship with various mail delivery personnel, but the one book per envelope method makes me crazy (and it’s sad how many of those books go unread because they’re just wrong for me). Would be so much happier with method to download to Kindle/iPhone.

    Comment by Kassia Krozser | March 5, 2009 | Reply

  4. In certain genres, especially romance, we have to send PDF’s in order to be considered for review. As long as we know that the site is reputable we’re willing to send an e-copy and as a result, the author almost always gets a review. We encourage our authors to submit e-books to us because more reviewers are beginning to request them and this saves on mailing costs and makes the turnaround time for reviews faster. We work to establish relationships with reviewers and review sites so we aren’t just sending an e-book to unknowns; they are legitimate reviewers who are truly interested in reading and reviewing books. I think that’s the best way to safeguard against piracy – vetting the reviewers.

    Comment by Paula Krapf | March 5, 2009 | Reply

  5. I just bought a Kindle and my dh just bought an iPhone, they got together and now we have a baby — Phindle? I heard the word hear first. Aw, how cute.

    Comment by Tara Maya | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  6. We would send electronic files but we find they end up posted on the Internet for free a week later on at least 10 different websites. It has happened so many times it’s now policy that no electronic files are sent without signatures and no complete works are sent electronically. Certain programs like Netgalley prevent that b/c they have in-built protections, but not publisher has that option.

    I think there is also a fiction / non-fiction divide on this issue since people want to read all of a fiction story (so post the whole thing for free but people will only read part of it online), but maybe only want 1 chapter in a non-fiction book (so no buy).

    Comment by Alice | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  7. We’ve heard some reviewers use the e-book to abbreviate their review time; particularly for non-fiction, the reviewer can search for certain words to highlight the part of the story most relevant to their review and/or publication.

    Comment by Obie Joe | March 10, 2009 | Reply

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