Oct 15, 2014

Reading by Subscription, Yes or No?

When I received notification that my backlist would be available to Scribd subscribers as part of a new Harlequin deal, I was rather pleased.  More opportunities, potentially more readers, is always satisfying for an author.  And with 15,000 backlist titles available, including many by Harlequin's most popular authors, this sure sounded attractive for readers,

I've been a Harlequin reader for a LOT longer than I've been a Harlequin author, so my heart rate sped up.  Was this an opportunity to glom backlists of all my favourite authors? To catch up on missed titles, to re-read favourites, to revisit the books and times and places which shaped my love of romance?

Slightly wary of the geo-restrictions which prevent me from acquiring these titles from Amazon, I re-read the announcement.  The first sentence of this quote from the press release [emphasis mine] sure makes it seem as though all readers around the world can access the Harlequin titles:
 Our readers around the world have come to know Scribd as the leading destination for romance books, and we’re delighted to bring them even more of the content they crave,” said Trip Adler, CEO and cofounder of Scribd. “The subscription model is unlocking powerful changes in reading habits and this is most prominent within the romance genre. With this many Harlequin titles, available only on Scribd, we know our romance fans will read their hearts out.”
Good enough for me, Trip.  I signed up.  Searched for a few of my favourites.

The grey strip across the top of every title?  Reads "NOT AVAILABLE." *Sigh.*  In the FAQ's/Help I found this small print: "not every title is available in every country; <snip> It's unfortunate that not every book is available worldwide. In many cases book publishers have international sales agreements which prevent their titles being offered everywhere."  I KNEW THIS but I always hope it will change.  That backlist will be available globally and not selectively.  *Sigh.*

On a happier note, the first month is a trial and I can unsubscribe (although I will check which publishers' titles I can access.)  And the search for which authors/titles were available in the Harlequin backlist gave me a happy smile and got me thinking about which of those old favourites still excited me, which titles I now want to find and re-read, which authors I wish were still writing as I'd grab anything new on release day.

So, Love-Cats aside, which Harlequin author's backlist would YOU love to grab and re-read?  Also, does the idea of a reading subscription service appeal to you (small print aside)?

NOTE:  If you are in a country without the Harlequin geo-restrictions which apply in Australia and New Zealand, the Scribd subscription might be your cup of tea.  Cost is $8.99 per month, with a one-month free trial, and access to loads of books from other publishers as well.


  1. Bron, I love the idea of a subscription like this…it's just that I'm absolutely, positively NOT allowed to subscribe until my PhD is done! But, look at all of your lovely titles there. That's going to make some readers VERY happy. :-)

    Whose backlists would I like to glom? Well now, there are a few early Liz Fielding's I haven't read yet, not to mention Marion Lennox's extensive backlist and… Okay, I'll stop now or we could be here all day. ;-)

    1. Michelle, naturally I'm talking about Idealworld where we have all the time and none of the real-life things which stop us reading 24/7. :-) And we would need a BIG slab of time to truly immerse ourselves in the looonnnggg backlists of both Liz and Marion. But what a delight that would be!

  2. Ahhh, now that little message I got about not being available makes sense!

    Whose backlist? Well yours of course, Bron! I'm sure there are a couple there I haven't read yet.....

  3. Oh, gosh...there are so many people's backlist I'd love to read...Suzanne Brockmann, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susan Mallery, Sarah Morgan, Kelly Hunter, ALL of the lovecat ladies...and of course, with all these available books we'll get more than 24 hours in a day to finish them, right?

    1. Oh, Louisa, these are authors whose backlists I would glom as well. If only I had that amount of time.

  4. Well of course it goes without saying....all the LoveCats. But I'd also love to read the backlist of Sarah Mayberry and Kelly Hunter!

  5. I love so many Harlequin authors I can't pick just one who's backlist I want.
    I hate the insistence of publishers insisting on still enforcing geo-restrictions. I would absoluted never pirate books, but some people use the geo-restrictions as an excuse to do so.

    I am currently miffed at Harlequin North America. Up until recently I purchased most of my Harlequin titles from the US website for several reasons. Recently though, they started preventing me purchasing titles from the US site.
    Main reasons for using the US site were
    * Preferring the North American covers
    * Even with the exchange rate, titles were usually cheaper than purchasing from Mills and Boon ANZ or print in NZ
    * The choice to choose individual titles rather than being stuck with two or more books when they are published together locally
    * The ability to buy Desire and Blaze titles the month before print release.

    That said, I have learned to let authors know if I can buy their ebooks in NZ, since many North American authors who publish with publishers other than Harlequin often don't know that the ebook(s) aren't available outside NA, and they would prefer to know about it so they can point out to the publisher that it's losing them sales.

    1. Isn't it annoying? I used to buy from the Harlequin website as well, mostly because of that month-in-advance purchase. I didn't realise they'd stopped us doing that; since I got my Kindle I've not been buying nearly as many Harlequins, mostly because of availability issues. And I really do not want to switch to Amazon.au.

  6. Bronwyn

    This is a good idea but I still do not understand these geographical restrictions you can buy the paper book but not the e book I don't get it :(

    There are many authors I would love to catch up on but my TBR pile is so huge this would scare me LOL

    Have Fun

  7. I know, Helen, it makes no sense to me either. You've made a good point, though, with options. There are so many e-books which are available, legally, no restrictions, that I buy those instead. So as a reader, I have other options. As an author, I wonder how many sales are lost.

  8. There are so many authors whose backlists I'd love to work my way through - aside from all the wonderful ladies here I'd go nuts over Sarah Mayberry and Kelly Hunter's books!

    I also find the geo restrictions thing really frustrating. I still have my australian amazon account b/c I'm worried that if I change my location to Canada that I'll lose access to my books!

    1. That's one of the reasons I don't want to switch to Amazon Aust, but then I can't purchase some books I'd LOVE to get from Aust publishers. Makes me super-mad when that happens, but then I move on and find something else, which sucks for the author and the publisher. :-(

      I think I've said this already but it bears repeating: I also adore Sarah and Kelly's books and suspect I already own their entire front and backlists.

  9. Bron, what a great post. Why, though, is buying books never as simple as we want it to be? Especially living here. Sigh.

    I'm smiling, just thinking of having unlimited access to whole backlists, including yours and Sarah Morgan's. So many authors I want to go back and read titles I've missed.

  10. It *is* lovely to dream of having access to a super-favourite author's extensive backlist, isn't it? Even when we know we don't have time to read all those books, just thinking about it makes me happy as well. Which is always a good thing.

    Keep smiling, Annie.

  11. Interesting post, Bron and the whole idea is great! So I was very very tempted... until I read the fine print and had an explore. There seem to be so many books that aren't available to us here... even Australian and New Zealand authors which seems extra weird. Perhaps down the track... I'm joining you in that lovely dream!