Jun. 1st, 2016

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Reminder: Ellora’s Cave has rebranded as EC for Books, so all posts will contain both the old and new branding in the first paragraph for a while.

Since last October, EC for Books/Ellora’s Cave has completely reverted two New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors: Amanda Ashley and Lora Leigh.

But one of the reasons it’s not easy to say how many authors or books there are, exactly, is the error rate in the metadata for things like: what authors’ names are, what the title of the book is, when it was published, and so on.

Also, farther down, I’ll share spreadsheets of both the All Romance eBooks parsed data as well as the Amazon data I have, which will help both authors and Ellora’s Cave/EC for Books verify their data.

The Metadata Mess

First, I’d expect the number of books a publisher has for sale on two domestic markets to differ by less than 1%. Yet, when Amazon’s showing 2,744 books (with two different publisher names) and ARe is showing 2,929 on the same date, that’s closer to 6.3%…and that’s just the error rate for the number of titles.

The Author Whose Name Is Sometimes Wrong

As someone with a weird name, I feel for Melani Blazer. She first showed up on Ellora’s Cave’s site in 2004, back when her name was correctly spelled. Same in 2013. Since the new site, however, it’s been Melanie.

Reverted Title Still In Print Because of Author Name Typo?

EC author Ann Jacobs has had a number of titles revert. One of those titles is Perfect Master, a title that reportedly reverted to Ann in October of last year.

Here’s a screenshot I just made on All Romance eBooks, showing Ellora’s Cave is still publishing that title.

Reverted Ann Jacobs story still being published by Ellora's Cave with erroneous author metadata.

Instead of looking for both the author name and the title, someone may have quickly checked the author name, didn’t see the book, and didn’t flag it for reversion. But because the name was incorrectly entered, the book was missed.

Other Mis-Entered Names

There are a number of mis-entered names, and here are a few: Calista Arman (should be two Ls), Rhyannon Bryd (Byrd), Nora-Jean Perkin (should be Perkins), Moffitt. Jody (Jody Moffitt), Sierra Summer (Sierra Summers), and Jayme Whitfield (Jayme Whitefield).

Ellora’s Cave: Partying Like it’s 1969

Here’s another issue that happens with All Romance eBooks—quirky date fields. I believe that there are a number of books where the publication date is null, and therefore appears as a publication date of December 31, 1969.

An anthology published on October 28, 2015 (where one Laurann Dohner story in it reverted at the end of March) is still being published on iBooks with that weird publication date.

Reverted Laurann Dohner story still being published by Ellora's Cave on iBooks.

I’ve seen things like this happen before where the title being pushed from ARe (as EC does) doesn’t get pulled upon reversion if the date is broken. There are somewhere around 2-3 dozen books for which this is true. (Because iBooks searching is peculiar and API search results don’t return a publisher name (!), it’s hard to verify if these are all EC’s errors. I don’t care enough to scrape every title on ARe.)

Multiple Copies of the Same Book Released

Then there are multiple versions of the same thing.

ARe has both this version of Barbara Sheridan’s Bittersweet Surrender as well as this version of the same book—with no cover, but with exactly 10,000 extra words at the same price, if the metadata is to be believed.

Then there’s the late Charlotte Boyett-Compo’s Desert Wind (WindWorld) at $0.99 vs. WindWorld: Desert Wind at a heart-stopping $13.98. See also N.D. Hansen-Hil’s Gilded Folly vs. Gilded Folly, also at a heart-stopping price. And Jeanne Savery’s Runaway Scandal vs. Runaway Scandal. And Charlene Teglia’s Yule Be Mine vs. Yule Be Mine.

In other words, even though ARe lists 2,929 books for sale, there are somewhat fewer actual books for sale (2,917 books, actually), and some of those should not be for sale.

All Romance eBooks to iBooks: Recommend Draft2Digital Instead

One thing I’ve noticed, and not just looking at Ellora’s Cave’s books: the connection between All Romance eBooks and iBooks appears to be somewhat fragile.

For Ellora’s Cave, this means that a significant chunk of their top-selling titles never made it to iBooks, including at least three Laurann Dohner titles. So, for someone who shops via iBooks on a regular basis, these books simply do not exist.

Therefore, if you’re an indie publisher, I’d highly suggest you push to iBooks via Draft2Digital instead of ARe. iBooks is fussy, and D2D has far better error handling with fewer failure rates.

EC for Books / Ellora’s Cave Author and Book Attrition

Book Counts by Source

Source April
Book Count
May
Book Count
June
Book Count
Amazon 3,049 2,783 2,744
ARe 3,089 2,984 2,929 (per ARe)
2,917 (deduped)
My Data 3,055 2,844 2,748

(April as of April 11. May as of May 16 and 22. June as of June 1.)

Author Counts by Source

Source April Author Count May Author Count June Author Count
Ellora’s Cave/
EC for Books
764 709 704
Amazon 737 693 682
ARe 743 744 706
iBooks (n/a) (n/a) 608
My Data 763 (current)
1049 (total)
758 (current)
1051 (total)
733 (current)
1052 (total)

(April as of April 11. May as of May 16 and 22. June as of June 1. Also note that the Total Authors will not decrease as it’s the total of all time.)

Data for You

All Romance eBooks Ellora’s Cave/EC for Books Data

Here is the spreadsheet listing Ellora’s Cave’s titles on All Romance eBooks. It’s readable by anyone, but it’ll make it easier for you to search and verify that any titles that should be reverted are in fact reverted.

This is scraped straight off of ARe’s pages, so there’s been no post-processing to normalize the data.

Amazon Ellora’s Cave/EC for Books Data

Here is the spreadsheet listing all current known Ellora’s Cave titles on Amazon. Note: it’s impossible to query all books, and there are quirks with books that have a zero price or are suspended from sale (and there are both kinds of books). If you know of an EC e-book available on Amazon that’s not on this list, I’d love to hear about it. (Not interested in print, as those are all effectively reprints.)

The Amazon data is post-processed and normalizes all known author name variations and title variations. Note that the author list for a given book matches (I hope) the current Amazon data for that book, but it may not match the cover, table of contents, or royalty statements.

iBooks Ellora’s Cave/EC for Books Data

I have done the import, but I screwed up my first run, so I need to fix the rest of that before I release that info. I’ll likely update this post rather than create a whole new post.

New Naughty Literati Anthology

Heatwave-PBK-PNG-600x784In happier news, today’s the release date for Naughty Literati’s Naughty Heatwave, a boxed set of quite a few romance authors including former Ellora’s Cave authors. You can read more about it here or purchase directly from these links: Amazon Kindle, Amazon print, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, Google Play, or All Romance eBooks.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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