Like many book-lovers, I was slow to the digital revolution. I happily sniffed spines while my compadres ooh'ed and ah'ed over the latest NOOK and NOOK Accessories. I scoured tag sales for rare copies of Harlequins while my friends threw out their old novels in favor of room-saving NOOK Books. The growing pile of unread New York Times Sunday Editions looming in the living room became something of a fire hazard, though my husband urged me that with a NOOK, I could save a tree each weekend.
But like with all technological advances, time converts even those stalwart fans of “the old ways.” And so here I sit, NOOK at the ready, greedily downloading NOOK Books like a crazed hoarder. How did I miss this? There are deals on great old books! It’s far easier to keep my budget-killing book-buying habit to myself. And my posture has improved – those hardcover tomes are murder on the back.
I realize that I am discovering these advantages months, years after most of you.
The best part of the ereader is the access to stories that aren’t available in tangible form, and I am not talking about out-of-print books, though of course that’s a great perk, too. There is something new happening in the world of publishing: companies putting out tremendous tales of romance and intrigue without murdering those poor, victimized trees, and while refreshing an art form that, let's face it, hasn't embraced any technological advances since ol' Gutenberg got to work.
This brings me to Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies by Cynthia Cooke, an author I’ve admired for years and whose Nocturnes are among those books taking up space on my shelves. Her new book is a tale of a bad breakup, and that’s an understatement. It took an explosion to end the romance between Genie Marsters and her fellow spy Kyle Montgomery. Eight months and no contact later, Genie finds herself the target of an all-out assault. Terrorists are after each member of her family, the same people whose existence she had kept from Kyle for years. To say he’s burned by her is more than figurative – it’s literal. And while he was recuperating and wondering why the woman of his dreams left him, he realized the depth of Genie’s deception. But with some deadly serious bad guys are on her trail, Kyle can't let Genie solve her problems on her own, and the question of whether these two characters can overcome a firestorm of a past is at the heart of this rollickingly cinematic action tale.
Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies is part of Entangled Publishing's new line of "Dead Sexy" books, available only as ebooks. As Liz Pelletier, Entangled publisher, says, "Digital-only books let readers get a quick, easy romance fix. Our new imprints hit all the right notes: strong heroes and heroines, compelling characters, and stories that make readers long for more." The best part of this new brand of book publishing is the ease of purchase. Can't wait for more? Click a button. Presto. Your ereader will be chock full of romance.
For a different kind of caper, try Tawna Fenske’s NOOK App experience Getting Dumped. Not only will this book make you audibly guffaw, how many times do you read about a girl in love with a garbage crusher? That’s right. JJ Schultz has been downsized right out of her cushy county marketing job and transitioned to the local dump. The catch? She loves it. Turns out, smashing things is an excellent way to vent your frustrations. And JJ’s got them: a cagey but hot on/off boyfriend, a nerdy but hot co-worker, and a hot but – no, he’s just hot - movie star-turned-secretary all vying for her attentions. But the real intrigue begins when JJ stumbles upon some suspicious looking left-behinds at her, um, office.
Getting Dumped is more than a hysterical – and I do mean laugh-out-loud hysterical – romantic mystery. You, the reader, get to decide what happens. It’s all part of an experience from publisher Coliloquy designed to utilize the various capabilities of digital reading. Prefer the hot movie star to the hot co-worker? No problem. With a click of a button, the story will take you where you want it to. It's like Choose Your Own Adventure, but with sex scenes! And as Tawna Fenske says, it's liberating for a writer's creativity: "It can be challenging as an author to pick only one possible plot path based on what I assume readers want, so it's amazing to not only have the opportunity to write multiple paths, but to see which ones readers like better."
Another perk of Coliloquy's books: they're serialized. The installments are short, punchy, and designed to leave you salivating for the next one. And you will.
So goodbye, towering TBR piles and hello new world. The revolution is here and I've been converted. Happy day!
Have you discovered digital-only publishers? What are your favorites?
Melanie Murray is a writer and editor, and the moderator of Romantic Reads, BN.com's all-romance, all-the-time community forum. You can follow her on Twitter at @Melanie_Murray and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.