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When the human world meets the paranormal, all hell’s gonna break loose!
From the Shadows: 13 Tales of Urban Fantasy, Witches, Werewolves, Magic, Romance, Shifters, Fae, Demons, Vampires, Dark Fantasy & More!

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From the Shadows: 13 Tales of Urban Fantasy, Witches, Werewolves, Magic, Romance, Shifters, Fae, Demons, Vampires, Dark Fantasy & More!

by NY Times, USA TODAY and National Bestselling Authors
4.7 stars – 29 reviews
Everyday Price: $2.99, or over $20 when purchased separately!
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When the human world meets the paranormal, all hell’s gonna break loose!

Worlds collide in this epic collection featuring tales from NY Times, USA TODAY and National Bestselling Authors!

Quality Authors and Stories at an Unbeatable Price! Only $0.99 USD for 13 Novels!!! Limited Time Only!

Featuring stories from eleven of paranormal fiction’s top authors. This unbelievable box set has thirteen novels of urban fantasy, witches, romance, werewolves, magic, shifters, fae, demons, vampires, dark fantasy & more!

This anthology includes:
Roaring Midnight by Colleen Gleason
Demons of Desire by Debra Dunbar
Marked by Temptation by Deanna Chase
Falling Dark by Christine Pope
Redeemer of Shadows by Michelle M. Pillow
Justice Calling by Annie Bellet
Murder of Crows by Annie Bellet
Pack of Lies by Annie Bellet
The Guardians by Mandy M. Roth
Charming by Dannika Dark
Everlong by Hailey Edwards
Bloodsick by Melissa F. Olson
Bitter Disenchantment by Shawntelle Madison

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Fall in Love Again
by David Burnett

 To Fall in Love Again

 by David Burnett

To Fall in Love Again
5.0 stars – 2 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Drew Nelson did not plan to fall in love that morning!

He did not plan to talk with anyone. He did not plan to make a new friend.
He resisted all of Amy’s attempts to draw him out− at the hotel, at the airport, on the airplane− giving hurried responses and burying his face in a pile of papers.

But when the flight attendant offered coffee, and a muscle in Amy’s back twitched as she reached for it, and the cup tipped, and the hot liquid puddled in Drew’s lap, then they began to talk!

Earlier in the year, each had lost a spouse of over thirty years. Drew’s wife had died of a brain tumor, Amy’s husband when his small airplane nose-dived to earth, the engine at full throttle − an accident, it was ruled.
They live in the same city. Both have grandchildren. They are about the same age. Consciously, or not, they both are looking to love again.

But relationships do not exist in vacuums. Drew is wealthy, and Amy is middle class. Amy is “new” in town – she and her husband moved to Charleston twenty-five years ago – while Drew’s family has lived there for three centuries. Drew lives below Broad, a code word for high society, old families, power, and money. Amy’s home is across the river.

Class warfare may be less violent than it was in the past, but when Drew invites Amy to the St Cecelia Ball, battle lines are drawn.

In a city in which ancestry is important, the ball’s membership is passed from father to son, and only those from the oldest families are members.

Family, friends, co-workers all weigh in on their relationship and choose sides. Allies are found in unexpected places. Opposition comes from among those who were thought to be friends. Though they are gone, even their spouses − through things they have done and things they have said − wield influence in the conflict that follows.

Is Drew is one of them, the rich snobs who despise Amy? Does he truly love her?

Does Amy care for Drew? Can she trust him, or is he simply using her?

 As each questions the other’s motives, their feelings for each other are tested.

Do Drew and Amy truly want to fall in love again?

 AMAZON REVIEWS

“Once again David Burnett writes a book that is impossible to put down.  “To Fall in Love Again” will take you on a rollercoaster of emotion.”

“To Fall in Love Again is a very engaging, true-to-life story. You instantly feel like you know the characters and get swept up in their relationship. If you love Charleston or have always wanted to visit, you will especially like this book. It is a hard book to put down! So, curl up by the fire or lay out on your beach chair and get ready for an absorbing love story!”

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Christmas Love is in the Air
Get in the Christmas Spirit with A Kindle Daily Deal


Christmas Hearts: A Christmas Holiday Romance
by Sabrina Lacey

 Christmas Hearts: A Christmas Holiday Romance  

by Sabrina Lacey
Christmas Hearts: A Christmas Holiday Romance
4.9 stars – 10 Reviews
Or FREE with Learn More
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In charming San Francisco, it’s Annie’s first Christmas with her new husband, and with baby stubbornly refusing to be born, now a week past his due date, nothing could be more exciting for the new couple, or infuriating for the bride. To keep herself busy, she refuses to not work, claiming her bar won’t run itself. But late at night, when no one’s around, Annie hears someone following her to her car. Christmas Eve brings an unwanted gift of someone from their past, with vengeance on his mind, and soon a manhunt ensues as Annie goes missing, causing the love of her life to pray that Christmas miracles really do exist.
“Christmas Hearts” can be enjoyed as a stand alone, and is available in “Kindle Unlimited”

AMAZON REVIEWS

“I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. That said, this is a fantastic continuation of Sabrina Lacey’s Hearts series.”

“I really enjoyed reading this book. It was the icing on the cake or the cherry to a sundae.”

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If someone blew up your planet, you’d find your inner ass-kicker too… The Seek: a tale of love, courage and apocalypse
by Ros Baxter

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  The Seek (New Earth Book 2)

by Ros Baxter

The Seek (New Earth Book 2)
4.7 Stars out of 11 reviews
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Or FREE with Learn More
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Here’s The Set up:

From the talented and versatile Ros Baxter comes the first full-length novel in her sexy, engaging, groundbreaking SF Romance series. When everything else is gone, all you have is hope.

The year is 2098, and the people of New Earth have been homeless for seventeen years. Ruled by a mysterious Council and adrift in a fleet of space stations, their sole mission is to survive long enough to find a new home. They call it The Seek. Kyntura is the first and only female Avenger — one of the secret, separate elite who stand on the frontline between the refugees of Earth and a universe that would do them harm. For Kyn, fight and pain are the only things that drive out memories of the Apocalypse…and of the boy she left behind when she enlisted. But a young recruit called Mirren and a deadly mission will bring her face to face with all she has tried to forget. As she leads a squad of Avengers in The Seek, Kyntura will have to face her demons — and the boy whose heart she broke a decade before — to confront the truth about New Earth and save the future of humanity.
AMAZON REVIEWS
“Another great story from Ros Baxter. Clever, funny, action-packed and plenty of passion and romance (in that feisty heroine kind-of-way). The twists and turns we’ve come to expect, and always building to the climax, but ensuring plenty of surprises along the way. Follow the inspirational Kyn as she leaves her mark on the Universe. And once you start, you just need to keep reading. Loved it. “

 

What can I saw but WOW!! I have read a few of Ros Baxter’s books and this is now my favourite!! Set in the future, where humans have been banished from Earth and are in search of a new planet, The Seek is packed with action and suspense, with some sweet romantic moments tied into one remarkable storyline.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ros writes fresh, funny, genre-busting fiction. She digs feisty heroines, good friends, quirky families, heroes to make you sigh and tingle, and a dash of fantasy from time to time. Ros lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband Blair, four small but very opinionated children, a neurotic dog and nine billion germs.

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UNFORGETTABLE Saturday Freebies!
Take time for you this holiday weekend!!

5 Kindle Titles, Absolutely Free!

UNBELIEVABLE Bargain!!
Read Elizabeth Finn’s Unforgettable

But first, a word from ... Today's Sponsor
This woman can write. She proves it time and time again and this was no exception. And the steam was turned way up.
Unforgettable
by Elizabeth Finn
4.0 stars - 9 reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here's the set-up:
The sequel and conclusion of Unforgiven.

In Unforgiven, Darren and Bailey proved forgiveness is possible even after a painful past, but absolution isn’t the end of their story. Trust has to be rebuilt, faith restored, and the strength of their bond tested.

They may have stopped battling each other, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. And life has a way of packing the biggest punch—the most painful…

When life throws a curve ball, the future they fought so hard for is at risk. And when Bailey’s resolve is weakened, Darren has to carry them both. She may be his world, but is he strong enough to shoulder the weight of that responsibility? Her trust in him is critical, but has forgiveness given her enough peace to put her every hope and dream in his hands?

A woman forgiven… A man redeemed… A love unforgettable…
One Reviewer Notes:
I loved 'Unforgiven' but I absolutely loved 'Unforgettable'! This was the perfect conclusion to a great series! I was hooked by Darren and Bailey's story from the very beginning and I love the way the characters evolved throughout this book to achieve their happy ever after. The sex scenes were super hot, but you really felt engaged with both Darren and Bailey as they overcame every challenge. A must read!
CLF
About the Author
Elizabeth Finn is a multi-published contemporary romance author. Her passion is creating stories packed full of believable conflicts, characters who leave you rooting for them, and romance that might just short-circuit your e-reader. She likes her characters flawed, but they always find the best part of themselves on their journey. And her readers find themselves devoted to her honest and heartfelt voice. Elizabeth Finn is a multi-published contemporary romance author. Her passion is creating stories packed full of believable conflicts, characters who leave you rooting for them, and romance that might just short-circuit your e-reader. She likes her characters flawed, but they always find the best part of themselves on their journey. And her readers find themselves devoted to her honest and heartfelt voice.
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Unforgettable

★★Discount Links & Free Books★★

Always check the price before you buy! This post is dated Nov. 29, 2014. The titles mentioned may remain free only until midnight PST tonight.

KND refers to prices on the main Amazon.com website for US customers. Check the price on Amazon before making a purchase.

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The Christmas Cake

(The Holiday Collection Book 2)

by Joyce Swann
The Christmas Cake (The Holiday Collection Book 2)
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
“If you died tonight, where would you spend eternity?” Like the ghosts from Dickens’ Christmas Carol, this question haunts Tatiana Richards on Christmas Eve. With the help of Esther Cook’s Christmas Cake, Tatiana’s daughter Michelle will try to explain to her mother the real message of Christmas—eternal life through a relationship with Jesus.Book Two of our new Holiday Collection, The Christmas Cake, features a recipe that has been in the author’s family for several generations. It is our hope that both the story and the cake will become part of your holiday traditions.

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Santa’s Sleigh Technology

(Ho Ho Ho Series 3)

Children Book : Santa
4.8 stars – 6 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

Hooo. The reindeer candies container…what a trick! When Santa wants to make his sleigh go faster, all that he has to do is to throw some special candies up in the air… And off we go Rudolph, Dasher, Donner and Blitzen.. so much faster.
But listen my friend…I will tell you a secret…Santa also has a feast in secret…he eats some of the candies too…but don’t you worry…there is enough for all…

* * *

Club Luxe 1: The Private Room

(Billionaires Underground)

Club Luxe 1: The Private Room (Billionaires Underground)
4.2 out of 5 stars – 60 Reviews
Kindle Price: FREE!
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
A girl with a thirst for danger. A man who’s used to getting exactly what he wants…Victoria Chase is Chicago’s hottest new reporter, looking to make the scoop of the century. Rumor has it that in the bowels of the city lies a private sex club for the wealthy elite. Willing to do anything for a story, she infiltrates the club, determined to uncover this urban legend. She didn’t expect to run into him: Malcolm Cage. The famous billionaire bad boy is the king of Club Luxe.

* * *

Broken (Daughters of the Jaguar Book 2)

by Willow Rose
Broken (Daughters of the Jaguar Book 2)
3.9 stars – 40 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

The year is 1993.
It has been ten years since we left Christian in Savage (Daughters of the jaguar#1). He is now a grown man, eye-surgeon and a father to five-year old William.
Even though time has passed Christian hasn’t aged a day. But now Christian is suddenly changing. Something is happening inside of him that he doesn’t quite understand. Why are his eyes glowing? Why does he feel muscle-pain?

Broken is the second book in Willow Rose’s series called “Daughters of the Jaguar”.

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Natural Health 101 Hidden Treasures of Alternative Medicine
4.0 stars – 23 Reviews
Or currently FREE for Amazon Prime Members Via the Kindle Lending Library
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
THIS IS THE MOST INFORMATIVE NATURAL MEDICINE BOOK ON AMAZON FOR ITS PRICE!!! Dont pay tons of money to get the same information that this book has for far less, instead Pick up Natural Health 101 and unlock the Hidden Treasures of Alternative Medicine. This book goes over various Natropathic therapies such as Holism, Massage, Yoga, Acupressure, Acupuncture and it even has an A – Z list of common Herbal remedies. I know once you get this book you wont be able to put it down. Learn about what Mother Nature has already provided for us in the form of Alternative Medicines. We have options outside of the American Medical Association and this book will discuss your options so you can have more power over your own health! Pick up your copy today!!!

 

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Tantalizing in Texas!
Roxie Rivera gives you HOT nights in HOUSTON!!
Naughty and Nice for 99 cents

 

SERGEI (Her Russian Protector #5)

by Roxie Rivera
SERGEI (Her Russian Protector #5)
4.7 stars – 173 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:

After losing her older brother in a violent robbery, wedding gown designer Bianca Bradshaw refuses to date men with criminal ties. She’s never been tempted to cross that line—until Sergei.

The Russian behemoth works as an enforcer for mob boss Nikolai Kalasnikov and fights as his champion in the underground bare-knuckle circuit. Sergei is absolutely the last complication she needs in her life—but he’s the only man who makes her body ache with desire.

And right now she needs his help.

When he learns some creep is bothering Bianca, Sergei Sakharov vows to protect her at all costs. He’s been trying to get close to the plus-sized beauty for months but she rejects him at every turn. He’s determined to show her that he’s worth more as a man than his criminal connections.

But Sergei’s loyalty to his family—both blood and criminal—put him at odds with the future he wants with Bianca. He has to choose—the woman he desperately loves or his loyalty to the man who saved his life.

Because the darkness of the underworld he inhabits is about to spill into Bianca’s life and the hardest choice may be the only one that allows him to protect her…

AMAZON REVIEWS

“I am not even done reading this book but I had to stop to write a review. Like many others, I have been waiting for this book, literally counting days and stalking Amazon until I was able to buy it.  I have been addicted to this series since book one ” Ivan” and every time another book came out, I fell deeper in love with these protectors.”

Score for the plus sized ladies in this romance! This is the fifth book in this series; however, it can stand alone. The story revolves around a very successful plus sized Black woman, Bianca and a rough and tough Russian named Sergei. Sergei has been waiting in the wings to make his love known to Bianca. Bianca is best friends with Vivian, the wife of Sergei’s boss. His boss happens to be the head of the Russian mob. Sergei is the head bodyguard of the Russian mob.”

  * * *

 

Collateral (Debt Collection #1)

by Roxie Rivera
Collateral (Debt Collection #1)
3.9 stars – 32 Reviews
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Alphas After Dark Collection!
Book One in the Debt Collection seriesMechanic and mob enforcer Ben Beciraj can’t believe his eyes when Houston socialite Aston McNeil storms into his chop shop and demands the return of the car he’s just repossessed as collateral on her stepbrother’s defaulted loan. When the fiery blonde heiress offers him anything to get it back, he counters with a deal he never expects her to accept—one week at his beck and call for the keys to her late father’s classic car.But Ben’s plans to have a little fun with a girl way out of his league are shot to hell after one taste of sweet, beguiling Aston. When her stepbrother’s shady dealings are revealed, Ben will do anything to protect her from the seedy underworld he inhabits—even if it means crossing the only family he’s ever known.
AMAZON REVIEWS
“Wonderful read. From start to finish….interesting, fast paced with strong characters. Can’t wait for more. Hard tough alpha with a soft side for the right girl.”
“Loved this fun quick read. Roxie Rivera kept you wanting more with every page you turned. Can’t wait to see what’s next !!!!”

 

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The Romance of Submission

An excerpt from

Beyond the Literary-Industrial Complex:

How Authors and Publishers Are Using the Amazon Kindle and Other New Technologies to Unleash an Indie Movement of Readers and Writers

By Stephen Windwalker

Copyright 2008, 2009, Stephen Windwalker and Harvard Perspectives Press.

What is it to be a writer hard at the work of creating something wonderful, a work in progress that you will chisel away at and breathe life into and perfect until it is published and embraced by a welcoming audience of serious readers who buzz to one another and back to you that you have made something new, something of value, perhaps even something eternal?

In the middle of this faithful process, as you gird yourself against distractions and slave away at MacDowell or Yaddo or Starbucks, or in your garret, or on the Acela, or in your prison cell, there are blissfully intense moments when there is only you and the work. On these days the work is the best of companions.

Such moments may seem to validate Miss Dickinson’s pronouncement that “Publication is not the proper business of a poet,” so that you are inclined to apply it to your particular form of literary creation, whether it is your Dream Songs or your Ulysses, your biography of a racehorse, or your treatise on how to solve Sudoku.

But if you are budgeting time and funds so that you can afford enough daycare to allow you to finish your book, or trying to balance your writing with a day job, or to set enough aside to allow you to escape the day job, it may be difficult to fend off those thoughts of publication. If so, as the Belle of Amherst surely knew, these largely economic conditions may carry some strange elemental power – the power, perhaps, of the wolf at your door? – that puts you at risk of losing the very frame of mind that allows you to create something worthwhile in the first place.

I don’t wish to provoke hand-wringing, hair-tearing angst or to send ten thousand writers running for fee-based therapeutic relationships that they can ill afford. (Shrinks, in my experience, aren’t much good at solving underlying economic problems anyway). There are plenty of activities on the spectrum of creative endeavor where one need not be tied up in knots about one’s literary output and its ultimate place in the world. The conventionally established professional author, whose work reaps nice advances and then sells well enough to “earn out” those advances, is usually well enough inoculated against such dreary and careerist considerations that she needs only to balance her writing efforts with such concessions as she may choose to make to her publisher’s marketing demands or to the claims of celebrity. Such an author may be the fortunate inhabitant of a “zone” where one is so well guaranteed audience, promotion, distribution, and compensation that such considerations may be treated as trivial afterthoughts. And while some of the habitués of this zone may indeed be hacks who license their characters or record half a dozen formulaic page-turners each year with the next-generation iteration of the Dictaphone, there are others who have worked long and hard at good and durable work that extends our literary culture, fills our leisure hours with civilized delight, and illuminates the human experience.

No doubt there are many other writers of distinction who, keeping closer to Miss Dickinson’s dictum, work well and steadily with no regard whatsoever for the business of publication, whether they write only to be writing, for no audience at all, only for themselves, or only against some future time when they will brook their first considerations about what to do with what they have been writing. Perhaps they can work this way because they are the otherwise idle rich, or they combine a good day job with abundant energy and discipline in lives where distractions are scarce, or they are incarcerated or otherwise institutionalized, or they are prohibited for one reason or another from telling their story. But for the vast majority of us who would seek out a place for writing as part or all of the work of our daily lives, neither of these extremes is the reality.

Very few of us are driven by a serious desire to become millionaire authors, but we would like an honest chance to make a decent living writing good books and getting them into the hands of discerning readers. Yet it is in staking even such modest claims for our creative work that we risk subjecting ourselves to a writer’s purgatory.

Want to submit your manuscript through traditional publishing channels? Then those “blissfully intense hours when there is only you and the work” are about to be subjected, like a teenager’s love affair or even the bonds of best friends or blood brothers, to the intrusive, perverse, distorting pressures of societal judgment. You’ve been working privately, passionately, one-on-one with your manuscript, teasing and massaging it into the book you have lived to write, but now you must submit it and then wait passively to see if this relationship passes muster in the eyes of agents, editors, publishers, reviewers, and peers. You have quietly bestowed your passion on this companion, and now you must dress it up and take it to the prom. Even if you have always kept your own creative counsel, lived and worked by your own aesthetic, and been your own toughest editor and creative jury, now, by the simple act of inviting your companion into the glare of public scrutiny, as if assuming fairness in its consideration, you are turning the tables on yourself.

By accepting your role in this aptly named submission process, you are implicitly validating its legitimacy and encouraging its cliques of rather mean-spirited girls and boys. Later, as you open and file away their rejection slips, you will of course be formalizing and finalizing the concomitant process of obliterating your own confidence in your capacity to create, to evaluate, to rethink, and to revise what you are creating. As in most initially blissful high school romances, once they are subjected to the harsh judgments of the reigning popular crowd, someone is bound to get dumped.

It isn’t hard to imagine the famous final scene of break-up dialogue between a fickle novelist and his manuscript – what, your fiction doesn’t talk back to you? – as the pages are about to be consigned to the back of the file cabinet or the hard drive’s least trafficked subdirectory….

“Shit! I thought you loved me. All you wanted was to get published!”

“Well, sure. After I spent every day with you for two years, it would have been nice.”

“I never realized that was the only reason you were interested in me.”

“Oh, c’mon. Don’t guilt trip me. Can’t you accept that I have needs too?”

“If that’s all you were looking for, why didn’t you just pay for it?”

“Pay for it?”

“Sure. Why not? There are plenty of places where you could take your money and your so-called needs and get published without—”

“Without what?”

[Tears]

“Without paying any attention to what’s really inside me.”

“Maybe. I mean, I suppose. But I would never want it to get around that I was paying for it.”

“It’s hard to believe that you’re the same one who believed in me.”

“Oh, come on. Was I supposed to totally ignore the things that Lindsay and Winona and Heather were saying about you?”

“Hah! They call themselves agents and editors. They are nothing more than glorified slush-pile interns.”

“Well, everybody else listens to them. I’m never going to make it as a published author if I don’t listen to what they say. I know they will want to publish me if I can just go back to the drawing board and tighten up the story line a little.”

“Story line? What about my characters?”

“It was nice, baby. You know I will never forget you. Maybe if I can just get published we can get together sometime, in the future.”

Okay, this bit of fun has its limits, but hopefully it has helped to illuminate a worthwhile distinction: too often, it would be more apt to mangle Miss Dickinson’s phrases by noting that it is not publication, but submission, that is not the proper business of poets and other writers.

Is there a choice?

We have ceded to the major publishing houses and their gatekeepers the central roles in determining which written creative work will be widely disseminated in our culture, and in the process we subject ourselves as writers, and to a lesser but still significant degree as readers, to agonies of waiting, wishing and hoping, and quiet desperation. It was not gratuitously that publishers established this hegemony, with its concomitant power over our creative and intellectual lives. There was, especially in the half-century between 1920 and 1970, a golden age of American publishing. Many of the subsidiary “imprints” of today’s global media empires were, then, small, fairly informal shops where editors were motivated by their passion for literature, where an author celebrating the publication of his novel or not quite making it to his next royalty check or advance might well be found, of a morning, sleeping one off on the sofa in one of his editor’s homey book-lined offices. Almost everything about the book industry, from the ubiquitous independent bookshops to the number of books reviewed or excerpted in mass-circulation magazines like the Saturday Evening Post or Collier’s, to the abundance of serious “mid-list” titles kept in print by publishers, was well laid out for a mass culture of readers, and thus, in turn, for the care and feeding of enough quality writers to keep the culture in good books.

Lest I seem to be invoking some nostalgic “It’s Morning Again in America” sepia tone of a glorious past, I recommend Jason Epstein’s thoughtful and intelligent 2001 memoir of that era in the history of the publishing industry, Book Business: Publishing Past Present and Future. Of course there were market forces, personal ambitions, and intra- and inter-corporate competition at work in the publishing industry between 1920 and 1970, and barriers organized around class pedigree, racism, and sexism were every bit as prevalent in the publishing industry as they were in American society at large. But the fact remains that before the dramatic, power-concentrating frenzy of mergers and acquisitions that occurred in the last third of the century, the American publishing industry was generally keeping up its end of the bargain with the country’s creative culture and its audience of readers.

Writers submitted their work to agents and editors with some faith that it would get a reading, and thus would be given all the chance that any writer could expect. There was an ample array of potential entry markets, including college and literary magazines, the pulps, and even a surprising number of slick mass-market magazines that gave significant space to fiction each month and paid competitively for it. Mass periodicals from the Saturday Evening Post to Time, whatever their politics might be, were self-conscious of a responsibility to guide and broaden the culture, if perhaps not to deepen it, rather than merely to reflect its shortcomings.

In other words, there was a long period in American publishing when one could observe significant correspondence between the best work that was being written by our novelists and poets and biographers and the work that the “popular crowd” of publishing gatekeepers was admitting into its world of published books. During most of this time, our Anglo-American culture did much to promote its own better moments: Epstein notes that authors from James Joyce to James Baldwin used to grace the covers of Time magazine. Today, in a kind of weird apotheosis of the real and metaphorical linkages between high school clique culture and American literary culture, the bestselling author you are most likely to see on magazine covers at your favorite newsstand may well be Paris Hilton.

The reasons why Ms. Hilton is a bestselling author are perhaps more interesting than most of what one will find between the covers of her books. Publishing houses search out brand-name celebrities whose platforms guarantee bestseller status, because both the publishing houses and the retail bookstore chains desperately need high turnover bestsellers to generate the revenue necessary to justify their existence in a world of literary-industrial conglomerates that is, increasingly, all about the bottom line. Such name-brand authors may be genre fiction writers who have identified a certain formula for repetitive mass-market success and are willing to abide by their publishers’ pleas not to monkey with the formulas. But just as often these days the celebrity authors are cross-over stars: people who are cashing in on the notoriety they’ve gained on MTV, Court TV, American Idol, ESPN, Entertainment Tonight, People, their own television or radio shows, or, given its increasing “news” coverage of the icons who become known to us through these aforementioned portals of mass culture, the network news.

It shouldn’t shock us that readers buy a lot of these mass-produced cookie-cutter books. First, they are only one more confirming symptom of the national multi-media fixations that have already been proven for OJ, Wacko Jacko, Britney, Paris, Monica, and so forth. Second, sometimes there is interesting material in these books. Finally, although the range of more interesting alternatives to such books is definitely not narrowing, our public access to them is limited because neither the publishers, the chain bookstores, or the big-box stores whose deeply-discounted offerings of a few hundred bestsellers often drive independent booksellers out of business are willing to make a marketing or space-allocation commitment to books that do not stack up, from the get-go, as bestsellers. If you are looking for something to read on your flight, there are only so many titles available at the airport bookstand, and all of them are there because the corporate buyers or distributors are certain that they will be bestsellers and that “you” are most likely to buy a book by an author you’ve heard about already.

New York Times columnist David Brooks, in a Spring 2008 piece on niche political marketing, drew a clear portrayal of the largely homogeneous culture that existed in America before anyone had ever heard of niche markets and long-tail economics:

“Fifty-five years ago, 80 percent of American television viewers, young and old, tuned in to see Milton Berle on Tuesday nights. Tens of millions, rich and poor, worked together at Elks Lodges and Rotary Clubs. Millions more, rural and urban, read general-interest magazines like Look and Life. In those days, the owner of the local bank lived in the same town as the grocery clerk, and their boys might play on the same basketball team. Only 7 percent of adult Americans had a college degree.”

Entering the book section of a Walmart, Super Stop ‘n’ Shop, or BJ’s has something in common with stepping into the 1950s in terms of the diversity of culture and selection. If you have written one of the top 500 novels of the year, but it never makes it into the top 300, it is unlikely that it will turn up on the bookshelves in those short-tail book departments.

None of this is great news for readers, but it can be especially depressing for serious writers, because the big cultural picture distills to a very simple message: the mainstream publishing industry, to the extent that it is embodied in the five global media empires that dominate the American book trade at this writing, is not interested in what you are writing, is not going to make meaningful judgments about your work based on the quality or distinctiveness of your content, and is instead much more interested in hooking up with someone who is already “popular,” even if it means hiring someone else (you, perhaps?) to do the ghost writing. The industry’s popular-crowd cliques, it turns out, are not fair, and they could care less about what you may think is special about your “companion” of the last couple of years.

(This book is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions).