Sunday, December 22, 2013

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for December 22, 2013


ComiXology, Amazon, and iBooks all have a sale on DC “Essential Graphic Novels,” and it plays out totally differently on all three platforms.


1. Quantum and Woody #1
2. The Sandman #1
3. Hawkeye #1
4. Motorcycle Samurai #0
5. Marvel Now! Point One #1
6. Saga #17
7. The Bunker #1
8. All New X-Men #20
9. Superior Spider-Man #24
10. Locke & Key: Alpha #2

Just as happened last week, the top ten includes a bunch of comics that were given away free as part of comiXology’s 12-day comics giveaway. Let’s strip out those #1′s (and #0) and see what folks will actually pay money for:

1. Saga #17
2. All New X-Men #20
3. Superior Spider-Man #24
4. Locke & Key: Alpha #2
5. Uncanny Avengers #15
6. Batman: The Complete Hush
7. Batman: The Killing Joke
8. Batman: The Long Halloween
9. X-Men, vol. 4 #8
10. Onslaught Unleashed #1

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga #17 leads the list, as well it should. Also near the top is the last issue of Locke & Key. Those Batman graphic novels are marked down as part of the DC Essentials Sale—25 graphic novels priced at $5.99 each. That sale goes on till January 2, so there’s plenty of time to check it out. In terms of publishers, Marvel wins the day with five, DC has three, and Image and IDW have one each.


1. Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin, vol. 1
2. The Hedge Knight
3. The Sandman, vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
4. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
5. The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes
6. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
7. Batman, vol. 1: The Court of Owls
8. Justice League, vol. 1: Origin
9. Captain America, vol. 1: Winter Soldier
10. Iron Man: Extremis

Amazon is offering the DC Essential Graphic Novels sale as well, which is probably why The Sandman moves up a couple of notches; otherwise, this week’s list is very similar to last week’s. The only other one of the sale graphic novels to crack the top 20 is Watchmen, at number 15.


1. The Sandman: Overture #1
2. Forever Evil #3
3. Smallville, season 11, #1
4. It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy
5. Sandman #1
6. The World According to Lucy
7. Snoopy at the Bat
8. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
9. Adventures of Superman #1
10. Batman ’66 #1

This week’s Nook lineup is the same as last week’s except Naruto has dropped out. They have separated out the same set of “essential” DC graphic novels, but they are priced at $9.31 each.


1. My Little Pony: Micro Series #10 – Luna
2. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #14
3. The Walking Dead #118
4. Blue Is the Warmest Color
5. Batman: The Killing Joke
6. The Walking Dead #117
7. The Walking Dead, vol. 1
8. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #12
9. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
10. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #11

Two of the Batman graphic novels make the top ten at iBooks, but the Dark Knight himself can’t beat the power of My Little Pony or The Walking Dead.

Digital Comics Best-Sellers for December 22, 2013 is a post from: E-Reader News

eBook Review: Topless Jihadis by Jeffrey Tayler


Verdict: 5 Stars

Its full title, Topless Jihadis—Inside Femen, the World’s Most Provocative Activist Group, by Jeffrey Tayler, only succeeds in scratching the surface of what this book really stands for, namely depicting the 5,000+ member international group of self-titled “watch-bitches for democracy.” For the lengthy period of time that Tayler followed the radical women’s activists who are known worldwide for their topless protests, he chronicled and documented the inner workings and the outer reception of one of the most controversial protest organizations of the present time.

According to the author:

“Each Femen protest is contrived to shock, generate controversy, and come off well on camera. Wherever Femen strikes, it causes an uproar. The group professes to deploy beauty as a weapon. Femen's tactics, ‘sextremism’ and ‘sex diversion,’ basically entail using bare breasts during demonstrations to attract media coverage. Some critics dismiss the activists as mere publicity seekers, others as hysterics or, especially in the former Soviet realm from which they hail, as exhibitionists, as ‘sluts,’ as ‘whores who should know their place,’ as ‘sexually frustrated bitches’ (all quotes translated from Russian).”

But even more insightfully, Tayler had this to record from Femen’s twenty-three-year-old founder, Inna Valerievna Shevchenko:

"Femen turns everything upside-down, including dress standards. French feminists have told me not to wear them, since I'm a feminist. But we're against the way feminists of the 1970s were. They're boring, they don't offer us anything today. We want to show that a woman isn't a sex object and isn't a product to be bought and sold, but we recognize we're different from men. We don't hide our
sex appeal or our attractiveness. We use them as tools against the patriarchy. We're saying feminists don't have to be ugly, fat, sexually frustrated women, the way people now think they are.”

While parts of the text were muddled–such as the need to point out that specific members of Femen were not only heterosexual, but also sexually active, for some reason–the book in its entirety is an incredibly insightful look at a very misunderstood group. The depictions of people who are simultaneously irritatingly overbearing while also desperate to improve the perceptions about and lives of women are masterful.

The book itself is published by The Atlantic, and is available on Kindle.

eBook Review: Topless Jihadis by Jeffrey Tayler is a post from: E-Reader News

Too Much Choice Can Impede eBook Sales


A post by Shannon of the DuoLit team from earlier this year rings true, especially during the busy last-minute holiday shopping season. In the post–which got a surprisingly low number of critics in the comments section–the writer points to the need for authors to only advertise two retailers for their ebooks and one retailer–Amazon–for their print editions.

The writer points to the phenomenon of “analysis paralysis,” whereby too many choices can result in a pattern of indecision that leads to refusal to make the purchase. The post even sites a widely referenced study by Sheena Iyengar that studied this behavior and its consumer consequences when faced with too many product choices.

But as critics pointed out, having the choice to buy one book from several different retail platforms is not the same thing as having too many choices in the toilet paper aisle (which, as it turns out, consumers tend NOT to avoid buying, possibly out of sheer necessity). Additionally, in the realm of e-reading where so many consumers have platform-specific devices or store their credit card and gift cards in accounts related to specific retailers, not having enough buying options for readers is the same as cutting them off from the book.

According to the post, authors should make their books available everywhere–assuming they are not registered in the KDP Select exclusive program–but should only strongly advertise via their social media channels and their own websites that the books are available at Amazon, due to its massive reach of readers, and Smashwords, due to its compatibility with nearly every device platform.

While this did not raise nearly as much ire from commenters as you might expect, one thing that authors do need to keep in mind is the far easier and less inflammatory generic statement, “Available everywhere ebooks are sold.” That key phrase can minimize both the confusion that comes from having to select a retailer for purchase, as well as cut down on the confusion of sending the inadvertent message that the book is only available in two locations. Linked-through buy buttons to the specific retailers were also suggested by readers, as were third party sites that help consumers locate their specific international markets.

To follow DuoLit’s posts for self-published authors, click HERE.

Too Much Choice Can Impede eBook Sales is a post from: E-Reader News

Elevating Amazon to a Divine Status


As news came out that Amazon’s stock has reached an all-time high–only five months after reaching what was then its all-time high at almost $100 less per share–the retail giant is still being plagued by news and protests about the wages it pays its employees globally. A petition has even been started, demanding that Jeff Bezos pay his employees more.

Why? Simply because he can.

While different organizations take up the cause of the employees in Amazon’s global distribution centers for their wages (or perceived lack thereof), Amazon came back with a statement that it pays its employees at a higher average than even the minimum required; this includes its seasonal employees, who typically make less than full-hire employees in every industry.

For example, the Living Wage Foundation in the UK cites that the legal minimum wage is 6.31 and hour, while the actual wage required to maintain a minimum standard of living is actually at least 7.65 an hour. Amazon pays its seasonal UK employees 7.01 per hour, according to its statement. Those wages are listed in pounds.

Translated into US prices (but not adjusted for cost of living), that amounts to 11.52 an hour, far above what US employees make from not only Amazon, but from another major US retailer whose average permanent employee only makes 8.40 an hour, according to; additionally, the average Walmart employee makes 8.81 an hour according to, and the average McDonald’s employee makes 7.72 an hour, again according to

While no one can argue that these wages are enough to feed yourself well, let alone thrive, the question begs to be asked: why are we expecting Amazon to be better than other retailers? Walmart and McDonald’s have come under fire recently as well, but why are consumer groups and workers’ advocacy agencies targeting individual corporations rather than enacting change across the board?

The Living Wage statement on the Amazon salaries actually makes the claim that Amazon should pay its employees more simply because they have enough money. According to the petition, “Amazon has more than enough money to pay its workers…Amazon is an enormously successful company.” So Amazon is supposed to just decide to be better than all of the other companies who turn incredible profits off the backs of their laborers?

All of the allegations of warehouse abuse aside, instead of targeting lone companies and insisting that they change their entire mindsets towards paying their employees, citizens can work for legislation for fair wages and consumers can vote with their wallets. But can we really expect a company to just stretch a benevolent hand to its employees and decide that the executives have more than enough?

The CEO of Costco, which pays its employees an average of $20.89 an hour, probably has a lot to say about that.

Elevating Amazon to a Divine Status is a post from: E-Reader News