Love Books!

Nicola PittEver wondered about Book Sellers and what motivates them, what keeps them going when the book industry seems such hardwork? Today I have Nicola Pitt of Love Books as my guest. She’s based in rural Australia, but that hasn’t stopped her becoming a growing force in the book world.

Nicola who is Love Books? Tell us a bit about the business and yourself.

I own and run Love Books – which is a specialist online Romance Bookstore – we have a presence on Ebay, Bookfair and also our own website www.lovebooks.net.au.  While we have been on Ebay since 2004 it has really evolved in the last 2 years to become a force in the Romance Book area.  Love Books now carries most authors well known in the US and UK simply because this allows our readers to be introduced to new concepts and ideas (not to mention new authors)that are not normally available in Australia.  We are also expanding into Teen Titles (and specifically Teen Romance).  We do also carry non-romance titles, but the romance is what we are really about.

There can never be too many happy endings in the world, Nicola 🙂 What enticed you into book selling?

I am a self confessed book junkie (or is that a bookaholic??) – so is my husband and my two daughters.  We actually have two rooms downstairs that are our personal library,  as well as my stock and my personal books which are upstairs…….  During stints out in Western Queensland we came to the realisation that in some small townships we actually had a broader range than the local library.  So when the opportunity arose to own a bookstore, well I really couldn’t pass it up 🙂 It was almost karmic, lol!!  I can tell you I love coming into my office of a morning to  smell the “new book” smells, or opening a shipment when it arrives….and finding out what is coming… What I do is truly a labour of love 🙂 and I don’t regret a minute of what I do 🙂

I can understand how that smell could be addictive… What’s your favourite genre? If you don’t have one, what’s your most popular genre sales-wise?

To be honest I have 2 favourites.  I love Paranormal Romance (particularly Vampires) – I am currently waiting for my vampire posters to be framed so that they can hang all over my office which my youngest daughter and husband ordered for me (just because they know me so well – and none are Twilight inspired) and Romantic Suspense – meaty with lots of twists and turns. I also have a weakness for a good Sci-Fi book – I started that with Anne McCaffrey and when her son Todd took over it just continued!

For Love Books,  my most popular sales wise would be Paranormal followed by Historical.  People want to escape to the fantasy worlds at the moment with the hard economic times, and while there is a range of Contemporaries being released, they just don’t have the draw power at the moment of a good bodice ripper or paranormal.

The paranormals have certainly taken a large chunk of the market haven’t they. What trends do you see in the industry? The rise of e-book? On-line selling? Power of the internet?

The e-book is a rising star in the publishing world.  It certainly is here to stay, but I would like to think books are too. Most people I talk to about this say something similar to the fact that you can’t read an ebook in the bath, or that there is something intrinsically sensual about the physical act of picking up a book, feeling the cover shift under your hands as you turn the pages….well I think that pretty much sums up the difference between readers and bookaholics…:).  Buying books online is so easy, that it is a growing medium.  The biggest drawback to buying online is really dependant on the bookseller you buy from, how quickly they can get the book to you – especially if they are dropshipping (where they don’t actually have the stock on hand and arrange the order once they receive yours).   This is a growing facet of the industry and one of the reasons ebooks are starting to make their mark.  With an ebook it is virtually instant – buy and then download.  Many of the smaller independants do carry a surprising amount of stock on hand, which is why it is so much better to order from them – and they know their stock and can make suggestions to readers.  They are potentially the biggest losers in the ebook and dropship models though……and once they are gone, price rises will eventuate because there will be no competition.

The e-book revolution is going to ripple on for a while. Shattered Sky is being released as an e-book as well as in hard copy and that’s very exciting for me.

If you could have dinner with any author who would you choose and why?

Nora Roberts….and I can say that because I have met Nalini Singh, Keri Arthur and Erica Hayes already.  Why Nora?  I have read and re-read so many of her books and my first romance was Nora Roberts Irish Thoroughbred 🙂 and in her alter-ego as JD Robb she writes the fabulous In Death series.  I would ask her about how Eve and Roarke took shape, about her motivations and triggers.  And of course how the series will end…..(which is not something I am personally looking forward to,  lol).

Following on from that would have to be Stephanie Laurens.  An absolutely amazing woman, who was a Research Scientist and became one of the best known historical romance authors of our time…..I mean, how cool is that?  And her heroes….oh wow! I would so like to meet Devil Cynster 🙂

Two fine choices, Nicola. They both write wonderful stories that keep you glued to the pages. I’d have to say Nora would top my list and probably Stella Rimington.

To celebrate the ‘almost’ release of Shattered Sky we have a copy to give away. Tell us which authors you’d like to have dinner with and why to go into the draw!


Love Books Australia


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22 thoughts on “Love Books!

  1. Alas no – I am in Cairns in May, Tassie in June/July and Bondi in March so I think that is about as much as hubby will allow with two girls still in school lol!

  2. I’ll be there, Kylie! Although I’m going to be running out of RDOs by then as I’m desperately trying to squeeze in NY this year as well 🙂 Fingers crossed it all works out.

  3. Rats, I’m going to miss ARRA this year, the budget just won’t stretch that far. 🙁

    Oh, well, I might have to start saving for 2012!

    Helene or Nicola, are you coming to the RWA conference in Melbourne this year? If so, see you there! 😀

  4. Kylie it is still that vampire genre that is growing in popularity – which is funny because the number of vampire books being released is dropping…..lol!
    Oh and Jo Davis is sooo nice and the guys of station 5? They are welcome to cook me dinner anytime – just don’t tell my husband! Hah!!!!! Tee Hee Hee….

    Helene – I am really excited to meet you in the flesh….roll on March 🙂

  5. Hi Rachael, thanks for taking the time to drop by.

    Congrats on opening your own business – maybe you can expand that to include a bookstore/cafe?? Hope it all goes well and you still find time to write.

    One of the things I love about blog discussions is finding yet more authors to read – Dorothy Koomson is now on the list!

  6. Kylie, it is great to see independent Booksellers thriving isn’t it!

    Sounds to me like the Firefighters of Station Five would be put to better use than some chat about emergency techniques 🙂 That’s another author to add to me ‘TBR’ pile.

  7. Sonya, if you have that dinner party I’ll be very happy to serve drinks, wait on the table and even wash up after! I could even be persuaded to cook for them!

    I’m very excited about being on a panel with Cindy Gerard at ARRC2011 in March, along with Karly Blakemore Mowle. Bronwyn Parry is chairing it so it should be a wonderful hour!

  8. Love book shops and have always hankered after owning one. lol! If I could have dinner with any author it’d have to be Dorothy Koomson – I’ve recently read two of her books and am now glomming the lots. She is amazing!!
    Congrats on your new release Helene 🙂
    x
    Rach!

  9. Fiona, I haven’t read any of Richelle Mead’s books. I’ll have to track some down. And thanks for the good wishes. Only six days to go until it’s officially out 🙂

  10. Phew, sorry I’m late guys! I had to visit Townsville, Mt Isa, Cloncurry then Townsville again before I could finish work…

    Sandy, Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams would be fabulous! I think I almost destroyed my copy of Hitch-Hikers Guide with rereading it…

  11. Hi Helene & Nicola! 🙂

    I’m so glad we have independent booksellers, and those who specialize in romance! What a great combination. While e-book sales are on the rise, I hope, like the both of you, the fascination with the printed word never goes out of vogue. You can’t beat having a book in your hand.

    Nicola, what a wonderful swag of paranormal authors you’ve met, lovely to see the Aussie/NZ contingent so strong!

    Just out of curiosity, within the paranormal romance genre do you see any specific sub-genres that are regularly requested, or any that are gaining popularity, ie.vampire, shape-shifters, steampunk, sci-fi etc.?

    I’m a voracious reader of the paranormal genre (also love writing those sort of stories too :-D) so, I’d love to have dinner with Joss Ware, Larissa Ione or Lora Leigh, just to pick their brains about world-building. The conversation at the table that night would make for interesting eaves-dropping I’m sure! LOL

    As for romantic suspense, I don’t read too many authors in that genre BUT I love Jo Davis’s books (particularly the Firefighters of Station Five series). If she could just bring along a few of them with her, we could talk rescues and emergency techniques (heh, heh). 🙂

  12. I’d need a very big table for all my guests! Romantic suspense would definitely be my favourite – I’m very picky when it comes to paranormal stories – no Twilight books for me!

    I’d like to have a table of my favourite romantic suspense writers – the knowledge it takes to write that genre convincingly is pretty amazing. Cindy Gerard, Pamela Clare, Kylie Brant, Christy Reece, the all-powerful Linda Howard, J.D. Robb… Then I’d have to throw in all the Australian authors too. And Lisa Kleypas… And paranormal writers Lara Adrian and Patricia Briggs for good measure!

  13. Thanks for the blog ladies. Sandy, i’m a lot like you in the Paranormal Romance department, hence i’d love to sit with Richelle Mead and pick her brains on her VA series. It’s a real escape for me, and totally different from what I write. All the best for the launch Helene! x

  14. Hi Sandy – to be honest there is nothing like it…..I really do love my job and it is hard to stay out of my office on the weekends!! Thankfully we are all big readers in our house so it is forgiven when I do!

  15. Hi girls, Two authors I’d like to have dinner with, hmm? OK, they’re both men, but I’d need a ouija board or cross-over expert for one. First Terry Pratchett and second Douglas Adams. The Reason? Because I think they’d make me laugh. They both write/wrote intelligent, off-the-board, fantasy and despite many re-readings still have me in fits.

    Owning a book store must be magical, Nicola. I recall one I used to haunt quite frequently in Townsville. A small, independent store with a fantasy, intrigue atmosphere all its own. Just walking in the door you could almost hear all the stories that waited on the shelves calling out.

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