Untreed Reads offers a guest post and a contest to celebrate my 3-year blogoversary!

Today marks 5 days (or is it 6?) to my blogging anniversary on the 23rd. Some of you have done it for much longer than my almost-3 years, and some less. But however many years we’ve blogged, we all enjoy books and we all enjoy reading… Today I have the pleasure of hosting blogger and co-founder of eBook publisher Untreed Reads, Jay Hartman, who visits with a post on evolving technology and the publishing industry… Let’s roll out the welcome mat!

jay hartman
Jay Hartman

Once I got back from my trip, a friend tipped me off to a new electronic device called the Rocket eBook, a portable reader that would allow you to store dozens of books to take with you anywhere. It wasn’t all that heavy, was about the size of a paperback, had a ridiculously long battery life and had titles you could get from either of the two heavy hitters at the time: Powells or Barnes and Noble.

Shortly after getting mine and seeing how it revolutionized my everyday reading, I became something of an evangelist for the industry. I teamed up with my friend Kelly Ford and together we worked on a site named KnowBetter.com to help inform readers of the burgeoning industry. Over the years we worked together we even helped companies such as Random House and Simon and Schuster gain valuable data about how ebook readers shop, what they want to read and in what formats.

In time, I felt it was time to take a break and retired from blogging. As the years passed, the future that Kelly and I had predicted came to pass. The Rocket eBook gave way to the Nook and the Kindle. E-bookstores evolved from just Powells and Barnes and Noble to hundreds of retailers around the world. What once had been almost a luxury item was now commonplace.

It was in 2009 that I decided I needed to come back to the industry as a blogger. My goal was to help inform an all-new generation of ebook readers about the great titles available, especially from independent publishers and authors. From the beginning of the ebook industry, it had always been the independents that had been the driving force. They believed in ebooks, adopted them as their format long before the big NYC companies did, and built their readerships to a devoted level. These were the people I wanted to help promote.

In doing so, I came to the realization that I had always been the person talking about ebooks, but much like Benjamin Franklin’s weatherman I never did anything about it. I could spend my life writing about what other people were doing, or I could be an active part in changing the future. It was time to enter the world of publishing and start creating my own revolutions, my own changes and my own readers. Thanks to my partnership with K.D. Sullivan, Untreed Reads was born.

Today, we have nearly 300 titles from some of the most amazing authors I’ve had the good fortune to work with. Our titles are now available from the retailers I used to write about, the readers I used to encourage are now readers of our titles and now we’re one of the independent publishers doing everything we can to help folks discover new authors and technology.

It’s been a decade plus of change, innovation and readership. With a holiday season that’s bringing new devices such as the Kindle Fire and updated versions of B&N’s Nook and Kobo’s reader, it looks as if 2012 could be one of the biggest years for the ebook industry. I’m as excited now as I was way back when I first held my Rocket eBook. Only this time, I’m helping to shape the industry from the inside instead of being on the outside wondering what I could do. It’s a great place to be.

Wow, Jay. What an awesome experience it is to be shaping the industry from the inside! I’m envious and awed all at the same time… Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

Giveaway!

You lucky ducks. Untreed Reads is sponsoring this giveaway for any ebook in their arsenal. Check out The Untreed Reads Store for titles and descriptions…

I know looking through a publisher’s titles can be daunting, so here are some of their latest releases:

  1. Stolen by Catherine Stovall
  2. stolen

    Jenda and Soborgne are best friends and everything they do, they do together. Unfortunately, this time the girls may be joined at the hip in a far more horrible way: by death.

    The girls are kidnapped and held captive by Belle and Matteo, two vampires with a plan. Belle, a sociopath in life and death, is searching for an heir to her reign as the only vampire to hold the secret to surviving the sun. Matteo is a lost soul who would give anything to be loved and to see the light of day. As the four characters’ worlds collide, blood is spilled, lives are lost, and rules are broken.

    Disappointment in love and life bring out the worst in humans but, with vampires, it leads to a chilling tale of romance and terror.

    catherine stovallCatherine Stovall is a new and upcoming author of fantasy fiction. Her first book, Stolen, will be the first in the Requiem of Humanity series. Catherine received her Associates of Science from Colorado Technical University. After working in the Criminal Justice field for several years, she has decided to dedicate her life to her true passion, creating captivating works of fiction. She lives in Southeast Missouri with her husband, three children, and pets. Find her online at her website, www.catherinestovall.webs.com.

  3. Where the Dead Fear to Tread by M.R. Gott
  4. where the dead fear to tread

    A police officer and a serial killer search separately for a missing child while running a malevolent labyrinth populated by creatures they never knew existed.

    Former prosecutor William Chandler, disgusted with his past inaction, spills the blood of those who victimize children to correct the ills he sees in the world. A self-admitted serial killer and uncomfortable with his actions, Chandler attends the funerals of those whose lives he has taken in an effort to retain a true understanding of the nature of violence.

    The carnage left in his wake is investigated by Detective Kate Broadband, who becomes progressively more comfortable with the corpses left by Chandler. Envying the power she sees in him, she pursues Chandler as each search for Maria Verde, a missing eight-year-old girl.

    As Chandler and Broadband draw closer to discovering what happened to Maria they are forced to confront The Devourer, an unnatural being trafficking in stolen children.

    Where the Dead Fear to Tread is a tale of hard-boiled macabre, bridging numerous genres to reveal a story of horror, crime and revenge.

    m.r. gottM.R. Gott is the author of Where the Dead fear to Tread and the forthcoming sequel Where the Damned Fear Redemption. You can visit M.R. at his website Cutis Anserina.

    M.R. lives contentedly in central New Hampshire with his wife, and their two cats and dog.  Aside from writing M.R. enjoys dark coffee, dark beer, red wine, and fading light.

  5. Chasing Pancho Villa by R.L. Tecklenburg
  6. chasing pancho villa

    Chasing Pancho Villa is a story of mystery, romance and adventure.

    In the fall of 1917, Harrison James arrives in New Mexico to investigate the mysterious death of his brother. There he meets the beautiful Maria Washington, notorious gunrunner and revolutionary. Their romance sizzles while his list of suspects grows.

    James is soon engulfed in subterfuge and drawn into a seamy underworld of gunrunning and sedition. To unravel the mystery of his brother’s death, he must outshoot bandits and outwit the Army.

    Traveling deep into Mexico to arm the popular revolutionary and folk hero Pancho Villa, When James and Washington are betrayed by enemy agents, they must fight their way back to the Rio Grande where,armed with new information on his brother’s death, James risks all to unmask his killer.

    R.L. Tecklenburg describes his style as easy to read, with short direct sentences and clean descriptions.  From Chasing Pancho Villa he hopes readers will gain a greater understanding of American history and a sense of how extraordinary events impact on the lives of ordinary people.  Born and raised on a farm in northeast Iowa, the author has adapted well to the East Coast and enjoys sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.  Since 1991, he and his wife Rebecca have made their home in Northern Virginia.

  7. Taken by Corie L. Calcutt
  8. taken

    Luke Dayton, a sophomore at a Virginia college, is walking home form the corner store when out of nowhere a man literally snatches him from off the street. To his horror, Luke learns that the man is a recent prison escapee – and that his plan to keep his freedom involves taking Luke’s.

    Over the next five days, Luke is forcibly taken on a cross-country journey across several states, witnessing a crime spree that has no rhyme or reason, except to his captor. The only hope Luke has of returning home to the life and loved ones he was removed from is to figure out where he is ultimately being taken…and what plans his kidnapper has for him once they reach their mysterious destination.

    A new work of suspense from the author of Hostage at the Kitchen Table.

    A Michigan resident with a Creative Writing degree, Corie has been writing off and on for several years. Someday she hopes that it can take over for all her other jobs, including (but not limited to) newspaper making, retail sales and substitute teaching. Her favorite form is the novella, but she is interested in branching into the shorter and (possibly) more pictoral-graphic styles.

  9. Harry’s War by D. Edward Bradley
  10. harry's war

    In war-torn England, in September 1941, thirteen-year-old Harry Lockwood steps off the train and embarks on his new life at Markham College, a boys’ boarding school near London. With his father stationed in North Africa and his mother working in a munitions factory a hundred miles away, he is on his own.

    Soon, Harry finds himself fighting for survival in a new world where the misuse of power by sadistic prefects creates a closed society ruled by fear and violence. As if this is not enough, Hitler’s bombardment of Britain with terrifying V1 flying bombs and V2 ballistic missiles threatens to destroy him.

    Harry’s tale is one of lost innocence, of war, of loyalty and of love.

  11. One Shot by B.K. Stevens
  12. one shot

    When rising politician Karen Dodd pushes through the toughest gun-control bill in Ohio’s history, she thinks it’s her ticket to the governor’s office. But soon after she announces her candidacy, on the day she’s slated to receive an award from a gun-control organization, Karen Dodd is found dead in her comfortable suburban home, one bullet through her heart.

    Suspects abound – her philandering husband, a hard-drinking former beauty queen, a smooth-talking gun lobbyist and his deceptively meek assistant, an ambitious television reporter who sees the murder as the story that could transform her career. Police lieutenant Dan Ledger puts his own life in danger as he struggles to uncover the secrets of suspects who at first seem harmlessly eccentric-but who can quickly turn deadly serious. Ledger’s used to piecing together meager bits of evidence, and he’s usually adept at analyzing the fears and desires that drive people to kill. This time, though, the motive takes him by surprise.

    One Shot is a traditional whodunit with a contemporary twist. Packed with suspense and humor, it raises questions about issues ranging from gun control to reality television.

    B.K. Stevens (Bonnie Stevens) is the author of Little Dumber Boy, published by Untreed Reads in December, 2010. She has also published over thirty-five other mystery stories, most of them in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Some of her stories have been reprinted in anthologies such as Women of Mystery I, II, and III. Another story appeared in Family Circle after winning first place in a national suspense-writing contest judged by Mary Higgins Clark. In addition, Bonnie has published college textbooks on composition (Holt) and on literary criticism and research (Holt/ Harcourt), along with a book on Jewish education (Behrman House).

    She and her husband Dennis live in Lynchburg, Virginia, where Bonnie teaches English at Lynchburg College; they have two daughters, Sarah and Rachel. Bonnie belongs to Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Find B.K. online at her website, www.bkstevensmysteries.com

So, what do you think? Worth checking out? I definitely say yes. As for how, fill out the form below before December 1st. For every 20 people entered, I’ll pick a winner, with up to 4 lucky ducks selected. One entry per person, but you may share daily if so inclined – just remember to come back and add your links! Good luck!

2 comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing today Jay. it certainly has been a revolutionary ride. I will be forever grateful for the ebook technology, which generally allows for me to get very affordable good reads and if not quite as good as I expected, I do not have the huge let down of knowing I spent my monthly book buying budget on a book I only finished because I paid for it and not because I really wanted to. There are some awesome examples of books here and I will specifically be looking up Stolen 🙂

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