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December 4th, 2008

3:52 AM

Ellora's makeover

Whoa there, Ellora's Cave has had a makeover. The whole thing looks like a big shopping mall now. While I can get used to the layout, I'm pretty sure they will be hearing some complains from visitors about how these visitors confuse pages that market ebook products with pages that market print book products. While I like the new layout, I have to wonder whether it is wise to have their imprints labeled as "Moderne", "Aoen", and other non-intuitive names.

Also, there seems to be an attempt to eventually put Ellora's Cave, Cerridwen Press, and the Lotus Circle together under the "Jasmine Jade" banner or something, because clicking on a product link in the Ellora's Cave website takes me to a page branded with the Cerridwen Press logo. Hmm, maybe this is some kind of in-transition renovation kink that will be ironed out eventually.

Still, the good news is, these people are pretty much giving away print books, what with trade paperbacks going from $3.50 to $4.50 here. I wonder what the catch is. Are these returned books that may not be in tip-top condition? The website only mentioned that these books are on sale, but I have to wonder why these books are sold at prices that are lower then their ebook formats in most cases. These folks must be having plenty of unsold inventory, I suspect. But does it matter what the reason is? Cheap books, people! $35 and above gets free shipping (sorry, US folks only, sigh). BUY, BUY, BUY! Ahem.

I wonder what their international shipping rates are like.

Note: They have since reverted back to their old site design, which is probably for the best until they work out all the kinks in their planned site revamp.


12 comment(s).

Posted by MoJo:

I think they have their own printing press and don't go through Lightning Source.
December 4th, 2008 @ 4:04 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

True, but what does that signify?

They are selling, for example, a recent anthology of theirs for $4.50. A recent release, not some title from years ago. I don't think anyone will cut prices down this much unless they really want everything to go.
December 4th, 2008 @ 4:07 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

Well, I took one for the team and spent some time trying to check our 4 random books just to figure out the shipping charges. It took about thirty forced refreshes to get their shopping cart page to complete loading. The log-in page is worse - I spent what seemed like fifteen minutes refreshing the page just to get it to load. And then spend more time waiting for the "submit" process to complete. Only to be told that my old user name and password for the "old" Ellora's Cave website are no longer valid and I need to create a new user account.

The things I do in the name of research, I tell you. That is 20 minutes of my life I will never get back.

Verdict: EPIC FAIL.

PS: But this problem with loading time could be due to the fact that my ISP is run by baboons rather than human beings, so I don't know whether the problem is on their end or mine. I have no problems waiting for other websites based on US servers to load, however, so my guess is as good as yours as to where this problem can be blamed on.
December 4th, 2008 @ 4:36 AM

Posted by Fiordiligi:

Ermm, the site takes about two years to load, and my computer and internet connection are very fast. The imprints are pure s...t, especially because the explanation of the imprints doesn't load quickly enough. Furthermore, the genre isn't mentioned anymore on the respective book page, so now I have to guess, or always browse by genre instead of by author? As to their merging plans ... that might very well be the cause for the future, but I think what you saw was more a glitch in quality control before the site went online.
December 4th, 2008 @ 4:46 AM

Posted by meh:

I cannot confirm why the books are the prices they are, but I know on mine, I asked for the rights back a few months ago and they have, under the contract, a set period of time to sell off remaining stock.

So, not to worry, it isn't because of sticky pages or anything.
December 4th, 2008 @ 5:58 AM

Posted by MoJo:

Well, I tried to get there, but I didn't have time to wait.

I think you should send them a bill for your time.
December 4th, 2008 @ 6:00 AM

Posted by RfP:

I already complained about the navigation, and got a courteous response that missed my point. Why make those unintuitive line names be the *sole* navigation? Their response said they would expand the "What do the lines mean?" link--but that doesn't help when the user's at the front page staring at the line names. Don't force the user to stop and decode.

How about simply saying "Breathless Romantic Suspense" on the main page? Or how about navigating by line *or* via a tag cloud of their old categories (hotness, time period, etc)? (Though I see they've made a start on that with the icons at bottom left.)

The nice thing about the web is, you can get to things in *multiple* ways. And the more useful terms like "romantic suspense" you add to a business' homepage, the higher the site's standings in the search engines. (E.g. googling "romantic suspense" finds eHarlequin and Penguin, but no other publishers on the first 3 pages of results.)
December 4th, 2008 @ 8:11 AM

Posted by Mary B.:

It loads for me but without the graphics.

Epic fail.
December 4th, 2008 @ 9:07 AM

Posted by JenB:

I placed an order yesterday and it took me four hours to buy ten books. I had other work to do while I waited for the pages to load, but it was still a pain in the ass. Everyone's having the same problem.
December 4th, 2008 @ 9:46 AM

Posted by RfP:

It won't load at all now, but when I tried it last week the redesign was already done and I didn't have any problems loading the site. Something new is wrong there, possibly unrelated to the redesign.
December 4th, 2008 @ 1:47 PM

Posted by Dorothy Mantooth:

They've had an unexpected bandwidth problem that they anticipate will be fixed soon, so that's why the slow loading and everything.

Also, there should be--I get it, anyway--hovertext to tell you what the lines are. If you hold your cursor over the dumbass new name, a little line that says what category it *actually* is will appear.

Hope that helps. Please don't take my attempt to help as a sign that I love the new site and think it's neato, because I don't and I don't understand why they had to go and do this. You want to create a new site, fine, but at least leave the category names alone, you know? Just because people seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of what the lines over at Harlequin are doesn't mean we all do, and it doesn't mean I suddenly want to write Modernes and Nocturnes or whatever-the-heck. It's counterintuitive and it's silly.
December 4th, 2008 @ 6:51 PM

Posted by Mrs G:

Please don't take my attempt to help as a sign that I love the new site and think it's neato, because I don't and I don't understand why they had to go and do this.

Come on, no need to apologize for your thoughts. I don't bite!
December 4th, 2008 @ 6:54 PM