Monthly Archives: January 2010

Sigh. And big moves are made.

So there’s a whole to-do going on in my workworld right now – not that many of you will care, because c’mon, how many people really even read now days anyway, right? (You’ll excuse me if I’m bitter).

Anyhoo – so, here are the basics. Amazon sells e-books for their e-reader, the Kindle. K, that’s cool. Their Kindle is closed format. Still, good for them, their company, their rules. Unfortunately, because they are the biggest book seller, this puts them in a position of habitualizing people who read electronically. They are creating the norms for e-publishing, and it seems that this doesn’t really matter to them. It’s more about Mr. Bezos’ control and bank account than it is about literature they’re selling. Which is very un-book-like. Rarely has publishing been about the profit, the reason that there are 8 billion books published a year is because hopefully one of them will take off and make us enough money that we can publish the other 7 billion blahblahblah and 99  without making a profit because we love them and they deserve to be out there… even if only a few people will ever really even read them. Sorry, /rambling.

So, this past week, Macmillan (a publishing house that includes Tor, FSG, :01 to name a few) went to Amazon to be like hey what’s up, let’s work on this pricing strategy you guys have. Right now, Amazon prices e-books at 9.99, often times selling them at a loss. This doesn’t matter to Amazon because while they are taking a loss, they’re also gaining customers who will read on their kindle as well as buy other things from Amazon. This matters to book publishing because if you price every book (regardless of cost of production) at 9.99, what does that mean for the future when e-books make up more than 3% of our market? So, Macmillan goes to Amazon with a new suggestion like hey, let’s maybe think about:

“Publishers would like to be able to set eBooks at a higher price, say $15, then degrade the price over time to a much lower price. How much? CEO of Macmillan says “Our plan is to price the digital edition of most adult trade books in a price range from $14.99 to $5.99.”

Not every book costs the same to make, why pretend they all cost the same to read.

Ah, but any way – this is not about the pricing. This is about Amazon’s response…

WHICH WAS TO TAKE EVERY MACMILLAN BOOK OFF THEIR WEBSITE AND ONLY MAKE THEM AVAILABLE THROUGH THIRD PARTY VENDORS.

What in the absolutely stupendously ridiculous flying fuck, Amazon?!

For a pretty great explanation as to why this is bad on a point by point front, check out this guy.

Now, I’ve been bitching about Amazon forevz and evz. But this is a big bully move, like seriously. Think about going into an indie book store, there’s a personality there – an understanding that this literature is important to people.

Yes, Amazon is hurting (“giant conglomerate evil”) Macmillan by doing this, but it is also hurting the writers and the editors and all the people who put a ton of work into a book to be made. Amazon wants to be considered a book seller by the customer and a book publisher by the publisher. They consider e-books “licenses.” This is, of course, ridiculous. Amazon’s made their point very clear with this move, monopoly is most important to this company. Monopoly of the publisher’s business as well as the customer’s business. And no fucking publisher is going to tell them what to do. Tobias Bell sums up the author issue pretty well in his crazy long post about this shiz:

“I’m not trying to exhort anyone to do anything, but to explain the situation I’m in, and to educate. I’m seeing a lot of people state things with certainty (points I try to knock down above) who have no involvement in the trade. A lot of readers are going to take this out on authors, and I wanted to basically show my homework to explain things that people may not be aware of. People toss out prices of what eBooks ’should be’ who’ve never even stopped to understand how the math of something like this works. They demand things they’d never demand of a jacket salesman, just because they think economics and supply and demand and volume don’t apply to eBooks. They do. Seriously. I’ve thought about these things a lot. Mostly because I have a novel series that has not been renewed, and I keep running the numbers to see if I could write it as an eBook, and when I run these numbers, I come up looking at making a few thousand dollars for half a year’s worth of work based on how eBook sell now. Yes, there are a few J.A. Konrath’s selling well on Amazon, but as I’ve linked, other authors aren’t automagically selling thousands of eBooks there. Most who follow these footsteps sell hundreds. Not everyone becomes JK Rowling.”

Apple’s outlook is a little better – though they have their hangups as well. (Can’t put your iBook on your iPhone?! Lame.)

It’s really more scary than anything. Sigh. I can’t rant about it anymore.

What’s troubling is that people don’t seem to care… even readers. You keep buying your kindles and your books off amazon, despite their big brotherness. What the hell, man.

This really is an opportunity for Indies and for Indie enthusiasts.

Buy stuff from independents. Do it! Indiebound will help you locate indie book stores and even specific books you want IN YOUR AREA. Or just go to Barnes & Noble. At least they remember that they’re in the business of books and not just in the business of business.

There are a lot of words in this post and not a lot of pictures. I was totally going to shop a Devil Bezos and put him in here, but meh. Not worth it. Instead, I’ll put in a video about what book publishing used to be like in 1947:

And a photo because I’ve habitualized you people in expecting such things from me:

Teh end.

If you are interesting in what’s going on, follow DigitalBookWorld on twitter, they’re recapping the situation nicely.

1 Comment

Filed under Life, Things I Find Interesting, This Sucks

Words Are Awesome.

No seriously. If I were to throw my language back for a hot minute, I might say that words and I have a very serious love affair, darling. So when I read, sometimes (… let’s be honest, more often than not), I read for style versus story. Because even if (not saying that this is true), but even if there are a finite number of stories in the world, there are a kazillion ways to tell them. It all comes down to how you use words. And not to say the story doesn’t matter, because if your plot or characters are uninteresting, then I don’t give a whaaaat about what you have to say. Mostly because you’re boring. So I probably hate you.

ANYWAY… so, quotes. This is dedicated to some of my favorite favorite quotes, and a few from friends and family and random interneters (courtesy of ontd-p) as well of course. Because as the internet should be, my blog is a CONVERSATION. Y’all should take a listen and speak up. Ya heard?

Here we go. In no particular order, the following are some random favorites with spotty commentary here and there. For funsies.

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.

Of course, Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has one of the best opening lines to any book ever. Adams speaks for all of us (well those of us who enjoy his humor any how). It is a particularly common sentiment, for example, when considering Fox News has more viewers than all the other news networks combined.

“Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.” – Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte.

(You guys see Laurence Olivier’s jawline, g’damn Heathcliffe – BaDOW).

“To die will be an awfully big adventure.” – Peter Pan

I adore Peter Pan, I really do. As the Disney Movie, as the live action movie, in Hook, and especially as the book. Of a time when it was okay for a children’s novel to be melancholy, Peter has one of the most simultaneously depressing and beautiful stories I’ve had the good fortune to read. With eight words, Barrie pretty much sums up our hero. It’s not about what’s happening, but rather, how interesting it is. How much fun Peter will have doing it. And death, well, you only get to play that game once. So it better be good, son.

“But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” – 1984, George Orwell.

First of all, yes. That is me. I was born in 1984 and so it totally makes sense. Shut up. That being said, this quote gives me the chills. The book is terrifying and amazing and I can remember sitting down and reading it in one sitting when I was fourteen. The direct way that Winston spoke to us was at best unsettling, but if we’re being totes truthful, no double speak involved, the narrative just lent itself to a simple terror. Also, my least favorite class in high school was French class which was in room 101 for three years. Going to French class was like letting rats eat my face off.

“No matter how hard I try to be good I can never make such a success of it as those who are naturally good. It’s a good deal like geometry, I expect. But don’t you think the trying so hard ought to count for something?”- Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery.

“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…. No one could die for you.” – Le Petit Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery.

“It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.” – Calvin & Hobbes, Bill Watterson.

Yes, yes, Calvin & Hobbes is a comic strip – but probably one of the most intelligent and witty strips ever written. It was a damn shame when Watterson retired (because commercialism fucked him over), but this one line has always stuck with me. Pretty sure I’ve ended more than one paper with it. (The accompanying image is remarkably apt as well.)

“He is at ease, his body sculpted to the music, his shoulder searching the other shoulder, his right toe knowing the left knee, the height, the depth, the form, the control, the twist of his wrist, the bend of his elbow, the tilt of his neck, notes digging into his arteries, and he is in the air now, forcing the legs up beyond muscular memory, one last press of the thighs, an elongation, a loosening of human contour, he goes higher, and is skyheld.” – Dancer, Colum McCann.

There is not enough to be said about the manner in which Colum McCann writes. It was hard to pick a quote from this passage, probably one of my favorite passages ever written. You can read the entire thing here. As my buddy All-Beef Pateenz can tell you, Colum McCann is easily one of the best voices in recent times, he uses words like colors and paints these incredible scenes for us. And it’s always more than just a picture, it becomes this living scene inside of you that you just feel down to your toes.

For fun, here is Nuruyev on The Muppet Show in 1977. With Miss Piggy in a Sauna and Dancing Swine Lake.

“You don’t have to stay anywhere forever.” The Sandman Series, Neil Gaiman.

Most of you know I kind of have to put this in there. But really, in the Kindly Ones when Lucifer says this to Delirium, it’s chilling. We know it’s the end, because nothing is forever. He especially knows this. … It’s kind of a weird video, I won’t lie to you. But hey, such is what happens when you google “lucifer morningstar” – he totes digs ambrosia.

“The Angel has confided in me that he is going to ask the Lord if he can become Spider-Man.” Lamb: the Gospel According to Christ’s Childhood Pal, Biff, Chris Moore.

It was hard to pick a good quote from this book just because so much of it is tear-inducing hilarious. Also, when trying to find an image to associate with this quote, I found this: LOL JESUS. You’re welcome.

“Weep not, my love,
Weep not, my love,
Your heart is close to me.
You fucking bitch,
Ungrateful cunt,
Your heart is close to me.
Oh, do not fear,
I’m nearer than near,
Your heart is close to me.
I’ll gouge out your eyes
And pound in your fucking head,
You fucking bitch whore,
Your heart is close to me.” Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer.

Don’t get me wrong, I hated the movie. Hated it. But c’mon, look how darn cute Elijah is. I can’t hate him. What do you want me to be? A monster? Jesus Christ.

“But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain.

I chose this quote not just because Huckleberry Finn is a favorite character of mine (so much better than Tom Sawyer, let’s be real), but because of it’s association to Iain Sinclair and Marc Atkins. I read both Lights Out for the Territory and Liquid City as a senior in college for a seminar on Mr. Sinclair. He was (and still is) the most frustrating writer I’d ever experienced. Of course, at the time, I hated it. But, looking back I have to respect his use of language. He used words to trip up his readers, I remember one line in particular, in White Chapel, Scarlet Tracings – the character is cooking breakfast, and Sinclair ties in the cooking of the eggs to the character’s scapula. If I hadn’t lost the book long ago, I’d put that quote in there because it’s been in my head for four years.

… I’m rambling. My apologies. I love this quote, cliche as it may have become, it’s a beautiful way to phrase wanderlust.

So there you have it, just a few random smatterings of the many, many, many. I may (read as: will probably) do another one of these some time in the future with more words of style from other books or short stories.

Suggestions kiddos? I know how you all love to read and support my lifestyle.

5 Comments

Filed under Fun Times, Things I Find Interesting