Round up #271: bookstore paradox, the Amazonapocalypse
Rage is all the rage right now. ;)
Even though I expect the
to do very well, and we are getting the Family Library (sharing books across accounts…although, presumably, in a limited fashion), and I bet we are going to get more cool services from Amazon in 2014 (expanding Firefly, the “real world recognition” software from Amazon is part of that…I find I’m using it pretty often to identify an actor on a TV episode, and to enter food into MyFitnessPal (at AmazonSmile*)), this is year where Amazon has been under attack…and I expect some of those aggressions are going to leave a mark (at least for a while).
Four years ago, I was writing about how super agent Andrew Wiley was in conflict with Random House over Wiley bringing e-book versions exclusively to Amazon.
Now, Wylie has this to say:
“If Amazon is not stopped, we are facing the end of literary culture in America.”
I guess it’s a good thing Random House got Wylie to back down…wouldn’t have wanted to see the poor thing get caught up in such a den of iniquity. ;)
Just kidding: I’m sure Andrew Wylie would say that Amazon isn’t the same place it was four years ago…and that Random House didn’t make the agent change any plans.
Then there is this
which three ups Wylie by giving us “4 ways Amazon’s ruthless practices are crushing local economies”.
“Amazon is insidious, far more dangerous and destructive to our culture’s essential values than Walmart ever dreamed of being.”
You see? It’s not just our literary culture, it’s our culture’s essential values.
I say it’s time to get the pitchforks and torches and storm the castle! Oh, we don’t have any pitchforks and torches? Here, I’ll 1-click some…we’ll be ready in two days. ;)
The 10 commandments of a book lover
The ever reliable EBOOK FRIENDLY has this
with an image by Brittany Foster of ten commandments of a book lover.
I don’t agree with all of these, but I think it’s a fun graphic…and I wanted something fun after the first story.
I’ll just list one to whet your appetite:
“Thou shalt have more book covered surfaces in thine residence than not.”
Banned Books Week
Last week was Banned Books Week
and I realized I didn’t write anything about it.
Well, I could say that I did and it was censored, but that wouldn’t be true. ;)
I have written about it in years past, and I think readers know…I would always err on the side of openness. I would rather that someone reads something they “shouldn’t” than that ten people aren’t allowed to read something they should.
I believe that you want people exposed to ideas that you don’t like. It’s the only way they can judge them…you don’t want to be sprung on them when they aren’t expecting it.
For me, I’d say, “Let the hate speakers speak.” I don’t like it…I’m even thinking I was too harsh on Andrew Wylie in the first story (even it was in fun). However, hateful ideas are a bit like vampires…sunlight destroys them. If somebody thinks that all of x group should be hurt in some way, I want to know that before they do it…not after. I want the power of laughter and rational thinking to be unleashed. I want to give their opponents an opportunity to challenge the ideas in open forum.
There is an argument for age appropriateness for me. My feeling is that once your sense of right and wrong is reasonably established, a book advocating “evil” things won’t make you evil…but you may be open to a book advocating “good” things, which can make you a better person.
I’m always surprised, though, when families don’t want their children exposed to ideas different from theirs (I’m not talking about porn, here, but philosophical differences). It always makes me think that you must not consider your ideas to be very strong, or your child to have much respect for you.
I wanted our child to choose our ideas because the kid agreed with them…not because there was no other choice offered. We don’t agree on everything now that our kid is an adult, of course, but some of our fundamentals are the same…and we can accept the differences.
If you’ve never seen differences, how can you possibly accept them?
My First Bookstore
is an interesting remembrance, and comparison of the bookstore experiences of our youths with those of being a parent.
I don’t remember which was my first bookstore…because there have been so many.
I would go into a bookstore and spend hours there (and no, I’m not talking about when I managed one). ;)
I think I remember most dusty, cramped, used bookstores…there was such a hope there that you would discover a long lost treasure, a book that might change your world.
Oh, I haven’t told you this before…and it’s one of the weirder things in my life.
There was a comic book/science fiction store I would visit. On more than one occasion, I swear I would arrive there before I left.
I even demonstrated that to people. We’d leave the house at, say, 3:15, and get there at 3:05 (I think the trip should have been about twenty minutes, as I recall).
It made sense in a sci fi way, but I couldn’t quite explain it.
I’m sure that will surprise some of you, because I think I sometimes come across as very scientifically based…and this certainly doesn’t fit in with science. :)
My best weird story like that was in high school.
I had a history teacher I liked…we got along well. I remember asking if I could teach the causes of the Civil War one day, and was allowed to do that…it went very well.
So, one Friday, this teacher told a joke in our class: “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.” Yes, they do…fruit flies like all kinds of fruit. :)
I thought that was funny, and repeated it to friends.
Monday morning, the teach told the same joke. The teacher looked and me and said, “You’re not laughing.”
I said, “I thought it was funny on Friday.”
The teacher denied telling it on Friday…and the rest of the class denied hearing it. I was thinking they must have forgotten it, and then the teacher said, “It was in Herb Caen this morning.”
Herb Caen was a famous San Francisco area columnist, and I checked…sure enough, it was there Monday morning, and not Friday (I’m not sure I have the particulars right, but the basic story is right).
The people to whom I’d told it Friday? They remembered me telling it to them…and telling them I’d heard it in that teacher’s class.
Interesting that it was that joke…seems apropos.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite childhood bookstore? What made it special? Will Amazon shrug off the criticism? Will it drive them to give us more practical benefits…or eventually crush them or cause them to raise prices? What if you couldn’t take your child to a bookstore…would spending time online with them looking at books be similar? Would going to a public library be the same? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.