Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two centuries ago, our forebears would have known the precise history and source of almost every one of the limited number of things they ate and owned. They would have been familiar with the pig, the carpenter, the weaver, the loom and the dairymaid. The range of items available for purchase may have grown exponentially since then, but our understanding of their genesis has grown ever more obscure. We are now as imaginatively disconnected from the production and distribution of our goods as we are practically in reach of them, a process of alienation which has stripped us of opportunities for wonder, gratitude and guilt.

  —Alain De Botton, from The Enlightening Bridge Between Art and Work

Friday, February 05, 2010 Fail

Amazon Pulls Macmillan Books Over E-Book Price Disagreement

There is some marvelous commentary over at Making Light, a blog run by Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. John Scalzi weighs in with some pithy comments (full post):

Amazon apparently forgot that when it moved against Macmillan, it also moved against Macmillan’s authors. Macmillan may be a faceless, soulless baby-consuming corporate entity with no feelings or emotions, but authors have both of those, and are also twitchy neurotic messes who obsess about their sales...

These are the people Amazon pissed off. Which was not smart thing, because as we all know, the salient feature of writers is that they write. And they did, about this, all weekend long.

Boy did they. It's been fun reading.

Add this to
Amazon calls mistake 'embarrassing and ham-fisted', a "computer glitch," Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others, another computer-listing glitch, and other assorted maladroit, 500-pound gorilla tactics by a book source I will avoid patronizing (they may, someday, have something I absolutely cannot survive without, or they may get a clue; also, saying things like "I will never..." has a tendency to bite back, down the road). Amazon is a great resource. But they are no longer alone on the internet, and others have better pricing. I choose to display my displeasure this way.

For other book-aholics like me, there's Book Mooch, for trading books all over the world, the only cost is the shipper pays postage, my beloved Gutenberg Project, Book View Cafe, for an assortment of ebooks, and Audiobook Town Square, which I confess is owned by a friend.