The Amazon Wars

In The Guardian, author Ursula K Le Guin, as the headline says

Launches broadside on Amazon’s ‘sell it fast, sell it cheap’ policy

Ursula K LeGuinUrsula K LeGuin at home in Portland in 2005. Photograph: Dan Tuffs/Getty Images

She accuses the online giant of using its market dominance to control what we write and what we read. After an analysis of how the “Best Seller Machine” has worked in the last decades, Le Guin writes that the online retailer is changing the culture of publishing.

The Amazon model, she writes, is “easy salability, heavy marketing, super-competitive pricing, then trash and replace”.

The ideal book, under this template, is “a safe commodity, a commercial product written to the specifications of the current market, that will hit the BS list, get to the top, and vanish. Sell it fast, sell it cheap, dump it, sell the next thing.”.” ”

And all that is fine and true.

But she already has a well-deserved name and presence in the market. She is published by some big guns with big distribution and publicity oomph. She can afford to call out Amazon.

It’s a lot more dicey for most of the rest of us.

After a few years with a publishing giant, my most recent books have all been published by small presses. My local indie bookshop balks at carrying physical copies of these books because the small press can’t offer the expected bookseller discounts or can’t take returns or other insider business accepted practices.

Often the only way a reader can buy a specific book in a bookstores is to ask them to ORDER it for you. But that presupposes that the reader actually know the book exists, and who published it, and you have to be armed with every last little detail (and even then there are no real guarantees).

In other words… there are times that the only place some books ARE easily get-at-able (if you aren’t a household name like Gaiman, or Le Guin…) *IS* at Amazon the Evil Empire.

I know. it’s a war. But I can only WRITE the books. How and where they are sold… that’s too big a battle for a single author. And if the only place I can easily sell them is Amazon… then that’s the only place I can sell them right now. I am not in the happy position of having a million people line up in Harry Potter costumes outside every bookstore in Christendom for a hot-of-the-presses hardcover copy of MY latest book. I have my own caveats about selling at Amazon… but until things change…

Buy my books at Amazon. Please.

Read The Guardian Ursula story HERE

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21 books every woman should read

At The Huffington Post, Nina Bahadur offers a list of incredible titles from the past few years, some of the most-discussed, thought-provoking and life-changing books from a diverse group of women writers.

From lighthearted memoirs to harrowing thrillers, there’s a genre here for everyone.

For example:
Sheila Heti

How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti

“A raw, startling, genre-defying novel of friendship, sex, and love in the new millennium—a compulsive read that’s like ‘spending a day with your new best friend.'”

~ Bookforum

 

 

 

 

See all the books HERE

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11 Writers Who Really Loved Cats

Writers are sometimes stern and cold at heart, Sean Hutchinson notes at Mental Floss, “introverts who escape into their own solitary world, away from outward distractions that would somehow muddle their extraordinary work. Other times, writers just need a friend. And while they say that a dog is a man’s best friend, these writers each found solace in another four-legged companion.”

Ernest Hemingway, was one, of course.
hemingway_catsHemingway and his family initially became infatuated with cats while living at Finca Vigía, their house in Cuba. During the writer’s travels, he was gifted a six-toed (or polydactyl) cat he named Snowball. Hemingway liked the little guy so much that in 1931, when he moved into his now-famous Key West home, he let Snowball run wild, creating a small colony of felines that populated the grounds. Today, some 40 to 50 six-toed descendants of Snowball are still allowed to roam around the house. Polydactyl felines are sometimes called “Hemingway Cats.”

And the other cat-loving authors were…

See them all HERE

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What If?

At Mental Floss, Mark Juddery examines 19 alternate histories that might bring a very different world.

For example:
6) What if Christianity missed the West?

Effect: The Enlightenment starts early – and lasts a thousand years.

Explanation: French philosopher Charles Renouvier’s book Uchronie (1876) suggested a history in which Christianity didn’t come to the west through the Roman Empire, due to a small change of events after the reign of Marcus Aurelius. In this history, while the word of Christ still spreads throughout the east, Europe enjoys an extra millennium of classical culture. When Christianity finally goes West, it is absorbed harmlessly into the multi-religious society. Naturally, this view of history was colored by Renouvier’s own worldview: while not strictly an atheist, he was no fan of organized religion.

Or perhaps:
9) What if the Protestant Reformation never happened?

Effect: Christianity would continue to rule the world. Science, not so much.

Kingley AmisExplanation: Renowned novelist Kingsley Amis entered alternate-history territory in 1976 with his award-winning novel The Alteration. In his imagined history, Henry VIII’s short-lived older brother, Arthur, has a son just before his death. When Henry tries to usurp his nephew’s throne, he is stopped in a papal war. Hence, the Church of England is never founded, the Spanish Armada is never defeated (as Elizabeth I was never born), and Martin Luther reconciles with the Catholic Church, eventually becoming Pope. Naturally, this turns Europe into a vastly different place. By 1976, it is ruled by the Vatican, in the middle of a long-running Christian/Muslim cold war, and technologically regressed, as electricity is banned and scientists are frowned upon.

Read the whole story HERE

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THIS n THAT

1962, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
QUIZ: “To Kill A Mockingbird”

It’s a modern classic, loved by bookworms around the globe, but how well do you know the characters and plot?

The Guardian quiz HERE

 

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11 Ways Reading Judy Blume Changes You

“‘Everyone has problems.”

All the ways HERE

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Jacqueline Woodson has been named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. “She is an elegant, daring, and restlessly innovative writer,” said Poetry Foundation president Robert Polito.

Woodson has written more than 30 books for children and young adults.

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Quote of the DayQUOTE not earn living

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Alma Alexander      My books      Email me

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