Thursday, February 04, 2010

Amazon Does NOT Want to Expand The E-Book Market

Yes, it's true that Amazon allows you to publish and market your own stuff to the Kindle, and at a very attractive-seeming royalty...but that model allows you to publish ONLY to the Kindle.

You don't see Amazon "fighting" to keep prices down on .pdf or epub files, just Kindle-friendly ones.

If they do what they seem bent on doing, and drive other e-book readers, as well as paper books, off the market, then you, the reader, are only going to be able to get your reading fix on Amazon.

What's worse from my perspective: if Amazon has their way, writers are only going to be able to publish with them. And if that happens, how long you think that sweet royalty will last?

Amazon isn't trying to expand e-publishing. They're trying to contract it to one machine, the one Amazon makes.

It's a bad idea. Fight it.

Post Your Amazon Alternatives Here

SFWA removes links from website

Despite their acknowledgment a few days ago that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms, it appears that Amazon still hasn't restored the ability to buy titles from Macmillan or its subsidiary publishers (including mine) at its website. Whatever your feelings about who's right and who's wrong here, it's undeniable that this is hurting authors more than it's hurting either Amazon or Macmillan. So the Science Fiction Writers of America has decided that they "would prefer to send traffic to stores where the books can actually be purchased." To that end, they're taking the Amazon links from their website and substituting links to, Powell’s, Barnes and Noble, and Borders.

I've also posted links here to Park Road Books, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and Murder By the Book.

Anyone else have suggestions for online bookstores? Post them here, with links. Amazon's been the big dog too long.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

But John McCain Is An Honorable Man


"I understand the opposition to it, and I've had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to."-John McCain, 2006 talking about "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

"At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy."- John McCain, 2010, the same day Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen came to him (and other Senators) and said "Senator, we ought to change the policy."

Wait, it gets better:

"Senator McCain has not changed his policy on Don't Ask Don't Tell" -McCain spokesperson Brooke Buchanan.

They're not even trying to pretend any more that they have any principles at all. They're lying to our faces, they know it, we know it, and they just don't care.

And, of course, the chickenshit Democrats will never pick this up and run with it, and the media will let it drop, because John McCain was a POW.

Meanwhile, the big story is that Caribou Barbie is pretending to have her knickers in a twist, because Rahm Emanuel called some leftists "fucking retarded." SIX MONTHS AGO.

Because, you know, she's always been such a friend to the Left. And she's always been right out front when conservatives refer to liberals, or the President, as "libtards." Hasn't she? No? I wonder why....

Quote of the Day

Jim Winter, at Edged in Blue
Print is not the buggy whip of the 21st century. The ebook is the paperback of the 21st century. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you will understand the future of publishing.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amazon: We're Going to Lose

Macmillan E-books - kindle Discussion Forum
Dear Customers:

Macmillan, one of the "big six" publishers, has clearly communicated to us that, regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases.

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book. We don't believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative.

Kindle is a business for Amazon, and it is also a mission. We never expected it to be easy!

Thank you for being a customer.

What can I say other than "Bitch, please."

A mission? Give me a fucking break. If Amazon was on a mission to do anything, it was a mission to make publishers their bitches and tell them what they could charge for their product. Which, in the long run, affects the writers' bottom line, because most of our royalties are based on sale price.

I believe that e-books should be priced lower. I don't think that price should be dictated by a single retailer.

Torture Works...Well, Maybe Not So Much

Latest Newspaper Column:
Unless you're a real hard-core news geek, the name John Kiriakou probably doesn't ring any bells with you.

Kiriakou, a 15-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency's "intelligence analysis and operational directorates," is not, to put it mildly, one of the better-known figures in the whole debate over national security and the fight against terrorists. But I'm willing to bet you've heard about a statement he's made, because it's one of those statements that's been woven indelibly into the wingnut tapestry of talking points on the subject of torture.

Back in December 2007, Kiriakou (hereinafter referred to as "Mr. K") gave an interview to ABC's Brian Ross (one of the Right's most reliable water-carriers in the so-called "liberal media").

In that interview, Mr. K asserted that Abu Zubaydah, a senior al-Qaeda commander, had cracked under a single short session of the torture technique known as "waterboarding." Further, said Mr. K., "From that day on, he answered every question. The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."

That statement was all that the torture fans of Wingnut Nation like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan needed to hear. Torture works, Limbaugh crowed while reporting on the ABC interview. "Thirty to 35 seconds, and he was done."

Except, as it turns out, Mr. K. didn't really know what he said he knew. In his recent memoir, "The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror," Mr. K admits that he wasn't there when the interrogation took place. "Instead," he said, "I relied on what I'd heard and read inside the agency at the time."

And, he goes on to say, the information he got may have been part of a disinformation campaign within the CIA itself: "In retrospect, it was a valuable lesson in how the CIA uses the fine arts of deception even among its own."

Further, Mr. K. reiterated an assertion that had come out since his interview: Zubaydah wasn't just waterboarded once; he was tortured 83 times in one month - "raising questions," Mr. K admits, "about how much useful information he actually supplied."

So to sum up, the guy who told everyone that torture works, and that torturing a top al-Qaeda commander saved lives, now says, "Well, maybe not so much." But, as we've seen over and over, once a talking point gets woven into that tapestry, it's almost impossible to pull it out.

Within a few days after the failed bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner by a poorly trained teenager who botched the job, Buchanan went on CNN to demand that Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab be tortured.

"We need to deny him his pain medication," Buchanan insisted, his voice rising hysterically until I began to wonder if soon only dogs would be able to hear him. "We need to subject him to harsh interrogation!"

Even the information that Mutallab was -apparently fully cooperating with the investigation didn't assuage Buchanan's lust to see him tortured, because, he asserted, we've "proved" that torture works.

Except we haven't. But the American Right seems determined to follow the words of St. Ronald Reagan, who famously said, "Facts are stupid things." They're aided in carrying out that belief by the so-called "liberal" media. ABC, for example, after heavily promoting Mr. K's interview back in 2007, has now conveniently buried his recantation deep in the back pages of its Web site.

The Right loves torture. They love it so much that, as Buchanan's rant shows, they want to torture people who are already talking. They don't really care if it works or not, because it's really not about gathering information. It's about taking out their rage and fear on someone, preferably someone who looks different from them. And they'll seize on any so-called justification for that, whether that justification turns out to be true or not.

So please, don't confuse them with the facts. And don't expect the "liberal" media to set the record straight when those "facts" turn out not to be facts at all.