lunes, 11 de agosto de 2014

Discourse and practice levels, about par

Spain used to have a bachelor & master degree, all in one, called "philosophy & letters". It's been a while, but it still features in the names of several faculties around. These days, degrees have specialized... and then they had to create another "general" degree when they found there was still a demand[*].

Thing is, that degree gave us high school teachers, editors, publishers, journalists... almost anything to do with letters. It included philosophy, of course, and so, things like... logic.

Apparently, Mr. Pietsch's curriculum didn't include that. It's only a guess, because I haven't been able to find anything on him, not even a wiki (compare that to the ammount of data on, say, Bezos or many Fortune 100 guys). Still...

withdraw the sanctions against Hachette’s authors

What sanctions?

It's interesting how Hachette (et al) likes to mistreat Orwell. "All books are special, but some are more special than others". Theirs, and Big 5's. Because that "mistreatment" is above and beyond what most indie writers can hope. Indies don't have... not preorders, they don't even have the ability to create a product page before it goes live.

Now, Salon's not what I'd call neutral. Not when it talks about "scorched earth campaign" (by amazon, of course) and posts an article with little more than a forward of Mr. Pietsch's letter.

Now, points:
  • Amazon punishes authors. No. And don't get me started on Amazon following the publisher's suggested price.
  • Hachette sets prices entirely on its own. The US DoJ and the Disctrict Court of New York would like to differ.
  • Those few priced higher most are less than half the price of print. That's where he could have a point. Baen had to raise prices of ebooks in order to get them into Amazon, and they have a layered approach (9.99 for hardback equivalents, 8.99 for trade and 6.99 for mass market). Doesn't explain why I can find ebooks at over 25$, though, some of them without print. Specially from the French parent company, but not only.
But the bullshit starts now...
  • Unlike retailers, publishers invest heavily in individual books Ah... yes, the curator's argument, indeed.
  • often for years, before we see any revenue. And your sluggishness is Amazon and its customers fault, how? Fiction River, from kickstater to amazon in 8 months, coordinating many writers. Check the budget.
  • advances against royalties. Talk with a writer about that, see him sob.
  • editing, design, production, marketing, Marketing? About par with design. About which, see Penguin's cover above. And that was for a children's classic. With a relatively recent Hollywood movie (basically, not yet dated).
  • warehousing, shipping "Warehousing" means "get amazon to stock it". See his comment about hurting writers when it stopped doing so. Hachette can't stock worth a damn any longer.
  • piracy protection A) Nice try. Ever heard of torrent? Or direct download? Or napster? B) Son of a bitch No, sorry, why should I respect someone who doesn't respect me? Respect is either a two way street or feudalism. Which, granted, suits Big 5 to a T.
  • We recoup these costs from sales of all the versions of the book Again, not my problem; nor Amazon's. If you want to subsidize your hardcover warehousing (heh!) with my ebook purchase, don't expect me to like it. Sure, some costs are shared. Some aren't. And I haven't seen a single item from Big 5 that acknowledges that. They seem to be unable to separate both common and particular expenses. Of course, Big 5 accounting has never been all that precise.
Basically, he's demmanding readers (and amazon, but it can defend itself) to cough extra money to account for bad business practices.

Not my money, scammer.

Take care.

[*] I'm not sure there was a need and, since the higher education system in Spain is mostly subsidized, I'm not sure it was the right thing to do, but...Well, it's a classic and I'm not going to get into educational politics, here. So not going to.

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