sábado, 11 de julio de 2015

Virtue isn't contagious

I refuse to link to the original article, but... behold.

You need a very special kind of jerk to come to someone and say "fuck your birthday!". Yes, I know. Amazon is not a person. Tell that to the guy at Salon. The whiner at Salon.

He makes 5 points: the decline of bookstores, working conditions at amazon, killing the writing professions, the conditions of publishers, and its dominance.

A bunch of those are lies and misrepresentations. I'm not any sort of a special reader, and yet I know, from Spain, a good share of those 2000 indie writers he claims are left, from a max of 4000.

Oh... indie bookshops. Sorry. You mean the ones that are resurfacing now that B&N is no longer pushing them into the gutter? Up 25% in five years? Those indies?[*] Gotcha, thanks.

The way it treats workers... Can we please check on those jobs at printers that the Big V so placidly offshore to China? Pretty please? I don't pretend Amazon's warehouses are a gift from Heaven, but do please let's apply the same standards. If you want to reference "temperatures approaching 115 degree" then let's start with foundries. At it does require a very specific kind of blindnes to complain that your work has ambulances on attendance. Do try that at the next concert tour, would you?

The way it attacks writers? My ass! My choice of writers has sky rocketed in these last few years alone. About Hachette... Well, I've written about those before.

Has amazon affected small publishers? Yes. Some for the worse? Yes. Specially those who had low margins. The reference to Europe is weird, since a godly share of it has fixed price for books. And monopsony...? Well, it isn't illegal. Compare that with cartels and price fixing. And Apple.

ONE of those five points, a SINGLE one, reflects on amazon and writers. The rest is a school of red herring. And even the way he starts with indies (bookshops) and then redirects to Hachette (pubisher) is quirky. The rest are mentioned in a sort of virtue by association. "Writers are Godly, anything that touches their industry is virtuous by association... As long as it's not Amazon or the Rebel Alliance of writers. Or annoying readers".

No, it doesn't work that way. The Big V are the ones who helped B&N kill the indies. Amazon's dominance stems in a huge part from the hurdles that Big V and friends STILL put to comfortable e-reading. Big V employees (Hachette writers, Tor designers...) have been insulting readers for a while in their pursuit of some sort of ideological dominance. Publishers are using low-maintenance interns to check on writers output (not at 115 degrees, I'd hope, but can I check the ergonomics of their workplace? The health of their A/C? Their wage and living expenses?)

And the parting shots on profit? It's called reinvesting, you moron! If we had more of that, maybe those last 8 years would have been a different fish. What's, say, Hachette budget for R&D? I can give you Penguin's. But no, let's chastise Amazon. Including how good it is for consumers. The horror, really. With press like that, is it any wonder that you need independents? In publishing, in news, in...

Take care.

[*] Google "independent bookshops america increase" and choose.