When “always” doesn’t mean “always”: The ABA tries to have it both ways

June 11, 2014 Rob 0

A rather galling post recently appeared on the Publisher’s Weekly website with the title “ABA Thanks Amazon.” It features a logo created by the American Booksellers Association that reads “Independent bookstores sell books from all publishers. Always.” The problem with this fun little jab at Amazon? It isn’t true. For example, many independent bookstores specifically refuse to stock books put out by my publisher, 47North, despite the fact that 47North has published books by sci-fi luminaries like Neal Stephenson and Greg […]

Is Amazon good for books? and other dumb questions

June 10, 2014 Rob 0

I finally got around to reading George Packer’s article in the New Yorker entitled “Cheap Words: Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?” yesterday. Spoiler alert, in case you haven’t read the article: Packer doesn’t answer the question. In fact, he doesn’t even really address the question. Most of the article is taken up with head-shaking reminiscences of Amazon’s ruthless business practices, its treatment of books as “widgets” rather than the lovingly birthed children of the tortured […]

In defense of Slate’s anti-YA tirade (kind of)

June 9, 2014 Rob 3

Slate recently ran an article with the title “Against YA,” which is subtitled “Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.” I’m linking to the article reluctantly, because I’m among those who immediately dismissed it as shameless click-bait–and taking the time to actually read the article only confirmed this suspicion. The author’s argument “against YA” is every bit as muddled, factually baseless, self-contradictory and elitist as you would expect. You know […]

James Patterson gives you twenty seconds to comply

June 7, 2014 Rob 4

The Big Five publishers unveiled a new weapon in their arsenal against online retail giant Amazon.com this past week: best-selling author and renowned cyborg James Patterson. Patterson took center stage at Book Expo America in New York on Saturday to speak to hundreds of independent booksellers. He was escorted to the stage by Michael Pietsch, the CEO of the publishing conglomerate Hatchette Book Group. Pietsch made a brief statement introducing Patterson, explaining that an efficient book distribution system “is only part of […]

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