I suppose we’ve all been following this Kindle bullshit, right? If not, you can go read this article, and this one has a roundup of what the media’s been reporting. You owe it to yourself – assuming you possess at least some level of intelligence – to study this development. It’s important. It can hurt you.

“This should be a matter of concern and a cautionary tale for the smaller presses whose licenses will come up for renewal,” said Andy Ross, an agent and a former bookseller. “They are being offered a Hobson’s choice of accepting Amazon’s terms, which are unsustainable, or losing the ability to sell Kindle editions of their books, the format that constitutes about 60 percent of all e-books.”

Basically, Amazon has taken bold steps to destroy independent presses and create some sort of horrible literary wasteland where people who read books like Life of Pi rule and get to rape us daily while we clean out their toilets.

Margins with physical books were traditionally low, which meant that bookstores, publishers and distributors often did no more than scrape by. When Amazon began, it sold books at deep discounts but still had to depend on the good will of publishers.

With e-books, the situation is more fluid. Readers expect them to be cheaper, which Amazon has been able to encourage because it is now a publisher as well.

Traditional publishers, however, have their own modest margins to worry about. They worry that if e-books are priced too low, the public will devalue their worth, and the publishers might wither away — something, they fear, that would suit Amazon just fine.

I hate ereaders and have returned two Kindles, so far, that were given to me as gifts. Sorry, assholes. Ereaders are all soulless, stupid, and possibly demonically evil. People say, oh, I can get thousands of books in one place and read more and save space!

Really? You would actually read thousands of books? Most of you fuckers have a hard time struggling through three books a year. And if you do actually own thousands of books – what’s the storage issue? Do you live in a shed? Does your religion forbid you from using bookshelves? Do you have a mental disorder that stops you from reselling them or giving them away?

Oh, it’s more convenient! Is it? You’d rather have a $150 shiny gadget that needs a fucking boatload of accessories and, at some point, a recharge as you ride the train through the ghetto? That’s more convenient than a paperback you bought for a penny from the used bookstore?

Oh, okay, maybe it is. I think you own a Kindle because you’re a weak-willed consumer whore who does whatever you’re told. America’s battered wife syndrome version of consumer culture at work. But, maybe I’m wrong…

So let’s address the soullessness issue. I always loved the bit in 1998’s The Croupier, the ultimate film about writing, where the author dreams of seeing his book being read by all the sad commuters on the train. I know I’ve certainly bought books because I saw someone reading them on the train. But, now, everyone’s thumbing their Kindle. It’s all so cold and clinical, and benefits nobody except Amazon. They make all the money off of their gadgets (which, yes, are made by slaves, FYI).

Their current move to pressure indie presses is something that’s been brewing since December. And it’s the start of an all out assault on writing as well as publishing. I say mail your Kindles back to Amazon. Hell – smash them! Right now. Throw them away. Amazon’s actions violate the very core of our being. This isn’t about using a popular song for a commercial, or remaking a classic movie. Writing is the pipeline to our souls. It’s the voice in our heads that forms our thoughts and dreams. It’s the intimate fucking song of life.

We should be enraged about this.

Shouldn’t we?

3 Comments on “Kindlenomics

  1. The usual GS article writing pyramid sort of does this one a disservice, I’m discovering. People on FB are more concerned about how they use their Kindle, and proving to me that they read more than three books a year.

    This article isn’t about that. I don’t care if you read a book a day. What I care about is what I say in the last paragraph.

    Click on the links and read about what’s happening. Sorry if that’s hard for you because someone stole all of your fingers, but I’m not doing a news story here. This is Great Society, for god’s sake. It’s all tits and sex and Space: 1999 written by someone who calls himself Nacho. Jeez.

    Read the links. Read the links linked at the links… Study this. It is important. There is a problem. Income for most small presses is primarily composed of ebook sales, per Amazon’s encouragement and sweetheart deals. And, now, 400 small presses have been locked out… And e-rights contracts are coming up for review for all small presses over the next 15 months. All it takes to tank as a small press is one little bump in the road — a few months, half a year at most. Then, bang, we’re all bankrupt. Gone. And Amazon becomes the primary voice for indies, the primary ebook publisher, in the country.

    Are you comfortable with that? Is Amazon your indie voice? And what happens when they decide which authors qualify for Kindle and which do not? Where do those authors go? And what happens when they fold, or move on to the next thing, or whatever? It’s Life of Pi part 2 for you, then. Have fun.