The Beatles, "Paperback Writer"

>> Monday, March 12, 2012

I think what I probably wanted to write about, if I wanted to write about anything, was Scott Turow's big waaaaah about the Justice Department's possible lawsuit against the publishing industry and Apple for antitrust violations. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the rundown; short version: DOJ has informed several publishers and Apple Computer that they're probably about to get sued for price-fixing e-books). I think I'd probably want to write about that, but David Gaughran has already covered every pretty much angle. So just read what he wrote. (And thanks to whomever it was who pointed me to the Gaughran piece.)

Okay, so I might add this: I'm hesitant to call myself an "early adopter" when I only started buying e-books in 2004, three years before Amazon debuted the Kindle, but I have to amplify what Gaughran says about Amazon creating the e-book marketplace as we now know it. About the only reasons e-books weren't demolishing brick-and-mortar bookstores in '04 and causing publishing houses to tear their hair out were that back then e-books from services like eReader used clunky, very proprietary reader software; were noticeably burdened with very intrusive DRM (requiring credit card authentication, no less); and were a pain in the ass to download and/or sideload using the telecom technology of the era (early on, you downloaded the books to your computer and then sideloaded them to your reader, and boy-howdy, was that tons of fun, especially if you were still using dial-up for the download at home).

I would say the biggest thing Amazon brought to the table wasn't their leverage as a retailer of physical books, but WhisperNet and WhisperSync in 2009, which made downloading e-books and synchronizing them between devices a complete breeze compared to the drama you used to go through downloading a book or copying it over to a new device when you upgraded your PDA or phone. Aside from convenience, compared to the drama you used to have to deal with when buying a book or copying it to a new PDA or phone when you upgraded, Amazon was a trailblazer at cross-platform compatibility; it remains an advantage of Amazon's format that I can read the same book on my phone, my tablet, my netbook and my laptop, and Amazon will keep the place where I left off from one device to the next.

And that's more than I expected to say, hence the video filler.

My own writing, I'm afraid, doesn't go well. It would be nice to finish a short story, much less send it into the world to see if anyone bit on it. The most recent writing news was receiving a rejection from a place I'd sent something more than a year ago, forgetting they still even had it. Thanks for letting me know? It's hard to be disappointed under those circumstances. The Damned Thing, the long piece I've been working on for years now, restarting and rebooting and throwing away and picking up, with pathetic little to show for it, is gathering virtual dust. It's a dirty story of a dirty man, or it would be if I could get any traction anywhere. Would be nice if I could just suck the whole thing out of my brain and say, "here, done, fucking leave me alone, already."

Thomas Mann was right.


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