Monday, August 15, 2005


Monday and a stomach full of garlicky spaghetti do not induce flights of creativity. That's my excuse for having nothing to offer today but some links sprinkled with attempted thought-provoking commentary. I'll try harder tomorrow.

  • I have mixed feelings about this article at Alternet about and chain bookstores ruining independents. I personally don't like Amazon and have never bought anything from them, but the article is a bit overboard. It begins by exclaiming that Amazon has contributed to the loss of more than 2,000 independent book and music sellers in its decade of existence. It has had unfair advantage on the stock market and from the government (they don't have to charge sales tax). But yet, according to the article, Amazon book sales are only 7% of the overall US book market. But Amazon was joined by Barnes and Noble and Borders to form an evil triumvirate. Their mission is to take over the entire market and make sure that you can only ever read books like The Da Vinci Code and He's Just Not That Into You. I think there must be a box somewhere labeled "rants against the evil triumvirate" and every six months or so journalists take turns pulling one out. They all basically say the same thing with only slight changes in the numbers. Lest you think I am a heartless wench because one of those evil three helps pay my mortgage, I do care about the independents. But I don't see that the evil three and independent bookstores are mutually exclusive. They can and do co-exist. To say that 2,000 independents closed in the last decade because of the evil three alone is an easy out. There is a bigger and more detailed picture that includes the economy, technology and, of course, reading habits.
  • Someday, I'm going to go here
  • Here's where all the true Tolkein geeks are hanging out.
  • Maude Newton discusses plagiarism allegations that were made against Ha Jin.