Four Questions

by Patrick on October 22, 2009

  1. Why is it that whenever someone posts something critical, or at least skeptical, of “THE FUTURE” everyone in the comments section has to take time out of their busy days to call that person a Luddite or a fool or to gleefully taunt the original poster that he’ll be out of the business in five years/months/minutes because nobody can stop the awesome power of TEH INTERNETS!1!  Seriously, though, I thought Eric Obenauf’s piece on The Rumpus was worthwhile.  I don’t happen to share his lack of enthusiasm for ebooks, but I can appreciate it.  Frankly, with the sorry state of most ebooks — they’re the equivalent of filmed stage plays, not movies — why would anyone be all that excited about them?  Yet, surprise surprise, the comments are full of accusations of elitism and snobbery and taunts that his publishing company will go out of business because he isn’t excited about ebooks.  This is foolishness, and it gets you absolutely nowhere.  First of all, Eric’s company isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  Why?  Because he has a solid business plan and doesn’t want to take over the world.  His model isn’t based on selling 100,000 copies of a book to be successful.  On top of that, he has a clearly defined sensibility, a niche, if you will, and he serves that niche well.  This is the future.  And for those screaming, “What about the people who prefer ebooks?”  He has made/will make his books available as ebooks.  So what’s the problem?  Why does he have to be excited about it, too?  I find the tone of gleefulness with which some people pronounce the death of publishing to be a bit odd.  Why are you so happy that traditional publishing companies are struggling?  What does it get you?  What I gather is that many of the people doing the celebrating are people who were turned away or dismissed by the “establishment.”  They weren’t invited to the party, so now they’re psyched that the disco is on fire (How’s that for a metaphor!).  I’m as excited about the new possibilities as anyone else.  I can’t wait to see what Richard Nash’s Cursor looks like.  I think some people are hitting it out of the park publishing their own work.  I can’t wait to see what the first e-only book will be.  But I don’t entirely see why the big publishing companies have to die to make that a reality?  If you’re publishing your own work, what do you care what other people are doing?
  2. What did people think of Where The Wild Things Are?  I have to say the visuals look pretty damn great.  No idea about the story, though.  If you liked it, check out the “official” blog, We Love You So.
  3. What’s the one thing you wish Vroman’s did that we don’t?  What’s the one thing you think we should stop doing?  I can’t guarantee you will act on either of those things, but I’m curious to hear the answers.
  4. Why is Glenn Beck dressed like an SS officer on the cover of his book?  I saw a copy of this book for the first time in the Dallas Fort Worth airport (Yes, I made a David Foster Wallace joke when I was riding the AirTram, which is stenciled with the initials DFW).  I mean, Beck isn’t actually in the military, right?  And if he is, why is he fighting for the Third Reich?  Why not an American military costume?  And lastly, why was this considered a wise marketing strategy (It clearly was, since  the book has sold like a gazillion copies)?  I can picture someone standing in the bookstore and thinking “Well, Goering’s dating advice book was pretty good, so I’ll give this fellow a shot, too.”