Random Thoughts for Wednesday Morning

by Patrick on April 8, 2009

  • If “The Wire” were written today, would Barksdale’s crew be using Twitter in some ingenious way?  I can just see Lester Freamon looking at photos of them typing away on their phones:  “It looks like they’re texting, but nobody’s receiving the message.”  I’d love to see the flip side of that scene, too.  Stringer:  “Bodie, you gotta holler bout that re-up, you feel me?”  Bodie:  “I tried but I kept getting the fail whale, String.”  On a semi-related note, a Canadian judge recently decided to allow a journalist to “Tweet” a gang trial, despite concerns from lawyers that jurors might read the tweets.
  • Everybody is talking about digiARCs today, with Stephanie’s article in Shelf Awareness and Jessica’s post at The Written Nerd leading the way.  I would LOVE the ability to read ARCs on my iPhone, as it would reduce the clutter in my apartment.  As an inducement to publishers, it would probably make me much more willing to give your galley a shot.  I can see resistance from publishers, though.  If the physical ARCs they distribute now end up at The Strand, how long before the digiARC of Jonathan Lethem’s new book ends up on the internet somewhere, months before publication date?
  • On the subject of ebooks, there’s a good post about the customer boycott on Kindle ebooks priced over $9.99 at Conversational Reading.   I’ve already left a comment on the post (click through to read it), but I’ll expand the point here.  This boycott is wrongheaded and it’s bad for everyone involved.  I think tiered pricing is the smartest, fairest model for e-content.  It won’t be the format of a product but rather the speed and the timing of how  and when the product is delivered that will determine the price.  If you want a book within the first few months it is out, you will pay a premium for it.  Not because it costs more for the publisher to make it (the cost of production, in this case, is wholly irrelevant to pricing) but rather because the demand for the book is high at this point.  As demand drops, so does the price.  Online music retailers have finally figured this out, so let’s all agree to skip the years of fighting about it and switch straight to a teired pricing system for ebooks.
  • Today would be John Fante’s 100th birthday.  I think of Fante’s novel Ask the Dust as sort of the first LA novel.  Indeed, from Stephen Cooper’s appreciation in today’s LA Times“In Fante’s hands, the landscape of greater Los Angeles — from Pershing Square to the Santa Monica beach to Long Beach to the San Fernando Valley to Central Avenue and finally to the Mojave — became a three-dimensional character. Never before had the city been seen with such a penetrating, panoramic eye.”
  • The Inside Flap, formerly the excellent blog of Harry W. Schwartz Booksellers in Milwaukee, WI, is back in action despite the Schwartz’s closing.  Hooray!