Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Links: The Hey, It's Stopped Raining edition

I’m typing on a borrowed laptop at a coffee shop I hadn’t planned on visiting, but it is pouring outside and walking the twelve blocks home would leave me soaked for sure. Walking home now would upgrade my laundry pile from “tonight sometime” to “Jesus, girl, why’d you put it off so long,” which would lead to me putting on PJs as appropriate alternative clothing which would then necessitate a nap.

It’s like giving a mouse a cookie, really. Put a twenty-something in her PJs on a rainy day and she’s going to want to curl up under some blankets to take a nap. It all goes down hill from there. That’s the real reason I’m in this coffee shop, to avoid the napping fate and its ability to wile away my free time, something that has been precious as of late.

In life, it seems, nothing is ever really spread out. Up until last week I was experiencing the paralyzing powers of boredom, and then all of sudden not only had I gotten into the Publishing Institute but the temp company was hooking me up with a job! I went from interviewed to hired in less than an hour and was once again facing a future of forty hours a week, albeit this time taking calls in a cubicle for a job that I would need to get drug tested and licensed for. I wonder if they’ll object to me answering the phones in a faux Brooklyn accent.

Just seems appropriate, if a bit clichéd, for the whole gambling experience. Hopefully being a bookie will be as interesting as it sounds.

Life in the book world continues to go on in interesting and kooky ways. Many thanks to the reader who gave me the heads up on the Newsweek article where John Banville has interviewed his alter-ego Benjamin Black. While it’s no Vonnegut/Kilgore Trout affair it is definitely worth the read if you’re intrigued by the inner going-ons in writers’ minds. One of my favorite customers from the bookstore was so fed up waiting for the Christine Falls to be released in the United States that he just went ahead and ordered a copy on Amazon UK. Unfortunately we closed before I could ask him if it was worth the cost.

Dr. Howard V. Hendrix (the VP of the Science Fiction Writers of America, according to Galleycat) disparages all authors who dare to give books away online. In response many have come forward to disparage Dr. Hendrix in return, and around and around we go. Personally I’m a fan of writers offering up free books, and loved the concepts that David Wellington, Cory Doctorow and others used to gather a wider reading audience. I took an impromptu poll of the my friends when I first read about Hendrix’s comments, and general consensus appears to be if they liked what they read, they would probably buy the book when it was released in print (if not to read again themselves, then to loan to others). It was only after learning about Wellington’s online endeavors with Monster Island that I began stocking it in my store. It became the book we would recommend to our horror fans looking for something new and different, and a title that we continuously sold through.

What I’m saying is that I’m on the side of the free books, and apparently I’m not alone. You can read a free novel, Jumble Pie, on Melanie Lynne Hauser’s site (she of Confessions of a Super Mom and Super Mom Saves the World fame, both titles I’ve heard recommended to people who like Julie Kenner’s Carpe Demon).

Moka wants to help you get in touch with your inner spirit via your cell phone by distilling bestselling self-help/religion/philosophy books down to the essentials and text messaging them to your phone. From what I can tell, you pay month to month for the service, but the current promotion has the first month free. How much inner learning could you pack into that time?

If you’re looking for something to read during the unpredictable weather we’ve all been experiencing lately, I’d suggest checking out “The Killer Genre” on Library Journal. Com (link provided by Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind). Not only does the article outline a bunch of small and upstart mystery publishers putting out some edgy new material, but points out what award winning material it has been. Interviews with the Man in Black’s Jason Pinter and Robert Fate follow.

Marta Acosta has up a link to an article on the use of ghost writers to create works by big name (and dead) authors. Maybe that's what I need for this blog! Think about it, with a ghost writer I could have new content up every day. Of course, I could have new content up every day if I just sat my ass down and typed, but that's entirely beside the point.

Now I’m feeling a little linked out, but I would like to hear your thoughts on any or all of these links. While I feel that the “whether or not to give away books for free on the net” debate has been done to death (and the practice should just be accepted), I’m fascinated by the potential parallels to be found in the DRM debates and the pulling of copyrighted material from You Tube. Where does is the line between creating a name for yourself/spreading the word via free material and infringement?

3 comments:

lectitans said...

I think the whole free book debate is fascinating, and I come down entirely in favor of free books.

Later, when I'm not in headache fuzzy headspace, I'll have a more complete response than that.

Ann(ie) said...

Will you change the blog to "Bookie chick" in honor of the new job?

julia said...

The copyrighted material on YouTube is the genie out of the bottle, never to be put back in. It makes life difficult for the film/TV industry which already struggles with piracy. However, having said that, I like the Stephen Colbert joke: the only thing better than watching TV is watching it smaller and fuzzier on YouTube.