Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This aint a plea

It's more an order. It's something concrete that we can do. Don't send money to clean the Gulf. Let oil money clean the Gulf. Let the dividends the company wants to pay out clean the Gulf:
Hey ya’ll, the Gulf Coast still really needs our help. Text ‘COAST’ to 50555 to donate $10 to helping the oil spill.  @theellenshow
about 9 hours ago via web
I can't even believe people are asking for donations to clean that bloody oil, but I digress.... There is a link to a paypal site and the donation process is easy to help keep This Ain't afloat and that would be a good thing. They do good work. We need them. Send them some money. Order a book.

The larger question is how can we assure book stores exist in our world? How can we assure they remain viable? I wanted to make some glib comment about the relationship of car travel to diminishing book sales, even neighbourhoods, but that would be glib. I wish there were a way in which book stores could get some kind of status that allowed them to operate outside of taxes, for example. Or, in a mixed use model where we set aside a certain percentage of retail space as fulfilling a cultural purpose (well aren't they?) and offered reduced rent...sorry, but when I hear the kinds of rent these book stores are paying I shake my head. It. Does. Not. Compute.

And we need to stop this deep discount pricing bull shit with Amazon and so on. Sorry all who take advantage but as Marilyn Hacker points out, in France discounting of books is illegal so there are book stores, physical book stores that thrive. How many books they sell, I don't know. But what I want to know is why are these huge companies allowed to basically steal small businesses and wipe out competition? How is that fair?

And why are books taxed? Why on earth are books taxed? Why can't we give book sellers special status. Seriously. Give them a break. You give Amazon breaks...what would you rather have, a big empty building in some suburb sending out books or a hundred small, viable, businesses?

And here's an order for you, This Ain't: get your online business going. Many writers are out in the nether-lands unable to get into Indie book stores and Amazon has their business. Why can't you take a cut of that?

And Canada Post? Give us a bloody book rate. Can we send a book without it costing more than the book?


drakealley said...

Thanks for this piece -- nice to see some web-based advocacy for This Ain't. Where can I find Hacker's comments on the French book market (book discounting and physical bookstores)?

Lemon Hound said...

Thanks for the visit, Drake.

As for Hacker's comments: you can find them right here.

drakealley said...

Well, yes. The anecdote leaves me wanting more. (I guess I'll just have to make a research trip to Paris...)

Lemon Hound said...

Yes, sorry. I guess I could ask...

drakealley said...

No no -- don't worry about it. I just thought she might have written something about it, but it sounds like it was a conversation. (Besides, I like the Paris research trip idea. Time to start saving my pennies. Or to re-work the SSHRC postdoc proposal I'm currently working on!)

David (Michael) Wolach said...

Yes. Thank you.