Wednesday, April 04, 2012

What, Me Debate?

Barry Eisler is participating in an online debate today on the Seattle Times website about Amazon.

I offered this quote to Barry for him to use at his discretion:

"J.A. Konrath, who has sold over 800,000 ebooks--the vast majority via Amazon--told me he had no interest in participating in this discussion because he doesn't expect the Seattle Times to be around for much longer. He said, and I quote, 'People paying to get their news delivered via dead trees? That's so 2002.' He also said, 'They won't print my quote. But I'm not hurt by this, because pretty soon they aren't going to be printing anything.'"

This does, however, bring up a point Barry and I often discuss between ourselves. Barry will be debating with a reporter, another author, and a book critic.

But where is the Big 6 representative? Where is the publishing professional?

The Times ran a four part hit piece on Amazon (if you don't think it's a hit piece, read it and then the reader comments.) You'd think that some Big 6 pro who hates Amazon would relish the chance to express the reasons for it in a public forum.

But they aren't. For the same reason they don't come to this blog and debate me.

I wouldn't ever say my website is so important that every criticism I have of the industry should be answered by industry professionals. But points I've raised (and that Barry has raised) on my blog have become widely known and accepted by a large group of writers, our advice is consistently taken, our actions emulated, and our names mentioned on a regular bases when the topics of self-publishing and ebooks are brought up. Even secular atheists such as Richard Dawkins and the late Chris Hitchens were invited to churches, synagogues, and religious colleges to engage in open debate. I've been asked to do so many media interviews that I've turned the majority down. Whether the industry likes it or not (and whether I like it or not) I'm a mouthpiece for the future of publishing.

But those people who work in the industry that I consistently, thoroughly, and publicly eviscerate don't speak publicly of me, or acknowledge my views.

I'd love to debate John Sargent, Megan Tingley, Jamie Raab, or even Scott Turow--folks who have said such jaw-droppingly stupid things that my gallbladder squirts bile when I read them.

The publishing industry employs thousands of people who are invested in its success. It has spawned several periodicals, newsletters, and websites dedicated to reporting industry happenings. These people can come to my blog anonymously, at any time, and explain how I'm wrong.

But that won't ever happen. And it isn't because they fear my rapier wit or harsh criticism, or because they despise me so much they refuse to acknowledge me.

They won't address my points for a simple reason: they can't. They still believe in a flat earth, and that's what they've invested in, monetarily and emotionally. If I worked for the Big 6, I wouldn't debate me either. No one wants to be shown how wrong they are. No one wants to be told that their relevance is fading. The majority of the world would rather defend their wrong-headed beliefs to the death than consider changing their minds. It's a flaw of the human psyche.

This doesn't bother me. It amuses me. The asteroid has already hit, and the dinosaurs still believe they'll continue rule the earth. Let them. We won't have to put up with their silliness much longer. As I said years ago, the Big 6 are selling drinks on the Titanic. I haven't seen a single one yet acknowledge the need to run for the lifeboats.

Oh, well. Natural selection is a bitch.