Monday, September 22, 2014

The Name Game

Elsewhere on the Internets, David Gaughran gives the publishing industry a spanking, Dan Meadows gives Douglas Preston a spanking, and Hugh Howey gives Authors United a spanking.

I'm finding this highly amusing. The Hachette/Amazon situation has become a true comedy of errors. It's like watching Groucho Marx lead Freedonia into war by intentionally being greedy, dishonest, and self-serving.

I'm not sure if Authors United is a bunch of elitists who know they're full of shit and are trying to make the best argument they can to sway public opinion because they don't want the gravy train to end, or if they're truly as stupid as they appear.
I go back and forth. Think-tank forced to defend an unwinnable debate, or self-deluded pinheads?
What I'm really enjoying is the Law of Unintended Consequences. They're in a large hole, and they keep on digging. The situation has become a farce. And even though AU has the media in its pocket, the ridiculousness of their stance is becoming impossible to hide.

The same silly things are being repeated, over and over. Preston, Colbert, Russo, Patterson, Turow, Robinson, are attempting to use buzzwords and terms in order to evoke fear and sympathy, and failing spectacularly.

Collectively, they feel threatened, and there really aren't any good ways to defend their sense of entitlement, so they have to zero in on the same nonsense they've been preaching for years; protectors of culture, nurturers of writers, champions of indie bookstores, and defenders of fair business practices. Amazon is using "sanctions" and "boycotts", Amazon is a "monopoly" that is "targeting" authors.
This is all very specific language that the status quo has collectively adopted in order to spin the real story.

Barry Eisler wrote a hilarious piece on this kind of thing back in 2010, and it applies perfectly.

When waging the battle for public opinion, word choice matters. As Barry said in the above article, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, erupting 60,000 barrels of oil into the ocean per day, the media, government, and oil companies called it a "leak" and a "spill." It was actually an "ecological disaster". But describing it accurately would alarm the masses, so the language was tailored to put everyone at ease.

Authors United can't win on logic, facts, or even common sense, so they are appealing to emotion to sway public opinion, and the language they're using is tailored to that. So the same lies keep getting trotted out, with Authors United hoping that the public will start repeating them and public opinion will side with them.

I'm going to put the buzz words that are being repeated in italics, and explain why they're fallacious.

Amazon is not a monopoly. But people know monopolies are bad and illegal, so the term keeps getting used.

Publishers don't create culture. They don't create anything; authors do. But Authors United wants you to believe publishers are indispensable. And they aren't.

Books aren’t commodities. Well, yes, they are. They’re bought and sold, after all. AU wants to say they aren't, that people recognize the importance of literature and are above crass, plebian capitalism. But publishers print prices directly on book covers -- if that’s not a product, what is?  

Writing is a job. It isn't some special calling for the elite. It isn't some form of magic where the shaman practitioners must be deified. I'm a writer, and damn lucky to be one, but I'm no better than someone who makes toasters on an assembly line.

Authors aren't being targeted. Amazon's goal isn't to put books in their crosshairs for systematic termination. In fact, Amazon has tried, three times, to compensate authors for the duration of the negotiations. Hachette no longer has a contract with Amazon, but Amazon is still graciously selling Hachette’s titles. If Amazon truly wanted to leverage Hachette into signing a new contract, it could stop selling all Hachette titles. But it hasn't done that.

Amazon isn't delaying Hachette titles. It simply isn't stocking Hachette books, and why should it when there is no contract in place?

There isn't any boycott or sanction. Hachette books are available elsewhere. Amazon isn't blocking any sales.

Amazon isn't reducing book discounts. They're pricing books according to the prices Hachette itself stamps on books. They aren't refusing preorders, either. Is it a smart practice to sell titles that haven't been released yet when there is no surety that they'll ever be able to fulfill those orders if they can't come to terms with Hachette?

Amazon isn’t punishing writers who are helpless. Writers are only helpless in that they signed a contract with a publisher who refuses to negotiate with Amazon because the publisher wants to protect its paper oligopoly by keeping ebook prices high. Amazon isn't negotiating with writers, it is negotiating with Hachette. Writers are collateral damage--and writers put themselves in harm’s way by signing with a member of a cartel with a specific agenda.

Look at these words again: reducing, refusing, boycott, sanction, blocking, delaying, targeted, commodities, culture, democracy, monopoly, punishing, helpless. They’re all being used to deliberately mislead.

Writers, who in the past were afraid to speak out against publishing nonsense like this because they didn't want to be blacklisted, are now actively pointing out how asinine publishers, and authors, are acting. Authors United, in its effort to win public support, has become a laughingstock. The publishing industry, and status quo authors, despise the term "legacy" to describe them. But it is an apt term, and is becoming widespread.

Authors United and their allies (I'm looking at you, NYT publishing apologist pinhead David Steitfeld) are not only failing to get their buzzwords accepted by the public, they're introducing derogatory terms that are eventually going to be adopted the same way "legacy publishing" has been.

"Whale math", which is attributed to Streitfeld in one of the most hilariously inept analogies in modern journalism, is a term coined to describe a ridiculous comparison in order to bolster one number while downplaying another. To quote Hugh Howey:

"the opinion of 900 authors is worth a fawning article (complete with Douglas Preston hanging out by his writing shack on his 300 acre summer estate), while the opinion of 8,000+ authors is meaningless . . . because far more people care about saving whales."

"Special snowflake" has been applied to Authors United because of their insistence that books, and authors, must have different rules applied to them because this is Important Art and Culture. Writers aren't assembly workers, they're better than that. Books aren't disposable razor blades, they're better than that. Elitist, self-important bullshit. Authors Guild President Roxana Robinson insisted she isn't a special snowflake. I agree, Roxana. You aren't special at all. So stop asking for special treatment.

"Typocrite" is someone in the publishing industry (someone who should know the value and meaning of words) who repeatedly claims they aren't doing something, then does it. Authors United says they aren't taking sides, while repeatedly chastising Amazon and not placing any blame at all on Hachette. AFAIK, they haven't even contacted Hachette. Roxana Robinson states readers are buying books from places other than Amazon, but that Amazon is still hurting authors. Authors United pens a letter praising the importance of editors, and then doesn't have anyone edit all of the typos and nonsense out of their own letter. Believing 900 signatures is somehow greater than 8000. Stating Amazon's reputation is at stake, when Amazon customer approval since the Hachette dispute went public has actually gone up. Publicly whining that Amazon is hurting authors, which is the equivalent of saying that "Your negotiation tactics are hurting us so your method is working." This is all typocritcal behavior, and something the legacy industry does a lot.

"Bookholm Syndrome" is when authors fight to protect the publishers that are exploiting them, even though they can't do so well because publishers actions are selfish, harmful, and indefensible. This applies to midlist authors yearning to become bestsellers, or newbie authors yearning for a publisher deal.

So what does all this mean?

It means the legacy industry has lost control. In the past, it was the only game in town. It controlled the only kind of book distribution--paper distribution. If you wanted to get onto bookstore shelves, you had to deal with a legacy publisher because they had a lock on it. You also had to accept unconscionable contract terms as a writer, because it was that or nothing.

Amazon has given authors a choice. We no longer have to bow to the cartel. And because of that, coupled with the rise of the Internet and the ability for everyone to seek out information and voice their opinion, we have a whole group of writers who aren't going to kowtow to legacy publishers. Once afraid to speak out, we can now freely criticize the stupidity and unfairness of the business. We can be honest without fear of reprisal. We have access and means to discredit bullshit when we hear it.

Legacy publishers, and their special snowflake authors, can be easily discredited. It doesn't matter that they can get all the press coverage they want by contacting media outlets. It doesn't matter that they can waste money on $100k ads in the NYT. Their message isn't being accepted by the largely uninterested public, but it is being widely vilified within the author community.

Years ago, I likened the legacy industry to dinosaurs after the asteroid hit. They still think they're relevant, but it is only a matter of time before they die off.

In the last Authors United letter, they mentioned the term dinosaurs and tried to dismiss it typocritically:

"But what these commentators and Amazon itself may not realize is that traditional publishing houses perform a vital role in our society."

In reality, legacy publishers have no vital role. In fact, they’re being the opposite of vital; they're actually harmful. Through their actions--price fixing, collusion, refusing to negotiate with Amazon, treating most authors like shit--they are disintermediating themselves. They are the living definition of shooting themselves in the foot.

What I didn't know, years ago, was that watching an extinction-level event would be so damn funny.


William Ockham said...

The most important part of this is that nobody outside the 'industry' has even noticed. They squandered their Colbert bump, no one can figure out what the NYT is all lathered up about, and no one has ever heard of Hachette. Seriously, go to the closest bar, grocery store, or gas station. Ask the first person you meet if they know what is. Then ask them what Hachette does.

Chris said...

You know what would be HILARIOUS (Amazon should totally do this) -- instead of having prices for Hachette titles, they should have a Geico-like list of other vendors where they could buy Hachette books.

Anonymous said...

I meet with a book group. The members know I'm an author. They had heard Colbert's rant, and expected me to tell them to boycott Amazon. I didn't. When they realized I didn't share Colbert's feelings, they were relieved. Several times during the evening, one or the other mentioned some convenience they get from Amazon.

One of the members is elderly and the deliveries make her life easier.

Their concern, it seems, was that I was going to make them feel guilty about ordering through Amazon.

The embarrassment is that the members of the public who have heard about the dispute assume that "Authors United" represents all authors.

R. A. Meenan said...

The irony of the fact that it's authors misusing these words is not lost on me.

I definitely used to be on the side of Hachette. Your article has really opened my eyes. I think I'm gonna stay far away from the debate from now on.

Vern L said...

Loved that!

I'm still selling books like a fiend, so I'm immune to all the nonsense going on. Still, it's good to be reminded of it because we all need to laugh (hard) once a day.

Alan Spade said...

Many authors who signed the Authors United letter have achieved wonderful things in their writing life. For that, they deserve respect.

They have helped readers to live better lives, because some books stay with you all your life.

But when you name yourself Authors United, it can easily be interpreted that you represent all authors.

Indie authors, who have radical different point of views about the pricing of books, about the whole industry and what Hachette is trying to achieve, are entitled to speak. If we think that the title "Authors United" is a provocation, it's rather natural to express ourselves, in my opinion.

So, while we indie authors respect the writing achievements of these authors, when they go outside their field of expertise and begin talking business, pretending to represent all authors, we have every right to make a stand against the nonsense being spouted.

Some arguments could be make against us: it's an evidence that what's used to be for a long time, a few authors at the top of the industry, the only ones to have the right (not always by merit, but rather because they were chosen by publishers) to have their books visible, was highly detrimental for the rest of us.

Even if ebooks aren't a zero sum game, there was a scarcity game in place, and when Amazon allowed many more authors to become visible, it was inevitable that the attention span of the readers would have to be shared.

So, yes, indie authors have personal interests at stake. We are partial, and I'm not claiming to be impartial.

But would we want to have just a few of us visible at the top? Would we want just to replace the bestseller authors in place? Would we want to have no more diversity? Would we want to have only ebooks priced at more than $10?

Perhaps the selfish part of us would want just that. But we are also readers, and that part of us know that things are for the better if books are cheaper, if there is more diversity, and if there is some kind of meritocracy that allows us to become visible.

Amazon, while not perfect, allowed just all these things to happen. Choose your side.

Alan Spade said...

Just as I speak, there's an indie author n°1 of the top 100 Kindle in France:émé-dans-orties-Aurélie-Valognes-ebook/dp/B00LKV7YVG/

Meritocracy in the making.

EdenSharp - @EdenSharp said...

All of this reminds me of what futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler assert:

"The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."

"Idea-assassins rush forward to kill any new suggestion on the grounds of its impracticality, while defending whatever now exists as practical, no matter how absurd."

"The control of knowledge is the crux of tomorrow's worldwide struggle for power in every human institution."

This pretty much sums up the whole legacy versus indie debate for me.

Paolo Amoroso said...

As I commented on David Gaughran's post, Ryan Holiday's book Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator explains what's going on in the media.

Have you noticed how, in the interview linked to by Hugh Howey, Roxana Robinson says she doesn't like the expression "special snoflake"? Their choice of words seems legit instead.

Angry_Games said...

Let's put it this way, in terms of media one-sidedness...

My wife and I have been sustaining members (ie: constant, monthly donations) to NPR for more than a decade. NPR has always struck me as fairly balanced in that they always give both sides of the story, no matter how nutty or fucking ridiculous the other side is (like those who still believe abortions cause cancer, climate change isn't real because there's still ice in the oceans, etc).

When this Amazon-Hachette thing started, the first few news bits from NPR were entirely one-sided. This didn't surprise me at the time, as there aren't many who truly know about the self-publishing revolution. Consider how many people still think self-pub = incest erotica with terrible spelling and grammar.

However, over the last six months, NPR has had quite a few news stories about this ongoing dispute. The problem is that NPR seems incapable of reporting both sides of the story. Sure, Hugh Howey and a couple other self-pubs are given 15-30 seconds at the end of a 4-5 minute story to say a few words, but Patterson, Preston, all these AU morons... they get 50%+ of the talk time during these stories.

Worse, no one really calls them out on their bullshit (other than Hugh, who probably talked to the interviewer for an hour only to have his words cut down to a 20 second sound bite). I have yet to hear a single story on NPR where there's any real effort to talk about this issue. All NPR seems capable of is parroting the same nonsense AU, Patterson, and legacy publishing has been repeating for months (years, honestly).

So, I felt it was my duty to email a few of the shows and ask politely for them to be real journalists and talk to the 'other side' (ie: us, self-pubs and indie pubs). Specifically, I wrote to them and gave them Konrath, Eisler, Howey, Elle Casey, HM Ward as persons they should talk about. How Konrath made more in 18 months than he did in a decade as a self-pub. How HM Ward has turned down multiple seven-figure contracts because she's doing better than she could with any publisher.

Silence. Other than more Pro-Hachette stories.

Angry_Games said...


So I wrote some more emails/letters. This time, I wasn't as nice and polite (I wasn't entirely rude, but I let it be known that real journalists do some actual work of checking a story completely out before going on the air with no facts and only someone else's assurance that they were being truthful).

Silence. Except for more pro-Hachette stories. Boo hoo, all the authors (trad pub) interviewed vilifying Amazon, talking about how Amazon is so big, mean, terrible, stealing money and food and possibly even sex from them.

As much as the wife and I love NPR (seriously... we listen to NPR instead of watching TV, or we'll sit around and play video games while listening, and there have been countless times we've sat in the car in the garage or at the store for another ten minutes just to hear the end of whatever story was on at the time), our time as sustaining members is over.

Sure, I know that the money actually goes to our local station (for us, it's Boise State Radio). However, I made it clear to the persons reading our cancellation at BSU Radio that since I had no affect on the national programs, maybe an affiliate station will have more influence. In the meantime, that's a few hundred dollars per year I'm now going to spend on even more custom-painted covers for my books (shunning pre-mades and stock photo covers forever from here on).

Or maybe I'll just buy myself some really good coffee. It doesn't matter. What matters is the one news organization that we trusted can't even be trusted to tell both sides of the story. So, just like I haven't shopped at Wal-Mart in at least fifteen years, I let my wallet do the talking.

NPR is huge, and they won't miss our minor monthly donations (again, that money went to BSU Radio, not NPR), but what else can I do? A person can only write so many emails to try and convince them that there's a whole other side of this story that no one is telling.

Could it be that a lot of NPR anchors / execs are published through these Big 5 criminals? There's got to be a reason that NPR won't do their journalistic duty and report from both sides.

Oh well. Internet porn, hopefully you'll take NPR's place and be a little more useful (and less likely to make me feel like I've been lied to or had the wool held over my eyes (heh, no pun intended because Hugh Howey will charge me licensing fees!).

Anonymous said...

Would love your thoughts on this:

Joe Konrath said...

Would love your thoughts on this:

Streitfeld is an idiot who can't even muckrake properly. Those are my thoughts.

Not worth fisking.

w.adam mandelbaum said...

There are many here that have demonized legacy publishing. Is this fair or just? The answer may be determined by the fact there is no eBook version of the Rituals Romanum. He that hath a kindle, let him read.

JF Brown said...

"All NPR seems capable of is parroting the same nonsense AU, Patterson, and legacy publishing has been repeating for months (years, honestly)."

Consider the fact that NPR greatly depends on corporate sponsorships and contributions. So it's not surprising that their coverage of the Am-Hatch dustup is less than balanced. Don't want to bite the hand that feeds you...

w.adam mandelbaum said...

Typo...rituale romanum

Werner said...

Joe, I really enjoyed this latest episode of Game of Tomes

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Anyone who appreciates the power of language should love this post.

Ann Voss Peterson said...

You mean writers, Rob? ;D

SpringfieldMH said...

I've nagged several reporters and publications/sites regarding such...

Think the main thing I've seen is some movement to replacing "authors" (implying "all") with "some authors" or even "Hachette authors".

And a bit of an awareness that a significant number of authors and readers disagree with, or are at least suspicious of, the claims being made.

Richard Fox said...

After all these months of Amazon vs. Hachette, my opinion on the matter has come to this:

Chris Armstrong said...

Angry Games - If you haven't seen it, the documentary "Portrait of Wally" has a jarring npr portion in it. The documentary about WWII-era art theft, discusses how NPR first did a fact-based article on the art theft and then actually retracted their own story under pressure from the cultural elites in the museum world.

madkeys said...

Just like the record industry. Instead of working on a complimentary system that would benefit both labels and artists they decided to sue the very customers they wanted to buy their product at over inflated prices. They shouted about protecting the artists on their labels., the very ones they had been ripping off for decades. The result is that there is now no business left and very few people are making a living from sales of music. The publishers ought to beware and come to terms with Amazon very quickly. BTW although I do use amazon I do have concerns about them having a more than 50% share if the market.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

You mean writers, Rob? ;D

Writers? What do mere writers have to do with any of this? I'm talking about creators of special snowflakes.

Alan Tucker said...

Winter is coming … we will soon be buried in Special Snowflakes.

Never thought I'd say this, but thank God for global warming! ;-)

Ken Prescott said...

This isn't about book prices. If it was ONLY about book pricing, this would've been resolved long, long ago.

It's about who has the power to control what we think about and how we think about what we've been told to think about. That control comes through manipulating perception.

Ebooks make that perception management hard. You can't do a 500,000-copy print run of a MOBI file. You can't loudly shout about the 500,000 print copies shipped (and never ever mention the 490,000 returns). You can't game your way onto the New York Times Bestseller Lists.

The MOBI file sits on a server, and either someone downloads it, or they don't. Either money moves from buyer to Amazon to author, or it doesn't.

Hachette wants opacity--they don't want their authors to know the cost structure of their sales, they don't want anyone else to be able to see how many books actually went from seller to purchaser, etc.

Secrecy is an information pathology.

Jill James said...

Joe, thank you for once again making sense of the senseless. I needed my laugh for the day!!

Cherie Marks said...

For what it's worth, I just wish the media would let Hugh or Konrath or HM Ward have longer than 20 seconds (or any time at all), just to make it clear to the public that not ALL authors are united in the crazy rants about upholding culture and other nonsense.

I write books that I hope give some readers worthwhile entertainment, but I'm not so full of myself that I believe without my book or any book, for that matter, the world would be a horrible, ignorant place. I just want to tell Roxana Robinson and Robert Preston to please stop making authors sound like we're all pretentious snobs who are so out of touch with how the real world works.

I just wish they'd stop using the laughable "Authors United," because not all of the public cares, but those that do might actually think this is an accurate description of how all authors feel about the situation.

Alan Spade said...

@Ken Prescott: I agree about your point, it is not only about ebook pricing.

It is also about power, influence, availability of the titles, communication (secrecy of the sales with an old system obfuscating every sales, but also communication in the media).

There has been a shift of power in the last years, and now, the old and the new model are clashing. It goes beyond writing, of course. Everywhere, the new Internet models clash with the old world. That's necessary for the world to be rebuilt.

But this battle between Hachette and Amazon is perhaps the most emblematic, because Hachette (and Bertelsmann, and other multinationals companies) belongs very much to the old world and own many medias, while Amazon represents the present and the future.

Steven M. Moore said...

Hey Joe, I'm happy to see your reaction to Streitfeld's article was the same as mine. I've been pounding the NY Times' biased reporting on the Amazon-Hachette kerfuffle for a bit now. Stopped reading their Book Review sometime ago. They continue to have those full-page ads from the Big Five as they push the favorite horses in their stables (Patterson, Preston, Baldacci, etc). I'm thinking most of the time now that I'm lucky to be indie.

Steven M. Moore said...

FYI added: Mandelbaum seems to be confused. Ebooks don't belong to either indie or legacy publishing. Many indie authors eschew pbooks over ebooks because of costs and royalties and other things (I can release an ebook more efficiently than a pbook), but even Amazon does paper (Create Space). I'm the first to admit that ebooks might not be appropriate for books with lots of photos or graphics, from coffee-table books to science textbooks. For my novels, which are just text, what could I add by doing paper? Maybe some readers, yes, but not anything significant enough to justify the extra cost. I'd do better adding audio, but I'm smart enough not to read my own prose, and I can't afford a pro-reader.
Indie publishing just means the author is in charge, not agents, editors, or publishers. I pay good money for editing, cover art, and PR and marketing, but I'm in charge, not some self-serving publishing wonk sitting in his NYC office or a pariah agent recently graduated from X MFA program who has no idea about what it take to spin a good yarn. I guess these people have a right to make a living, but not at my expense!

w.adam mandelbaum said...

Moore--mea culpa,mea culpa,mea maxima culpa.(Learned that one in Hebrew School--Teacher was reformed).

Gramix Publishing said...

It is not that Amazon wants the price of ebooks to be low as AU and Hachette claim. What Amazon wants is for the price of ebooks to be at the price that maximizes profit. That RIGHT price is somewhere below $20.00 and above zero. They prove this with their price recommendation tool. One of my books was selling for 0.99 and the Amazon tool recommended 2.99. I followed the advice, raised my price and sales doubled.

Hugh said...

On a blog of a million useful and entertaining posts, this one stands above the rest.

SteveA said...

"But what these commentators and Amazon itself may not realize is that traditional publishing houses perform a vital role in our society."

Yes. As cautionary tales. As examples of how not to deal with emerging technology.

I’m surprised how clueless many of these people seem to be. I followed a link to a blog the other day (Deborah someone – a romance author), and she was touting the cinema industry as a viable model for the future of publishing (cinemas having hung on in the face of competing electronic media such as VHS and DVD). It’s a very poor analogy and she completely failed to see that, whereas a cinema can add value to the viewing experience, a bundle of paper adds little or nothing to a reader’s enjoyment.

A few moments of sober reflection should have led her to the same conclusion, but she wasn’t prepared to invest the time. She’s grasped her straw and now they’re going to have to pry it from her cold, dead hands…

Joseph Ratliff said...

It's almost like these "Authors United" folks still think we make mix-tapes of 80's songs for our loved ones.

It's 2014, Authors United ... wake the heck up.

But seriously, they have been coddled by their publishers for so long it seems they've each lost their ability to do business.

My Grandfather read the NYT articles written by Streitfield.

He said something that caught my attention...

"Joe, this guy writing for the Times, and these authors in this United thing, they all seem to have lost focus on the reader. What are they going to do when they start losing readers over this?"

I grinned from ear to ear. :)

Bob said...

Posted on this at Digital Book World. It's ultimately about money, it's always been about money, and it will continue to be about money, no matter what BS the misnamed Authors United tries to wrap itself in. What's interesting is the members of Authors United seem to have zero internet presence: they never respond to anything or anyone-- Turow had been famous for this.

Amy Eyrie said...

Great article! You nailed it.

Anonymous said...

I understand you are a real writer. I understand you are a professional writer. That's the only reason I bothered reading your entire rant. You as a writer are special. Anyone can get a job building toasters but not everyone can write well enough to be paid to do so.
Explain to me where you go if you wish to write a real book and not just an e-book. Print books will outlive both of us because people enjoy the experience of reading a book. So if you have issues with the folks you call "legacy" whom do you suggest an aspiring author go to?
I write articles online and that is fine but if I ever decide to write a book I want a REAL book and i don't want to use a vanity press or invest my own money.

Jim Self said...

Streitfeld is a hack of a rare breed. Arguments don't even need to make sense, they just need to leave a bad taste in your mouth.

I have to think I'm detecting at least a hint of desperation in all of this flailing and thrashing.

SJArnott said...

Anonymous said...

“Explain to me where you go if you wish to write a real book and not just an e-book.”

Begs the question: why isn’t an ebook a ‘real’ book? If you hold a bundle of blank paper in your hand, is that a ‘real’ book. If not, why not?

“Print books will outlive both of us because people enjoy the experience of reading a book.”

Print books will survive, but they will not prosper. They’ll go the way of gramophone records, and for the same reasons.

“So if you have issues with the folks you call "legacy" whom do you suggest an aspiring author go to?”

To their fellow authors who will tell them how to do it themselves.

“I write articles online and that is fine but if I ever decide to write a book I want a REAL book…”

Again with the ‘real’ books (see above).

“i don't want to use a vanity press…”

You don’t have to use a vanity press. You don’t need a press at all, but if you’re dead set on paper distribution there are plenty of printing companies that will offer you a fair deal on a print run.

“…or invest my own money”

Likewise. I’d rather keep the cash in my pocket, but I employ professional designers and editors for the same reason I employ a qualified mechanic to fix my car. Interesting use of the word ‘invest’ though, because this is what it is - an investment; something that, with luck, will reap returns in the future.

Virginia Llorca said...

But "for Americans" Rituale Romanum is available on line. So you could read it on your kindle if you wanted.

Henya said...

Hear. Hear. Why was I feeling I was watching a boxing match, featuring a pair of huge players. And how often do you learn something from watching a fight? Well I did. I'm not published and I have nothing to add, but I certainly enjoyed the banter.