Monday, May 17, 2010

Buried in Books

As I look around my desk, bookshelves, and the floor around them, al I see are stacks of books. I review for Erotica Revealed and ERWA, so I’m sent at least two books a month. Add to that my book buying habit. The result is teetering to be read piles. Not pile. Piles.

I love it when a publisher sends me the electronic version instead of a hard copy for a review. I don’t have to figure out what to do with the book once I’ve read it, so this is technology I embrace.

Bookstores stopped being interesting to me a while ago. The tables of suggested books up front are just whatever is new that the big houses put out that month, not what’s good. Just try to find an employee in a big chain bookstore to discuss favorite books with. Hand selling is the province of independent stores, but the nearest one to me is miles away and I have to pass through the horror that is downtown LA traffic to get there. No thanks. I’d rather look at their website and order from it.

While I’m all for ebooks, I can’t say the same for ebook readers. After the whole Amazon Fail fiasco last year, I stopped buying books from them. They have yet to explain why all GLBT books were tagged as adult content, even if the content wasn’t sexual in nature, while clearly explicit books that were heterosexual were not affected. That’s all right. They don’t have to explain their backward thinking. And I don’t have to do business with them.So I’ll never buy a Kindle. There are other ebook readers, but from the reviews I read of it, the Apple platform Bowdlerizes copywritten material without permission by inserting asterisks in the “dirty” words. That’s also unforgiveable. A company can choose to suppress free speech or censor if it wants to (such as a radio station bleeping out words in songs) but I don’t need a nanny, thank you very much. I prefer to do business with companies that respect my ability as an adult to handle frank words and subversive ideas.

It seems odd to me that new technology is being used to enforce ancient prejudices while older technology (printing is technology) is the source of open ideas and freedom from censorship. Maybe that will be the saving grace for the print publishing industry. If only they could come up with a way to store books efficiently. I can’t bring myself to throw away a book, and given my reading list, I can’t hand them over to a library either. So the stacks of books around me grow. If only they were electronic files. For some reason, I have no problem deleting those.

8 comments:

  1. Whoa—so when our erotic e-books are sold as Apple-format apps, they may be subject to "bleeping" at the device end of things?

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  2. Jeremy - from what I understand, yes. Have I witnessed this myself? No, but I trust the source who was outraged by the censorship.

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  3. Phew! It's such a relief to know that rude words are being deleted from my titles for those people of a delicate sensibility.

    I'll sleep a lot easier knowing that these techno-obsessed f***ers won't be offended by my foul f***ing mouth :-)

    Kathleen - seriously - this is probably the most frightening thing I've read in ages.

    Ash

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  4. Ash - Violette Blue is doing a spectacular job covering Steven Job's war on porn (iPhone apps) and his unapologetic stance on his right to decide what you're grown up enough to see, read, or experience. But let's not forget that when EBay bought PayPal, they immediately withheld payments going to some publishers of erotica. As in they kept them. No refunds to purchasers, no way for merchants to fight it. In the real world, this is sometimes referred to as theft. It put a few micropublishers out of business in a matter of weeks.

    *ponders new horror novel, because this crap chills me to my soul. Oops - sorry Mr. Jobs, I meant "this c**p chills...*

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  5. Kathleen,

    This is really scary. The PayPal / eBay crap was obscene but this is a pernicious form of thought control.

    Ash

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  6. Hey, thanks for the info about the censorship. I don't get that on my pda. Guess I might not be upgrading to an Ipad. I don't like my music or books content modified because some people won't grow up and take responsibility for themselves. Okay, I'm stepping away from the soap box.

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  7. Hi, Kathleen,

    You might change your mind about bookstores if you ever have the chance to visit the Strand in New York City (or maybe you have...) Multiple floors of all sorts of books, from art to zoology. Every time we visit the U.S. we plan to drop at least a hundred dollars there. Since many of their books are discounted, that buys quite a few books.

    However, I know what you mean about the space issue. We've gotten to the point where we keep very few of the print volumes we acquire. Fortunately, there's a used bookstore here which will buy used erotica. I keep their shelves filled single-handed!

    Warmly,
    Lisabet

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  8. I hadn't heard that about ***** apple, that's ***ing *** incredible those ***** ******! I'd like **** them in ***** and then ****** their ***** ing little dogs too.

    *****!!!!

    So anyway. Now that I;ve gotten that off my ****** I hadn;t heard that about Apple. They do have a great deal of power. They're in the process of strangling flashplayer right now. No Youtube on Apple devices.

    I think digital books still have a long way to go to meet the complexity of printed books. I recently got a used Sony eReader on Ebay. I chose it because it plays "Epub" format docs, which means I can stil read the Adobe DRM ebooks I have and I can also create my own books to read on it for free. If I want to read a classic, I can get it from Project gutenbergorg and then run it through a shareware program called "Calibre" and turn it into an epub I can carry around. I love it.

    Garce

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