"In guessing the direction of technology,Star Wars VII: Darth Amazon Strikes Back
it is wise to ask who is in the best position to profit . . ."
--Ben H. Bagdikian
(Camera pans a cloud-covered planet called Dagobah, which appears to be either Class M or N. Suddenly, we plummet through the clouds and down to the surface, which is covered by jungle and swamps, and we arrive at a small shelter. Peeking inside, we see a young human male speaking with a small green humanoid of an indeterminate species.)
Luke Skywalker: Master Yoda, I have chosen a new book to read to hone my Jedi skills. It's called Crash Course in Love (9781439177334) 17.99. I saw it advertised on The Today Show.
Yoda: Young Jedi, familiar with The Today Show I am not. Sure I am that your father could have used this book.
Luke Skywalker: Master Yoda, it's the #1 morning show on Coruscant.
Yoda: Young Jedi, this I am aware. It may be the #1 show on Coruscant, but Oprah Winfrey #1 galaxy-wide is. Her young disciple, Bob Greene, will be on her show tomorrow to promote his new book, Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes (9781416588382) 26.00 . . .
(Yoda doubles over in pain.)
Luke Skywalker: Master Yoda, what's wrong?!
Yoda: (gasping) I feel a great disturbance in the Force. It's as if millions of KindleTM users have let out a collective groan at the same time. (Yoda shakes his head.) It sounds as if Darth Amazon may be up to his old tricks. Not letting their KindleTM customers download Macmillan titles, they are. Claiming that Macmillan has a monopoly on their authors, yet blind to their own monopoly they are.
Luke Skywalker: But Macmillan is a peaceful planet. They have no weapons. Darth Amazon, can't possibly . . .
Yoda: Young Luke, they can and they will. Afraid I am the KindleTM Wars have begun, they have.
Luke Skywalker: I understand. R2? Fire up the converters!
Odds & Sods
Last week was not a good week for authors. Louis Auchincloss, Howard Zinn, and J.D. Salinger all passed away. We send our sympathies to all their friends and families. Howard Zinn had turned the historical record on its head with his title, The People's History of the United States (9780060838652) 18.95. It was a history that was for the People and by the People.
J.D. Salinger, however, impacted on an entire generation of Americans with his iconic character Holden Caulfield. The Catcher in the Rye (9780316769488) 6.99 will remain one of the great classics of American literature. In these years of over-promotion, it was refreshing to see an author who preferred anonymity to fame . . .