For Once I Don’t Agree with John Scalzi on Something

Though mostly just on one point in a longer entry from his blog:

Well, if they own a Kindle, they don’t have a choice whether to boycott or not, do they? Amazon’s already made the choice for them.

  • I do buy books from sources other than Amazon.com and read them on my Kindle. The Kindle isn’t that closed; it reads Mobipocket-formatted books, which are available from many online sources other than Amazon.com. And these days, it also reads PDFs.

  • If Macmillan ever sells ebooks elsewhere without DRM (’cause DRM outside the Kindle isn’t compatible with it, but non-DRM is just fine), then I will buy such books from there (or wherever is generally available) and read them on my Kindle. Which I already do for books from Subterranean Press (whenever they do come out with ebook editions).

  • That Mobipocket books can be delivered to a Kindle directly via a special email address for each one makes the whole “delivered to your Kindle” thing pretty easy for web stores to automate (both Fictionwise and Webscriptions can do this). There’s a charge, but hell, it’s 15 cents per megabyte, and you’ve got a real problem with length if your book is over 1MB of text compressed (for Mobipocket is indeed usually a compressed format).

On the other, but not opposing, hand, I also find people wondering whether John Scalzi is a Macmillan sockpuppet to laughable, ignorant, and in search of some particular individual to blame. Blaming people employed or published by Macmillan who were not involved in the decision is really quite stupid.

And on the other, other hand, and this is not something John Scalzi himself has done, but what I’ve been seeing online from time to time: blaming individual Amazon employees—including CS reps, OMG, why are some of you taking this out on them, the poor bastards?—not involved in the decision is also quite stupid.

And on some other hand, Kali-like, here’s the truth: the supporters of the two sides on all this? Split even. “We’re more organized”? Not a great argument as per sheer numbers. Twitter and LiveJournal are great for filtering the world to your POV. Unfortunately, in my case, I’ve got a lot of general Kindle readers/ebook fans as well as publishers/professional writers on my Twitter follow list, and followers and fans thereof, and I have a headache.

And extra unfortunately, I’ve also got the same mix problem on my RSS feeds, so I still have the headache despite being off Twitter. But at least, now that I’m off Twitter apart from the automated Twitter Tools blog post notifications, it’s not coming from two social media sources at the same time.

The next to last hand: for people who are ultra-convinced that the publishing industry is the second coming of the music industry, or something, go read this.

And the last hand: why the hell do you think stockholders on either side of this debate are happy? Just why? No, don’t answer that. It’s not like the stock market adds up at the best of times.

I’m off to drink tea. A lot of tea. I have discovered that it is actually possible to pass out from drinking too much tea, much to my general happiness at certain points this weekend.

Kicked this article into the spare bit bucket, because frankly, there is not a lot of love for anybody in this entry.

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