The imperiled indie bookstore business model

From The New Republic, an article on the fall, sort-of-rise, and subsequent fall of the independent bookseller in America:

Is This the End of the Indie Bookstore?

Needless to say, independent bookstores have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and the government-mandated shutdown of the national economy. Few state bureaucrats have deemed bookstores as “essential”. Most have therefore been shut down for about two months at the time of this writing.

As the New Republic article explains, independent bookstores were battered by the rise of B&N and Borders superstores in the 1990s. This was before the rise of Amazon and ebooks..not to mention COVID-19.

After several decades of decline, indie bookstores bounced back somewhat between 2009 and 2019.

“They fostered a sense of community between business and consumer; their wares were curated specifically for their clientele; and they were places where people could physically convene. These were not just stores selling widgets, they were local hubs.”

So what do I think about the future of the independent bookstore? Continue reading “The imperiled indie bookstore business model”

The new HarperCollins subscription service, and how romance fiction is “different”

Mills & Boon launching subscription service We Love Romance

This is a subscription service that will provide unlimited reading for about $9.99 per month. (The service will launch in the United Kingdom and Ireland.)

Interesting—and probably smart—that HarperCollins decided to focus on romance fiction. Continue reading “The new HarperCollins subscription service, and how romance fiction is “different””

Asian giant hornets in the USA

Just as we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the coronavirus pandemic, another scourge has arrived from the Far East: the Asian giant hornet. 

This invader shouldn’t be as disruptive as the viral one. But this is bad news, however you slice it. I saw a few of these when I was in Japan. They’re nothing you’d want to find in your back yard in Ohio. 

In Ohio, DeWine dithers: time for civil disobedience?

Sic semper tyrannis…

Governor Mike DeWine continues to blithely put entire sectors of the Ohio economy out of business:

Ohio restaurant owners deflated they can’t reopen under DeWine’s plan

Some business owners, however, aren’t waiting for the governor’s approval. They’re taking matters into their own hands.

They’re planning to practice something that we haven’t seen much of since the 1960s: civil disobedience: Continue reading “In Ohio, DeWine dithers: time for civil disobedience?”

Boris Johnson’s love child

Please avert your eyes, everyone. Your host is about to wax 20th-century and most unapologetically unhip here for a moment.

Boris Johnson has just become a father, for at least the fifth time. His oldest acknowledged child was born in 1993. (In total, Johnson had four children with his second wife, Marina Wheeler.) Continue reading “Boris Johnson’s love child”

Every news outlet has an agenda (yes, even the conservative ones)

This little tongue-in-cheek infographic from the Babylon Bee actually contains a lot of wisdom:

Historically, news outlets were unabashed about their biases. During America’s colonial period, there were patriot papers and Tory papers. In the early days of the American Republic, we had Federalist and anti-Federalist newspapers. A similar pattern continued through the 1800s. Continue reading “Every news outlet has an agenda (yes, even the conservative ones)”

Mike DeWine dithers while Ohio goes broke

I just finished watching Governor DeWine’s plan for reopening Ohio.

Egads, what a disaster.

While his plan allows some businesses to reopen in May, he has left workers in many sectors—fitness, dining, cosmetology, etc.—indefinitely without incomes. Restaurants, gyms, and salons remain closed in the Buckeyes State, and the governor won’t even hint about when he might allow them to reopen. Continue reading “Mike DeWine dithers while Ohio goes broke”

Hooray for John Van Stry, slayer of pirates

John Van Stry, an independent science fiction and fantasy author, won his lawsuit against a notorious ebook pirate site that was stealing his work. He details much of what happened in a post on his blog

You should read his entire post, if you’re interested in issues of piracy and copyright. But here are a few relevant passages that I’d like to bring to your attention: Continue reading “Hooray for John Van Stry, slayer of pirates”

‘The Atlantic’ beats the drum for Chinese-style censorship

Yes, really:

Internet Speech Will Never Go Back to Normal

In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.

I’m not saying that every journalist is a shill for the Chinese Communist Party, specifically. Or a closet fascist. Not quite. But their motives and their instincts corrupt them.

Continue reading “‘The Atlantic’ beats the drum for Chinese-style censorship”