“This man is an author. He writes stories. He has just finished writing a story. He thinks many people will like to read it.” So begins this 1947 Encyclopedia Britannica film about how books are printed and bound. Almost none of what you see in the film, with the possible exception of the book trimming blade, exists anymore. It’s fascinating and horrifying at the same time. Fascinating because we get to see the mysterious process of making a book. Horrifying because we see how machines dictate the movements of human beings in an assembly line environment. It’s so dreadful that I may never want to read an old book again. Perhaps e-books are some kind of salvation after all.
There’s been a huge battle of the ebooks going on between Amazon.com and publisher Macmillan. Last week, Macmillan, in response to rotten Apple’s announcement of $14 and $15 ebooks on its new iPad, insisted that Amazon give Macmillan the right to choose its own higher ebook pricing for the Kindle ereader device. Amazon got peevish about the deal and simply de-listed all of Macmillan’s books. I thought that was a nice nasty smack in the kisser for a doomed publisher at the time. I was feeling so good about Amazon and its Kindle and so snitty about Apple’s iPad that I was within 60 minutes of plunking my digital money down on a brand new shiny Kindle. But wait! Amazon caved! They rolled over and gave Macmillan what it wanted.
So now, dear reader, your Kindle ebooks from Macmillan will cost more. Frankly, I was always kind of miffed by the whole $9.99 price tag on Kindle ebooks. Too high. Ebooks are invisible. You can’t stack them and put boards across to make a coffee table. Ebooks don’t have nice covers or fancy paper that you can bend and spill coffee on. I don’t know about anyone else reading this blog out there, but when I walk into a book store I’m just a customer. I don’t frankly give a damn about how the publisher is doing or how Amazon is getting along, or care a whit for Steve Jobs’ health, or the status of your average mid-list author and how he or she’s going to pay their mortgage. I don’t give one syllable of a damn. Continue reading
We artists are indestructible; even in a prison, or in a concentration camp, I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell.