Blog posts tagged "sf"

(One of the many) Ebook Dilemmas.

January 25th, 2010

I'm going to need books, lots of books

How do I support and reward the excellent curation of the local bookstore if I want the ebook version of something I find? – Kellan

I am not a unsophisticated consumer of science fiction. And finding new material to feed the book addiction is something I spend a not inconsiderable number of cycles on. Yet, there I was standing in Borderlands last week, and books to buy were jumping off the shelves. 2-3 of “my authors” had new books out that I hadn’t heard about. (tho 2 of them are on low rotation right now, as they’ve disappointed me of late) A book multiple friends had mentioned but I’d failed to track was featured. And I found several other new promising options, none of which I had heard of, and several of which aren’t normally available in print in this country.

Low Paper Diet

And I was stuck. You see, I’m on a pretty strict dead tree diet right now. I simply don’t have to the space to store books. And while I’m at it I’d rather not incur the carbon debt of chopping down trees, mass printing on paper, warehousing and transporting a product which is statistically likely to be pulped before ever being purchased. Clearly I’m getting a huge amount of value out of Borderlands, but I didn’t really have a way to include them in the exchange. I wasn’t even sure I was really comfortable wandering next door to their newly opened cafe and settling in with my Kindle as I was inclined to do.

Micro-slicing the pie vs trickle down?

Charlie Stross wrote a really great post recently, The monetization paradox analyzing the value chain of content production right now, summed up as,

“Google could in principle afford to pay every novelist currently active in the English language out of the petty cash.” – Charles Stross

Amazon is doing something similar. Capturing greater value then they’re providing. (and I love Amazon) I visit, I visit the Kindle Store. And I walk away empty handed. Amazon captures the value when I buy a book for my Kindle, but aren’t providing sufficient tools for me to do this. Without Borderlands, Amazon would have gotten no $$ from me last week, as it is, they did all right.

So how do I cut my local bookstore/curator in? I asked on Twitter and the consensus emerged around “buy the book, steal the ebook”, or “tip the bookstore.” (thanks to waferbaby, dajobe, BOBTHEBUTCHER, benprincess, timoni, carlcoryell, bhyde, and rabble for feedback!)

One of the ways I know I’m getting old is most of the time stealing media isn’t worth it. This also is a product of consuming outside of the most mainstream troughs, and genuinely liking/respecting most of the players in my media supply chain. I’ve got sitting on my drive detailed specs for building a relatively high throughput personal book scanner, and in the moments when I’m honest with myself I’ll probably never build it.

Open Questions?

Which brings me around to, how do I tip bookstores? And if there exists a viable model of funding that allows me to express my generalized appreciation of the existence of these important curators while getting some specific value back, a Kickstarter inspired model if you will? Would anyone besides me use it I wonder? How does this interact with Charlie’s ideas of a subscription model for writers? Given a semi-hyphothetical open e-reader with a radio could we partially fund bookstores with a real world version of Amazon affiliate links?

Unfortunately I still don’t have the answers, but I wanted to write down the problem, am I’m going to keep looking into it. Meanwhile if you know of anyone experimenting with this, I’d love to hear about it.

(so concludes the latest in this week’s series of blog posts written by the simple expedient of scaling up a tweet by a 30x inflation factor)

(update: a few really interesting comments, thanks guy!)

MadCat Picks

September 10th, 2007

At the Margins, Fri Sept 14th, ATA, 7:30pm. Shorts. “Golden Kitchen” sounds particuarily intriguing to me.

Close to Home, Fri Fri Sept 14th, ATA, 8:30pm. In particular “Un Hombre Tranquilo”.

ID Docs, Tue Sept 18th, 6:30pm for free BBQ. El Rio.

Bujold @ Booksmith

June 29th, 2007

Bujold is reading at Booksmith on Haight tomorrow night at 7pm.

“Who?”, [name redacted] asked.


Whose Vorkosigan books are the best long form speculation on the role and future of reproductive technology disguised as military space sci-fi headed by a coded-female male solider protagonist (with incarnated other) over 9 volumes, with apologies to Austen, ever written.

And even Larry Wall likes her.

Web 2.0 Expo

April 12th, 2007

Expo Cal is up and running an instance of iCalico, the social conference calendaring app (fancy way of saying tries to answer the, “um, what should I go see?” question), Rabble and I wrote.

In other Web2Expo news, my talk for Ignite Sunday night got accepted. Ack! Um, so I’ll be speaking (for at least 6 minutes) Sunday night on “casual privacy”.

Mmmmm, Pie

March 25th, 2007

That Yak Won’t Sing

March 11th, 2007

yak shaving

Enough frisbee, need to get a little work done this weekend. Need a good coffee shop with wifi and power on a Sunday.

Hmmm, really what I need to do is to finally get around to setting up a San Francisco WifiMug.

Which reminds me that I’m kind of unhappy with the current state of the WifiMug codebase (and it’s showing its age a bit, pre-Web 2.0!), guess I should research available Rails wiki software.

Though what I really should do is whip out that Wiki-meets-structured-data-creation-PlacesWiki I’ve been meaning to write.

But first I want to do a comprehensive survey of alternative wiki markups, the space has really fractured. Stikkit is doing good things with natural mark up, while Semantic MediaWiki steamrolls its way through the expressiveness sweet spot, and Google Code wiki has some interesting stuff going on.

But, um, um, um, I should write a new web browser and search engine to research wikis! Yeah, thats the ticket!

Writers With Drinks in (Genre) Drag

January 24th, 2007

Charlie Anders, on stage (nb: charlie not in drag)

Absolutely fabulous event. Best of San Francisco material. Great audience, fabulous writing, and I got to observe it all while sitting in a (stationary) rickshaw. Other, the nights beneficiary is sort of a literary magazine for San Francisco, which means I passed on their most recent issue (Tron-sex and teledildonics, topics you’re already innudated with in SF) and went straight to the simian issue, which is highly recommended.

I came away with some sort of insight into the fundamental nature of SF, or so I thought, but as I’ve been utterly unable to communicate this insight, I think it might have just been contact buzz from the eloquence, alas.

Lastly, if you ever have a chance to see Kim Stanley Robinson read his poetry, go! My party was divided on whether it is better then his fiction, but its very very good. I might heckle him from the crowd at Etech to read some verse.

I’ll be at next month’s. (which I suppose is another way of saying I won’t be at SxSW after all)

Photo by kirkbrooks