November 2015 Calendar - *November 5: Eastern Idaho Technical College Merit Badge Pow-Wow. Meet at the church at 6:30. We will be at EITC from 7-9 pm. WEAR YOUR SCOUT SHIRT, as a...
1 year ago
Many defenders of bookstores countered that by focusing on dollars and cents, I’d missed the whole point of these establishments. Bookstores, it turns out, don’t primarily exist to sell books—instead, they’re more like bars for readers. “Bookstores provide a space to meet friends, cruise for a date, and hide out when you have nothing to do on a Saturday night,” Will Doig wrote at Salon. I suspect that many bookstore lovers agree with Doig, which is exactly why many of these shops are going out of business. Bars can survive because alcohol is an extremely profitable good. Books aren’t—so if you think of your favorite bookstore as a comfortable spot to find well-read potential mates rather than as a place for commerce, you’re not helping its owner.His solution? Brick-and-mortar stores need to embrace smartphone technology (he apparently forgets that while smartphones are ubiquitous, not everyone has one. I don’t; I’m not willing to shell out the cash for a monthly data plan, let alone the cell phone plan the damn things come shackled with). He suggests bookstores create their own apps to help their customers find books through recommendations or simply educate staff on Amazon’s endless pit of reviews to help customers find books they might like to read.
Compared with online retailers, bookstores present a frustrating consumer experience. A physical store—whether it’s your favorite indie or the humongous Barnes & Noble at the mall—offers a relatively paltry selection, no customer reviews, no reliable way to find what you’re looking for, and a dubious recommendations engine. Amazon suggests books based on others you’ve read; your local store recommends what the employees like. If you don’t choose your movies based on what the guy at the box office recommends, why would you choose your books that way?He adds:
What rankles me, though, is the hectoring attitude of bookstore cultists like [novelist Richard] Russo, especially when they argue that readers who spurn indies are abandoning some kind of “local” literary culture. There is little that’s “local” about most local bookstores. Unlike a farmers’ market, which connects you with the people who are seasonally and sustainably tending crops within driving distance of your house, an independent bookstore’s shelves don’t have much to do with your community. Sure, every local bookstore promotes local authors, but its bread and butter is the same stuff that Amazon sells—mass-manufactured goods whose intellectual property was produced by one of the major publishing houses in Manhattan. It doesn’t make a difference whether you buy Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs at City Lights, Powell’s, Politics & Prose, or Amazon—it’s the same book everywhere.I don’t buy a book because it’s sold at a twee little shop around the corner, or at a discounted, mailed-to-me-free price from Amazon. I buy a book because it interests me. And I’ve grown so accustomed to sorting through the eclectic detritus of books discarded by local readers (who tend to read a lot of romance novels and Rush Limbaugh and Jan Karon and whatever the latest book was from the community-we’ll-read-a-boring-book month. Sorting through the shelves of the DI looking for a hidden treasure (I’ve got an autographed copy of Ivy Ruckman’s “Melba the Brain,” for which I paid $1; try getting it for that anywhere else) that visiting a bricks-and-mortar store or trolling Amazon just doesn’t attract me.
Urging our community members to spy on us? Paying them to do so? Isn’t it bad enough that in addition to supporting a bricks-and-mortar establishment and being active and actively contributing members of the community, we have trouble competing against Amazon because they don’t have to collect sales tax and we do? This gives them a grossly unfair 10 percent advantage off the top (a practice that we hope our legislators address). Add to this insult the injury of corporate spying and it seems our task is insurmountable.Betsy, people have comparison-price shopped before Amazon put their app out. Other stores have price-matched before Amazon came up with the idea. If I can find a book for a less expensive price at The King’s English, you bet your boots I’ll buy it from you. But you know what? I never will. Because you can’t beat the DI’s prices. Or selection, for that matter.
But here’s where community comes into play. Have our customers come into our store and clicked pictures of our inventory? No. Have strangers? No. Happily, thankfully, we haven’t seen a single person engaged in corporate espionage in The King’s English.
Why? Because of community. Because everyone understands that we all live here together, all contribute together to this city we all love. They understand that engaging in shady corporate tactics to save a buck or two in the long run hurts the place they live.
EREF is a solid project. We received our construction license from the NRC in October. We currently have approval for a conditional loan guarantee. The U.S. enrichment market is strong and is expected to grow. We have contracts in place for a significant amount of the output from this facility. In summary, we have a sound project, a proven technology, an NRC license, and off-take contracts with investment-rated customers. We are confident that capital solutions will be found in a timely manner.
What do we need to move forward? We need the $2 billion loan guarantee from DOE and solutions to reduce our near-term capital expenditures.Also is important to note that the Areva plant is oriented towards the American market, and that events in Japan (and, presumably, Germany) aren’t having in impact on Eagle Rock plans. That’s comforting.
Not much to say, except to warn you not to get too serious about all this, if you want to become a writer of fiction in the future. If you intend becoming a critic, that is a whale of another color. Still, your own opinion, finally, when you have read and re-read is what you must earch for. When I wrote the screenplay of MOBY DICK for John Huston, I asked him if he wanted me to read all the critical studies of Melville. Huston wisely cried “NO! I want YOUR creative re-creation of the Whale! To hell with the critics!!! Pretend you are Melville and write me the Whale into screenplay form!” . . . which is what I did.Also, an interesting tidbit from Ayn Rand, in response to the question “Do you consciously, intentionally plan and place aymbolism in your writing? If both yes and no, according to instances, please give an example of each. If yes, please state your method for doing so”:
Playing around with symbols, even as a critic, can be a kind of kiddish parlor game. A little of it goes a long way. There are other things of greater value in any novel or story. . . humanity, character analysis, truth on other levels, etc., etc. Good symbolism should be as natural as breathing. . . and just as unobtrusive.
Yes – I have no method; there is no method in writing fiction; you don’t seem to understand.I kinda like that approach.