Summer reading list

May 22nd, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Reading | Sci-fi | Spiritual - (0 Comments)

In which I’m not Bill Gates, but I have a book list, too!

I’ve finally started Cloud Atlas. I bought it months and months ago and it’s just been sitting five screens deep on my Kindle Paperwhite:

It is absolutely goddamned brilliant. No question.

A Calamitous Chinese Killing is still in the pile. Inspector Singh is adorable, as ever. I’m about halfway through:

The Dark Monk is next. I bought it because the book’s design looked cool. The cover is black and gold, and the pages are torn. It’s translated, so hopefully it’ll be a good read, as sometimes translations can be a little flat:

Contact, by Carl Sagan, because I really like the movie and I’ve never read the book:

Still reading my abridged 1970 copy of Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna with the gilded ink on the spine and cover and the ribbon bookmark. Might be reading it again, actually; I really don’t know if I’ve ever finished it, as I frequently set it down for months then just open it at random:

The Outpost, by Mike Resnick. Came part of a sci-fi humble bundle that remains, to date, mostly un-read:

The Shelf Life of Happiness. May not finish this one, depends on how it unwinds:

The Heretics of De’Ath:

The Sheep Look Up, because it was a Nebula finalist:

A Gitanjali re-read. I bought a physical copy because it’s so beautiful and maybe the power will go out or something and I’ll need something that’s not electronic to read:

There’s more unread stuff on my Paperwhite and on paper both, but these are the titles I care about now. My reading habits have become so erratic in the past couple of years that we’ll see how many of these I actually finish, and how many non-listed books I’ll read instead.

What’s on your summer reading list? Anything I’d like?

Universal basic income

December 8th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Introspection | Reading | Work - (0 Comments)

In which I ponder the cuddle-the-baby or ignore-him-when-he-cries approaches.

I’ve been reading a lot about Universal Basic Income lately.

What is it? Well, the basic idea is that everybody gets enough income to keep them just out of poverty even if they never do anything at all.

In the U.S., it would be the equivalent of about $1,000 per month.

Everybody. No matter what. If you’re wealthy, you’d probably just shove it in your IRA or something; if you’re not, it would keep you sheltered and fed and off the streets and off welfare. It would put a lot of social services out of business. Homelessness would plummet, for instance.

Would people “abuse” it?

Well, let’s consider abuse:

Is deciding you don’t want to work abuse? I don’t want to work. Working sucks! With the exception of a couple of jobs that stimulated me and were interesting for awhile, I generally have never enjoyed work. Nobody truly likes going to the same place every day and doing the same meaningless shit over and over (especially not while being abused by the public). Most humans do not enjoy pretending to be total twats for money, just to align with the inhumane dictates of some company that doesn’t give a shit whether you live or die and which will fire you at the drop of a hat no matter how faithfully you perform/conform.

Is using that money to buy drink or drugs abuse? Well, if you’re addicted, you’re going to get those substances anyway. With basic income, you’d get them with your own money rather than other people’s. Probably a measurable reduction in theft. If you’re not addicted, you might party for awhile, sure, but that sort of life is pretty boring, so eventually you’d stop and look around for something fulfilling.

Many people object to the idea of giving everybody money because they think it would encourage laziness and slovenliness, but I think those objections reflect the objector’s personality more than anything else. Just because you’d drop out and let your place go to shit if you got free money doesn’t mean everybody else would.

And I think a lot of people would drop out, briefly, especially those in the bottom classes, and let the pizza boxes pile up. Daytime TV ratings might explode for awhile, sure. But so what? Eventually, people who are not disabled physically or mentally will get up and go do something. It’s human nature. And with basic income, that thing wouldn’t have to be degrading jobs at fast food restaurants or big box stores. That thing could be going back to CC to get qualified to work in a nice restaurant’s kitchen, or learning how to finally write that novel, or volunteering full-time to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. With universal income, if your circs sucked, you’d be free to reject them, leave, begin again elsewhere. You could find your correct place in society, eventually.

People in good, satisfying jobs would probably stay put. But people in shitty, demeaning jobs would probably migrate out of them, forcing employers to retool those jobs to be less shitty and demeaning in order to attract workers. Right now, and for the last thirty years, it’s been an employer’s market. They’ve lowered wages and worsened scheduling, benefits, and other work parameters to the point where most jobs below a certain level are really, really awful. I know this because I’ve worked them; if you haven’t, you can shut the fuck up. “Random scheduling” doesn’t sound that bad until you’ve done it for a year. Closing at eleven followed by opening at six followed by no schedule certainty for years on end will exhaust you: physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s bullshit, because it serves no purpose. We’re not at war; we’re not fighting for our lives and our way of life, we’re just making the rich richer. This is not sacrifice-worthy, noble employment. It’s theft.

Ignore-him-when-he-cries people think that by ignoring requests for attention, we’ll raise strong, self-dependent kids.

Cuddle-the-baby people think that by answering every need, we’ll raise confident, self-assured, unafraid children.

Obviously both approaches can fail and create selfish, self-serving monsters. Both approaches are imperfect, because they choose law over what’s actually on the ground.

I say the law was never meant to presuppose every possible nuance; you have a brain for that. React appropriately in the moment. And in the moment, machines are taking jobs, and a lot of industries are dying. Considering the lay of the land, it’s not possible to bring back all those dead manufacturing jobs. Not to mention that so many of the jobs that are left are poor quality and don’t pay shit. (If you’re working full time and still on welfare, something’s very wrong.)

It’s not like we don’t already have the wealth needed; if everybody had income, no matter what, we’d have a much healthier economy.

I believe that the more I learn about it, the more I’m very much in favor of UBI.

In which I’m ranting about “rape culture” yet again.

Rape culture doesn’t exist.

No matter how many articles you see about it, it still doesn’t exist. There was a national hysteria in the 80’s about an underground ring of satanic day care centers, where American children were being sodomized by the thousands. That didn’t exist either.

Back then the battle cry was, “We believe the children!” because only an asshole wouldn’t protect children. Now we “believe” the women, but the boogey man is equally unreal.

If you go look up the study that the 1-in-5 allegation was based on, you’ll find that even THE STUDY’S AUTHORS THEMSELVES say that it was never meant to be used this way. Not to mention that the methodology was ridiculous and biased, and basically all of the sexual contact reported was counted as rape or assault whether the respondant thought so herself or not.

Do you really think that all sexual contact is rape or assault? Really?

Seriously, gentlemen, just stop and THINK ABOUT IT for a minute. If 20% of women were getting raped, you wouldn’t be online right now. You’d be out with a baseball bat fighting men off of your mothers and sisters and daughters in the very streets. After all, it takes a long time to rape 31,400,000 women.

Rape culture was manufactured. Probably by college feminists for their own grant-generating agenda. Who knows. I don’t know, but I do know it’s a massive goddamned waste of time and attention.


The snake analogy is utterly ridiculous and lacks intellectual rigor on every conceivable level. Snakes are animals, and they behave instinctively. Men are humans and have brains that are orders of magnitude more complicated than snakes’ brains. The snake analogy is straight-up sexism because if I can judge all men by their dicks, I can judge all blacks by their melanin, and all idiots by their IQs.

Men have become so soft now that they just accept brutal sexism — from one of their own! — without even a whimper. (There are few things more incorrect-seeming than the self-loathing modern male feminist.)

Feminism is now making men hate themselves for their masculinity. HOW IS THIS A BEAUTIFUL, RIGHTEOUS SOCIAL MOVEMENT?! It’s fucking not. It’s a disaster. It’s hateful, it’s ugly, it’s whiny, and it’s childish. There’s no academic rigor; it’s just a bunch of complaining about being rich and Western and how awful it is when you’re and public and men look at you. These women honestly believe that the world owes them perfect comfort and perfect safety, and that their feelings of discomfort are exactly like what Malala went through.

And the duh moment: the idea that men should police their own sex, particularly in the protection of women, has existed as long as men have existed! (See: nearly everything men have ever done, ever.)

Why are we letting idiots write articles? (Yeah, yeah, it’s HuffPo. They’ll let anybody post anything.)

As a woman, I think mens’ desire to help and protect women would be better served if it were based on facts and evidence rather than hysterical press. I also wish that they’d hold both themselves and women to a higher standard of truth.

This ‘rape culture’ hysteria distracts from real issues, like the fact that ISIL just burned a bunch of sex slaves to death in public. Let me say that again: they took a group of women and lit them on motherfucking fire and burned them until they were dead. THAT is a women’s issue. THAT is where our attention should be. THAT is what feminism should be working on, not making boys ashamed of their sex.

White chicks “feeling uncomfortable” when men look at them, or walk past them, or speak? IS FUCKING NONSENSE. White chicks are the safest, most educated, freest, and most privileged class IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. They — we — are not victims, and letting us tell you we are is a disservice to us all.

Rape culture is a lie. Kill it with fire.

On the cult of printed books.

April 27th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Memes | Reading | Reference | Soapbox | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which I’m kind of a dick about people trying to wean themselves off of their identification with their belongings (which is a very important stage of development, of course, but seriously, this has to be the hundredth blog post I’ve read about how deeply attached bitches are to their Harry Potter books, and I’m like, You were literally raised in the cheap portable personal electronics age, and your attachment to books, to actual paper printed books, is, compared to those who went before you and truly used books in a way you never needed to, tenuous at best, and yet here you are talking like you were a monk illuminator who just watched his whole life’s work burn to the very ground).

I love to read, but this maudlin affectation about book collecting currently infecting our group consciousness is getting silly. “I really love books!” is turning into some sort of off-kilter, past-worshiping, item-hoarding cult. We get it: you love the smell of books and the feel of a favorite volume in your hand. So does everybody else. Shut up already.

The vast majority of books you read aren’t that good, and won’t need to be read again. And reference is all online now, you don’t need encyclopedias or dictionaries or histories. You can put a thousand years of human knowledge on a single eReader, but you’ll still probably read throw-away pop fiction. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

The old fashioned library is dying, and in many ways, yes, it sucks, but let it go. Jesus. The TERRIBLE STRUGGLE you go through trying to pare down your embarrassment of stuff, to minimalize, to quit decorating with books you’ve never even read, truly verges on the absurd. You’re having crazy romantical identity feelings about a particular style of inanimate object. If you talked like this about rolls of aluminum foil, we’d tell you to see a specialist.

(I realize the analogy breaks down, because while aluminum foil is incredibly useful, it’s not potentially filled with knowledge in the same way a book is, but books aren’t dying: the format is changing. As are our lifestyles: we don’t have family seats where libraries can live for generations; we move every few years. The energy expended in moving a library of paper books that you could store on a six ounce device just for false nostalgia is wasteful. Period. And there are more books being published every day than used to be published in entire years.)

I get that it’s hard the first time, when you’re ten or eleven or so, and, because you spent all Saturday fucking off and not cleaning your room, your dad stuffs “everything that isn’t schoolwork or clothing,” meaning all your books and toys, into trash bags and throws it all out: yeah, you’re a kid, and you cry because you just lost your purple teddy bear for disobeying, and losing your beloved things is hard.

But if you’re old enough to have a book collection, you’re old enough to know that you are not your stuff, and that reading itself, that magical alchemy in which somehow an entire world fits inside you and lives there, isn’t going away, and everything in your books and papers can be digitized and stored in a smaller, lighter, more easily searchable format, and your maudlin attachment to a data format is too forced and common to really seem genuine.


I recently started learning how to make bread. It turns out that holding a ball of soft, living bread dough in your hand feels an awful lot like holding a book: it’s an act that belongs to everyone of us, it reaches backwards and forwards through time, it contains potential, it nourishes, and, honestly, you really have only a vague idea of how it’s going to turn out.

All of which is to say, hey, if getting rid of some treeware is truly heartbreakingly difficult for you, then you’re basically a Disney princess in terms of level of real world difficulty. Lucky you!


July 12th, 2015 | Posted by Mush in Food | Gadgets | Life | Photography | Reading - (1 Comments)

In which it’s a lazy Sunday.

It’s so shitty outside there’s a heat warning on! Stay inside, stay hydrated, check on your neighbors, that sort of thing! Temperature in the mid-90’s with a heat index of one hundred degrees! A big-ass line of storms tonight! Large hail possible!

So I’m staying inside with the A/C on. I’m so grateful to have access to air conditioning technology. And fans, too — we have two fans running, to circulate all that conditioned air (because otherwise it just pools by the door and does no one any good at all).

I stayed up super late last night devouring part three of Seveneves. Other than the agnostic science fiction writer’s silly dream that a catastrophe survived only by scientists would somehow end religion1, it’s a really fantastic read. Being the jaded reader I am I’m loving being so absorbed in a story, since it happens so infrequently to me now.

I’d like to go look for curtains and wood glue and a few other needed household items, but I’m pretty sure leaving the apartment is a bad idea. Scott’s asleep anyway, taking a lazy Sunday afternoon nap.

I slept until two-thirty, then got up and made fried potatoes, Hollandaise, eggs, spinach, and toast for brunch. Not as good as the AMAZING Eggs Florentine at The Egg and I, but still edible. I also had a brilliant iced cardamom mocha breve with the last of the Radiance Dairy cream in it.

The bit of sky I can see under the blinds looks nice and blue, with fluffy clouds and a strong breeze ruffling the leaves, but it’s probably as damp as sweaty crotch out there. I’ve always maintained that the Midwest looks lovely all summer but feels awful.

Yesterday I installed Flickr on my phone and it worked. (It’s never worked on this phone before, and getting images off the phone and onto Flickr has been a pain in the ass since I got the phone last year.) It worked so well, in fact, it uploaded all 200 images in the phone’s gallery and now I have to delete them!

The credit union didn’t get ahold of me at the end of the week, but neither did they do so last time. I just don’t think they’re in a hurry about anything. Hopefully they’ll offer me a position next week! *fingers crossed* If they don’t, I’ll have to start looking for something else in earnest. I mean, I’ve applied for three jobs this week so as not to have too many eggs in one basket, but I’ll really need to buckle down before I run out of money.

Friday, I got my nails done because they looked awful. That evening, Scott went to a ball game (and watched Detroit lose to the Twins in the final inning) and I had the evening to myself. I drank some wine, then rode my bike down to Nicollet and ate at a Mexican restaurant.

El Nuevo Mariachi Restaurant

Then I went home and took a nap, sprawled diagonally across the entire bed, with a fan blowing on me. It was a fucking glorious Friday night.

I just looked up to see that the blue sky is gone, and is now the gunmetal grey of a thick cloud deck. The last time I checked, storms weren’t due for five more hours. Maybe it’ll get interesting out there!

1 We all want to end the bullshittery of organized religion, of course, but evolution and bureaucracy are part and parcel of human nature. Wherever there are human beings, there will be religion, because there will always be a need for jargon to describe the internal and the numinous, and there will always be weird little rule-following bureaucratic assholes making people miserable. Basically, every time a writer kills “religion” in a book, it just tells you that s/he has no idea what religion actually is beyond what it looks like on the surface.

A blog post.

November 18th, 2012 | Posted by Mush in Blurbs | Reading - (2 Comments)

In which I blog more because it’s time than because I have anything to say.

I got my hair cut and colored after work Thursday night. It’s got honey blonde highlights and medium brown lowlights and it’s been cut into layers and it feels great. I also got the shit waxed out of what had become some truly gigantic unruly eyebrows and look like a girl again. The experience cost $102 plus tip, and was worth every. single. cent. My stylist had discovered The Secret in the past year so there was some “the world is as you are” midst the gossip, which was good because it reminded me it always starts somewhere, even though to be honest The Secret is really baby tier spirituality about getting desires fulfilled more than anything else.

Then I went to Marcy’s and drank my dinner so yeah, Friday morning sucked ass, but I had fun and got to see Kimi whom I’d been missing, so: totally worth it.

I’ve been weirder and more emotional and internal than I’ve been in a loooong time. It feels like some important evolutionary phase, somehow, but I have to be honest that the mood swings are so bad they’re almost hilarious. I’d suspect perimenopause except I’m ovulating like clockwork so it’s more likely I’m just being crazy (although what with last month’s loooooong term bout of The Dread and now this… hmm. yeah. beginning of the end, probably). These unexpected bouts of, like, heartbreaking existential loneliness have been bizarre. All kinds of midlife-crisis loops playing in my head (WHERE IS MY BEAUTIFUL HOUSE etc), plus the short days and the fucking rain and overcast skies and glacier-paced days at work and, as usual, knowing basically no one my own age and, well, I can go days without even really talking to anyone that isn’t a customer. Oh, the human condition: you’re just so funny. None of this matters, except oh holy shit it fucking matters. Gah. (tl;dr The panic has passed and now I think I’m a little depressed.)

Since my last post I’ve actually managed to sleep a lot, hit up Goodwill for some jeans and tops, sign up for a yoga class, buy groceries, make Egyptian and Turkish dishes, and take a bubble bath. For someone who never does anything I’m pretty good at crossing items off of to-do lists.

The Internet crush, surprisingly, continues apace. It’s pretty cool. There may be plane tickets at some point.

I’ve now been employed again for long enough that I’m living for weekends. Damn you, 40-hour work week: damn you and your soul-killing length.

In other news, Barnes & Noble bought Fictionwise awhile back and now, of course, they’re closing it. I received an email inviting me to transfer all my Fictionwise books — many many hundreds I’ve purchased over the past 8 years or so — to a Nook account. There was no way to bulk-download my purchases, nor any easy way to download the DRM’d items in multiple formats. I’ve basically lost access to a bunch of shit I OWN because I happened to buy a Kindle instead of a Nook. Good job, the publishing industry: you suck at internet.

Joining the tablet revolution.

November 22nd, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in Gadgets | Reading - (5 Comments)

In which I accidentally buy a Kindle Fire.

I did not need a new device. My Kindle 3 (the model now known as the “Kindle Keyboard”) isn’t even a year old yet, and it works just fine. After I sprung (sprang?) for the expensive but elegant and cleverly-designed OEM leather cover with the built-in light, I could even read in the dark. It’s eminently portable, wireless, holds 1500 books, and I’d hacked it to display custom screen savers. It did not need to be replaced.

It’s just that I have a job now, and therefore there was money in my account on the day my clicking finger went ahead and decided for me. And now I have the Kindle Fire!

Kindle Fire 1st gen

The Fire is a seriously great deal for two hundred bucks. The hardware is really nice for such a low price point — I hear they’re being sold at a loss (Amazon’s favorite market-cornering trick, see: the entire ebook industry). The device is fast, responsive, and has very nice screen resolution. It’s many, many times more elegant than that knock-off tablet I had briefly last year.


What I'm Reading

September 2nd, 2010 | Posted by administratrix in Reading - (1 Comments)

In which there are books. In various formats.

I’ll start school in eighteen days (if the financial aid office at WWCC ever awards me any aid, that is) and probably won’t read much that isn’t assigned for the next nine months. That being true, I thought I’d share my current reading-for-pleasure list with you.

“Real” Books
As far as treeware goes, there’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twenty-third Annual Collection that I haul out every once in awhile. I’m not sure if I’ve read it before or not, but I don’t remember the stories so it’s just like reading them for the first time anyway. There’s also Eternal Wisdom, Upadeshamritam Part 2. I have read this before, but it was different water then and I was a different bridge.

New Message

The last three items I opened on my Kindle were the October 2010 edition of Asimov’s Science Fiction (the double issue! yay! delivered wirelessly while I wasn’t even looking!), Bright Of The Sky (a loss leader suggested to me and which I downloaded because hey, it was free), and Free As In Freedom: Richard Stallmann’s Crusade for Free Software.

The last three ebooks I added to the Kindle were Byron in Love: A Short Daring Life, Galt’s The Life of Lord Byron, and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

I have fifteen non-fiction items on the Kindle, all free samples from Amazon, that I have not yet begun to read, and I’m on page three of Cory Doctorow’s Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future. I guess I forgot it was on there because I buried the ebook in a folder I haven’t looked into for awhile.

I bought the latest Clarkesworld Magazine a few days ago and am about to crack into that, and I’ve been reading Cryptonomicon on and off for months. It’s hilarious and brilliant, but somehow I never feel compelled to read it. (My favorite Stephenson book was Anathem; I actually finished that in a reasonable amount of time. It took me forever to read Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, and forget about The Baroque Cycle; I’ll never read those. NOTHING should require that many words to convey!)

Miscellaneous Book Facts
Total number of ebooks (including magazines and today’s NYT) on my Kindle: 79
Total number of ebooks on my iPod (in five different reader apps): 110 (a few of which are duplicated on the Kindle)
Total number of ebooks in Calibre: 304 (about a sixth of which are DRM-locked to devices I no longer have but most can be re-downloaded for the current device)
Total number of “real” books I own: 113 (most of which are cookbooks, and 6 of which are musical scores)

In which I recap my madcap, whirlwind, SUPERfun trip to the cit-ay!

By 8:30 Friday morning I was in Sheila‘s van, heading west. Her awesome daughters let me ride shotgun, which was supercool of them. The ride was lovely – watching the land change from desert to rain forest is beautiful every single time I see it – and the company was lovely.

Columbia river

I was at the Hollywood TC before one in the afternoon. I called Dave. He told me to start walking down 39th and he’d come and get me.

I can’t tell you exactly how long, but it’s been a loooooooong time since I last saw Dave. We were in the MHCC jazz program together in the late 80’s. We had beers, and his neighbor (who also happens to be his bass player) set up an ad hoc wireless network for me so I could get online.


Adie came and picked me up after she got off work, and we went to her house, where I was attacked by terriers!. (Hah!) I put my bag in the guest room, changed my clothes, and after a bit we wandered over to Alberta for dinner at The Hilt. (Falafel! Hummus! Mojitos!)


My friend Leila dropped in and had a little nosh with us. It was a wonderful visit. After she took off we walked home, watched some TV, and were in bed by 10:30. (more…)

In which publishers and sellers alike seem to be on the verge of losing their minds.

kindle2iFirst off, let me just say that I’ve been reading ebooks since 1994. They’re not new. This whole ebook thing has been coming for a long, long time, and I can’t figure out why the big book publishers can’t figure out how to monetize ebooks without acting like morons.

Second off, I’ve been buying ebooks for a long time too, and I’ve read a lot of ebooks on a lot of platforms. Those are my creds as an ebook reader, so I kinda know what I’m talking about here, from a customer’s point of view. Seriously, I only know one person who has been reading ebooks as long as I have (this means you, NLW).

Third off, what the fuck is going on over at Amazon? They’ve pulled literally every Macmillan title due to some kind of “pricing dispute.” Apparently, Macmillan, after learning that the Apple ebook store will let them charge more than $9.99 per title, has decided that Amazon should do the same. Since Amazon sells virtually all of its ebooks at the $9.99 pricepoint, they pulled the Macmillan titles! (My beloved Tor is a Macmillan imprint, BTW.) It’s a freakin’ mess, and you know who’s getting hurt?

The authors. Because their BOOKS AREN’T SELLING.

A lot of treeware publishers are doing a terrible job embracing the ebook format. They’re running around carrying on about DRM and sounding like idiot RIAA executives from the 90’s. It’s a mess. They should all go read Eric Flint’s brilliant argument for loss leaders and against DRM, written a decade ago, posted at the Baen Free Library.

Here are some truths:


1. I have never given anyone an ebook that I have purchased. NEVER. Not once. (Well, maybe once or twice, but if so I don’t remember it.) But if I wanted to give someone an ebook, the file format wouldn’t matter – any secure format can be broken. Back when the iTunes store was still selling music with DRM, all you had to do to break it was burn your songs to disc and then rip them back into your library! Duh! I have software on my computer right now that will break DRM on music, video, and certain ebook formats. Why? Because sometimes I want to use my content on hardware other than the hardware the seller wants me to use it on. Since I PAID FOR IT, I feel completely fine about breaking the DRM for my own ends, just as I feel fine tearing a blank page out of a treeware book to write a note on.

2. I’ve read absurd projections by some publishers; they claim they would lose a huge amount of money if they distributed new book releases in non-secure ebook format. WTF, over? They sound just like the record companies. I can’t believe these people didn’t pay attention to electronic formats in the music industry! Where the hell were they? Yes, some content gets pirated, but so what? It’s free advertisement! A truly heartening percentage of the ebook reading public is made up of moral people who will, if they can, pay for things they’ve enjoyed. Piracy does not “lose” you money. You can’t lose money you never had in the first place.

3. And, as they say so well over at Baen, loss leaders WORK. If you have a trilogy, give the first book away for free in ebook format. It’s cheap because all you have to do is format it once and host it; there are no manufacturing costs involved. You’ll find (if the book doesn’t suck) that the entire trilogy’s sales will increase: win/win for publisher and author.

Hey big publishers, the electronics are coming! You gotta get ready! It used to be a sub-market of weirdos like me with rare hardware, but now we’ve got the Kindle and the iPad and by the end of this decade the ebook format is going to be ubiquitous. You need to figure this out tout de suite. You are going to have to embrace the ebook format. You are going to have to take a smaller cut on electronic books, and you are going to have to change your product release cycle to quit holding ebook versions for ten months and then overcharging for them.

We, your audience, know perfectly well that the cost of producing a treeware book is SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER than the cost of releasing an ebook, and it pisses us off when you set ebook price points at hardcover levels. (I didn’t buy the a particular Guy Gavriel Kay book for over five years because it was nearly thirty bucks. THIRTY BUCKS FOR AN EBOOK? I waited until it came down to proper ebook range before I bought it.) It also pisses us off when we learn that between you and the ebook vendor, authors are making pennies off of ebooks – that’s why we buy them, when we can, directly from the author’s website, or from ebook sellers who are known to pay higher percentages.

With the paper, printing, and shipping out of the equation, all a publisher does is select, edit, and promote. That pretty much makes you an agent, which lowers your take pretty significantly. Which is okay, because the book market is huge. Readers tend to read a lot, and ebook readers will continue to make it easier and easier to read (and buy) a lot of content.

You have got to change.

Please, do it more gracefully than the music industry did, mmm’kay? You need to get ebooks to market alongside the treeware versions, and yes, you have to charge less for them. You have to select industry-standard formats; don’t bring yet another format to the table because there are already dozens. Forget about stupid DRM, too, because it DOESN’T DO ANYTHING BUT ANNOY EVERYONE. Design and implement appropriate sales tracking, so that you can see for yourself that ebooks can actually increase treeware sales. (Look at Cory Doctorow! He releases all his books in ebook format… for free! And he’s a success. Go figure!)

Believe me. This doesn’t have to be scary, and you don’t have to look stupid. Mellow out, there, big fellas. It’ll be okay.