Friday, September 19, 2008

A Cat's Eye View

I sometimes like to get really close to a viewpoint, just to see what I can see, just like when I get up into the face of our most lovable cat, Jerry Seinfeld aka Big Cow, and snuggle in his face as closely as possible. I may be able to see only the eyes and whiskers from this viewpoint, but you certainly cannot say that I don't know what cat eyes and whiskers look like!

This article about an ancient, but controversial subject popped up yesterday. (Be sure to read the comments on the article, too.) Since I have been wallowing in such an intimate viewpoint of the issue for quite a while, I felt I had to comment on the same old conflict once again.

The whole country is suddenly up in arms over the financial fiasco we call Wall Street, as if nobody could see it coming since about 1987. After watching the market for several years, I jerked all my cash out of it in the early '90's. It's that old fool me once line. Some people are blaming Bush's program to offer mortgages to low-income buyers; some people are blaming Greenspan's constant sellouts to his favorite street; and some are blaming the system managers. Of these choices, I go with the Greenspan crowd: he mashed interest rates so low that no one in his right mind wanted to keep savings in an FDIC insured bank! The government's plan was well-intentioned and of course any corporation is going to do anything to make money if you let them. Greenspan let them.

The reason I have to comment on the article is not any action taken by Amazon. They are just the same as the out of control corporations on Wall Street. They are going to try to make as much money as possible in as short a length of time as possible. The big secret, the line I want to hear someone say, is that the few books selected for traditional publication are simply those that the corporation thinks it can sell the most of in the least amount of time. Not only is this a fact, but this fact has been squeezing the industry like an anaconda for decades, just as it has every other industry in America. How has our television programming gotten so bad? This is how. Why are our movie choices peppered with sequels? This is why. Why was most of our best music created decades ago? Do I really have to answer that?

There are plenty of good POD books out there, but if someone who has never walked in my shoes read this Forbes article, he would not learn a grain of the truth. As with the current financial crisis, the spin is one of the leading causes of ignorance. I shudder to think what the traditional book market will look like twenty years from now. Amazon is not the leading enemy of a quality book market, and neither are the POD publishers. Junk like this is.

Photo of Miss April by Al Past

1 comment:

Al said...

In the old days, publishers cared more about what was in a book, though they still hoped it would turn a profit. A small minority still do, but for Amazon and others, profit is the ONLY thing, contents be damned. As you observe, Floyd, money increasingly trumps all. I used to ask people if they'd give up 10% of their salary for life-long health care for them, their family, and everyone in the country. They thought I was nuts, yet most of them pay way more than that now, all things considered. It's as though money were a drug, and people want every molecule of it they can get their hands on, no matter the consequences.

Still, POD has enabled me to get the Distant Cousin books before a small segment of the public when otherwise I might not have been able to. The fact that it has been greatly enjoyed is a decent return for me.