Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dog Days

What time is it? I think it's link round-up time!


The Borders Bookstore chain is maybe-possibly-probably-this-time going out of business. Factors include, but are not limited to,, Kindle, Barnes and Noble's partnership with Starbucks, and a bad economy. Also, Borders has been more than a few not-so-good business decisions in the past.

My opinion? While I don't think this will usher in the death of print media, I do think that the future will bring us bookstores that are largely successful when combined with other media or else focused on marketing books as a "specialty item."

Books aren't fast food or Blockbuster films--there's hours of concentration needed for each one. When people no longer have the disposable income and time to spend on them, you have to change selling tactics. Failure to embrace the changes (making ebooks, for example) will leave you out in the cold. I'm horribly sad Borders is going but I'm not surprised.

I don't think books will disappear. That's a panic-driven mode of thinking. Book-length stories are part of the scene, whether they're digested as movie series, television shows, or traditional media.

Books have always had a niche group in broader culture while their general popularity goes in cycles. They'll survive.


I've been enjoying the hell out of Cory Doctorow's "With a Little Help," a free book of short stories available online. Download the audio here! Normally, I turn up my nose at audio books like the hipster I am. This time, it's different.

Stand-outs in the collection include the wonderful, paranoia Google-fantasy "Scroogled" and "The Right Book," a piece about book selling in the future which seems enormously appropriate for the contents of this post.

EDIT: I forgot to add that Doctorow accepts donations in an effort to look for a new business model to sell books and because "With a Little Help" is free. I sent a few dollars his way and received a very kind email as a result. It was super sweet!


Said the Gramophone is an indie (?) music blog where "all tracks are posted out of love" and accompanied with links to buy the music.

The tracks are often posted with short stories and fragments, too. Sometimes these prose-poems have nothing obvious to do with the music besides an enthralled listener's response to the fluctuating sounds.

Here's an interesting one by Dan Bierne posted with The Dø's "The Calendar":

What an elegant statue. My, yes, how elegant. Is that soap stone? A lovely deep purple with white etchings. Life-size, my yes. What...I hope you don't take offense to this. What...I ask this only to prove my own ignorance, it has nothing to do with... What is it... what is it supposed to be? Sorry, pardon me, what was that? I couldn't quite hear you. Oh, you didn't hear me? Oh, I'm sorry, I asked..what is it be? Ah, I see, of course! A woman, of course! I am so sorry I had to ask, as that is obviously what it is supposed to be. I mean, it is obviously what it is! My goodness! How elegant! My yes, live-size, absolutely. Ahem. Hm. My. Yes. Elegant. So... Ahem. Elegant, yes. Ahem. So... is that....the head?


The above image is from Baccio Maria Bacci (1888 - 1974) which I found on the fantastic blog, Art Inconnu - Little-know and under-appreciated art.