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13 January 2007

Canada considering tough new copyright law?


Canada considering tough new copyright law?:

"Graham Henderson, who heads the CRIA, didn't want to talk about fair use as much as he wanted to get the word out about piracy and the culture of 'free music' that he claims has developed within Canada. Legal music download services have not flourished in Canada, he tells the Canadian Press, because 'it's a big black market effect and so instead of 25 percent [of the total music market], it's 8 percent here. People are simply abandoning the marketplace altogether, and they've made the decision they'll just download the music and worry about how the artist gets paid later.'"

Click on the title.
Blogaulaire, has to agree that the country has a flair for using the back door to avoid the ticket booth, just from seeing how Canadians jumped at the chance to 'pirate' satellite signals and ignore commercial subscription packages for the past decade.

Thanks to Digg/News for pointed up and voting in this headline article on their site.

Is Amazon (Dot) Com So 'The Establishment' in 2007 -- "It's Boring All of Us?"


The Scotsman, on the occasion of Amazon(dot)com's 10th birthday two years ago, nearly extolled Amazon's UK performance after a mere 3 years on the ground delivering to the Brits and Scots as well as Wales.

Scribes who, for nearly a decade, reached post-Christmas heights each New Year bitching about how customers' online orders were botched by Amazon, had already turned their sights upon online banking identity theft. Had they just dropped the poison pen and moved on because it became boring?

A quote from the Time text below:
"Books . . . are among the most highly databased items on the planet. The wholesalers even had CD-ROMs listing them," Amazon CEO Bezos.

Amazon the Pre-Teen

Boring? Books? P2P music downloads? Whatever. Who would have guessed that by today's 12th anniversary of Amazon's IPO start-up, commentators everywhere would find E-commerce so boring a theme that online shopping was barely discussed as bankruptcy loomed for the 3rd largest distributor of books on pallets to the retail outlets, viz AMS? It is as if Amazon competition in the bookbuying business is such a given, we cannot fathom that old-style distributors have not completely factored in Amazon into their daily equation of hauling books in and out of the warehouse.

If you forget history, you're forced to re-live it.
Cut and Pasted from TIME (dot) COM

11 Years Ago
Amazon launchs it's first IPO on Wallstreet
In May 1996, Amazon landed on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. The story did two things: it introduced Amazon to a whole new stream of customers, and it caught the attention of rivals like Barnes & Noble and Borders Group, which hadn't yet moved online. would appear a year later--just before Amazon's initial public offering, which went off at a modest $18 a share. Never mind that the celebrated venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was its biggest institutional investor before the ipo. Wall Streeters were afraid of the threat posed by the giant Barnes & Noble, whose national network of bookstores looked unbeatable, prompting George Colony, president of Forrester Research, a prominent technology-analysis firm, to pronounce the company "Amazon.toast." Other naysayers referred to it as ""--".org" being a domain name reserved for nonprofit companies. But did nothing to stall Amazon's amazing sales.

8 Years Ago
Much of the Silicon Valley/Wall Street/media complex believes the commodification of online retailing will lay their company to waste. Amazon the Web's golden child, darling of NASDAQ day traders who raise its market cap even faster than the company bleeds money, is also Amazon the avatar of all that may be ephemeral and fraudulent about the dotcom revolution.

7 Years Ago
Marcus, who joined Amazon in '96, recalls learning Web coding on the fly in order to get his reviews online. Kerry Fried sardonically references "my assistant" to refer to her endless clerical duties. Almost every Amazonian spends half his time each December wrapping packages and manning customer-service lines. "It doesn't matter what you've done before and what you're going to do later," says Moe. "You figure it out as you go along."

That even goes for where you sit. Amazon offices are scattered across Seattle: the flagship Art Deco Pacific Medical Center, the Pike Street skyscraper, the original Columbia building and so on. Stunning mountain-flanked views of Lake Washington and Puget Sound are the only luxury the spartan corporate aesthetic allows. Employees are crammed two to a bare-walled office and work at Bezos-designed desks made of old doors with legs stuck on them (design director Helen Owen bets me lunch that she will still have a door-desk in five years, even if Amazon flourishes).

"We're constantly told not to get too attached to our office," says Marcus, who has moved nine times in three years.

The Brainchild
Some 14/15 Years Ago

Bezos recalls, "I'm sitting there thinking we can be a complete first mover in e-commerce." He researched mail-order companies, figuring that things that sold well by mail would do well online. He made a list of the Top 20 mail-order products and looked for where he could create "the most value for customers." Value, in his equation, would be something customers craved: selection, say, or convenience or low prices. "Unless you could create something with a huge value proposition for the customer, it would be easier for them to do it the old way," he reasoned. And the best way to do that was "to do something that simply cannot be done any other way."

And that's what ultimately led to books. There weren't any huge mail-order book catalogs simply because a good catalog would contain thousands, if not millions of listings. The catalog would need to be as big as a phone book--too expensive to mail. That, of course, made it perfect for the Internet, which is the ideal container for limitless information.

Bezos needed to learn the book business fast. Fate was his handmaiden: the American Booksellers Association's annual convention was set for the very next day in Los Angeles. He flew out and spent the weekend roaming the aisles and taking a crash course in the business. Everything he learned encouraged him. The two big wholesalers for books were Ingram and Baker & Taylor. "So I went to their booths and told them I was thinking of doing this."

"Books, it turns out, are among the most highly databased items on the planet. The wholesalers even had CD-ROMs listing them. It seemed to Bezos as if all the stuff "had been meticulously organized so it could be put online."

Bezos realized he desperately wanted to start his own online bookstore. First he talked it over with MacKenzie. She too had graduated from Princeton, but six years after him; they met at Shaw, where she worked as a researcher. An English-literature major at the university, she had been novelist Toni Morrison's assistant and now had begun a novel of her own. MacKenzie was all for the adventure.

Between Bezos's Garage and His Wallstreet Début
The most important person Bezos hired was probably the first: Shel Kaphan, a brilliant programmer in Santa Clara, Calif., and veteran of a dozen start-ups, many of them, in fact, failures. Bezos persuaded him, over the course of a few months, to join his company in Seattle.

Back in the winter of '95-'96
To save money, Bezos went to Home Depot and bought three wooden doors. Using angle brackets and 2-by-4s, he hammered together three desks, at a cost of $60 each. (That frugality continues at Amazon to this day; every employee sits behind a door desk.)

. . On July 16, 1995, opened its site to the world . .

IN 2006, experience it's biggest Christmas buying spree yet:

See the Wednesday, 14 January Post HERE on the latest analysis.

"Watermelon No. 2" Portrayed as 'The Crash' Crop of Lowthorp Farm in Hope, Arkansas ('O.D.' Out-Did It)


1930 - A.B. Turner and "Jumbo" - This was the 1st of 3 record size watermelons for the year. The final record watermelon was brought in by O.D. Middlebrooks on October 18, 1930 and it weighed 164 & 3/4 pounds. Due to the Great Despression, the 1930 festival was the last at Hope until the 1970s.
Blogaulaire - I'm outta here if Hope cancels this year's festival . . if the folks down there think the Great Depression lasted til the '70s, how long do ya figger the next one's gonna drag on fer?

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 13 January


"Good luck comes like a large watermelon sitting in the middle of a freshly tidied room."

. . (49) Chinese

Photo Courtesy of Blaikie Turner

Campaign for the American Reader: Books and their covers


This is a post we archived as a draft. We bring it forward because it hits on some points made in today's other posts. (By coincidence there is mention of last year's publication of the E. L. Doctorow novel "The March".

What I think is pertinent is the ease with which copyright in images is violated to put a book cover together. I am thinking about the digital book world along the lines that Google proposed to the publishing industry last Thursday (at the meeting in the New York City Library). Well I think that even for digitized fiction there will be a need for a digital cover, something attractive and a come-on to potential readers. And the whole thing being pitched as 'free' makes me conclude that all these backlist or even current titles will be 'covered' using unpaid artwork.

Marshal Zeringue could write 'steal' cover designs; Not 'reuse photography', in the text blogged below:

Books and their covers
Friday, January 12, 2007

Jeff Pierce writes at The Rap Sheet:
One of the very first posts I wrote for The Rap Sheet blog had to do with publishers and book jacket designers who, probably through inattention, reuse photography that’s previously fronted one or more other books.

Ever since, I’ve been keeping track of these “copy-cat covers,” and now present two more examples, from UK publishers.

See what he's talking about at: 'Did They Really Think Nobody Would Notice?'

Also on the subject of book covers, Pete Lit has posted on the 'Best and Worst Book Covers' of 2007. The worst cover belongs to E.L Doctorow's The March.

What a great book, what an awful cover. Click over to Pete Lit to see for yourself."

Click on the links to find the source posts mentioned above.

12 January 2007

No Bankruptcy Court in the World Can Stay or Delay Harlequin Romance from Her Appointed Rounds


King of the Castle (1978)

The Enchanting Island (nd)

The Sofa (A Belmont title) Some of the far racier stuff, also available (if it passes customs).

Bride of Zarco by Margaret Rome (c)1976

Where No Roads Go (1963), by Essie Summers. (So rare, Brinks was present.)

Simon & Schuster went to court today to release books from the limbo of possible seizure under Chapter 11 ; we posted a link about one bookseller's take on this issue earlier today.

Upon learning that some/much of what S & S is trying to 'liberate' from AMS's Indiana warehouse consists of recently released Harlequin Romance titles. That got Blogaulaire thinking about how WE could help the Big Publisher in the eventuality that the Harlequin's 'stay stuck on the pallets.

Buy Canadian! Here in the North, we consider Harlequins specifically (and Romance fiction generally) a natural resource, almost like primary resources as 'natural' as paper-pulp and raw nickel.

Canada stands ready to ship every sort of Harlequin: new, old, and middle-aged, to our American cousins in the South. Hell, anything we don't have in Popular Romance Fiction, we'll write for you on the spot we're so good. And the price is dirt cheap: as low as US$4.50 a pop per book (You're welcome to scrounge around (if you buy bulk) in some of the 40-centers, where you might find treasures that can fetch over US $150 from a true collector. You never know!

So to whet the Simon & Schuster appetite and demonstrate that Blogaulaire means business when he speaks for Canadian bookdealers from Coast to Coast all the way north to the Beaufort Sea, we hurried out to OUR warehouse and safe-deposit box for a few sample image uploads running (above) on Cheap Priceless Editions.

Radio Free PGW: PUBLISHERS GROUP WEST, 1976 - 2007


RF-PGW Tutors the World About the Sales End of the American Booktrade

Blogaulaire would have blogged todays installment of Radio Free PGW instead of yesterdays. But things are moving quickly into courtroom issues, and we should all know that playing living room coach for a team in litigation is foolish at best.

But on Thursday, 11 Jan 07 the blogger on the inside gave us the dope on how Publishers Group West got its start 30 years ago and how it grew by promoting the sales of the small, independent publishers it represented. He gives names, dates and policy for guiding the sales staff at PGW. Whether this is a guidebook for success or for failure -- I'll let my own readers decide that one.

Simon & Schuster will do what they have to do to promote their own interests, their own titles. Just because their interests are bigger in dollar amount or their titles include Harlequin Romance paperbacks, for Bogaulaire, does not cut it one way or the other. You can be for the 'little guy' all the time and spend all day reading Tolstoy and Proust; in my mind neither 'prejudice' means you go to 'war' with 'pride' or with 'peace' in your heart AGAINST S & S. In fact, I hope the big publishers in this mess and the small press players help each other out at finding beneficial solutions.

A QUOTE from
Radio Free PGW

One of the great contradictions about PGW since Charlie sold it to Satan of San Diego in 2002 is that for many of us, PGW has never been better. Many of us had our best year ever in 2006. Much of the credit for that goes to new PGW president Rich Freese. He was able to take the torch from Charlie and energize an already productive PGW crew. Unfortunately, the sins of AMS would eventually be visited on PGW.

Hard-assed days . .


Major Bunny Colvin got tired of all the violence in Baltimore. He got tired of all the shootings, all the innoncents getting victimed, all of the waste of time putting dope on the table. He wanted to make a real difference.

Hard-assed days . . hard-assed ways of learning to live together

Sounds like the story line for any one of a dozen episodes shot on location in Vancouver for DaVinci's Code or some television series that's gritty and real. It's a re-hash of an edisode another blogger would like to see made real in New Orleans. A re-hash with a purpose by Ashley Morris.

We are about to cut out from Cheap Priceless Editions to a blog from a citizen in New Orleans who is fed up with all the killing down there, a young NOLA resident who turns to places like Baltimore or Chicago or anywhere depicted on television or in grit-lit (but also real places) where the police mean business about protecting people's lives from that violent fringe, the craziest victims and self-deluded 'redeemers' of the hard drug trade . . carrying guns.

If you cannot bear to see the word 'fuck' on your computer monitor, THEN don't CLICK ON THE LINK. But Blogaulaire thinks that, despite all the macho-man talk (encouraged in music, pop fiction, video and the like), we all should encourage THINKING OUT solutions as down-to-earth implementation of programs: police programs, social programs, community clinics and, yes, public libraries.

A take on season three of 'The Wire' from Ashley Morris, who I thank for this:

Bunny decided he’d take a different track.

Bunny lectured his troops on how, in the 1950s, a “civic compromise” was struck between the guys drinking a 40 or some Thunderbird on the corner and the police. The drinkers would put their beverage in a bag, and the police would pretend not to notice.

No harm, no foul.

This allowed the drinkers to continue what they were doing, as long as it didn’t hurt anyone; and allowed the police to spend their time on more important issues.

To implement his plan, Bunny found an abandoned stretch of row houses. It shouldn’t be too hard to find something similar in New Orleans these days. He rounded up all the corner boys, all the dope slingers, all the mid-level dealers, and took them to this area. He told them that in this area, they could sell all the dope they wanted. The police would not interfere, and would, in fact, stand watch to make sure the place didn’t get violent. The corner boys had to leave their guns at home, though.

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 12 January


Hippie Jewelry

from Justin Wintle

"Never talk pygmie to a dwarf."

. . (46) Chinese

11 January 2007

HM Rivergroup - IRISH Software Publisher Gobbled Houghton Mifflin


The real question is whether any corporate take-over in textbook publishing will change the 'educational culture'. I suppose that without changing the 'corporate culture' of the business, content and pedogogic creativity becomes a moot point.

This post is just a reminder that we have some substantive checking to do, after we catch up with this name change. Sorry, I apologise to the faculty members; I caught on only and exactly one month after this occured.

Poets&Writers, Inc.

Houghton Mifflin, the Boston-based publisher of books by Jhumpa Lahiri and Philip Roth, as well as the 'Best American' series of anthologies, was recently acquired by the Irish educational software company Riverdeep Holdings for $1.75 billion.

Riverdeep, which is actually the smaller of the two companies, was able to purchase Houghton Mifflin, the fourth-largest textbook publisher in the United States, by securing private investment and assuming over $1.5 billion in debt. The new company will be known as HM Rivergroup.

Houghton Mifflin, which was created by the 1880 merger of publishers Ticknor and Fields and Henry Houghton’s Riverside Press, publishes poets Donald Hall and Glyn Maxwell and fiction writers Tim O’Brien and John Edgar Wideman, among others. The company was owned by three private investment groups, which bought it in 2002 from the French media conglomerate Vivendi for approximately $1.7 billion.

What Vivendi did and did not own, who owns it now (especially which Canadians are still in it), all of this extends my comprehension to the limits. Sitting in Québec, I have the feeling that the corporate stakeholders in publishing with names like Transcontinental and Quebecor World, the names that change little, may turn out to be the biggest players. Maybe it is more important to first ask who prints your phone book and then ask who publishes your child's textbook to have a feel for where this is all going.
(-: my Smiley with a quizzical expression. :-)
posted 12.04.06 "

Cheap Priceless Editions: I'm 'Goody Two-Shoes'


FILED: Next to Norman Mailer's "Advertisements for Myself"
--------- and thanks to Sarah's Books Used & Rare (click title) for reminding me what 'Goody Two-Shoes' means literally ---------

I'm 'Goody Two-Shoes'

From smallfry at the end of November to big guy in mid January, in the blogosphere for a mere month and a half, Cheap Priceless Editions is in the news and in your views.

If the number of visitors doubles again, just running ads here will (would if we ran them) bring in US $1.95 !!!

A full-blooded, bona fides blogger-member of MetaxuCafé -- the litblog network that stands high on respected blogrolls in 'our' sphere -- let's tone this down a notch -- in other words, this guy said of the blog you're on, Cheap Priceless Editions the following:

I have never commented, so, I wanted to take the time and let you know even though I don’t comment, I READ you all the time, and LOVE THIS BLOG!

Checkhov's Mistress

No wonder I am being visited daily by the 'Scouts' at Grey Advertising. Yoo hoo!

Mother of a nation: LIBERIAN President Johnson-Sirleaf


By Ruthie Ackerman | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

'ARE YOU IN SCHOOL?' Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf talks to a group of children outside a church in Monrovia, Liberia, to see if they're going to school. In 2005, she became the first woman elected to lead an African nation.

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – At the First United Methodist Church in downtown Monrovia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sits in the front row for the Sunday morning service, wearing a golden robe and headdress befitting a queen.
Hours later, she wears white sneakers and a baseball cap as she dribbles a soccer ball across a soccer stadium, showing off some of the moves she learned as an 8-year-old girl on an all-boy soccer team.

'Instead of telling them "We're going to build you a school," we ask them, "What is your priority?"
- Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

"This is reconciliation," she says, aware that most people in the crowd probably voted for her opponent, soccer star George Weah, in Liberia's 2005 presidential election. But her presence at the soccer game proved something more than just her athletic prowess: It showed her willingness to try to bridge the gap between opposing political parties and bring strong leadership to Liberia, a country still devastated by a 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.

These dichotomies - athlete/intellectual, fierce fighter/ nurturer, Harvard-educated economist/African leader, technocrat/feminist - are what give Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf a unique perspective, both as the leader of Liberia and as the first democratically elected female head of state on the continent . . . Yet, how can she realistically restore her nation with an $80 million annual budget and a $3.7 billion debt?

Answer: Slowly.

Looking to the Peace Corps for help

The United States Peace Corps is one way the president says she hopes to recruit teachers to teach the 50 percent of Liberian children who aren't attending school. She also would like to see the 450,000 Liberians currently living outside the country - a group she calls Liberia's biggest national asset - to return home.

"Most of our talents that are out there in the diaspora, once we get them back, then we have the basic ingredient to be able to move our development agenda," she says.

But the president is aware that there are still many impediments for Liberians wishing to return: a lack of good schools and good healthcare, to name two.

With so many major celebrities focusing on Africa - Angelina Jolie, Bono, Madonna - and Hollywood movies choosing Africa as their subject - "Blood Diamond," "The Last King of Scotland," "The Constant Gardener"

- Johnson-Sirleaf says the hot-button issue right now is poverty. "[Poverty] becomes the No. 1 priority, the one thing that needs to be addressed if you're going to really achieve your development goals, and I think that has brought to the forefront a whole new sensitization about how we do development," she says.

Permission to reprint/republish can only be granted by The Christian Science Monitor. See their representative.

Oklahoma family needs: $33,000


Life at America's bottom wage
The House is to (did) vote Wednesday on a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

In an unrelated ("UNrelated, my rear-end," says Bogaulaire over my left shoulder. "Look at my sidebar, my profile, idiot!")

Okay: Two days ago. in an article unconnected to anything else posted immediately above or below in this column, The Christian Science Monitor ran staff writer Mark Trumbull's fine piece about living on the minimum wage in the US, and I quote the copyeditor in the title:

"Oklahoma family's needs: $33,000"

Oklahoma doesn't have high living costs, compared with some other states. But to cover the basic needs of a family of four here (the Hosiers, are the example) typically requires an income of more than $33,000, according to an online budget calculator created by the liberal Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

At $5.15 an hour, it would take three full-time jobs for a family to earn that much.Many minimum-wage workers, it's true, don't have children. Often they are young people on their first job.

But the Hosier family is not unusual.

On Reading The Xian Sci Mon


Cross-listed under

Rmbling Thots of BLGaire

-------- whose been running into far too many Caucasians with Jamaican accents and full-blown Caribbean patois lately -------- and whose own Black Irish roots are starting to tremble in foreboding anticipation of the next wet spring

I know, I'm not a very sophisticated reader if I even 'think' about religion when I read the CSM. We will never, ever see a news magazine run under the name The Unitarian-Universalist Gleaner, and if we did I will not guarantee that I would want to read it. ((Would such a putative UUG have the soul to dig the Latin vibes of . . . The ecstatic religious experiences in the Church of . . . )) Well does The Christian Science Monitor? I'll let that go, sorry.

But then, if I'm blunt, slow and a certified cretin for even hinting at religion when I think about dropping by a Christian Science Reading Room for a free read of their own print news, our friend George over at Bookninja is an even greater nincompoop when he blogs an item on free evening classes being run by local TO anarchists. George starts doing a riff on throwing bombs. (Sorry George, I almost had a bar fight with my best friend over that one long ago, and I cannot let it pass).

Neither can I let a good article on Madam president Johnson-Sirleaf pass when I see Ruthie Ackerman writing in The Christian Science Monitor. (Ms Ackerman, do you happen to know if she (their prez) needs a French tutor (moi) so that she can better get on with Madam Gbagbo in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire? I know a guy who would jump at the opportunity of tutoring Johnson-Sirleaf.)
Internet reading of CSM is free, no subscription required. CLICK THE TITLE

Press Release: United States Supports Education in Mauritania Continues Campaign to Distribute Books to Schools


December 21, 2006
Nouakchott, Mauritania

Ambassador Charles H. Twining, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States in Mauritania and Cheikh Ahmed Ould Sid’Ahmed, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, presided at a ceremony this morning to mark the donation of books to the Arafat secondary school in Nouakchott. The donation included a collection of over 300 titles in Arabic, French, and English covering subjects such as history, literature, science, economics and finance, computers, health and several others.

The contribution was part of the continuation of a vast campaign against illiteracy that the Embassy of the United States began September 8, 2006 on the occasion of International Literacy Day. The secondary schools of El Mina 2 and Sebkha also received donations at ceremonies involving other officials from both the United States Embassy and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. A planned seventy-six schools in all thirteen regions of Mauritania will receive books under the literacy campaign, which the Embassy is conducting in close collaboration with the Ministry.

This press release "looks" more official on the virtual stationery of the US Embassy, plus you have the public affairs links and access to other background info.

Maybe Sending Books to Africa is Not Just Hot Air . . .

Speaking frankly, in North America, over the next several years, we have millions MORE new and used books that are going to do nothing but sit in warehouses or even damp basements until they are no longer even worth being hauled out and pulped (though pulping could be easily arranged at a profit).

In Europe there are real distribution-to-Africa programs in place -- even tax incentives for modest numbers of titles that get sent at cost or below through several African channels. In a few cases, unfortunately, some of the textbook titles have been ordered and paid for through African ministries of education because the educational publishing infrastructure does not exist locally - - all the editorial and production jobs stay in the Western home headquarters of the Western publishers under such export incentive programs. (Something to think about when we consider 'dumping' our surplus on poor nations.

Whatever the case, 'we', including used book people, own a ton of dead pulp we refuse to release onto our own local markets YET we know this material will never see the light of day or a readers' eyes WHILE the US Embassy is making claims, at least, of supporting 'vast' English-language literacy campaigns in several African nations. Last I heard, the US owns many huge cargo planes as well (though Canada has none).

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 11 January


senior citizen

from Justin Wintle

"If a person is seventy, do not put him up for the night; if a person is eighty, do not ask him to sit down."

. . (41) Chinese

10 January 2007

JustSeeds needs your help!


Help save a priceless radical art project from shutting down!

By ryan

For 10 years, JustSeeds has been a critical resource for radical artists working outside the 'art world' system. In the process of becoming a decentralized artist-owned cooperative, the floor suddenly fell out from under them. The collapse of Clamor Magazine leaves JustSeeds without a distributor and in colossal debt. Help save a priceless radical art project from shutting down forever. The community of art-activists around JustSeeds have launched national projects like the Celebrate People's History poster series, Street Art Workers, Drawing Resistance, Cut & Paint, and a hell of a lot more: now they need your help to continue.

Independent Press Association Ceases Operations


FROM Infoshop News -

Blogaulaire constantly emphasizes the importance ofdistribution for small press book and nearly all independent publishers: bound books, magazines, zines, tabloids . . . and even art and art posters.

So far, what I have posted about distributors has been negative, bad news. First it was regarding the Chapter 11 filing by AMS (at exactly the same date as this story about IPA broke). THIS - the continuing new NOW is once again bleak news for small press, independent PERIODICAL publishers. (Volunteer contributions and new subscriptions plus direct purchase of imprint titles is what's needed to stop the bleeding, simple as that.)

Pretty soon people will start rummaging around secondhand shops looking for old mimeograph machines and unused stencils. Campus scribes and artists will revive handout culturesof leafleting to get out the copy. I'm only half kidding.

Please read the text blogged below from Infoshop, then click on the titles we've run to read the entire article. Finally, come back to Cheap Priceless Editions, because an entire comment cut 'n' pasted from ChuckO over at Infoshop appears here in italic.

Chuck is the guy who apparently knows how to put this in context better than anyone else.

Blogaulaire is not asking you to use your street sense to figure out what the impact of the AMS-PGW bankruptcy and the IPA closure will mean for New Writing. I'm telling you that many interesting and dedicated people in editorial and production for the words that mean the most are going to have a rough time paying the rent and . . .

Another Distributor for the Independents Goes Under

Wednesday, January 03 2007 @ 09:44 PM PST

Founded in 1996 'to promote and support independent publications dedicated to social justice and a free press', the Independent Press Association (IPA) announced Dec. 27 (two weeks ago) that it was ceasing operations immediately.

Based in San Francisco, IPA's demise follows more than a year of growing concerns about financial mismanagement of the organization's newsstand distribution service which in turn has wreaked havoc on dozens of small, independent publishers. IPA's New York office, which bears no responsibility for the crisis, will also be closing down.

Jesus H. Christ! This was totlaly off my radar, although I'd heard about concerns people had about Big Top.

This is really bad news folks. The implosion of the radical press that we saw last month with the demise of Clamor has now turned into a black hole that has taken out IPA and likely a whole slew of radical and progressive magazines. This is going to effect progressive and cultural magazines more than anarchist magazines, but this will probably cause the demise of more than a few magazines and zines.

The SF Weekly article from last June notes that IPA's Big Top distribution project owed magazines around $500,000. That is an amazing shitload of money to owe a bunch of small magazines. That's a half million dollars that small and alternative magazines won't be getting. They won't be able to pay their printers, pay for postage and given that most magazines operate on precarious margins, this will be a disaster.

IPA was a pretty good association, lobbying on behalf of indie magazines. They took on the postal service after the recent rate hikes which fucked over magazines. They took on chain bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders, which were screwing over magazines with a "chargeback" scam (the bookstores charged publishers extra money if bar codes didn't scan). The IPA ran several good programs that supported small ethnic presses.

Dear readers, let me try to emphasize how bad these developments are for publishers and why the alternative press is being sucked into a growing black hole.

Small publishers are obviously hurt when any of their distribution networks go under. One of the reasons why the capitalist media maintains its hegemony is because their hugeness makes it possible to control distribution networks. The alternative media has to make do with anything they can to get magazines onto newstands or mail them to subscribers. When distros like Big Top, Clamor's infoShop Direct, Fine Print, Big Top, or Tower go under, magazines don't get paid money. This means they can't pay print bills and other expenses. This lack of cash flow disrupts their publishing schedules, angering readers and creating other headaches. The loss of any distributor is the loss of another scare network resource. The fewer the distributors, the harder it is to get into bookstores. If a distro decides to not carry your periodical, you don't have many options.

When Fine Print when under in the 90s, that really hurt the alternative media, including one anarchist magazine that I know. This past year we've seen the end of Big Top, Clamor, and Tower Records as distros and retail outlets.

The other option for publishers is subscriptions and direct sales to bookstores and events. The postal service keeps raising magazine rates, which hurts indie publishers. Selling direct to infoshops and bookstores is possible, but it is a logistical headache. The reason why magazines rely on distributors is to transfer the distro work to a service so the publisher can focus on publishing the magazine. Selling direct to bookstores and infoshops is a precarious option because fewer bookstores and infoshops are selling periodicals. They also aren't timely and efficient with periodicals, because administering periodical sales is complicated.

Then we can throw in the fact that magazine sales are down across the board. People are reading fewer magazines and zines. Some would point out that alternative websites, podcasts, and new media can take up the slack created by the demise of these magazines. This is a good point to some extent, but it masks several serious problems.

The first problem being that people don't give money to alternative websites like they do to print magazines. People like to exchange money for a tangible product. Online magazines across the board have problems raising money online. Go to any radical or progressive website--Common Dreams, New Standard,, CounterPunch, Infoshop--you can see that they all have to have frequent online campaigns. Even when I worked for Science magazine, which is the most prestigious science magazine in the U.S. (circulation arounf 150,000), we were constantly worried about the Internet causing financial headaches. I attended more than a few meetings where we brainstormed, argued, discussed, and analyzed how to get people to subscribe to an online version of the magazine.

When these dead tree alternative magazines disappear, it creates new hurdles for online alternative media. We have fewer radical writers, artists, and journalists to draw on. If people don't get exposure through a magazine like LiP or Clamor, they aren't going to be motivated to compete with people for a smaller pool of online alternative media outlets. Many of these small magazines paid their contributors. Many of these contributors will have to turn to other work to earn a living or supplement their income. People complain here all the time about Infoshop News running stories from the mainstream media. I'd love to stick with all radical writers, but it will be harder to find these writers and journalists if print alternative magazines go away.

Isn't there some old saying that if we don't work together we'll hang separately? I'm not sure how that goes, but I'm more comfortable with science fiction metaphors. The black hole that is consuming alternative print magazines won't stop with just dead trees media.



Creekside Quoting Stephen Dunn


In a post at Creekside by T. Jackson, quoting from Stephen Dunn's Riffs & Reciprocities, the bit from Dunn I liked a great deal was this

Best is the extra that comes unencumbered: pure generosity of spirit,
always replenishing itself. We the less generous are quick to suspect it,
remembering what we've given and why. But those who have it irradiate the day.
They redefine the meaning of wealth.

Maybe, as a box-quote out of context on Cheap Priceless Editions, sitting out there naked in the middle of my post, the words read like sloshy sentiment.

But I like the writing, the sentiments. It's the special opposite that is set up by the words below, though, that I can identify with most:
"A grudge is more my style, weeks, months of resentment silently borne. At my worst, after quarrels, I've kept it in and let it mix with any old bitterness it could find. When it finally emerged—stunted, timed, cruelly calm—I was no one's decent man. But I'm seldom at my worst and can only envy the brilliantly angry . . . "

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 10 January


burning candles

from Justin Wintle

"The stingy man would rather light his finger than a candle."

. . (37) Japanese

09 January 2007

------ Affirmed: Good Mental Hygiene is Not a Handicap in the Used Book Business ------


Cheap Priceless Editions proposes to organize a public debate, a sort of open forum circulating city to city, on the proposition stated in the title. We think, given most people's experience with high-profile book people in this business, the premise is most certainly being questioned by ordinary customers.

On the left side of the stage you will find the team of local booksellers arguing in the affirmative, i.e., good mental health in the seller is of no harm to self-survival = the 'Darlings'

On stage right, with microphones though hidden behind a brightly-lit scrim, will be the team (again, all local recruits from among this particular city's more colorful booksellers) arguing that good mental hygiene in a bookseller IS a handicap = the 'Dingbats'

We can just imagine Darlings emphasizing personal grooming, the importance of regularly dusting the straight rows of well organised, rationally grouped books . . . the Dingbats comparing their book operations to Shakespeare & Co. in Paris . . .

After the debate is officially closed and the audience has voted the winner in 'Darlings' versus 'Dingbats' if, and only if, the Dingbats win, will the curtain on the right be withdrawn, and refreshments then served to the audience by the debaters, and the whole gang can party hardy for the rest of the night . . .

But if the 'Darling' booksellers win the audience's vote, Thelma Blunt or some other local librarian will take the stage to explain all about her theme: 'Using the Internet to Access Local Library Services'. As Ms. Blunt speaks, county social service workers, assisted by uniformed officers, will quietly escort 'Dingbat' debaters out the rear exit of the auditorium, and the hall will close by 9:45 pm.

(Hey, if I'm not going to apologise to book dealers for that one, how can you expect me to apologise to all the librarians who read CHEAP PRICELESS EDITIONS?)

Pacific Northwest's Antiquarian Extraordinaire on a Roll on a Grand Blog


Michael Lieberman, Antiquarian Bookseller is on a textual, visual (and a couple sound-bitten) rolls at his book blog from Seattle, Washington: Book Patrol. Drop in and check his info-rich uploads out.

Lieberman has my vote with his editorial against Canadian bookbuyers trying to start a boycott of Heather Reisman's Indigo and Chapters bookstores over her support of a charity aimed at Israeli service personnel. Michael offers more interesting parallels to US issues than I could think up to argue against purchaser boycotts as secondary pressure tactic in disputes about whose charity or even whose imperial invasion army gets a bite out of your mega-store spending this or any other year.

After browsing Book Patrol (and viewing Lieberman's YouTube uploads), I'm tempted to find a job touring the world to hold up copies of secondhand books for sale for the video camera-person; each title in front of its own unique and amazing touristic and/or geographically stunning background. The video feeds and MY travel expenses paid for by the book vendors selling online. (Wish me luck landing that job. Again, see his YouTube post for details.)

Thanks to Bibliophile Bullpen for pointers, via the naked desert oasis bookseller YouTube video, to Book Patrol's blog.

Naked Man Bookseller - My Sediments Exactly


Thanks to my usual blog affine info transformers in Brooklyn, Seattle and the Bronx and to YouTube for this.

Blogaulaire's ideas and inspiration, generated by all the mental 'pause' this video caused inside my own neural network -- my spontaneous reaction to what this video says about selling books on some desert oasis -- all that is dealt with a couple POSTs above this YouTube box.

Do not hesitate to click on the arrow below the you tube. I've seen posters of Allen Ginsberg that were more revealing than these Book Oasis cameos.

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 9 January



from Justin Wintle

"It is a plain fellow who neither burns incense nor breaks wind."

. . (34) Japanese

More Info Plus More Comment About a Mindless Murder in New Orleans


After Helen Hill, a 36-year-old animator and filmmaker, was murdered in her New Orleans home last Thursday, it was picked up as news by the major mass media in both the US and Canada.

I'm so aggravated and angry,” said Helen Gillet, an experimental cellist who gathered with about two dozen other friends of the couple outside their modest frame house in New Orleans's Faubourg Marigny neighbourhood late yesterday afternoon. “I'm outraged at what's going on in the community.

With the above quote, The Globe & Mail (Toronto, ONT, Canada) ran the story -- about Canadian-Americans: a murdered mother and a seriously injured father and a two-year-old son, Francis, who was unhurt -- by emphasizing his and her Canada connection as well as their activist commitments toward saving the NOLA community post-Katrina:

(Both) family doctor Paul Gailiunas, who grew up in Edmonton and trained in medicine in Halifax (and) Ms. Hill — who was born in the United States but took Canadian citizenship . . . were part of the community of artists, poets and other creative types, refugees from the rest of the United States and elsewhere, who have been drawn to New Orleans because of its singular history and culture. -- emphasis added by Blogaulaire

North of the border, it seems, this sort of story generates more comment on an Internet news website than in Louisiana, where it happened. On the G & M comment thread you find this example of cross-over posting in a 'comment-on-the-news' thread:

Carly MacKay from United States writes: Some of you posters make me sick. This was an article about a horrific tragedy suffered by a Canadian family who came to New Orleans to make a difference. Yet so many turn this into an opportunity to bash every American south of the border. Here is a newsflash, Americans don't think you live in igloos, we know you have electricity, the vast majority of us see the problems we face with a bozo in the White House, 3000 soldiers dead in Iraq, huge gaps between the rich and the middle class and the poor, AND yes for what ever reason Ray Nagin was re-elected in NO. So when one American makes a statement or asks a question like 'Is there electricity in Canada?' don't jump to the conclusion that all Americans are ignorant. Sometimes the only way some people can feel good about themselves is by degrading and insulting others. I wish some of the posters on this comment board had one speck of the intelligence, compassion and understanding that this couple had. I just wish that they had not gone to New Orleans. They will be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless Canada.
Posted 06/01/07 at 10:15 AM EST

Continuing to read the story in the the major mass media coverage from the US:

The Associated Press coverage (picked up by The Times of Shreveport (Louisiana, USA) did not make the Canada connection but gives greater depth to murder victim Helen Hill's cinematographic credits and the medical practise profile of injured physician-husband-father Paul Gailiunas. The Times also added an appeal that anyone with information come forward to help find the criminals responsible:

They had moved to the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood near the French Quarter about a year after Hurricane Katrina wiped out their home in the Mid-City neighborhood.

Police said both were shot at their front door about 5:30 a.m. Thursday. No other details were available. A friend said family members from Columbia, S.C., were on their way to New Orleans on Thursday after learning of the shooting.

“They were wonderful people. Two bright spots in New Orleans. They gave us hope that people could live together. And they’d do anything for anybody,” said Sheri Branch, who was taking care of the couple’s 2-year-old son while Gailiunas was hospitalized.

Hill made short films; her experimental animation shorts had been shown at a number of festivals in the United States and Canada.

She won a $35,000 fellowship in 2004 from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Program for Media Artists for her film “The Florestine Collection.” That film was described by the program as “reflecting on handcrafted work and race in New Orleans, through the personal story of a woman who made hand-sewn dresses.” She also taught filmmaking and animation to grade school through college students, the foundation’s news release said.

A Harvard graduate, she earned her master of fine arts in experimental animation from the California Institute of the Arts in 1995.

Gailiunas, who was in stable condition Thursday, opened a clinic for poor people in the Treme neighborhood in 2004. It was flooded by Katrina a year later.

The state Board of Medical Examiners lists him as working for Excelth Inc., a community-based group providing health care to poor people.

No witnesses to any of the killings has come forward, police said Thursday, begging for help to solve the most recent homicides.

A captioned photo gives the hard news:

New Orleans police investigate a shooting Thursday. Officers arriving on the scene at 5:20 a.m. discovered a man kneeling at the front door holding a 2-year-old boy in his arms. The man had been shot in his right hand, right cheek and left forearm. The boy was not injured. A woman who died at the scene had been shot in the neck. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Friends of Helen Hill should go to this Internet address for more information or to participate in local memorial services, which will be organised in various spots across the continent.


Donations in memorium of Hill to Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) are suggested.

08 January 2007

Americans Still Haunted by the Tragedy of New Orleans 2005, 2006, 2007 and counting . . .


Richard Eoin Nash at Soft Skull Press's News Blog HERE . . right while Richard is in the middle of this crisis with AMS declaring bankruptcy and he's one of the PGW publishers left high-and-dry for last quarter's woth of sales . . well Nash (who we now know has suffered personal losses that cannot be undone) . . Nash tries to "put this in perspective" by citing how bad things can be elsewhere.

Nash links to reports on this horrible series of murders in New Orleans -- precisely the police protection issue a member of the National Book Critic's Circle (NBCC) Ken Foster has organised today's protest march around to raise awareness and to improve and increase preventive police measures as the city rebuilds.

The articles are this and this.

Richard Eoin Nash is (now it's was) personal friends of two recent victims reported upon in the Times Picayune articles and Nash has his friends in mind the very same moment that the publishing-distribution earth is sinking under his own house. This is one independent publisher (at Soft Skull) with perspective, calling the NOLA news 'an instance of pure evil at work in the world.'

More power to the people marching with Ken! And thanks, Richard, for reminding us that the entire world does not revolve around books and publishing.

The Advanced Marketing Services Quagmire of Deep Sleaze Flows Back to the 1990s: GalleyCat


Blogaulaire takes credit for the title . . . GalleyCat:

"When AMS bought Publishers Group West in 2002, all looked good, as the company reported total sales of $763 million built upon supplying books to wholesalers such as Costco and Sam's Club. In fact, the company had been reporting strong sales for several years. But mere months later, in July 2003, things turned for the worse and the stench grew ever thick. That's because the US Attorney's Office in San Diego launched an investigation into AMS's accounting practices, revealing the company overstated its pre-tax earnings by about 9 percent in fiscal 2001, 10 percent in fiscal 2002 and 19 percent in 2003.

The San Diego Union-Tribune, which was all over the story at the time and as it developed over the course of several years, reported that publishers were deceived - to the tune of millions of dollars - into believing AMS had done various marketing activities to promote their books that it had not. In addition, AMS executives misrepresented the company's actions, according to the SEC, and did so from approximately 1999 through 2003 inclusive. Those strong sales weren't nearly as strong after all."

Publishers Group West does not own all 'its' independent publishers and Advanced Marketing Services does not own PGW. People now are baffled about how then they cannot collect their chips and walk away from one another.

Maybe it has something to do with young publishers being totally in the dark (SOMEBODY kept them there for a long time) about how and where to sell books.

And, in the words of GalleyCat: "No wonder a rogue blog called Radio (Free)PGW has popped up to provide some dark humor in dark times, signing off today's flurry of posts with "from the killing fields of America's publishing industry--good day and good luck." SEE -- Radio Free PGW

Cherchez la femme -- Joan Mitchell


Cherchez-la - 'elle' - pour trouver:
Jean-Paul Riopelle, Barney Rosset, or poet Frank O'Hara somewhere in Chicago, New York, Paris or on a St. Lawrence River island upstream from Quebec City . . .

Cut 'n' pastes about artist Joan Mitchell from the sort of rambling art review that Blogaulaire loves the most to quote:

Joan Mitchell: One of the Great Ones

"She was operating from a place that existed before risk-free art, brand image art. She could afford to
take risks."

by John Perreault

On the whole, I consider myself lucky to have met Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Andy Warhol, Robert Smithson and other luminaries.. After reading the catalogue for the Joan Mitchell retrospective at the Whitney, I may be lucky never to have met her.

According to stories now told by critic Michael Brenson (Letters to the Editor, New York Times) and both Linda Nochlin and Jane Livingston (in the Whitney catalogue) she seems to have been mean, nasty, self-centered and usually either drunk or hung-over. On the other hand, poet Frank O'Hara seemed to have liked her, so she could not have been all bad.

. . .

Mitchell became one of the exceptions. I think it helped that at first, unlike Elaine De Kooning and Lee Krasner she was not married to another artist but to Barney Rosset, the founder of the now famous Grove Press.

Grove Press and its magazine The Evergreen Review were the American venues for Thomas Becket and then eventually the Beats and Robbe-Grillet. There's that cultural connection again. But wait. Those were different times. Literature and art were linked, unlike now when art seems to look down on literature because there is little money to be made.

. . .

More interesting is the following: if you did not know the gender of the artist---Joan Miro is a man---would you be able to tell the art was by a woman? Is there anything womanly about the work? If you think women are by nature timid, look again. Or maternal. Or prone to delicacy. There is a certain delicacy to the work but this is not what hits you in the face. Abstract Phillip Guston's are more delicate. There is also equivocation but of a kind that is straight out of Cézanne or de Kooning.

. . .

At a certain point she ran off to live in France. Her second husband Mike Goldberg was history and the French Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle was in tow, at least for awhile. The disadvantages of living in France for an American artist should even now be obvious. You are cut off, no matter how many art magazines you read or trips you make to New York. But it is not so much a matter of being cut off from your friends--friends are more than glad to visit and new friends can be made--you are out of the game. The feedback you get is from housekeepers, studio assistants and beholden guests. Issues become French issues or historical issues; masters to be absorbed, scores to be settled. The advantage: if you are difficult, as Mitchell surely was, distance can keep the artist out of the way of the art. If pressed, I could come up with a list of artists I know who would be better off far, far away.

I was looking forward to the Mitchell exhibition and I was not disappointed.

. . .

A full-page newspaper ad uses the tag: "Raw material. Raw emotion." This sounds like the results of a focus group. It is more important to question the feminist rage thesis proposed by art historian Linda Nochlin in her catalogue essay. I think she is wrong. Nochlin seems stuck in the ‘50s when every drips was supposed to mean deep anxiety about the atomic bomb. Clearly Mitchell was a bad drunk. Why not leave it at that.

Copyright John Perreault 2002
First print publication: NY Arts, September 2002
(emphasis added - Blogaulaire)

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 8 January


Montreal St. Lawrence Street The Main

from Justin Wintle

"Coarse people leave their door open by an inch; lazy people leave it open by three inches; but only complete idiots leave it wide open."

. . (32) Japanese

Barney Rosset: Oral Overview of Evergreen & Grove. Over Thirty Years: 1950 - 1984


One of the many book imprints Publishers Group West represents to the reading world is Grove/Atlantic. PGW owns and/or services many, many formerly independent 'small presses', but Grove, to my mind, stands out as the most independent of the independents that were brought into Publishers Group West after merging into the mainstream to survive the 1990s and beyond.
(See PGW's 'Active Publishers List')

Grove Press had been associated with many experimental writers, especially Europeans. By publishing uncut manuscripts from Henry Miller, among others, Grove explicitly took a course that would end up in courtroom challenges over censorship. Rosset was fighting censorship 'Back East' in Boston before the San Francisco Howl challenge put City Lights Books on the literary map. Reading lit, even watching flics in an arts theatre across the US, was once an act tatamount to 'standing up' for First Amendment rights and prepared a generation of middleclass Northerners and Easterners as easy recruits in the mid-60s for the more engagé struggle for civil rights in the Deep South as the Mississippi Summer became a reality. (But I digress.)

PGW publishers own the copyrights to several historic titles on their backlists, books that are distributed through AMS, who declared bankruptcy two weeks ago.Some of the most interesting authors were first courted by American maverick bookman Rosset in the 1950s. Some titles had expired copyrights already.

Whether or not Rosset could corner a title or not, he was prepared to fight tooth-and-nail to publish Tropic of Cancer, Lady Chatterley's Lover and Naked Lunch between Grove covers. Publicity surrounding struggles in the courts only increased the thirst of readers for Grove's books. Book buyers were crawling out from under the weight of Officially Puritanical cultural control. The 50s zeitgeist that lingered as cultural rebellion helped keep Rosset and Grove afloat and independent for over 30 years.

Whatever it is that makes a fiction manuscript 'experimental' is impossible to define, even for the limited number of authors published by Grove. Toward the end of this interview, you'll hear Barney Rosset admit that J. R. R. Tolkien was too wild for this same guy who had published Naked Lunch.

From "Wired for Books"

Audio Interview with Barney Rosset

The controversial editor, Barney Rosset, talks with Don Swaim in this 1984 interview about his acquisition of Grove Press in the 1950's, which he transformed into the most innovative, alternative book presses of the time. He lists the scores of esteemed authors his company garnered and discusses the censorship lawsuits he fought. Barney Rosset introduced Americans to writers such as Beckett, Ionesco, Harold Pinter and Jean Genet.

To listen to the Barney Rosset interview with Don Swaim, 1984
(29 min. 43 sec.)
on -- RealPlayer
-- click below:
Stream: RAM File

07 January 2007

The Dragon's Almanac 2007 - 7 January


Queues de Castor

from Justin Wintle

"It is better to make the man wait for his soup than make the soup wait for the man."

. . (28) Chinese