January 26th, 2010

And the filing is connected to the

Taxes. Of course.

I filed back in 2007 based on a draft K-1. Obviously, I have since received the final and not done anything with it, because even I could tell it was just going to happen again in 2008 and I figured I might as well do the amending for 2 years at once. Here's hoping I didn't miss some you-must-amend-by rule.

Of course, that means that I have 2 years worth of amendments to do, along with this years taxes. Fortunately, the paperwork for this year won't really have hit critical mass for at least, gosh, another week or so.

In the meantime, lots, and lots, and lots of filing to catch up on. Oh, and purging. Because there in things in that filing cabinet that don't belong there any more.

mass markets and the cheapness

I think the biggest takeaway I had from the ars technica discussion (the article is a whole other ball of something-stinky-but-interesting) is how people who comment on ars technica articles think about marketing and/or economics. A lot of people have ideas for other kinds of ebook products (mostly in the deals-well-with-diagrams space) that they would like to buy, and think they know other people who would want to buy it, and that all those people are spending so damn much money on texts with diagrams and suchlike that even an expensive reader would disappear in the noise of the cost.

Many people (including the above mentioned, but more, too) recognize that the kindle and similar e-ink readers are most useful to people who are reading longish text-heavy things, and want to be able to carry more than one of them around at a time. In fact, if there's a subtle but pervasive thread, it's that e-ink readers are ideally suited to carrying around several books to read at a time, and the books can't have much besides text in them. Me, I took this (accurate) observation and decided that the "natural" market for the kindle (and like e-readers) are people who read a lot (2+ a week) -- they might have more than one in flight at a time, and they are frequently in a situation where they need to bring two or more books with them, because they'll probably finish one before they return to their Big Hoard of Books. Oddly, many other people don't know _anyone_ like this (more likely, don't realize they know anyone like this), and conclude that there is no market for the kindle. Some people know someone like this (might be that person), but believe that there are not enough of these people to constitute a mass market for the reader thus bringing the price down.

Really, tho, the price never had to come down to justify it for the person who is sick to death of carrying around three or more books at a time to make sure they don't run out of reading material. Not too many people seem to be noticing that. Even weirder, however, is the idea that one product or a small product category must sell many to bring the price of that product or that small product category down.

To which I would like to wave both hands, jump up and down and otherwise get the attention of the person leading this discussion so I can point to the netbook that everyone thinks ought to be a perfectly acceptable ereader and isn't. Because the netbook didn't get cheap by having a huge market and then getting cheap. The netbook got cheap because all the parts were widely available and cheap as a result of _other somewhat unrelated_ products. And then someone put them all together.

And that's all ignoring the fact that neither the "natural" market nor the people selling ereaders really gives much of a damn whether this thing becomes what ars technica folks would consider a mass market device. The "natural" market is a tiny number of people who read a godawful number of books. Moving them to a pipeline model helps everyone. Well, except that it doesn't, because it simultaneously makes it very, very tenuous to sell books to anyone other than them.

But honestly. Who gives a crap about that? Those people can all continue doing whatever they were doing before when they weren't reading. Beer. Video games. Sex. You know. Fun stuff that the cool kiddies do.

ETA: Okay, or reading on an emissive screen -- their phone or whatever.

_SEALed and Delivered_, Jill Monroe (kindle)

I recently bought three trashy books for the kindle in the wake of revisiting SBTB. Some of the books were reviewed and recommended by guest reviewers participating in the Sony eReader Test Drive, so I was prepared to discover that Aish rated books might not actually turn out to be as great as I am accustomed from that recommendation source. And a good thing, too.

This was the weakest of the three, and not by a little. Like _Liberating Lacey_, this is a straight romance, despite the must-save-the-bed-and-breakfast theme. The B & B is a family concern, and is ticking along okay; there are no predatory developers or mysterious arsonists or anything dramatic like that. Hailey (our heroine) and her sister Rachel just have to come up with ideas to attract business and then implement -- which is to say, cook, clean, check in and check out guests, host events, etc.

The setting -- Coronado -- provides the tie-in to SEAL training. Unlike Suzanne Brockmann and other romance authors who write romance with SEALs, Monroe does not include SEAL ops as any part of the plot. Our hero, Nate, was injured and is rehabbing while training a new group of young men. Monroe's primary plot problem is how to collide the world of The Sutherland (Hailey's B&B) and SEALs in training. Monroe, however, is fearless and creative: she deploys, I kid you not, Fate Delivery Cards. Hailey bought them while shopping for more self help books and uses them for a wrap-up game at a bridal shower they are hosting for a friend.

If you're wondering if that could possibly be as dumb as it sounds, well, the short answer is, yes. And Monroe has guts -- she redeploys the Fate Delivery Cards repeatedly throughout the book. The reader who wants to complain about Deus ex Machina should contemplate instead thinking of these as the novel's MacGuffin.

Despite the continuous presence of Hailey's sister, and the brief appearance of Nate's father, the characters exist as archetypes with very little to flesh them out: Hailey wears pink, strappy sandals and tops, and girly skirts. Nate is a Manly Man with rock hard, er, whatever, a love of the great outdoors and a weakness for cookies and meat-and-potatoes. On the one hand, of course they'll be attracted to each other: each is doing a thorough job of enacting their gender, and presumably will want someone who is thoroughly enacting the matching bookend. On the other hand, in a world in which even the Harlequins are hammering on equality in relationships (and in detail, natch), it was never easy for me to understand just why these people were so attracted to each other.

It was moderately entertaining, but I don't see myself reading anything else by this author. This is so _thoroughly_ a category, and I am so _thoroughly_ not a category reader. Also, the dialog was awful bad.

failed non-resolutions

I've been thinking this month that I just haven't been reading very much. Perhaps I would indeed be able to keep it at 50 or fewer this year after all!

Er, no. I just checked my reviews since Jan 1, and I haven't even reviewed everything I've read. *sigh*

Good thing I didn't actually make that a resolution.


I picked T. up from the preschool on the bike today. It's the first day since the beginning of Christmas break when there were completely clear sidewalks AND neither T. nor I was running a fever. It may have been the first clear sidewalk day; I don't really remember what the first week of the month was like because we were all sick.

Of course one of the little boys at the school informed me that it was time to take the Christmas lights off the bike. But they're so much fun!