July 21st, 2011

Shopping for eBooks at Physical Bookstores

I've blogged before about how startled I am that people are willing to admit that they go into physical bookstores, browse for books, then buy them online. On the one hand, hard to imagine a better justification for the Barnes & Noble business model.

Here is a Tacoma newspaper covering the Borders liquidation:


I have no particular complaints about the author or even the coverage, beyond the stunning comment from Simba (and I think Anderson made a plausible decision to include the quote). Forrester's McQuivey says B&N might get 10-15% of Borders former revenue once Borders is gone and the liquidation is over (in the meantime, big sales at all the closing stores is a problem). Then:

"Simba Information senior trade analyst Michael Norris disagrees, saying that a world without Borders might actually decrease sales of e-books since there are fewer places for people who buy e-books to browse and research new titles physically before they buy electronically."

It's just hard to know what to do with such an assertion. On the one hand, I've found a lot of evidence that people _do_ browse physical bookstores but then buy online.

On the other hand, I don't hardly ever set foot in a bookstore anymore -- and I buy more books than ever before.

More relevantly, Amazon's original business model was really simple. Hey, look! People! On the Internet! In growing hordes! Let's sell them something they don't need to feel up to feel okay with buying.

I'll probably add to this if I find a longer piece by Norris explaining the rationale. Anything that looks like that in summary is likely to get even better in detail.

Newsweek article on "men who buy sex"

This should be in the running for Worst Journalism Ever.


See that URL? Growing demand for prostitution.

The headline is "The John Next Door".

What's the article about?

"“We had big, big trouble finding nonusers,” Farley says. “We finally had to settle on a definition of non-sex-buyers as men who have not been to a strip club more than two times in the past year, have not purchased a lap dance, have not used pornography more than one time in the last month, and have not purchased phone sex or the services of a sex worker, escort, erotic masseuse, or prostitute.”"

Really? Lumping all the twice-a-month porn users with the people out breaking the law? No _wonder_ you had trouble finding "nonusers". Then they went on to treat all the "sex buyers" as "johns".

I'd get into the heterocentricity, only what's the point.


Just to put this in perspective, about a decade ago, I decided that if the statistics about prostitution (and this was _before_ the current round of white slavery fear mongering got going) were true, I _must_ know at least one and more likely a few people who had hired prostitutes. I tried _really_ hard to get anyone to admit to ever paying for sex, and for the record, I found people who were willing to admit to selling sex so it's not like I was terrible at this particular project. It was easy to find people who had been in a position to buy sex (hey, I've gone through De Wallen, too, and I've talked to people who've been at the door of legal brothels elsewhere in Europe), and I seriously bullied some of them, deriding their character and more or less calling them cowards for not being willing to 'fess up, and, and they honestly acted tremendously embarrassed that they hadn't gone in.

I know there are guys out there buying sex. In the summer of 1987, I decided not to wait for my bus transfer, but instead walk home along Aurora Avenue in what is now Shoreline, Washington, but was then unincorporated King County. This was around the time of the big crackdown that forced all the prostitution in the region down towards SeaTac. In the space of a quarter mile, I gave up on my plan and found a pay phone to get my friend R. to come give me a ride. I was completely mortified by the number of men who had stopped to offer me a ride. I was wearing stirrup pants (hey! It was 1987!) and a short sleeved, loose, paisley top that came down to about mid-thigh, and I was carrying a big tote bag -- at the time, I was utterly shocked that this would look enough like a prostitute to generate that many offers of rides (I suppose some of these offers might have been innocent. Okay, maybe not).

The only point of contact between my efforts to identify even one person who had paid for sex and my experience as a teenager is an ex-boyfriend, who was willing to admit that he -- along with a huge group of guys -- attempted to hire a prostitute for one of their number who was a virgin, when they were all undergraduates in college. That book I read recently about white fraternities suggests that hiring-a-hooker-as-a-group is a not-unusual activity for white fraternities, at least in the past. (The ex-boyfriend claims that their drunken efforts were unsuccessful because they were unable to collectively come up with enough money for the project, which I actually believe, and if you knew him, you would believe that, too.)

That article says: "No one even knows what proportion of the male population does it [buying sex]; estimates range from 16 percent to 80 percent."

The idea that even 16% of men in the US have hired a prostitute is ludicrous -- but the idea that 80% of men in the US have looked at porn twice in a month is so boring it's hard to maintain focus on it. I don't know _why_ people like Melissa Farley think it's useful to lump these two groups together. I'm trying to decide if I want to know.

ETAYA: There's a substantial wikipedia entry on Melissa Farley. I don't know that it constitutes an explanation of why she engages in intellectual skullduggery, but it does supply further examples of her misbehavior.

ETA Still More: The horrifying equation of buying porn with breaking the law is repeated in secondary commentary.


"it seems like a redundant no-brainer that men committing a crime- paying for sex from a prostitute- were more likely to commit a crime."

First, paying for sex is _not_ a crime everywhere (hello, Nevada). Second, the group of men called "johns" or "men who buy sex" in the study include anyone who gets a lapdance or pays for phone sex or _uses_ porn more than twice a month. NONE of which are crimes anywhere in the US, to the best of my knowledge.

Words are failing me. I am horrified. I am _looking_ for coverage, or comments threads, that are willing to call Farley out and I am _not_ finding them.

Please help me. If you can find commentary on the Farley piece that isn't just piling onto the anti-men and/or anti-porn or sex-negative meme, I'd _love_ to read it.

ETA Even More: I feel a little better now:


This one helped _a lot_:


About Melissa Farley, but from a few months ago, which may explain what this inexplicable descent back into the Bush years is all about:


Infertility Rates

According to this:


"The current evidence indicates a 9% prevalence of infertility (of 12 months) with 56% of couples seeking medical care. These estimates are lower than those typically cited and are remarkably similar between more and less developed countries."

I mention this because this turned up on google news:


Containing this sentence:

"Infertility affects about 13 to 14 percent of couples worldwide."

Which I thought sounded ... off, on the high side. It's not obvious how comparable the two statistics are, because some studies look infertility as an attribute of a woman (who is not getting pregnant) and others look at it as an attribute of a couple. I could imagine the rate at which couples are infertile exceeds the rate at which women are infertile -- but I don't really think the studies are doing a great job of ascertaining either one specifically.

Oh, look, another abusive commenter

The second post on the crash has attracted a vindictive, verbally abusive and local commenter who "prays" and thinks I'm an "ignorant ass" (or possibly R.). They thought they'd be really clever and post my name and the street I live on in a comment. However, I screen anonymous comments. Ooops! If you want to name and shame me in my own blog, you'll have to create an LJ account to do it; in the meantime, I'll just delete you.

I'm leaving the previous remarks in place and will case-by-case the followups. I'm assuming my commenter is local to the town and possibly related to the person or persons involved in the crash.

It really is the work of a second or two to track me down; my anonymizing is only designed to slow people down. However, I will note that the person who named me mentioned that I have pictures of small children up. I would like to point out that doing that sounds, oh, I don't know, threatening?

Maybe I'll go turn on IP tracking now.

ETA: Done. I also addressed the issues in the comment I deleted rather than unscreening (identifying a minor) by posting a link about journalism and naming minors.

Here's the deal. If I name someone in my blog in an identifiable and unflattering way, I am, in an extremely passive aggressive way, looking for a fight. I was careful about what I posted about the recent crash, because I wanted to see what kind of details were going to surface. But exculpatory details have not surfaced, and honestly, the person who showed up to defend the driver is really unpleasant in that sort of Holier Than Thou Protect My Own People Even When They Do Very Bad Things way.

A young man (already named, and already pointed out his earlier arrest) who drove down _MY_ street at a little before 11 p.m., took out a couple of phone poles and hurt, as near as I can tell, only himself and a person who was dumb enough to get into a car he was driving. But he could have killed me -- I've been out walking on that sidewalk after dark, I've been on my bike on that sidewalk, maybe not that late, but kinda late. And I've seen lots of kids in the neighborhood, and adults too, on that sidewalk late at night (and every other time of day).

He needs to be named and shamed, and everyone who knows him should be not just "praying" that he "finds the right path", but actively applying pressure (you know: taking the car keys and license away, not to mention limiting his access to alcohol) to get him to straighten up. Lots of us were young and stupid once, and plenty of us drank and drive. But it takes a special kind of bad judgment to get drunk and drive that fast down a small town street at 11 o'clock at night. Most of us have the sense to limit our bad judgment in vehicles to dry, daylight, interstates in the middle of nowhere. You know, like Montana or South Dakota or Texas.

I lost a friend, the brother of one of the closest and longest term friends I have ever been lucky enough to have, to _exactly_ this kind of bad judgment (okay, the perp in that case was on a motorcycle and died instantly, along with his passenger): driving way too fast down a small town road, late -- but not that late -- at night. In addition to killing D., it all but destroyed my friend, and their parents were devastated as well.

I might not have named the motorcyclist, had I known his name (in the late 1980s, I wasn't blogging yet): he was dead. No one needed to be warned about his future bad behavior. That's not the case here. Through a combination of luck and, as my husband pointed out, excellent choice in (expensive) well-engineered vehicle (altho the whole convertible thing was incredibly risky), this guy may well be in a position to do more or less the same (or as stupidly dangerous) thing again.

I named him, because I don't want him walking away from the repercussions of that accident and acting like they didn't happen. And I don't want him blowing it off as a one-time event. He's got a pattern.

Not that it matters; it's all documented elsewhere and google will find those places, all on its own.