July 11th, 2012

Free books


This is another guest post by Rich Adin over at Nate Hoffelder's excellent blog, The Digital Reader.

The underlying idea is a paper book printed with ink which will oxidize within a short period (a couple months) of being exposed to air. There are some fairly obvious-to-me issues which I'm not seeing addressed (might have missed it -- I find the whole thing risible), so I'll rattle a couple off.

(1) Many oxidizing inks turn out to have some health/developmental consequences (lots of BPA); I wouldn't trust this stuff not to make me, my kids or the environmental marginally less healthy.

(2) I've gotten smart enough to avoid checking books out from the library because I know there is usually a substantial delay between initial interest and ultimate consumption and the fines annoyed me; I can't imagine buying one of these things.

Publishers have spent the last hundred-ish years (definitely since WWI) competing with their own used books. They don't _like_ competing with their own used books. If they could overturn the doctrine of first sale, they would. In a heartbeat. This is a solution to a _publisher_ problem. However, businesses which focus on problems which, when solved, make life more difficult and more expensive for their customers are businesses which exist in an adversarial relationship with their customers.

Not a good place to be.

In other non-news, I've been putting my first novel (a fantasy novel which went through a couple editing passes and had multiple friends read it and supply feedback which was then incorporated) and my first NaNoWriMo project (from 2007, a science fiction novel, which has only had one reader and whose suggestions I am only now incorporating, thank you, K.), up on my website. Part of the issue (with the first one, written in Clarisworks and with the second one, which I would swear I wrote using Google Docs) in getting them online involved stomping out the smart quotes (and related things that don't display well in a web browser). I debated, briefly, sticking them up with my overpriced advice novel on KDP, but if I'm not going to market it, I don't see what's the point. As every page notes, have fun and if you spot a broken link or other problem, don't hesitate to let me know.

Fun with Consignment

We've been unloading some of the children's gear that is no longer relevant. The Learning Tower, which was so central to our existence with T. when he was 1-2ish years old, had been taking up space in the basement. A. never really needed it, because she was happy to sit in a high chair and eventually graduate to a regular kitchen stool, whereas T. wanted to be level with the counter but was unable to sit still. It went off to consignment along with Yet Another Stroller (I don't even want to admit to how many of these things we've bought and then resold most of them somewhat later on). It occurred to me that A. does so well on the Kazam balance bike that we really ought to retire the Kettler tricycle. I sent along the Bjorn potties and the tiny, transparent potty we used with T. but never with A. While I was at the shop, I picked out some clothes and shoes and discovered the jogger and tower had already sold and I had more than enough credit for everything I'd picked out this trip.

I was pleased with myself and told R., who appreciates those rare moments where I express the frugality I was raised with (it's rare these days). R. looked at the amount the trike was going to be initially listed at and felt sticker shock. I laughed at him, and looked up the retail for it (it's the Kettler pink princess tricycle with the push bar and the bucket, but we never had the seat belt). He had no idea you could even spend that much on a tricycle.

I'm just happy we can get as much back out of these things as we do. We usually just pass things along to friends who are parents, but for these items, that just didn't make a lot of sense.