"This is where many people decide to opine that the cost of eBooks should reflect the cost of production in some way that allows them to say that whatever price point they prefer is the naturally correct one. This is where I say: You know what, if you’ve ever paid more than twenty cents for a soda at a fast food restaurant, or have ever bought bottled water at a store, then I feel perfectly justified in considering your cost of production position vis a vis publishing as entirely hypocritical. Please stop making the cost of production argument for books and apparently nothing else in your daily consumer life. I think less of you when you do."
"While this is not going to happen because this is not the way PR works, I really really really wish Amazon would stop pretending that anything it does it does for the benefit of authors. It does not. It does it for the benefit of Amazon, and then finds a way to spin it to authors, with the help of a coterie of supporters to carry that message forward, more or less uncritically.
Look: As Walter Jon Williams recently pointed out, if Amazon is on the side of authors, why does their Kindle Direct biolerplate have language in it that says that Amazon may unilaterally change the parameters of their agreement with authors? I don’t consider my publishers “on my side” any more than I consider Amazon “on my side” — they’re both entities I do business with — but at least my publisher cannot change my deal without my consent. Which is to say that between my publisher and Amazon, one of them gets to utter the immortal Darth Vader line “I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it further” to authors doing business with it and one does not.
(I notice in the WJW comment thread someone opines along the lines of “Oh, that’s like EULA boilerplate and it would probably not be enforceable in court,” which I think is a really charming example of naivete, not in the least because, as I suspected, the boilerplate also specifies (in section 10.1) that disputes between Kindle Direct users and Amazon will be settled through arbitration rather than the courts.)
Authors: Amazon is not your friend. Neither is any other publisher or retailer. They are all business entities with their own goals, only some of which may benefit you. When any of them starts invoking your own interest, while promoting their own, look to your wallet.”
The whole thing is worth reading, but those are the bits that really got me.
Favourite Books - American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Without individuals we see only numbers: a thousand dead, a hundred thousand dead, “casualties may rise to a million.” With individual stories, the statistics become people — but even that is a lie, for the people continue to suffer in numbers that themselves are numbing and meaningless. Look, see the child’s swollen, swollen belly, and the flies that crawl at the corners of his eyes, his skeletal limbs: will it make it easier for you to know his name, his age, his dreams, his fears? To see him from the inside? And if it does, are we not doing a disservice to his sister, who lies in the searing dust beside him, a distorted, distended caricature of a human child? And there, if we feel for them, are they now more important to us than a thousand other children touched by the same famine, a thousand other young lives who will soon be food for the flies’ own myriad squirming children?
(inspired by mmorrow’s magazine-type photosets)
•go to the bathroom to escape
•feel very uncomfortable without a phone or some other crutch
•dwell on a small awkward moment for much longer than necessary
•never go to any social event without a person that makes you feel comfortable
•follow said person way too much
•worry about the person beginning to find you obnoxious
•faking an illness to get out of a social event
•Dont buy something necessary because the cashier is intimidating.
Our country’s wealthy white once-idealistic baby boomer generation has cheated those of you entering the working world. A small percentage of us have taken almost all the new wealth since the recession. Our Silicon Valley CEOs have placated you with overpriced technological toys that are the result of decades of American productivity, but which have mainly profited the elite members of their industries.
Although none of us in the older generations can speak for you, we can help you research the facts. And the facts are painfully clear.
1. You Have Very Little Savings to Pay Your Massive Debts
A recent report claims that median net worth for the millennial generation (18 to 35 years old) has risen from $9,000 to $32,000 since 2007, and that their median income is $47,000.
Most other sources disagree. A report from the Russell Sage Foundation concludes that all American households have lost wealth since 2007. Other evidence shows that about 90% of us lost wealth in the past five years, while the richest - and generally older - 5% made millions. Median income, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is only about $35,000 for 25- to 34-year-olds, and just $25,000 for 20- to 24-year-olds.
Debt is apparently the difference, and the unrelenting burden, for college-educated young people. Based on Pew research, college-educated student debtors have twice as much debt as income. And they have only one-seventh the net worth of college-educated adults who have no student debt obligations.
2. You’re Being Cheated out of the Opportunity to Begin Your Own Households
As you were entering the working world after the recession, almost 60 percent of the new jobs were low-income ($7.69 to $13.83 per hour). The number of college grads working for minimum wage doubled in just five years.
As a result, many of you are forced to live with your parents. In just one generation, the percentage of stay-at-home young adults has risen from 11 percent to almost 24 percent. And more disturbingly, student homelessness increased by 10 percent in just one year.
3. Corporations are Hoarding Money that Could Pay for Your Jobs
Corporations more than doubled their profits and halved their taxes from 2000 to 2012.
What have they been doing with all that money? Hoarding it, mostly. David Cay Johnston estimated that in 2013 American businesses held almost $7.9 trillion of liquid assets worldwide. And here’s a bigger insult: According to the Wall Street Journal, for some of our largest corporations over 75 percent of the cash owned by foreign subsidiaries is kept “at U.S. banks, held in U.S. dollars or parked in U.S. government and corporate securities.”
So they’re using taxpayer money to protect the assets that they’re avoiding taxes on.
Corporations are also spending trillions of dollars on stock buybacks, which use potential research and development money to pump up the prices of executive stock options. Apple, one of the buyback leaders, and the nation’s biggest tax avoider, defended its outsourcing, saying ”We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers. The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.”
Meanwhile, corporations continue to cut jobs, with the computer industry among the worst offenders at the start of 2014.Microsoft just announced the deepest cuts in the firm’s 39-year history. AT&T has reduced its workforce by 22 percent in the last seven years. Verizon is shutting down customer service centers. Apple has a more efficient way of undermining workers, earning$400,000 profit per employee while paying most of their store workers $12 to $14 per hour.
4. The Business Media Mocks You
With supreme condescension, the media looks down at a struggling class of young Americans and proclaims:
—-The good news is that information technology provides the iPod/Facebook generation with the means to find work and create careers.. —Michael Barone, the Washington Examiner
—-A lot of people…can still earn a good living now by building their own branded reputations.. —Thomas Friedman, the New York Times
—-The ability to so take photographs makes [people] richer. —Forbes
To the out-of-touch super-rich capitalists, those of you in the newest working generation thrive on social networking, good reputations, and picture-taking. A nice lifestyle, as long as you don’t have to support yourselves or your families.
Is this why no one will hire me? I really feel like people use my resume to wipe their desks after an expensive sushi place.
Because Pitbulls need love too.
This is an illustration I did for the August 2014 issue of Popular Science Magazine. The assignment was to show a scifi take on human aging in the future. I wanted to do something relatively positive, so I drew a lady whose life has been been prolonged through cybernetic enhancements and augmentation, so she gets to spend time with her great-great-great-great grandchildren.
Thanks to AD Michelle Mruk!