Category Archives: Tree Hugging

Amazon, Hachette, and flaming bullshit

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Beautiful people, a moment of your time, if you will.

I won’t bang on at length about this (there are many who will), but there’s some important stuff you should be made aware of.

If you are a book lover, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

If you are a reader, THIS SHIT AFFECTS YOU.

I presume you’re one of these, because you’re on my blog. So please take 5 minutes of your day, and read on.

In short:

* There is a big French publisher called Hachette. They publish many amazing authors (not me, har har, ego joke) and many incredible books. If you look at your shelves, you’ll find books from Hachette or its imprints.

* Amazon.com is currently engaged in “business negotiations” with Hachette, and is seeking “more favourable terms” in their new contract. In short, Amazon want Hachette to lower their prices, so Amazon can buy Hachette books cheaper, and thus, make more money when they sell them to you (for the same price they were selling them beforeyou will not save a CENT from this).

* Hachette do not want to sell Amazon their books cheaper. They sell them plenty cheap already.

* As a result, Amazon have begun listing Hachette books as “unavailable” for order on Amazon.com. They have begun delaying the shipment of Hachette books, citing a 3-5 week delivery time (note, the books are IN Amazon’s warehouses, Amazon just aren’t shipping them).

So why should you give a shit?

Amazon sell a lot of books. They buy in bulk, and with less overheads, they can sell cheaper than brick and mortar stores. It’s natural you want to buy from them. You can do it with the click of a button, after all.

You work hard. You like books, but you’re not a fkn millionaire. If the option is between paying $20 at a store, or $15 at Amazon, you’ll likely buy from Amazon.

The result? Book stores go out of business. Borders has collapsed. Angus and Robertson are gone. More and more retail chains are folding under the constant financial pressure of competing with Amazon. The eventual result?

Amazon becomes the only store left in the market. In other words, it establishes a monopoly over the book retailing industry.

Monopolies are NEVER good for consumers. When Amazon is the only store left, they can charge what they want, and if you want a book, you’ll have to pay it. When Amazon is the only store left, they can demand whatever price they want from publishers, and publishers will have to pay it.

If you think Amazon will use its monopoly only for good, a glance at its current dealings with Hachette should give you a clue about how altruistic it is.

Amazon is a business. Aggressive and expanding and pursuing an agenda which will see it as the only power remaining in the book retailing industry. It does not give two shits about you. It is not out to save you money. It is not your friend. And when it’s able to, it WILL bend you over and grease you up, just like its bending Hachette over right now.

So what can you do?

The answer is simple. You let Amazon know its strongarm bullshit is unacceptable. Money is the only language these fuckers understand, so you talk in Money. You buy somewhere else. Order online at Barnes and Noble. Order online from an indie store. Better yet, go out to your local bookstore and buy from them. Yes, it might cost you a few bucks more. But it’s a hell of a lot less than you’ll eventually pay if Amazon becomes the last man standing.

I’m not a Hachette author (I’m published by MacMillan). I’m not some left-wing hipster twat decrying the notion of capitalism. I’m just a person who doesn’t like the idea of some big, bully corporation fucking me. I’m an author who doesn’t like the though of my author friends not be able to pay their mortgages or electricity bills because Amazon has listed their titles as “unavailable”. Moreover, it fucking infuriates me that Amazon aren’t even TRYING to hide this behavior. They have so little regard for publishers and so little fear of readers, they can literally swing their big old gorilla cock at anyone they feel like and fear NO REPRISALS WHATSOEVER.

In short, this is bullshit. But YOU HAVE THE POWER TO STOP IT.

If you’re a reader, if you’re a book lover, SHARE THIS POST. Spread the word. Vote with your conscience, and your wallet. Don’t be fooled into thinking the few bucks you save today by allowing these gorilla dicks to have their way will balance out the fortune you pay for your books tomorrow.

You are the people. You have the power. Open your eyes. Open your mouths. Close your fingers and make a fist.


These days will change us all

I usually try to be amusing in these blog posts, but I’m failing totally today. If you’re up for the lolz, to the wrong place you have come, young padawan.

The setting for STORMDANCER is “dystopian”. There’s something tragically hip about dystopian settings atm – publishers can’t seem to get enough of them. But I didn’t write an “end of world” setting because I thought it might sell some books. I wrote it because I genuinely believe it is the duty of the artist (and I realise I’m dangerously close to sounding like an utter tosser here) to reflect the times he or she lives in.

At its heart, STORMDANCER is a story about the destructive price of a seemingly progressive technology. It’s a story about extinction, and the fact that sacrifice is necessary to turn a big ship around. The “ship” in the book is an island called Shima. But really, Shima is just an analogy for the ship we’re all sailing on at this very moment. A small, insignificant blue-green ship somewhere near the western spiral arm of the galaxy.

In order to publicize the rate of species loss our planet is currently undergoing, the United Nations holds the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22nd each year. That’s next week. The truth is, this planet (OUR planet) is suffering an unprecedented rate of species death. Not since the mass-extinction of the dinosaurs have so many forms of life on earth been under threat, or simply wiped out. And the sad and sobering fact is, this destruction isn’t being caused by a meteorite impact or some other factor beyond our control.

Its being caused by us.

This is shitty news. And the truth is, some people don’t want to hear it. They’d rather read about what Kate Middleton wore to the royal wedding, or watch an episode of Jersey Shore. But extinction is forever. It means these creatures are never coming back. No DNA frozen in amber inside mosquitos, no theme parks, no re-runs. Just memories and dusty photographs, if anyone knew about them at all.

Some sobering facts:

  • Depending who you read, somewhere between 30 and 150 species are wiped out every day on planet earth. An extraordinarily conservative estimate is that we lose around 1 species per hour. Every hour of every day. One species. Gone. Forever.
  • We are currently chopping down or outright burning one and a half acres of rainforest every second. If you are possessed of a basic high-school education, you will know about photosynthesis;  the concept that trees convert carbon dioxide (you know, the gas that’s causing the greenhouse effect) into oxygen (you know, the stuff we need to live). We are literally chopping out the lungs of our planet. Click here, skip down to “Regions” and check the “Remaining habitat” figures.
  • There are currently five vast soups of non-degrading pelagic plastics and chemical sludge floating in the oceans on this planet. There is more plastic than plankton (the foundation of the oceanic food chain) currently floating in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Rate of decline in plankton numbers is currently sitting at 1% per year. This figure is set to increase exponentially in a long-term downward trend, as ocean temperatures continue to rise due to global warming. Without plankton, the entire oceanic food chain falls to pieces.

This is the tip of the iceberg. But the information is out there if you genuinely want to learn, and there ARE positive steps you can take towards reducing your impact on this incredible planet we all share. You don’t need to join up with Sea Shepherd or start bombing oil depots. If you’d rather watch Jersey Shore, well, you can do that too. But you should probably watch this first.

Sorry for the lack of lolz. I’ll try to be funnier next week.

emoc ot sgniht fo epahs eht ylno s’tI .demrala eb t’nod, diarfa mees uoY