Wednesday full of publishing woe

Wednesday(I’ll be traveling to St. Louis Wednesday, so I’m prepping this edition Tuesday evening.)

According to the poem, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.”

Today’s sample of stories fits the bill.

Perhaps it’s a matter of preference whether back-to-school is a cause for woe, but in any case Matt Seidel at The Millions offers returning scholars six strategies for effective close reading.

Scriptshadow tackles a screenplay about one of the greatest industrial disasters in recent years, reviewing Deepwater Horizon, written by Ninja Assassin‘s Matthew Sand and World War Z‘s Matthew Michael Carnahan. Woe all around!

Not to be left off the Woe Train, the LA Times has published a reading list for people not getting enough of Ferguson’s rioting and police tactics into their brains.

Finally, German authors have joined the reactionary mob rising up against online retailer Amazon, again dishonestly characterizing Amazon’s dealings with bumbling traditional publishers as a form of oppression. Rather than the typical charges of “black-listing” or “censorship”—as if Amazon web-space were a fundamental human right and not the result of business contracts—the Germans are now comparing Amazon to a hostage taker!

Yes, because nothing says “taking hostages” like warning Hachette months before a contract expiration date they stumbled past anyway, and unilaterally extending the contract terms for readers and authors while Hachette sat on its hands and tripped over their own counter-proposal deadline.

And, all of this falsehood and Neo-Luddism is, according to the Germans, to “ensure a lively and honest book culture.”

Most intriguingly, the Germans are attacking Amazon in creepily nationalist, dog-whistle terms: “Unfortunately, the American company refuses to accept our traditional cultural values.” It’s always an encouraging sign when people defend their dishonest prejudices with a cryptic appeal to traditional values.

How about we address Amazon’s problematic oligopoly scale without resorting to nostalgic, anti-tech biases and slanderous hyperbole? And, just stop fantasizing that the moldered business practices of traditional publishers are somehow in the best interest of authors and readers.

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Style guide: Texts, performances, and periodicals (including websites) are italicized. Key persons are in bold.

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