22 April 2011

Where's Ben Franklin?

Just watching the morning thunderstorms go by while I stuff these link sausages in their virtual casings...

  • Just a quick Borders bankruptcy update: In a move that would surprise absolutely nobody who has ever looked at the records of even a single retail-sector Chapter 11 case before, Borders is seeking to enhance its line of credit by another 10% ($50 million). Whether this should be routine is beside the point; it seems virtually mandatory for a retail-sector debtor that actually reorganizes successfully to increase its debtor-in-possession credit line by 15-20% in two stages starting just after the first contested court hearing. So, just like everything else filed thus far in the last week or so in the Borders matter, there's nothing to see here — move along, folks.
  • The literary community is internally divisive and cannibalistic? Say it isn't so! Well, say it isn't so if you routinely lie, anyway. (No, "fiction" is not "respectable lying".) Ultimately, the problem arises not from university scholars — many of whom are much more open-minded than their reputation — but with what Orwell called the "guardians of the middlebrow" who determine what gets taught to ten- to fifteen-year-olds. As a group, these "guardians" tend to be solidly lower-middle to middle-middle class from economically mobile (direction irrelevant) families... with no history of creativity or participation in the arts, and with an outrageously high proportion of theocrats, regardless of the governing cultural norm.

    Except, perhaps when it comes to "nonfiction" with variable truthiness... a topic all too ironically appropriate given the rumor-slash-announcement that one of Oprah's last shows will feature James Frey.

  • Amazon's cloud services crashed yesterday, taking down PW among many others (at this writing, they're still down). Schade, or at least "antitrust," right? Yeah, the DoJ is going to look at the harm to consumers from this one Real Soon Now and Real Seriously. And, ironically enough, this has a disturbing resonance with a Frontline story on airline MROs that aired recently (and that any military aircraft maintenance officer could have predicted): Penny wise, pound foolish.
  • Dana Girard offers some thoughts on the difference between e-book conversion and e-book formatting that don't go nearly far enough, although they certainly point toward some useful considerations. Leaving aside the unstated premises (to pick one, that the previously published paper version was both (a) itself competently edited and (b) not harmed by reduction-to-paper considerations like a need to cut a signature to hit an internal price target), she focuses so narrowly on considerations restricted to purely linear narrative works that she masks other, at least equally important issues... such as the useability of any footnotes and/or bibliographies and/or references and/or indices, the substantive clarity of graphics at greyscale e-book reader resolution, and so on. It's nonetheless something to think about for authors when putting their own works on the e-market, either by themselves or with assistance.
  • Deadline Hollywood lists its opinion of overpaid H'wood executives. Leaving aside that the list doesn't go nearly wide or deep enough, note the common factors — conglomerates, late-comers to the industry segment, and nepotism.
  • Defy Yog's Law at your peril. It's not quite as imperative as the Second Law of Thermodynamics... but it's close.