Monday, October 25, 2010

Texas sends Amazon the bill & Plumbers are worth more than writers

I haven’t been able to use my Everybody Hates Amazon tag since July.

Thank you, Texas.

1. The state of Texas says Amazon owes it $269 million in sales tax. Amazon disagrees.

Amazon avoids collecting sales tax in locations where it does not have a nexus. (It keeps prices cheaper.) This has led to spats in Kentucky, Germany, France and, now, Texas.

I’m not sure how the government defines where an online business has a nexus, so I’m not sure how strong Texas’s claims are.

But here’s a link from a writer who is better informed than me.

2. Speaking of Amazon, it is going to allow people to “loan” books to one another via Kindle.

According to Amazon, Kindle users will be able to give other users one of their books for 14 days. During that period, the person who bought the book will not have access to it. (See, it’s like when people share books for realz.)

Publishers can choose to not participate in the “lending” program. I expect most will not. They have little to gain by participating.

3. Anne Rice elaborates on her quitting Christianity. Or Catholicism. The two seem interchangeable to her.

From an interview with Guardian:
Attending mass became stressful. She had a terrible row with a priest friend. “He said Obama was just as bad as Joseph Stalin because of his allowing abortion. And I said, ‘Are you seriously saying that? Do you know who Joseph Stalin really was and what he did?’ And he wouldn’t back down and there was no more discussion.”

There’s something missing in Rice’s logic. Sure, I think her “priest friend” is dangerously wrong-minded, not in his distaste for abortion, but in comparing Obama to Stalin. But isn’t swearing off Christianity because of the idiots a lot like refusing to vote because of Glenn Beck? There are idiots in almost every philosophy, religion, vocation and avocation. But if we let the idiots deter us, then they win.

Of course, Rice is entitled to her beliefs.

(I have discussed religion and politics in the last two paragraphs. That’s two party fouls in two paragraphs. Moving on...)

4. Rob Roberge interviewed himself for The Nervous Breakdown. He said a few things worth quoting.

What’s the biggest myth about writers that you’d like to debunk?
There are a bunch of them. One is that we make money. When I meet people and they find I have a few books out, they think I’m rolling in piles of money like Scrooge McDuck or something. I don’t mind not making money at writing. It’s not why I got into it. Anyone who gets into writing to become rich or famous is, at best, deluded. The myth of the suffering artist is another that I think needs a good solid debunking. Writers don’t suffer any more than anyone else. Human beings suffer. Period. Take 100 writers and 100 plumbers and I’d guess the amount of suffering would be pretty even. And plumbers are probably more important in the long run. We need our toilets to flush more than we need another collection of short stories. If all the writers and all the plumbers went on strike tomorrow, I know who people’d be missing more quickly. So, I try not to deceive myself into thinking what I do is any more noble or important than what anyone else does.

So plumbers are more important than writers this world of yours?
I don’t know. I know that books don’t save lives on the grand scale. They don’t end wars and such. They don’t cure cancer. But at the same time, books saved my life. And I know they’ve done that for friends of mine. Writing and reading bond me to other people—at its best, literature makes me feel less alone in the world. Great people, great books, great music—these are things that remind me of what beauty people are capable of creating and spreading through the world. So, maybe books do save lives—just not in a dramatic way.

-Jason Lea,

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home