11 July 2009

Do evil, get rich

Let’s see... Pacifica Foundation, a non-profit progressive radio network founded by pacifists in 1949 currently is $740 thousand dollars in the hole. Our community radio station, KZYX, is about $140 thousand behind. Mendocino’s Symphony of the Redwoods is suffering from lack of funds, so are any number of other non-profits.

Is there anyone or anything not currently in the red zone?

Oh yes, this headline: “Dick Cheney gets $2 mill to pen memoir.”

The most secretive, torture-embracing politician of our time, main brain behind the Bush disaster, gets two million dollars to speak about mishandling the economy, spying on Americans and shooting his duck hunting partner.

Do evil, get rich. It’s the American way.

Publisher Simon & Schuster is paying Cheney, and the same publisher is about to unleash the world’s biggest/fastest most tasteless instant book in history, 500,000 copies of “Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson.”

One day after Jackson’s death, Simon & Schuster bought the rights and undertook a race with the pallbearers. Jackson died on June 25; the tell-all will be published on July 14.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the publisher took only four days from first hearing of the manuscript until it delivered files to the printer. Seven copy editors worked on the manuscript during that period.

Meanwhile, newly-resigned Alaska governor Sarah Palin is writing a book, due next year, for a reported advance of “several million dollars,” according to her agent. At least 20 books have already been published about Ms. Palin, with another half dozen scheduled. No one knows if her resignation will hurt or help her own book, but the betting in publisher world is that it’s better to get these books out fast than to wait.

One former Penguin editor said, “The truth about all these books is that you treat the authors like stocks: You want to buy low and sell high, or buy high and sell even higher. With Palin, you don't know where her stock is going to be in a few years. So you want to sell now.”

Finally, consider the new yearbook published for Vineland High School in New Jersey. When students unpacked their yearbooks they discovered the wrong year printed on the spine.

The publisher apologized and sent 525 stickers to cover 08 with 09. They did not offer to return the $75 to $85 each student paid for a copy of the yearbook.

One graduating student told her local newspaper, "I think they should have checked it out -- just to see if there were mistakes -- before giving them to the school. Or they should've given us better stickers," she said, noting the decals aren't adhering very well.

I can’t finish this litany of bad news without mentioning Amazon and their book reading device The Kindle. News this week is that they’ve lowered prices so you can obtain one for just under $300.

The other news, more technical but potentially much more important: Amazon has applied for a group of patents that may allow them to insert adverts into books you would read on your Kindle.

Lessee... You’re reading along in “Oliver Twist” and you get to the part where little Oliver pleads, “Please sir, I want some more” and up pops an ad for McCann’s Finest Steel Cut Oat Meal. You’re reading Kerouac’s “On the Road” and you find yourself staring at a Ford truck video. Pickapeppa Sauce for Faulkner. Marlboros for Sedaris. Won’t reading be fun one day!


The Wall Street Journal on the instant Michael Jackson book

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me hear from you. It is easy to post your thoughts here. Due to spammers, I now am moderating the comments. If you are a human, you are in, but you may have to wait a few hours until I OK your pending comment. Thank you!