… no not Malory’s ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’. Nor either do I think the world of hunting is for me. No.

Rather, John has decided it is time to rectify a serious gap in his education …

… and asked his co-conspirator where he would recommend starting with the exploration of Terry Pratchett’s Disc World. The answer was two-fold.

First, this rather handy map. And second, his recommendation that I should start with Mort, if not Small Gods. On the click through, you will notice that the price of the paperbacks can be as little as $6.00 - with free shipping for Prime customers and the price n’er getting close to $8.00.

Meanwhile, a Kindle or iBook version costs $9.99.

So for less money, I can buy a book that is using scarce resources not just in production terms, but also in distribution and warehousing - both before and after the purchase of the book. And. And once I have read it, I can pass that book on to anyone I choose. Anyone. And they can do the same.

Or I can spend 20 to 40 percent more and deliver more profit to someone, that  I bet is not the author and save some valuable resources and not be able to share my experience with anyone.

And we wonder why digital is not taking off! Why creative people are pissed off! Why we continue to chop down trees to make pulp!

Graham carps…

That’s “unindicted” co-conspirator,  if you don’t mind…

But on the main topic – yes, a recent book* I ordered was 1¢ in “Like New” condition, shipped from the UK for $3.99. Suggesting the profit is being made in the shipping, not the book sale (though pace the old joke, “They make it up on the volume”). And as it happens, a friend who is close to Amazon, without actually being employed by them, just suggested that – the physical selling side –is now really just a storefront rather than primary revenue center.  Amazon now seems to be making most of its profits from transportation services and web hosting. Both of which would speak to the syndrome both John and I note.

BTW, Terry passed away in 2015, so is unlikely to profit anyway from sales of any sort, or even to be aware of them.   Although as a noted humanist, he’d no doubt relish the amusement of suddenly finding himself on the wrong end of Pascal’s wager. Which is not to say, of course, that he has not already made that discovery…

_*Oh yes, the book was “And Another Thing – A Book Of Rants.” Itself suggested by my co-conspirator._

John  needles Graham

That’s “unindicted” co-conspirator, if you don’t mind …

And indeed aware of the passing of Sir Terry, but in that case, his estate would benefit .. no?

In which case the beneficiary being held to ransom is Alzheimer’s research. I guess the publishers just thought we’d forget about that!

And another thing, says Graham

And this is, of course, echoing the debate that went on over sale of pre-owned CDs. Of course the retailer would love to push used product–no price control on purchase or sale, no royalties to be paid to those pesky content creators. But it’s still not settled - artwork, for example, may not be subject to this First Sale Doctrine, meaning there may still be royaltiesbto be paid, and there’s still an active rearguard action over digital media. Why the inconsistency? Maybe no Sonny Bono to fight for the extension of copyright, no House of Mouse to flex its mouthpiece muscle?

And John reminds Graham that …

… we shouldn’t forget Sir Paul - who still doesn’t own a lot of those hits he is famous for … along with John (the other one), George (the other one) and Ringo - of which there is only one.

January 20, 2017