Friday News: Agency pricing returns with a vengeance, Etsy goes public, the trouble with Jon Ronson, and The Left Hand of Darkness radio play
But since all six HarperCollins titles on this week’s rankings are currently selling on Amazon at prices noticeably higher than those listed below (five of them already with the telltale label, “This price was set by the publisher”), it seems a fair bet that the overall uptick will continue. –Digital Book World
The question now is how Etsy plans to maintain its small craft, artisanal identity. The company has a loyal base of buyers and sellers who go to the site to buy unique items. Etsy will face challenges in competing with what it counts as its larger rivals Alibaba, eBay and Amazon, without losing its key base of homemade goods enthusiasts.
If the company were to see interest in its core marketplace slip, the firm might be forced to diversify its product mix through rules changes that could lead to customers becoming disenchanted with its marketplace. The firm has to weigh the importance of its now diverse and public shareholders, as well as its users that bought and sold enough craft items to let the company execute its IPO. –Tech Crunch
It joins a growing pantheon of articles that are distinguished by their one-dimensional treatment of a genuine social problem: Michelle Goldberg’s Nation essay on “Toxic Twitter Feminism” (full disclosure: I was interviewed for that piece) and Jonathan Chait’s recent effort in New York Magazine being two clear examples thereof.
What these works all have in common is that they attempted to address something that has exorcised radical activists for years: the mob mentality that grabs ahold of us when we use social media, where we lose ourselves in the censorious crowd eager to punish someone (almost always a single individual) who gave great offense. In other words, the screaming, directionless crowds on the internet who descend onto someone unlucky enough to get their attention.
What they also have in common is that they paid next to no attention to the complicated discourse that has emerged around what has come to be known as “call out culture,” and opted instead for easy scapegoats, false equivalences, and inexpertly mashing together often contradictory and uncited arguments. –Feministing
The first episode of the BBC’s Left Hand of Darkness has already aired, and you can hear it free online for about a month at the show’s site. (It runs almost an hour.) Episode two will come available on its own page shortly after being broadcast this Sunday. You can get a taste of the production from the promotional video at the top of the post; the one just above gives a scrap of insight as to how Le Guin came to envision the novel’s world. –Open Culture