Tuesday News: Amazon acquires Rooftop, Amazon as meta publisher?, Popehat rants about Gamergate, and Levar Burton reads adult bedtime story
Authors & Publishers, Take Note: Amazon’s Rooftop Media Acquisition is About Platform, Not Content – Nate Hoffelder argues that Amazon’s acquisition of Rooftop, of which they were already a client, is more about platform than content, specifically in the way of “ACX crossed with KDP crossed with Youtube,” such that authors could be recorded in video, say, reading their work somewhere, or a video self-publishing venue could be established.
Amazon has a video platform, and it has an ebook platform, and it has an audiobook platform. Even though Audible and Kindle are closely interconnected now, they’re still separate platforms. And now Amazon is buying a new video platform – but mixing it in with the video platform or leaving the new platform independent.
Instead Amazon is tossing Rooftop into Audible. That move doesn’t make a lot of sense – not if this is a content deal. But if this is a tech acquisition, or in other words Amazon wants Rooftop’s platform, then the deal starts to make sense. –The Digital Reader
Amazon is doing the world a favor by crushing book publishers – There is A LOT in this argument with which I disagree, especially the idea that publishers add no value to authors, books, or, well anything else in the chain from composition to consumption. Moreover, there are many publishing employees — acquiring editors, for example — who are passionate and dedicated book and author advocates. But I do think it’s an interesting take on publishers as corporate conglomerates, and it does raise, IMO, a legitimate question about how publishers have historical prioritized (or not) innovation, and the extent to which their corporate parents are engaged in the business and the philosophy of publishing. That aspect of publishing isn’t always contemplated, just as the idea that self-publishing authors are also publishers isn’t always the focus of discussions about self-published books (and author-generated marketing). Probably good to remember that Amazon is a publisher, too.
These are not tiny, helpless enterprises. Were their owners interested in the future of books and publishing, they could invest the money necessary to make their own e-reading apps and e-book store and render Amazon entirely superfluous. But the managers of these conglomerates don’t really care. If they can get famous authors to lobby the government to stop Amazon from killing them for free, then they’re happy to take the free labor.
But they don’t want to invest actual money and energy in competing with Amazon, they’d rather wring whatever remaining profit there is out of book publishing and dedicate the money to dividends or other industries they’re also involved in. –Vox
Ten Short Rants About #GamerGate – In a narrow sense, this essay is a response to some of the worst tactics of the Gamergaters, but it’s also a pretty literate, logical, and commonsense commentary on how people argue in general, and about the various species of hypocrisy extremity necessitates. This bit on literary criticism especially made me smile, but then I’m a deconstructionist at heart, and I find Derrida endlessly fascinating and valuable.
Take Anita Sarkeesian. Anita Sarkeesian offers gender-focused criticism of video games. This causes some people to completely lose their shit.
This is inexplicable, even in a subculture that already has people who are rendered unaccountably twitchy by bad reviews.2 I’ve viewed Sarkeesian’s videos, and I’ve read the criticisms of her: that she’s not a gamer, that she doesn’t truly know her subject, that she uses unfair examples and ignores counter-examples, that she has an agenda, that she generalizes, and so forth. I think some of these criticisms are apt and others aren’t. But my reaction to all of them is the same: Judas Priest, have you never encountered any form of cultural or literary criticism before? That’s what it’s like. Whether it’s people saying that Harry Potter promotes witchcraft or other people saying that theLord of the Rings is a racist allegory or Dan Quayle saying that a fictional character’s fictional life choices disrespect American fatherhood, cultural and literary criticism is often stuffed taut with bullshit, no matter who produces it or what it’s about. When it’s good, it’s provocative, and when it’s bad, it’s that essay you threw together through your hangover at three in the morning on the due date about what Shakespeare thought about Jews, writ large.3 Seriously. If Sarkeesian enrages you, don’t let anyone show you Foucault or Derrida or you’re going to have an aneurysm. And please don’t come back with “but Sarkeesian fooled people into giving her money for her videos.” Jack and Jillmade $150 million, motherfuckers. People pay hundreds of dollars to see Nicklebackin Temecula. Why are you freaking out over how people spent their money this time? –Popehat
LeVar Burton Reads ‘Go The [Expletive] To Sleep’ – Yesterday it was Beowulf in Anglo Saxon, today it’s Levar Burton in obscenity-punctuated American English. Enjoy!
The book was famously inspired by a night when Adam Mansbach was struggling to put his daughter down for the night, leading him to joke on Facebook, “Look out for my forthcoming children’s book, Go the [famous four-letter expletive] to Sleep,” as NPR’s Eyder Peralta wrote in 2011.
“The response was so great that Mansbach got to work, and before long he had an exquisitely profane bedtime story that has really struck a nerve,” Eyder wrote. –NPR
It’s long been clear to me that the large publishers are not interested in changing their business to deal with the future as much as they are fighting to delay a future where publishers get a far smaller cut of the pie.
I’m no great fan of Amazon, but publisher rants usually make me aware of why Amazon gets so much of my business