• Amazon’s Earnings Plummet; Save a Tree: Rent a Utahn

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 2 comments

    Amazon.com’s 2011 4th-quarter earnings dropped 57%. In related news, my belief that there might be a God rose 57%. Here, Dennis Johnson does a pretty good job of concealing his glee.

    A better job, in fact, than he does here, commenting on the announcement that Barnes & Noble will not sell Amazon’s publishing imprint’s books. The closing line of a statement from a B&N rep to reporter Brad Stone goes like this: “We don’t get many requests for Amazon titles, but if customers wish to buy Amazon titles from us, we will make them available only online at bn.com.” I don’t get the chance to say this very often: Well done, Barnes & Noble.

    And here’s Laura Miller at Salon on how to boycott Amazon in 2012. Yes, I’ve mentioned this piece before. And yes, I will again. Many, many times.

    (Note how I’m acting as if it hasn’t been nine months since I last birthed a Friday links post.)

    So here’s an interesting something out of Utah: a library lending “human books” (via Melville House). Visitors to the Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library can “check out” a human being, who will then sit down and tell the patron about his/her life. [Insert joke here about how this program sounds kinda cool, until you think about having to sit down and listen to someone from Utah tell you about his/her life in Utah, while you yourself are also in Utah.]

    I wrote about this in Wednesday’s Occupy Roundup post on Fringe, but it’s worth repeating: the OWS Lending Library is working with Occupy Tucson to collect copies of the books banned during the dismantling of the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican-American studies program. And you can help them. So, help them.

    And here’s a caravan from Houston to Tucson doing the same thing. The “Librotraficante” takes place March 12 through the 18th, so you have some time to get involved. I mean, haven’t you always wanted to join a caravan?

    Helen Gurley Brown has donated $30 million to set up the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation at the Columbia School of Journalism and the Stanford School of Engineering. From the story: the funds give “each school $12 M. to endow a professorship. The remaining $6 M. will go toward the construction of a ‘highly visible signature space at the eastern end of the J-School’s landmark building, featuring a state-of-the-art high-tech newsroom.'” Well, okay. Half of me likes the sound of it; half of me likens it to donating money to Ted Turner so he can construct and staff a “highly visible” new building.

    From HTMLGiant, “Three Ways to Get a Free Poetry MFA” is kinda fun. Apropos of that, this coming week you’ll find on our own blog the first in a series of posts about post-MFA life.

    Alex Shakar on the reading public: “My gut sense (really, more of a feeling than an intellectual theory) is that the audience for serious prose literature is still growing in absolute numbers because the population as a whole is exploding. But that it’s shrinking as a percentage of people and mindshare. So novelists are in the strange, free-floating state of being perhaps read more and less central at once.”

    The used-to-be-kinda-cool-and-informative Publishers Weekly blog has a good time with “The Worst Book Ever.”

    Bad Book Review Bingo.

    Shit Agents & Editors Say is ho-hum, but it’ll only cost you two minutes.

    If he can fit on an airplane, Kevin Smith is coming to BookPeople.

    Nobel-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska died Wednesday. I remember spending an entire three-hour-long undergrad fiction workshop reading her work (because the professor didn’t want to read our terrible prose). Maybe the best class of that semester.

    Still waiting for the February installment of Eric Miles Williamson’s “Industrial Strength” over on the IWW website. January’s piece, though, is an interesting read for fans/non-fans of Dagoberto Gilb.

    Who, by the way, has two books on the list of banned titles in that Arizona mess, and writes about it here. (“I want to thank (Gracias, gracias!) the state of Arizona for its recognition,” he writes.) (via Martin Barkley)

    And who, by the way, has launched a new litmag out of UH-V’s Centro Victoria. Copies of which are now available for purchase (only $10) at WBN.

    Speaking of WBN, here’s what we’ve been up to. First, the good people over at CultureMap Austin profiled us. Then they provided an excellent write-up of our first Deadliners event. A video recording of which you can still catch on UStream (scroll to the 18′ mark).

    We’ve also added a Staff page so you can meet our consultants and coaches.

    Thanks for tuning in, and I’ll see you again next week month year.

    I’ll close by linking to a poem I enjoy, Matthew Zapruder’s “Poem for Wisconsin.” Where, FYI, the state’s Government Accountability Board has posted copies of the Scott Walker recall petitions, including the over 1,000,000 signatures.



    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is Fiction Editor for the Texas Observer and Managing Editor at Fringe Magazine. He contributes regularly to the Dallas Morning News, Publishing Perspectives, the Observer, and others. 


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    Anonymous Lit Lover

    I have a nominee that can out-do Moon People for worst book: THE BLACK MAIL OF CASH MONEY. The best part? It is Based On True Stories.

    Linkage: http://www.amazon.com/BLACK-MAIL-CASH-MONEY-STORIES/dp/1466904356

    David Duhr

    I was laughing after two words of the description. Protag’s name is “Cashus Moneyly”? Oh thank you, Ike Diamond(ly). And thank you, Anonymous Lit Lover.

    That description is 148 words. I bet I could cut it to 40 and keep all the same info.

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x