Tuesday, November 1, 2011


There is a new book out, FREE RIDE, by Robert Levine, subtitled: "How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back.”

Salon describes it this way: "Levine’s book looks at how publishing, the music industry, newspapers and other industries drank the dot.com Kool-Aid, effectively killing themselves off."

"...dot.com Kool-Aid...."

Well, exactly. It's what I've been saying ever since I first started looking at what the magazines and book publishers and mass market bookstores were doing. It seemed really clear to me that it was a faulty premise and that it could only end in self-destruction.

So what do you do when you're threatened?

You fight.

You don't just say, wow, you're probably going to overcome us with overwhelming force so we'll just become what we would've become if you had won, even though you will probably win anyway....

What a strange reaction.

Look up the word Quisling.


Duncan McGeary said...

Not a big surprise that corporations have no gumption, though I'm surprised how many small independent bookstores have bought into it.

RDC said...

This is too funny

Free Ride by Robert Levine (Kindle Edition - Aug 4, 2011) - Kindle eBook
Buy: $15.94

Duncan McGeary said...


Anonymous said...

"I'm surprised how many small independent bookstores have bought into it."

This happens because humans are social creatures (I didn't say herd animals, but...) and there is great fear of not being "with it." It's a social fear that marketing has turned into economic anxiety that often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Duncan, this is a case where your eccentricities, skepticism, stubbornness and experience serve you well. You don't as easily fall into group think. In the case of e-books, suicidal group think.

It is amazing how quickly technology makes itself appear indispensable. How did we ever function without cell phones? Now, I love the internet. It's a great research tool. But it's also the biggest time-waster in the history of mankind. Yes, we can be informed quickly and from a range of sources hitherto unavailable to us. But look at how we (society) uses that power. The most important story on the worldwide web is Kim Kardashian's wedding/divorce. Seriously?

My computer, my smart phone, my NOOK all have their uses. To some extent, they're beneficial to your business. For example, I stumbled across Hawken online and ordered it from you. Same with the reissue of the Nate Heller books.

But it would be a mistake to think that you have to keep up with the technological trends to survive and succeed. For independent's it's not possible. I mean, you could create a Pegasus app, but for what?

The only answer is the one you have found, which is to create a niche and work it deeper and deeper. Use the relevant technologies in your own way insofar as they enable you to pursue your model. It doesn't guarantee success, of course, but trying to win at a rigged game does guarantee failure.

Jim Cornelius

Melissa said...

Agreed. By the way, my son looked up quisling for a school assignment and I thought you'd enjoy his definition: http://www.shesjustsaying.com/shes_just_saying/2011/05/the-definition-of-quisling.html

Duncan McGeary said...

I like it. "Bums!"

Anonymous said...

well if its rots and smell like Bend and has real estate interest then its a 'quisling',

fuck that includes the bull, hollern, main-street and all that is Bend