Well, hoity toity

In the morning thread at Ace of Spades I found these next two links (yes, I know it’s no longer morning. I was busy):

Ursula LeGuin really doesn’t like Amazon for books in particular (and by default, if you notice, Amazon customers)

Here’s a great post about why she’s wrong.

The same argument was made in the late 1990s against chain bookstores like Border’s. It wasn’t a good argument then (see Tyler’s masterpiece, In Praise of Commercial Culture) but at least at that time it was debatable. Le Guin’s attempt to resurrect the argument today is bizarre. Does anyone doubt that it is easier to buy a niche book today than it ever has been in the entire history of the world? Indeed, does anyone doubt that it is easier to buy a Ursula K. Le Guin book today than it ever has been in the entire history of the world? –

Read the whole thing. It is a great response, however, it’s kind of talking past what I suspect those Progressives who complain about Amazon really care about it.  More on that in a moment.

That ability to buy niche books (and thus, the ability of niche authors to bypass the gatekeepers of sci-fi at TOR books) is probably one of the things LeGuin hates most about Amazon.

I have to wonder if she’s sharing her low opinion of those tasteless Amazon buyers within the context of this year’s Hugo brouhaha and the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies upset, an interesting little skirmish in the culture wars.

In a frontal attack, employees at Tor have been going on record attacking  sci-fi authors who , one Tor editor went so far as calling some of Tor’s own authors ((and the readers who read their books) neo-nazis, reprehensible, racist, misogynist, and homophobic (and amazingly, she still has a job).
More here.  And here.

Progressives in general have little use or admiration for free speech, for initiative, for lone wolves, for individualism, and especially for entrepreneurs, so niche publishing, the explosion in self-publishing, the ability to say what you want to say without passing the approval of  a left side publisher and its Social Justice Warrior editors is, to them, a downside, not something they see as a benefit.  Niche marketing is not a good thing unless it’s their niche.

They care about the poor, underprivileged, disadvantaged very very much, intellectually, in the abstract, in groups, politically and as direct objects.  Remember your grammar, the direct object receives the action from the verb.  But individually, they want the poor to be on the receiving end, always, not the acting end.  So the fact that Amazon allows individuals to become market sellers, to reach an audience they would otherwise be totally unable to reach, with very, very little by way of start up cash  state approval is not important.

Amazon is not a monolithic entity like General Electric or Pepsi Cola, or even Sears.  Amazon is like a giant flea market, antique mall, and consignment store, with thousands of vendors. People from literally all walks of life are able to make an income selling at Amazon- my very pregnant daughter with three young children spends a couple hours here and there at thrift shops, buys things that have a good resale value and is able thereby to supplement her husband’s income blue collar job at a local factory.

Some people find specialty, regionally available products that are no longer stocked in grocery stores elsewhere, and buy them by the case and send them into Amazon.  The store will warehouse them, pack them, and ship them out, and the seller pays a fee for this, but it’s worth it to a great many people- retired folks, people with limited transportation who cannot go shopping or to the post office weekly, but can manage a monthly trip to the store and post office.

Self-publishers who sell through Amazon are able to bypass publishers and many of them also pay artists and editors, who are in turn able to work from home in ways they couldn’t before Amazon blew the self-publishing market wide open.

P.S. The comments at instapundit are a good read for those interested in more on the Hugos and Tor

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