So, 2011 was a weird year for my reading. According to my Goodreads tracking, I read a pretty weak 17 books last year. This is the second highest year on record, the problem is, I can’t find my 2009 list and I know I read like 30 books that year.
It was a weird reading year though because I developed a terrible habbit of reading multiple books at once. I still currently have like a dozen books I started in 2011 that I have yet to finish. I have had some issue with “getting into” a lot of books. Like i started reading Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World, a book that has been on my to read list for ages. It’s boring. At least i found it to be extremely boring. I started skipping pages, then, next thing I know, I’m basically just flipping through my Nook without reading at all.
I’ve had a few cases like this. Honestly, I think Audiobooks have ruined me. I couldn’t get into The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in print but I’m really enjoying the audio version at the moment.
Speaking of the Nook, it has also exploded my backlogged book list. Yeah, there are a lot of free books on there, but I actually and pretty selective on which free/cheap books I pick up for this reason. If it’s some teen werewolf love fantasy, I don’t get it for example. I’m never going to want to read that.
But some Dystopian SciFi story, sure, I’ll give it a shot.
I also actually bought several books I’ve been wanting to read Family of Secrets about the history of the Bush Family, Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World, Peter Hamilton’s The Dreaming Void, The first Discworld book.
The other problem I’ve been having, I keep picking ridiculously long books. I’ve been pushing through The Machine of Death for a while now. It’s entertaining but my nook tells me it’s almost 900 pages.
Though I don’t know how accurate this is, the Nook reads pages funny.
Anyway, I am going to continue to push myself to be better about getting through these books. So far I’m starting the year light. I have a few Manga am going to read through, they should be pretty quick. I’m going to continue my Steig Larson audiobook tour and hopefully by the end of January I can wrap up The Machine of Death.
So my son went shopping with his friend and comes home with a Dragonball Z compilation book. They went to Barnes and Noble and he purchased it there. I’m sure he’s been influenced by my reading of comics and graphic novels recently. I’m good with it, Dragonball isn’t my favorite Manga but it’s somewhat of a “classic” and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.
I’m not really here to discuss Dragonball though.
He said to me “i wanted to buy a Batman comic but they didn’t have any.”
Now, not to discount my son’s ability, but I often do doubt his ability to find things, in general. He’s a little sloppy and lazy about such work, so I initially dismissed this as “I really doubt Barnes and Noble had no Batman comics.
But then I remembered about this and realized he was probably right.
DC Comics, publisher of Batman comics, and Barnes and Noble are having a little spat over the sale of DC’s products. On one hand, I sympathize a bit with the irritation over the exclusivity to the Amazon Fire. I am considering getting a Nook Color and the idea of using it for magazines and comics is a strong argument for it. I like Amazon but they feel like they are pushing towards a more closed market attitude similar to Apple’s that I don’t like.
On the other hand, Barnes and Noble’s reaction seems a bit… childish.
So in the end, DC, and Barnes and Noble, and to some extent, my son, the consumer, have all lost out. The reality is that most people don’t know about this feud and they just go and buy something else instead of buying elsewhere.
I suppose in the end Barnes and Noble didn’t lose anything since he bought the Dragonball book instead.
I kind of hate to see Borders close. They had decent pricing and decent coupons. Of course I don’t have a Borders nearby, only a Waldenbooks.
It closes Friday. I might try to get back but I didn’t see much else I wanted and I probably won’t get much better than 80-90% off minus 15% for buying 6+ books.
So the Twitter book seemed like a fun novelty.
I used to be a huge Evangelion nut so I figured this set of Manga from the spib off side story woukd be worth reading.
I have no idea what Neko Ramen is but it features an Anime Catface Cat and involves Ramen, which I have a kooky facination with so I threw it in the pile.
Gamer Girl I think is some book intended for teenage girls but I remeber seeing it online and thinking it seemed okish. It looks like another Manga but it’s not.
No Hero us some sci-fi book I looked at when I went last week.
Losers is another Graphic Novel with a movue based on it. Seemed interesting. I would have picked up more GNs but there were several “only volume 3″ situations. I suppose I could buy other volumes elsewhere but this is more of an “impulse try for cheap” situation than a “commit to a series of expensive books” situation.
I’ve recently been reading through The Accidental Billionaires, the book written about the founding of the popular social networking website, “The Facebook” which the film The Social Network is based off of. It’s reasonably interesting though right in the forward it admits that some of the story has been altered slightly for time respects, sometimes for some dramatic effect and sometimes because the information concerning events could not be directly be obtained so some assumptions had to be made.
The biggest hole in the whole story is that Mark Zuckerberg, the central character of the story, has not contributed to the story.
Anyway, reading through the book, the biggest draw I’ve gotten from it is that The Social Network is generally accurate but more than likely mostly dramatic assumption. The book itself admits to it’s containing somewhat inaccurate points. The movie takes it’s own liberties with several points in the book itself. Some notable points, as of about halfway through:
If i recall, in the movie, Eduardo was reluctant to distribute the site to the Phoenix Club list, in the book, it was his idea.
Mark sends a note back to the Winklevoss’ Twins’ Ceace and Desist letter defending The Facebook as an original idea in the book. The movie implies Mark simply ignored the letter and completely blew it off.
The book is full of sex, much of the early book seems to be a documentary of the sex activities and methods of Harvard.
Mark’s confrontation with his girlfriend in the opening is not the trigger for Facemash.com as depicted in the movie, in the book. This is one of the film’s more glaring issues actually as the real life Mark Zuckerberg has had the same girlfriend since 2003 in college and they live together today. Facebook is not some desperate attempt to impress some long lost girlfriend. In the book, Mark has no girlfriend of any sort at this point, the story is in March 2004.
The whole story depicts Mark as some awkward super genius obsessive computer hacker, which the more and more I hear it, the less and less I believe it. I’m not saying the guy isn’t smart or that he doesn’t know how to work a computer, I’m just saying I don’t believe he’s quite the total recluse he’s made out to be. that sounds more like a stereotype being pushed as fact.
Now, really, these differences between book and movie aren’t really the issue. Lots of movies take liberties with their book source material to varying degrees. the problem is that both, more so, the movie I think, are being marketed as “The Story of the Founding of Facebook.” It’s one thing to make stuff up and change a book, it’s another completely to essentially just make things up when they are based on true events. Both stories are certainly “Inspired by” events but they are really more like some sort of alternate universe what if scenario that happens to use names of real life people. It’s be like writing a story where Barak Obama is some action hero guerilla fighter who infiltrated the middle east himself and personally took down Bin Laden after a fist fight on the wing of an F-16.
Yeah, in the general sense, it’s true, in the literal sense, it’s pretty much completely false.
So the moral is, read the book, watch the movie, then go read Wikipedia to get a real idea of what is true and what is not.
Here’s an excellent video by author Neil Gaiman on the issue of Copyright and Piracy online. He makes an excellent point that I and others not “in the industry” have been making for years. Essentially, more freedoms mean more uptake in consumption. It’s worth watching and after the video I’ll add some other commentary on the issue of my own.
So here’s some other thoughts on this whole issue. Firstly, it’s very black and white, and for the most part, most people “get it” assuming they aren’t part of “the industry”. I’m using the term “Industry” here to collectively refer to music, movies, television and books. All of these groups are facing the “digital transition” in one stage or another. Music is pretty much 100% digital these days, Books are well on the way. Movies and television are still on the pretty early stages, mostly due to bandwidth constraints, though this is really becoming a non issue quickly.
One major issue with “numbers” is that according to the Industry, every case of piracy is “a lost sale”. This is patently not true for a variety of reasons. Especially in the case of music. Some people will pirate an album they would never buy and many will pirate that same album and end up never listening to it. there’s a lot of archival mindset going on here. Also piracy of an album or eBook could be done because a person owns the physical copy already and doesn’t want or can’t afford to buy it again. The entire concept of “you can consume it in the way we say you can” is extremely prevalent in the music industry and in general, it’s a ludicrous idea to anyone EXCEPT the industry. It’s also essentially a huge ‘fuck you’ to anyone who enjoys music.
I also would suggest that the volume of pirated material consumed is actually quite a bit smaller than any numbers would suggest. You can’t go and ask every person if they bought, pirated, or didn’t consume at all every piece of copyright work ever. So estimations must be made. The problem is that any industry will fudge the math in a way that helps support their idea. They’ll assume every initial case of piracy leads to 50 more when it may be only 10 more sharings, or likely less. Want to push a number higher for shock value in the news? Let’s just neglect any level of saturation that may occur. 1 case leads to 50 leads to 2500 leads to 125000 leads to millions of pirated copies of any one occurrence pretty quickly.
There’s also a problem with the concept of “lost sales”. This happens a LOT in reports, more often with movies. It’ll be said that a movie “lost money” then it’ll be blamed on piracy. The problem is that most of the time “lost money” doesn’t mean that the movie didn’t MAKE money, it just means that it “didn’t meet expected earnings”. Simple numbers for simple math, a movie that cost 10 million to make that makes 100 million at the box office still MADE money even if it was “expected to make 150 million” at the box office. the problem is the spin says ‘”Movie X lost 50 million dollars to piracy”. No it didn’t it still made money hand over fist, there’s just a zillion factors including the movie sucks that could have cause it to not “make as much as expected”.
The other points are more along the lines of those presented in the video above by Neil Gaiman. I could come up with probably a hundred examples when this occurred in my own lifetime. Hey, in college I pirated a bunch of Oasis MP3s. Guess what, I now own like 5 real Oasis CDs. Would I have bought these CDs had I not listened to their less mainstream music for “free”? Probably not.
Which brings up another point I like to push when it comes to piracy. It keeps interest when a person may otherwise lose it. This is part of why piracy is higher in college campuses. During college a person has less time for a job due to the need to study. They therefore have less money. They also have huge bills for schooling and room and board and therefore have less money. Naturally, a person with less money will consume less. So what’s your choices here? This student goes out and discovers other free/cheaper ways to entertain themselves and loses interest in said author/band/whatever. -OR- This student starts pirating all of his content so he can keep up with whatever’s new and exciting this keeping up the interest in the medium until they graduate and get a job and thus, in theory, have plenty of spending money to start consuming normally. Granted this transition back probably won’t be instantaneous. The thing here is that overtime this student gains income but still has less time due to employment. this works in favor of returning to “normal consumption patterns” since it tends to be a bit of work to pirate materials between finding the files in the first place, waiting for the download, hoping it doesn’t turn out to be fake/corrupt, worrying about viruses or other malicious side effects, etc.
Suddenly itunes or the ebook store are looking extremely enticing.
one last other random note: I imagine this video alone will help Neil Gaiman’s sales. Hell I want to go out and try one of his books now. I’ve never read a Neil Gaiman book. The guy makes a good point on an issue I support and therefore I want to support him. Win win for him I suppose.
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