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ABOUT THE STORE : NEWSLETTER
DISPATCHES FROM THE BORDER
Events and News from Borderlands Books
Chapter One - Event Information, News, and Special Features
Upcoming Author Events
Donald Sidney-Fryer, THE ATLANTIS FRAGMENTS, THE NOVEL
(Phosphor Press, Trade Paperback, $20.00) and GOLDEN STATE PHANTASTICKS
- THE CALIFORNIA ROMANTICS AND RELATED SUBJECTS (Phosphor Press, Trade
Paperback, $25.00) Saturday, September 17th at 3:00 pm
Seanan McGuire, ONE SALT SEA (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday,
October 1st at 5:00 pm
LitQuake Litcrawl at Borderlands Books with Ray Garton, Richard Kadrey,
Thomas Roche and Naamen Tilahun (Saturday, October 15th at 7:15
pm) and LitCrawl Redux at Borderlands Cafe with Steven R. Boyett, Mira
Grant, Kirsten Imani Kasai and Tim Pratt (Saturday, October 15th at
Vernor Vinge, CHILDREN OF THE SKY (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Sunday,
October 16th at 3:00 pm
(for more information check the end of this section)
Coming up in the Fall, we have Serena Valentino, Richard Kadrey, and
many, many more!
*One of our very favorite local authors, Thomas Roche, has
launched a faux news site (the publisher is calling it "a social media
disinformation campaign") to promote his awesome new zombie novel THE
PANAMA LAUGH (Nightshade Books, Trade Paperback, $14.99). I
cannot believe how detailed and amazing the site is; Thomas is subtly
(okay, not-so-subtly!) imitating a different "real" news site on each
page, and the whole thing is just incredibly cool. Start here and
poke around from there: <http://www.panamalaugh.com/index_zlisted.shtml>.
*The 2011 Hugo Awards were presented at the World Science Fiction
Convention in Reno, Nevada on August 20th. Complete Hugo
(and Campbell Award) details here: <http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/08/announcing-the-2011-hugo-award-winners>.
*Thanks and congratulations to the Tiptree Motherboard, who let us know
that "In a ceremony in Lublin, Poland, on July 9, the Science Fiction
Research Association (SFRA) presented the Motherboard of the James
Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award (<http://www.tiptree.org/>)
D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service.
Motherboard members Karen Joy Fowler and Pat Murphy traveled to Poland
to accept the award." For more information, see the SFRA's site: <http://www.sfra.org/node/9>
*George R.R. Martin reported that two autographed scripts from the
television series "A Game of Thrones" which were intended to be
auctioned at WorldCon never arrived at their intended destination, and
he believes they were stolen from the mail. He is calling on all
his fans and readers to keep an eye out for the stolen scripts:
"Whoever s[tole] these scripts will presumably try to cash in at some
point. So if any of you ever see scripts fitting this description turn
up on ebay, one of its competitors, or on some dealer's table -- notify
me at once, and report the stolen property to whatever local
authorities are appropriate. Here's what was taken: two
teleplays, final shooting scripts for episodes nine and ten of season
one, 'Baelor' and 'Fire and Blood,' autographed by writers David
Benioff and D.B. Weiss and director Alan Taylor, printed on white
paper. Like Bloodraven, I have a thousand eyes and one. So let's
keep 'em all peeled, boys and girls." <http://grrm.livejournal.com/234472.html>
*Author Rob Thurman is in the hospital following a serious car
accident, with her condition complicated by pneumonia. Fans can
leave well wishes on her blog <http://robthurman.net/blog/>
of her agent, Lucienne Diver, The Knight Agency, P.O.
Box 2659 Land O Lakes, FL 34639. We wish her a speedy recovery.
*We regret to report the death of author Leslie Esdaile Banks, who
wrote as L.A. Banks, in early August. Ms. Banks was diagnosed
with late-stage adrenal cancer earlier this summer.
Overheard at the Store
This is a feature that appears periodically, usually as we
attend conventions and overhear things. However, sometimes we
overhear amusing tidbits even when we're not attending a convention:
"I was in this exhausted fugue state where I was like, "Am I
hallucinating, or does Pat Rothfuss' beard actually look like that?"
"I don't understand how these people make a living -- they're always
"Really? 'Unputdownable'? REALLY, New York Times Bestselling
author? That's not even a word."
"It's the BEST mutated bear movie ever!"
From the Office
Amazon is Nobody's Friend, Part One
by Alan Beatts
In all the years that I've been writing articles for this newsletter,
I've never made a habit of "Amazon-bashing". Sure there have been
a few times that I've made little comments about some of their poor
choices and ethical screw-ups, but over all I've pretty much left them
This article will be a change from that relative silence.
The reason that I'm finally being truly critical about Amazon is
two-fold. First, at this moment a huge number of book buyers are
facing a choice. All the former Borders customers out there have
to decide where they are going to get their books now that Borders is
closed. There are three choices: 1) Barnes and
Noble. 2) Amazon. 3) An independent
bookstore. At first glance, it will seem that I'm trying to deter
customers from shopping at Amazon (and, it won't break my heart at all
if you choose to avoid Amazon after reading this). But what is
more important to me is that I provide you with information so you make
as informed a choice as possible. Your dollars are your economic
votes. Where, how and with whom you spend your money determines
what businesses survive and thrive. Just like any election, I
think an informed group tends to makes wiser choices.
Second, I was talking to a few friends about Amazon and I realized that
my opinion of them has shifted in the past ten years. When they
started up, my attitude was very much live and let live. They had
their business ideas and I had mine. I figured there was room
enough for both of us. But, as I've watched them grow, seen their
business choices and their effect on my field, I've come to the
conclusion that they are not a positive influence on the business of
words & stories. During that same conversation with my
friends, I also realized that there is a long list of things that
they've done and attitudes that they have that I think are pretty
lousy, either because I think that they are not ethical or just not . .
. nice. Once I considered the totality of my opinion about
Amazon, I decided it was time to say something.
Bear in mind that I've made a considerable effort to look at Amazon
from the standpoint of someone who loves books and reading.
Though driven by ideas and opinions informed by my experience as a
bookseller, what you'll find below is not the ranting of a bookseller
outraged at the competition. It is instead my complaints against
Amazon as a reader and booklover.
Amazon has --
(A) Been a deceptive and pervasive influence on ecommerce.
(B) Consistently tried to eliminate other businesses to increase their
hold on the book market.
(C) Engaged in pricing designed to cripple competition and manipulate
its suppliers and customers
(D) Made avoiding sales tax a cardinal part of their business model.
(E) Chosen an ebook business model and format that's bad for the
In addition, I just don't believe that they play nicely or fairly, even
by our admittedly lax standards of corporate citizenship. In many
ways, Amazon is the very model of an unethical, ruthless corporation
that cares about nothing other than growing and making a profit.
And here's why . . . .
(A) "Been a deceptive and pervasive influence on ecommerce."
Amazon is much bigger and more pervasive than one might think.
They have a fondness for buying companies in fields that they are
interested in and then continuing to operate them under their original
names while changing the back-end and fulfillment over to Amazon's
systems. Notable web-retailers that they own are: Zappos.com,
Diapers.com, Soap.com, Pets.com.
All of those companies are big retailers in their specialties and, by
buying them out and keeping the names, Amazon eliminates competition
while maintaining the illusion of consumer choice in the marketplace.
Another ubiquitous company that has Amazon hiding behind the curtain is
The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). IMDb is an interesting
property since it gives Amazon two things. First, if and when
they want to do this, it's a built-in market to sell movie downloads,
video streaming, or regular DVD sales. It would be easy as pie to
set up a sidebar that incorporates one-click purchasing of any movie
right from the information page of IMDb. But the second benefit
is harder to see. Amazon is constantly working on improving the
recommendations that appear whenever you search for something on their
site. By looking at data about what movies individual users look
up at IMDb, they can gather tons of information along the lines of
"people who look at movie A go on to look at movie B 73% of the time,
that means that there is a common interest between those two movies".
Another hidden Amazon property is of one of the best ebook reader
applications for EPUB format files. (EPUB is the free and
open-sourced ebook format supported by many publishers. It is not
the format Amazon uses for the Kindle nor is it one that is very easy
to read on the Kindle.) Lexcycle makes Stanza, which is a great
program that I used to use all the time. It's simple, clean, fast
and works on Mac, Windows, and iPhone/iPad. Now it's 100% owned
by Amazon and still the top EPUB reader. As in the case of
companies like pets.com and soap.com, Amazon maintains the illusion of
consumer choice while actually owning their own business and their
In a slight variation from their usual habits, Shelfari.com is an
interesting case in that here Amazon lets their name be seen associated
with the site. My bet on the reason is that, if you click on a
book, you end up on a page with exactly the sort of "buy-now" feature I
suggested would work on IMDb. Hard to hide the company's
involvement with that sort of connection. Though it is nice and
provides some sense of impartiality that Shelfari also provides a link
to Abebooks.com, a major used bookselling site with an excellent
reputation among collectors . . . or at least it looks impartial.
By owning Shelfari Amazon is also getting one of the benefits that I
suggested relative to the IMDb, since Shelfari is all about book
recommendations and making connections between books, it's a hugely
valuable source of data for Amazon's marketing.
Returning to Amazon's more usual habits -- Abebooks.com, the original
on-line listing and sales service for used and OP books, has been owned
by Amazon since 2008 . . . so perhaps it wasn't impartial for Shelfari
to give them a link, eh? Thousands and thousands of small,
independent bookshops list their inventory at Abebooks and many even
use inventory software created by them. And all the while,
they're contributing to Amazon's success. And customers who don't
like the way that Amazon sells used books have an alternative. At
least it seems that way.
It's gets better, though. Abebooks had a 40% stake in Library
Thing, which was passed along to Amazon. Library Thing is
generally viewed as the alternative / competitor to Shelfari.
It's interesting to note that, at Library Thing (where this is no sign
of Amazon's relationship), as opposed to Shelfari, clicking on a
specific book takes you to a page where Amazon is listed as a seller,
along with Abebooks, but they also list Google Books and Project
Gutenberg (a world-wide free electronic library). And, if you
click on the "Local Book Search" link, you'll even find a listing for
Barnes & Noble's web-site. Of course, even once B&N shows
up, the listing is alphabetical so they're after Amazon and
Abebooks. Tricksey, aren't they?
For more information about Amazon's extensive influence on ecommerce, I
highly recommend this presentation from FaberNovel
(B) "Consistently tried to eliminate other businesses to increase their
hold on the book market."
If the foregoing wasn't a clear enough indication that Amazon is
interested in controlling all the good parts of on-line bookselling and
ecommerce in general, the pattern of Amazon's business expansion also
indicates that they are trying to fill all the niches in the book
business, from publishing all the way down to selling. There
hasn't been any sign that they are going into the writing business,
thank goodness, but there really isn't any conceivable reason that they
would want to do that. (It's always been best for publishers to
let anyone try to be a writer who wants to and then pick and choose
what they want to pay for).
When Amazon started, they used the Ingram Book company as their major
supplier. Ingram is one of the two national book distributors in
the US. They buy books in large quantities from publishers and
then sell them to bookstores. One of Amazon's early moves was to
kick Ingram to the curb and start running their own distribution
centers and warehouses. At that point, the sales chain went from
the publishers to Amazon to the customers.
But over the past few years, Amazon has been working to cut the
publishers out of the loop as well. One of the first steps was
with independent publishers using print on demand technology
(POD). POD is a system in which individual books are printed when
there is an order for them. This saves a smaller publisher the
cost of large print runs and the storage expense that goes with
them. For years the leading company in POD production has been
LightingSource, which was used by probably 75% of the small, POD
In March 2008, Amazon informed many small and medium sized presses
using POD that, if they wanted their books listed and sold through
Amazon, they would have to use a company called BookSurge for their
printing. It's probably no surprise that BookSurge had been
purchased by Amazon in 2005. The initial communication from
Amazon was though highly deniable channels, phone calls, mostly, and
some carefully phrased emails. When word of it got out, there was
a huge outcry on the part of publishers and authors. Federal
anti-trust agencies got involved and there was a major lawsuit that
dragged on for years. The end result was that Amazon backed off
(though they continued to hold people to contracts that had been signed
because of their threats), the suit was settled out of court, and
things were back to normal. Oh, and Amazon changed the name from
BookSurge to CreateSpace to get away from the bad publicity. (1, 2)
Also in 2008 Amazon bought Audible.com, which is the major player in
the market for down-loadable audiobooks, which gave them another
position as a publisher and allowed them to cut other publishers out of
the audiobook market (which is rapidly moving towards all down-load,
rather than being sold on CD).
Subsequent moves on the part of Amazon to build a bigger place in
publishing have included starting their own publishing arm,
aggressively buying up the ebook and POD rights to out-of-print
backlist titles from almost any author who will hold still long enough
to sign a contract, and by tying ebook distribution to POD publishing
contracts (in a not-going-to-get-the-Feds-on-our-backs-again sort of
But the biggest piece of integration has been the Kindle. If you
own one, Amazon is not quite your only possible bookseller (there are
some work-arounds) but it's darn close to being that way. And if
you've bought books in Kindle format, you're going to be an Amazon
customer, in one way or another, until you're willing to "throw" those
books away. Or until you die, I suppose. No wonder that
they're quite happy to sell the devices at a loss.
(C) "Pricing designed to cripple competition and manipulate its
suppliers and customers"
Pricing products is a complex process and the ethics of it are even
more complex. The idea of having "loss leaders" in business (i.e.
items that are sold at below cost to attract customers who, one hopes,
will buy other items as well) is a well established practice. I
think it falls into a sort of grey area in terms of ethics, though
there are places where it's prohibited -- for example, in France is it
illegal to sell books, specifically, for less than cost.
However, when a business engages in pricing with the intention of
manipulating the market for their long term benefit, when pricing is
used to eliminate competition and therefore consumer choice, or when
prices are fixed to manipulate suppliers -- to my mind, all those cases
slip from the soft, dove-gray of well-it's-probably-alright into the
more charcoal-gray of I-don't-think-that's-OK-at-all.
Amazon has a big vested interest in moving the reading public towards
ebooks. Aside from the obvious reasons (the size of their market
share and so forth) there is a bigger and more compelling one.
Regardless of its advantages, Amazon labors under a huge handicap
compared to physical bookstores. For many readers there is no
possible substitute for looking at actual books on an actual bookshelf,
just browsing along and looking at whatever catches your eye. But
when it comes to ebooks, there is no difference between looking at them
on Amazon's website and looking at them on any other website. So,
the move towards ebooks eliminates Amazon's handicap versus physical
bookstores. The other big advantage for Amazon is that ebooks
take up no space and they require no investment in inventory. All
you have to have are some big computers and some good data connections,
both of which Amazon has more than they know what to do with.
Kindle ebook readers are sold at a loss and always have been. I
honestly wonder if they were ever meant to make money; I'm betting
not. But the Kindle has done exactly what Amazon planned.
It's caused ebooks to take off in a major way and it's changing the
behavior of consumers. That's perhaps not an unethical way to do
business but it certainly is ruthless and profoundly manipulative.
Also on the topic of pricing at a loss: Amazon was so committed to
building its business that for years and years they lost money at a
awe-inspiring rate. Between 1993 and 2003 they lost 3 billion
dollars. In fact, in 2001 alone they lost 1.4 billion. But
during that time they set a permanent expectation in the minds of
consumers that they always had the lowest price. And during that
same period Amazon was responsible for countless independent bookstore
going out of business. And the real reason that those stores
closed wasn't that Amazon was doing a better job at bookselling than
they -- it was just because they couldn't afford to lose as much money
as Amazon. It's interesting to notice that Amazon's discounts
from retail are much smaller and less universal than they used to
be. The preceding is a textbook example of predatory pricing:
"predatory pricing is the practice of selling a product or service at a
very low price, intending to drive competitors out of the market, or
create barriers to entry for potential new competitors". (3)
$9.99 is a magic number in retail. It's a price that makes people
think, "That's cheap, it's not even ten bucks!" So it's no wonder
that Amazon decided that was the right price for ebooks. For
quite a while, that was the price that an ebook at Amazon sold for,
regardless what it cost Amazon (often, much more than $9.99).
Publishers became concerned that Amazon's pricing of ebooks was causing
a perception on the part of the public that any other price was
inflated and unfair. The question of what an ebook actually
costs, compared to a physical book, is a topic for another time, but
certainly there are some novel length works of fiction that cost the
publishers more than that to produce. But more importantly, it is
the right of the publisher to set the price of their books. They
can blow it, set it too high, and the book won't sell. In which
case they learn better the next time. But the publisher is the
entity "making" the book. They can set their costs, decide what
sort of quality is needed for what elements (editing, cover art, and so
on), estimate what the market will pay and so forth. They control
the process of "manufacture", if you will, and that means they get to
set the price.
But it's certainly not Amazon's place to set the price that publishers
can charge for books, electronic or not. They have the right not
to buy something if they think it's overpriced and won't sell, but
that's about it. And in this case, Amazon wasn't trying to set
the price for one book or even all the books from one publisher.
They were trying to set the price for _all_ ebooks. Based on the
specific laws regarding price fixing, what Amazon was doing wasn't
illegal since they weren't collaborating with any other sellers.
But, since they represented around 80% of the ebook market at the time,
they really didn't need to collaborate with anyone.
Regardless of the legality of it, thanks to a risky action on the part
of John Sargent, the CEO of Macmillan (one of the six major US
publishers), at the beginning of last year, Amazon doesn't get to set
ebook prices for the big publishers at all anymore and neither does any
other retailer. The short version is that Sargent went to
Washington state to meet with the folks at Amazon to talk to them about
ebook pricing. After months of discussions regarding publisher
concerns that Amazon's low prices were damaging the public perception
of the value of ebooks, Sargent had come with an ultimatum. He
told them that Macmillan was switching to the "agency model" for ebook
sales. What it meant was that publishers would set the price and
retailers would take a commission on the sale to readers rather than
the old model in which publishers sell to retailers, who then sell to
readers at a price that the retailer determines.
The folks at Amazon, including Jeff Bezos, were not pleased at
all. They refused and Sargent got on a plane home. It a
remarkable fit of petulance, while Sargent was still in flight, almost
every single one of Macmillan's books, physical and electronic, were
removed from Amazon's web site. A few days later, Amazon agreed
to the agency model with Macmillan and shortly thereafter, accepted the
same terms from four of the other five major publishers (the one
hold-out, Random House, went to the agency model in February of this
For more details about what happened, I'd suggest you look at this
article in the NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/30/technology/30amazon.html and this
blog post from John Sargent himself
(D) "Avoiding sales tax a cardinal part of their business model"
I don't like to pay taxes and I understand that other people don't like
to either. But if I am going to have to pay them, it's important
to me that they're applied equally and fairly across the board.
Amazon has made part of their business model the avoidance of sales tax
practically from day one. Jeff Bezos, the founder, has even
stated publicly that reducing sales tax was on the forefront of his
mind, both when planning the company and when choosing Washington state
as a location. In fact, their systematic avoidance of sales taxes
has been so aggressive that employees traveling to California have been
issued business cards reading "Amazon Digital Services" (an Amazon
subsidiary that doesn't sell physical products) rather than
"Amazon.com" to reduce the threat of California arguing that they were
conducting business in the state. Other tricks have included
identifying states that were risky as "red" states and requiring staff
to consult with corporate lawyers before traveling there on business as
well as conducting employment interviews via video conference rather
than in person so that the Amazon representatives weren't actually in
the state in question. (4)
The theory of sales tax is that it needs to be collected and remitted
by businesses that are active in a state. The usual test for this
is whether the business has a "nexus" within the state. "Nexus"
has been traditionally proven by having physical locations or sales
staff within a state. But there are two other underlying parts of
the sales tax theory that have been conveniently ignored during the
rise of ecommerce.
The first part is that the requirement of "nexus" was originally put in
place based on the assumption that a business that is not located in a
state won't be conducting very much business there. Granted,
there have been catalog retailers for well over 100 years but
purchasing items through a catalog was always a second-best choice when
you couldn't get something locally and the prices were usually higher
(when shipping was factored in) than buying from a local
merchant. But now, that underlying assumption is deeply flawed
because of the number of purchases made over the internet and the way
that buying on-line is progressively becoming the preferred choice.
The second part is that, in most states (California for one), sales tax
is _still due_ even when the purchase was from an out-of-state
company. It's just that the burden of paying it falls on the
buyer rather than the seller (and here, at least, they call it "use
tax" rather than "sales tax"). Granted, enforcement of that tax
is awe-inspiringly lax but the principal is still there. So
really, the bottom line question is not whether the tax is due but
whether the business has to collect it and send it to the state or if
that burden is on the consumer. Either way, the tax is due.
And that brings us around to the principal of sales tax. It's
there to support the costs of running the state government. Which
is going to cost just as much regardless of whether Amazon has to
collect tax or not. Moreso, as residents in the state, we're
going to have to come up with the money to pay for that government or
the state will go broke. What's really happening here is that, to
drive sales to their business, Amazon is fighting really hard to
maintain their ability to look like they're giving the average San
Franciscan, for example, a 8.5% discount as compared to a local
A local business which, I should point out, contributes much more to
the state and local economy than Amazon ever will (via property taxes,
payroll taxes, re-spending of profit in state, and so on).
Oh, and before you think to yourself, "But the state doesn't ever try
to collect that use tax from me," let me point out that California is
broke as hell, all your Amazon purchases were probably made with a
credit card, and the state tax board has every legal right to subpoena
Amazon's records. And then assess every single Amazon customer in
California with a special tax bill (including interest and
penalties). They can even garnish your paycheck to cover it.
Given it's been estimated that California alone stands to lose 1.9
_billion_ dollars (yep, I did say "billion") due to Amazon not
collecting sales tax, it sure might be worth the time and trouble to do
just that. (5)
So, how hard will Amazon fight to avoid collecting sales tax? In
July they won permission to start collecting signatures for a
referendum making them (and probably all web-based businesses) exempt
from collecting California sales tax. To date they've spent over
5 million dollars promoting it and gathering signatures. And in
the past they've cut their affiliate partners loose in entire states
(New York and North Carolina being to cases in point) when laws have
been passed to make them collect and remit sales tax. They also
took the state of New York to court over it, and lost.
And all of this is happening while many other web retailers are
voluntarily starting to collect sales tax.
Updated - After the preceding was written, Amazon cut a deal with
California state legislative leaders that gives Amazon one more year of
operating without collecting sales tax in exchange for ceasing their
(E) "An ebook business model and format that's bad for the consumer"
Amazon is the most successful ebook retailer in the world, by a fair
margin. Depending on whose figures you believe, they sell
in-between 60 and 80% of the ebooks in the US (the percentage in the UK
is even higher). They also produce the most popular ebook reader,
the Kindle. That they are doing so well with ebooks really isn't
a surprise. They have the best on-line store, their software
gives what is arguably the best reading experience, they've been in the
business the longest, and, perhaps most importantly, they have their
existing market position as the second largest seller of physical
books in the world (Barnes and Noble is still #1).
What disturbs me and what I think should bother my fellow readers, is
that their ebook format is completely unique and proprietary. The
problem there is that you cannot read an ebook that you bought from
Amazon on anything other than a Kindle or a device that has a Kindle
application available for it. Granted, as of now, there are
Kindle apps for Mac, Windows, iPad/iPhone, and Android. But
there's no guarantee that Amazon will keep making them or supporting
them. Given Amazon's fondness for competition, it wouldn't
surprise me if, at some point in the future, the Kindle apps for the
iPad/iPhone vanished. At that point, all the people out there who
bought ebooks and want to use those devices are going to be pretty much
out of luck . . . at least until they buy a Kindle.
On the other hand, the three other major ebook retailers -- Apple,
Barnes & Noble, and Google (plus all the independent booksellers
Google partners with) -- use some variation of EPUB format which is
device agnostic and can be used with all the ebook readers, computers,
and smart phones out there (except for the Kindle). Granted, all
three of them use their own sort of copy protection but, each for
specific reasons, it is much less likely that ebooks purchased through
any of those companies will force you to adopt a new device if you want
to keep reading your books. Also, none of those businesses are as
savage about trying to dominate their industry.
Another deeply disturbing thing about Amazon's ebook model is that they
maintain and have used the ability to remotely wipe purchased books
from customers' devices. The most notable case of this was when,
in July of 2009, copies of "1984" and "Animal Farm" were deleted from
Kindle readers throughout the US, despite wording in Amazon's purchase
agreement that specifically granted the right to keep a, “permanent
copy of the applicable digital content.” One of the most notable
things about this event -- Other than the titles affected . . .
1984? You've got to be kidding! I couldn't make this stuff
up. -- was that a 17 year old student, Justin Gawronski, found that his
study notes had also been deleted. He later sued Amazon, who
settled out of court. There have been other incidents of this
sort, involving works by Ayn Rand, among others. This type of
action is possible due to the Kindle's semi-constant wireless
connection to Amazon's servers. It would probably also work on
non-Kindle devices that use the Kindle reader application, though only
for ebooks purchased from Amazon.
Whether you agree with me that Amazon is a tax-dodging, price-fixing,
dishonest, predatory, and greedy corporation (OK, I'm exaggerating a
little here -- I don't think they're greedy, they lost too much money
in the beginning for _that_ to be true) or whether you think I'm a
complete crack-pot, touchy-feely, post-hippie loser who doesn't
understand the realities of business in the 21st century, thank you for
reading. I know this was an awfully long, dense bit of
writing. In fact, it's so long that I've decided to save the
second half for next month. If you've the patience, in the
October newsletter we'll go for round two and I'll explain some of the
ways Amazon just doesn't play nice. That is much more subjective
but I think it's also much more illustrative of the character of the
company that is trying to get a complete lock on the books you buy.
Top Sellers At Borderlands
1. Rule 34 by Charles Stross
2. Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
3. The Magician King by Lev Grossman
4. Embassytown by China Mieville
5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
6. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
7. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
8. Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner
9. Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey
10. Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperbacks
1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2. Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
3. Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
4. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
5. Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
6. The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross
7. Water to Burn by Katharine Kerr
8. Moxyland by Lauren Beukes
9. Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey
10. Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard
1. Zero History by William Gibson
2. Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs
3. Book of Cthulhu edited by Ross Lockhart
4. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes tie with
Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia
5. Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks
Book Club Info
The QSF&F Book Club will meet on Sunday, October 9th, at 5
pm to discuss APPLESEED by John Clute. Please contact the group
leader, Christopher Rodriguez, at email@example.com, for more
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club meeting for September has
been cancelled. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for
Upcoming Event Details
Donald Sidney-Fryer, THE ATLANTIS
FRAGMENTS, THE NOVEL (Phosphor Press, Trade Paperback, $20.00) and
GOLDEN STATE PHANTASTICKS - THE CALIFORNIA ROMANTICS AND RELATED
SUBJECTS (Phosphor Press, Trade Paperback, $25.00) Saturday, September
17th at 3:00 pm - Donald Sidney-Fryer is the last of the courtly poets;
an enchanting entertainer and orator extraordinaire! Do not miss
this chance to meet Mr. Sidney-Fryer and witness one of his incredible
Seanan McGuire, ONE SALT SEA (DAW, Mass Market, $7.99) Saturday,
October 1st at 5:00 pm - Join us for yet another evening of chaos and
music with Seanan McGuire! Large portions of October Daye's
newest adventure take place under water, and Seanan wrote a lot of the
book at Borderlands Cafe, while telling Alan, Borderlands' owner, that
she was writing porn. There will certainly be anarchy and there
will likely be cake.
Litquake's LitCrawl at Borderlands Books with Ray Garton, Richard
Kadrey, Thomas Roche and Naamen Tilahun (Saturday, October 15th
at 7:15 pm) and LitCrawl Redux at Borderlands Cafe with Steven R.
Boyett, Mira Grant, Kirsten Imani Kasai and Tim Pratt (Saturday,
October 15th at 8:30 pm) - We are delighted to once again take part in
one of the most exciting literary events in San Francisco - the
LitCrawl! This is a three-hour pub-crawl-style literary event
with dozens of venues and hundreds of authors, all taking place right
here in the Mission District. Between the bookstore and the cafe,
we've got 8 fantastic authors in a mere two hours. This is always
a super-crowded and immensely entertaining event. <http://www.litquake.org/>
Vernor Vinge, CHILDREN OF THE SKY (Tor, Hardcover, $25.99) Sunday,
October 16th at 3:00 pm - We are very excited to welcome Vernor Vinge
to Borderlands for the first time! From the book jacket: "After
nearly twenty years, Vernor Vinge has produced an enthralling sequel to
his memorable bestselling novel A FIRE UPON THE DEEP. Ten years
have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human
children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind
throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the
planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one
hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that brought
them. While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among
them - and among the humans - who seek power. . . and no matter the
cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling
civilization that has taken root since the humans landed. On a world of
fascinating wonders and terrifying dangers, Vernor Vinge has created a
powerful novel of adventure and discovery that will entrance the many
readers of A FIRE UPON THE DEEP. Filled with the inventiveness,
excitement, and human drama that have become hallmarks of his work,
this new novel is sure to become another great milestone in Vinge’s
already stellar career."
Borderlands event policy - all events are free of charge. You are
welcome to bring copies of an author's books purchased elsewhere to be
autographed (but we do appreciate it if you purchase something while at
the event). For most events you are welcome to bring as many
books as you wish for autographs. If you are unable to attend the
event we will be happy to have a copy of any of the author's available
books signed or inscribed for you. We can then either hold it
until you can come in to pick it up or we can ship it to you.
Just give us a call or drop us an email. If you live out of town,
you can also ship us books from your collection to be signed.
Call or email for details.
Dispatches from the Border
Editor - Jude Feldman
Assistant Editor - Alan Beatts
All contents unless otherwise noted are the property of
866 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Comments and suggestions should be directed to email@example.com
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