Nice Things Said Re: EWN

  • "Dan Wickett is serious about a good read. But the EWN email list doesn't just deliver his sure-footed reviews; it also brings you news and connections to other writers. Sign up now - he understands what readers want to know about books." Quinn Dalton, author, Bulletproof Girl
  • 1.
    "Mr. Wickett is that rarely heard from but best of all possible reviewers - the dedicated and knowledgeable fan. He writes clean-cutting and fresh reviews that represent a sensibility unspoiled by over-exposure to the biz of books, but deeply in love with them." Daniel Woodrell, author, Winter's Bone
  • 3.
    "Dan Wickett is a reader's best friend. Not only does he read and trenchantly review new work, but he looks back to books that deserve ongoing readership. I've lost track of the number of times he's led me to boks that I overlooked (or never knew about), and that were a delight. There aren't many reviewers I will let shape my library, but Dan Wickett is one." Erin McGraw, author, The Baby Tree

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    December 17, 2008



    A shout-out to Legacy Books, newly opened in the Dallas area! You don't have to sacrifice anything to shop at an independent -- and you may find your choices are broader and more interesting, to boot.

    As the holidays rush toward us, remember that you can send gift certificates to bookstores too -- most places with a web presence make them available to send by e-mail. Think about one, or a book, for the holiday gift swap. You may make a new friend -- what a gift that would be. :)

    Lauren Baratz-Logsted

    I was an independent bookseller for 11 years, Joshua - great post. Another good supporting-the-cause site to check out is Karen Dionne's Buy More Books blog:

    Jonathan Dozier-Ezell

    By all means, I support book buying, reading, collecting, etc. But I think that the enormous push for writers (or, I suppose, readers of blogs whose subject tends to be writers, agents, publishers, etc.) to buy books is preaching to the choir and, in many ways, wrongheaded. I don't know too many writers who aren't already spend the vast majority of their expendible income on books.

    That being said, there is also no way that the publishing industry can be supported from within. We need the public to buy books, not only writers or those otherwise concerned with publishing. Putting that sort of weight on people who already spend more than they'll ever make from this enterprise is irresponsible for the industry to encourage.

    This is probably overharsh, and I'm sure that this letter was written with the best of intentions, but this has to be the tenth blog (at least) that has encouraged its readers to buy books. If the publishing industry can't save itself, I am more than sorry for it. But I won't spend my last dime on an industry that already seems hellbent on bleeding its authors and employees.

    Carla Serenko

    I was visiting my sister in the Cincinnati area and visited the Joseph-Beth Bookseller in the Rookwood Commons shopping center. Left a CHUNK of change there and have to admit that it was wonderful! Love those independents!!!

    Richard Grayson

    The newspaper industry is in far worse trouble, so I suggest a gift subscription to the newspaper would be an even better present.

    And, Dan, you surely know that the American auto industry is in the worst trouble of all.

    So instead of a book they'll read once, it would be much better to buy your loved ones a car for Christmas. If every one of you bought just one Chevy or Chrysler, you'd be giving the gift of transportation (to get to indie bookstores) and saving millions of jobs!

    Richard Grayson

    Besides, most publishers seem happy to give books away to people who are overwhelmed with them.

    As Dan wrote yesterday, "The number of books offered to me via email daily sometimes is on the verge of being frightening. It's not a complaint at all either - I fully understand why any of you that are authors would hope that I, or anybody, would be interested in a) reading your work and b) discussing it in a public forum such as my blog and/or emails."

    So people can't give away books. In my part of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, people leave books on their stoops and in front of their homes, hoping that neighbors will take them away for free.

    Don't confuse literature with books. Books are a mere format. Literature will be around long after Random House has gone the way of Woolworth's, Pan Am and (soon) General Motors.


    i like richard's comments

    Richard Grayson

    Thanks so much, Tao.

    I admire Josh's writing, just as I admire yours, but to ask writers to bail out themselves as well as failing book publishers and moribund bookstores to buy lots of other people's books -- in the hopes that others will buy theirs (or that the publishing houses will acquire their manuscripts for the idiotic sums some past authors garnered for advances) -- is simply a Ponzi scheme.

    And as we have recently learned, even the best Ponzi scheme ends in disaster and ruin for almost everyone involved.

    Esther Dyson, in her visionary articles and newsletter, predicted as early as 15 years ago the situation of today's writers, musicians, artists and other content providers: although under copyright law and past custom we are technically able to control the pricing of their own products, we operate in an increasingly competitive marketplace where much of the intellectual property is distributed free and suppliers have exploded in number.

    Books are to literature what Edison's wax cylinders were to music: a format, a vessel, and now, an artifact.

    I treat my books as artifacts and don't care whether they sell or not. (Admittedly, they never have sold all that much.) I give away work for free, remembering what Dyson said would be the solution for content providers: "distribute intellectual property free in order to sell services and relationships."

    Tao wants to sell books, and he does, very well, but his genius is that also gives them away in order to sell what I assume are his more profitable ancillary things and his unique persona.

    Of course, writers have always done this in some way. But they now should forget about substantial income coming from books.

    Dyson correctly predicted that bands would make most of their money not from selling their recorded music but from live appearances, t-shirts, advertising for other products, and assorted other products and services.

    The book industry is dying and no Ponzi scheme can save it in 2009.

    Besides, Josh Henkin is too talented a writer to aspire to become the literary world's Bernie Madoff.

    Owen Gerrard

    I have recently purchased a new shelf to hold my new books.

    I do feel that failure brings out the best in things. Failure may be what the book industry needs. As the print publishing industry struggles in it's current incarnations I can't help that think it is a certain conservative ideal that is being maintained by people who say 'we have to prop this up.'

    Have faith in the fact that what you are doing is good and worthy of notice and should the industry fail, there will be new things. Phoenix's do rise.


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