April 18th, 2002

Me 2012

A little bit of justice

I have a game tonight, so I have to write about that. I’m more tempted to write about the WSJ article I just read, or the book I just bought because of it. But…Well, what the heck, I can write about Rasheeka later. I want to get this down.

The column was by Russell Roberts, author of, among other works, The Invisible Heart. He was writing about a recent move on the part of the Author’s Guild to lambast Amazon.com for, of all things, selling used books. Why? Because authors don’t get royalties on used books.

Of course, used books have been available in used bookstores and libraries, where authors also do not get royalties-per-read, for centuries, and not noticeably to the detriment of authors. Mr. Roberts wrote his column better than I can, however; I’d link to it, but the WSJ’s site is subscription-only. Well, I’ll link to it anyway. You can get two weeks free if you feel like signing up. :) To summarize, his point is: “I am an author, and I am darned happy if people read my book at all, by any method, so by all means, please feel free to check ‘em out of the library or buy one used at Amazon.com or however else you want to get your hands on it. Thank you.” Before he got to this part, there was much heavy-handed sarcasm on other avenues the Author’s Guild might want to crack down upon.

I thought it was a charming sentiment. So I went to Amazon.com and looked for the book the byline mentioned for Mr. Roberts. Then I read the first chapter--much to my surprise, it appeared to be a work of fiction about two high school teachers, one in economics and the other in literature. It looked entertaining. So I bought it. I was going to follow up with an email to Mr. Roberts, because the whole scenario seemed so deliciously just, but I couldn’t find an email address for him on the WSJ’s web page. Maybe I’ll just send a letter-to-the-editor on it instead, and hope the story wends its way back to him.

And now…I’ll get started on that Rasheeka stuff.