But a rollerblade outing in my less-favored spot is better than no rollerblade outing so I'll try to be happy with it.
On to the links...
I wrote up the first half off our summer vacation.
I have two articles to share that sort of summarize why I'm working at a "regular" job these days instead of trying to build my own business.
First, this Slate article does a good job explaining a controversy that is raging in the publishing world about ebooks for libraries. Annorlunda is too small a publisher to have any direct control over my ebook deals with libraries. I make ebooks available via Overdrive and Baker & Taylor and any other system I can find a way to get into. I set my price to be just a little bit more than my "regular" ebook price, and I celebrate anytime I discover a library has bought one of my books.
But I think the forces that are driving publishers to try to things like the schemes described in the article are some of the same forces that have thrown the business model for my little publisher into disarray. I haven't written about it much publicly, but a little over a year ago, I realized that I'd gone from having a not-yet-profitable publishing business that I was investing in and growing along a path that seemed likely to lead to profitability soon to having a publishing business with no sustainable business model.
The metrics I was using to track how my strategy was doing all went from "doing well" to "uh oh we have a problem." I think there are many reasons for that, and won't bore you with all of them. I'm trying to fix the problem for my little company. I don't know if I'll be successful, but at least I won't starve if I'm not. The bigger publishers have their own problems and if they don't fix them, they'll go out of business. I don't think that limiting the number of ebooks libraries can buy is the right solution, but I understand why they're trying different things.
Next, this Vox article about changes at Etsy explains why I didn't just pivot to growing my Etsy shop, which has always been profitable (if not hugely so). I went ahead and made the changes to allow me to agree to support the new free shipping focus, but I'm not sure if running that shop will continue to be worth it long term.
OK, that was a lot of words for a weekend reading post, about topics most of you probably don't care about! Here are some other links:
I confess I have never considered the idea that malaria could be eradicated, not just managed. But this article argues we could eradicate it by 2050 if we focused.
Ann Friedman's essay about the sprawl of LA describes something that I also find charming about LA: There is no center and that's OK.
I'm not even a dog person and this collection of dogs sleeping in ridiculous positions made me smile.
The case for the four-day work week.
We are in no way prepared for the ethical dilemmas consumer genetic testing uncovers. The latest: A woman found her supposedly anonymous cord blood donor because of an AncestryDNA test. This story has a happy ending - both the woman and the donor are happy to have met. But there is no guarantee all donors would be happy with this outcome.
Recommended listening: Krista Tippet's conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates. Tippet and Coates talk a little bit about how white people keep asking him to give us hope. I think he has given us something much more profound and lasting, if we're willing to learn it from his writing: How to face reality even when it is bleak and work to make it better even when that work will take more than our lifetimes. If we're willing to learn it, we can learn how to find grace and meaning living our lives as best we can in a world that has never been fair.
I really enjoy Maggie Smith's daily affirmations. I particularly liked this one:
Sometimes what you’ve made has to be broken—dismantled—so you can make something new. As you look at life’s pieces around you, trust that you have what you need to rebuild. What will you do next? That’s up to you. Keep moving.— Maggie Smith (@maggiesmithpoet) September 12, 2019
And this one:
This is a delightful story:Let go of the idea that things could have happened differently, as if this life is a Choose Your Own Adventure book and you simply turned to the wrong page. You did the best you could with what you knew—and felt—at the time. Now do better, knowing more. Keep moving.— Maggie Smith (@maggiesmithpoet) September 11, 2019
A few weeks ago, I tried to literally bore my 3yo to sleep by telling him everything I knew about nuclear and particle physics. It's a fair bit, it was my speciality once. Every night since then, as he's falling asleep, his little voice pipes up: "tell me about atoms daddy."— Jason Heeris & 1247 others (@detly) September 12, 2019
Here's your weekly rabbit:A lot of commentators in the US take “it would be bad for their careers” to be a sufficient explanation for congressional Republicans’ complicity with Trump’s subversion of American institutions, but politicians are free people with agency who can make choices when they want to. https://t.co/mPuQcaTHxu— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 7, 2019
Happy weekend, everyone!