Friday, September 13, 2019

Weekend Reading: The I Don't Have a Title Edition

I got a rollerblade in today, but not in my preferred spot. That was closed off for something called the Hydrogames. I need to figure out how I can check for these closures ahead of time, because fighting my way through beach traffic to get there only to discover that I'll need to turn around and go back to my less-favored spot only adds to the aggravation.

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:

And this one:
This is a delightful story:


Here's your weekly rabbit:

Happy weekend, everyone!

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