Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Great Kindle Rip-Off ** Updated **

When Kindle first came out, I jumped in immediately, loving the simplicity and convenience of electronic reading. And main stream books were going for $9.99, which was well below the cost of a hardcover and even slightly below the cost of a softcover.

But the publishers were just baiting us … slowly but surely, the prices crept up. When they hit $14.99 for the Kindle edition, I decided to explore alternative authors and I found that there are many authors who publish interesting and amusing novels for a fraction of the cost of main-stream authors’ works.

I noticed today that my favourite series – Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch – has a new entry. So I took a look at the cost and was flabbergasted that the cost is now $18.99 in Canada, which is less than 4 dollars cheaper than the hardcover and is actually more expensive than the softcover.


You have to remember that Kindle editions cost NOTHING in materials, so the profit margins are astronomical when compared with books. I have read lately that the Kindle format is waning in popularity, and you need only look at the above to see why.

I have purchased something like 300 or 400 books on Kindle and I still believe in the format. But I will not be buying or reading the new Harry Bosch novel. I have so much I could be reading for between $0 and $5 that these main stream authors can go “read” themselves … if you get my drift.

Update 4 Jan 2017 -- The previous book in the series is also one I have not read, and it went on sale after Christmas for $2.99 cad. That's more like it and I purchased it immediately. So the trick with Kindle and best-selling authors is to buy their stuff a year later ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Populism … It is here now, but where does it lead? *Updated Feb 2019*

Update 17 Feb 2019: It is far worse than I expected. I wonder how many saw coming the incredible chaos and indiscriminate flouting of all rules and norms (legislative and judicial). And also the spread to so many other nations.

Speaking of the spread … Canada is following similar tendencies to the rest of the world with the right wing (most of whom sound like alt right these days) unabashedly and even brazenly spouting their brand of racist and borderline fascist ideologies. The weaponization of social media is pretty much complete with all the “PROUD” sites (and similar) spouting alternate facts and outright lies to destroy Liberal politicians. It’s working (as the province of Ontario knows only too well).

In my opinion (and it is just that), history will judge Facebook and the like as a shameful scar on this decade.

Now … back to the original post …

Quite a few people chose to ignore the 2016 election in the USA or to cast waste their votes on those who had no chance. They then had the pleasure (?) of watching a populist eek out a narrow victory that was sealed by 3 swing states with margins of victory totaling fewer votes than a single alternate candidate garnered. (Actually, in two of them this is true, but in one of them the winner got a margin a bit higher than the leading alternate’s vote count). And all of this while losing the popular vote by a rather spectacular 3,000,000+ votes overall.

In other words, the victory was gifted by those who wasted their votes or held them back. (Note: The reasons are varied and nuanced, but the final result does come down to this simple act repeated many times.)

Since then, they have no doubt enjoyed watching the populist turn into a raging elitist and appoint a cabinet of billionaires with agendas. All this while ignoring the actual job in favor of pursuing adulation in rallies, minor forms of revenge (which will obviously escalate once power is fully assumed), blatant profiteering, and departmental agendas that will set the country back by a half century.

Having accomplished what they probably did not set out to do, they should now read the linked article to see the future fun (?) their collective choice may have queued up for their country. This is apparently how stories like 1984 can begin, and don’t think it cannot happen anywhere on earth because democracies have fallen many times in the past, and the very recent past in this case.


Vincent Van Gogh

Are you one of those who is fascinated by Van Gogh and his famous ear? It's quite the story, and here is a site that is all things Vincent Van Gogh. Articles, images of his works ... the lot.