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June 04, 2007

Your Comment Makes No Sense to Me, So Here's a Video

I swear to Holy Bleeding God that the next time I read a writer mewling out an "Oh noes!! The book market is changing! Weesa all gonna die!" message somewhere on the Internet, I'm going to track that writer down and beat them square on the head with a goddamn lead pipe. Honestly. Die already, then, you whiny, puffed-up, hand-wringing, passive, self-privileging sack of complaint and vomit.

That is all.

Rather than continue on this topic, which will just aggravate the living crap out of me, here's an Amy Winehouse video.

Posted by john at June 4, 2007 11:53 AM

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tceisele | June 4, 2007 12:30 PM

Great idea, except . . . where are you going to get a piece of lead pipe these days? I think you might have to make do with galvanized steel pipe. Or maybe a pipe wrench.

Justine Larbalestier | June 4, 2007 12:34 PM

Oh, stop your whingeing about those who whinge!

So did the idiot Tina Brown set you off?

Christian | June 4, 2007 12:39 PM

Are you insane?

This nonsense with "movable type" is just a fad that will pass. We and the other monks here, can produce one beautiful illuminated manuscript every 94 days!

We don't need your so called "changing book market".

Sincerely Yours,

A Concerned Monk

Steve Buchheit | June 4, 2007 12:42 PM

but, but, but I just learned all the old rules? It's changing? Waaaa!

WACK! (sound of aluminum baseball bat knocking one to the fence)

Everything changes (thank the Gods). It's not like I'm still cutting rubylith for seps or wokring on a vacuform to burn plates.

John Scalzi | June 4, 2007 12:53 PM


I have a store of 'em in the basement. Just for this purpose.


It's more than one person in the last few days, although she's one of them, and of course, she's especially irritating. Complaining that people post some of their stuff online for publicity. We can't all get excerpted in Vanity Fair, bitch.

Rob | June 4, 2007 12:58 PM

That's great except the lead pipe industry is changing these days... piracy is making it nearly impossible to get a legitimate copy of a lead pipe anymore.

Angelle | June 4, 2007 01:07 PM

Wow, I didn't realize Jar-Jar Binks was so overwrought about the book business. Though, come to think of it, I had heard he had been hired by HC to replace Judith Regan.

I was just getting up a head of steam about similar whingeing in the newspaper biz when Jay Rosen mercifully talked me down.

David Chunn | June 4, 2007 01:17 PM

Writers will be fine. Someone has to lay the foundation. Publishers should be worried. Editors, maybe. Not the writers. Technology and the marketplace, as far as I can tell, have steadily improved for writers at least since the heyday of the pulps. (Well, not for short story writers maybe.)

With the internet, writers stand to make a lot more money. Publishers less, unless they get their act together and start moving forward.

Sean | June 4, 2007 01:23 PM

To bring this video more into line with the point of your post, simply replace the word "rehab" in the song with the words "electronic publishing."

CJ-in-Weld | June 4, 2007 01:26 PM

Maybe this Bradbury interview is the source of the wrath?

My reaction was, now he tells us?

John Scalzi | June 4, 2007 01:33 PM

I wrote about the Bradbury thing on the Ficlets blog, actually.

CJ-in-Weld | June 4, 2007 01:56 PM

Whoops. I guess I need to tap in Ficlets more often.

Still, the angle that Bradbury was crying books are doomed, doomed, I say – in 1953, no less - fits here too.

Chang, for rizzle. | June 4, 2007 02:52 PM

Hey, was I one of the whining, whinging whingerers?

Mary | June 4, 2007 03:18 PM

SQUEEEE!!! (I have no pretensions of manliness, so I can do that any damn time I want.)

Amy Winehouse is my massive girlcrush who sings like a whole host of fallen angels. Not half bad for a little white girl from North London.

More Amy:

You Know I'm No Good

Back to Black

Amy all tired and emotional with Charlotte Church (This trainwreck, which was the first time I ever heard her, had me wondering why the hell she was considered a real talent in Britain. Then I heard her real stuff. She's forgiven.)

Chryss | June 4, 2007 03:29 PM

Amy Winehouse = cooler than cool.


(And remind me that not EVERY lass can rock that kind of eyeliner, and that I shouldn't try.)

Kate | June 4, 2007 03:30 PM

You did hear about the guy who burned books because the written word is going outta style right?



To me, that's more atrocious than typing out a 'bitch bitch whine whine' story on a blog, because your supply of jelly donuts ran out, you're generally in a bad mood, and you have nothing else to write about.

On that video: Great song. Worst case of lipsynching in a video I've ever seen though. It's like she didn't even try! :)

clvrmnky | June 4, 2007 03:30 PM

You should market a line of Scalzi Brand Clue Sticks [tm].

"Lead pipe" just doesn't have the sort of marketing jazz that frightened authors require.

Theresa | June 4, 2007 03:31 PM

Thank you for the giggles. This post is funnier than Dave Barry.

I also like the video. It brims with retro, art deco-ish design (circa 1930) that supposedly celebrates machine age and coming together of esthetic expressions of exotic cultures. I would even say its spirit and versality is in line with the message of this post, but that would be overanalyzing. I really have to develop my own eccentricity (over-analysis) after I successfully get published.

Kate Nepveu | June 4, 2007 03:32 PM

I haven't even watched the video and I'm earwormed with the song.

Kate | June 4, 2007 03:34 PM

Btw.. I just noticed the bookstore mentioned in the article (link above in my previous comment) is in Kansas City, MO.

I encourage any of you going to the Heinlein Centennial to stop by his shop and (God, this sounds really silly...) rescue some books.

Ron Hogan | June 4, 2007 03:52 PM

If they ever have an episode of Intervention where the "guest star" refuses to get help, I hope to God they pick this as the background music.

Nathan | June 4, 2007 04:10 PM

I won't whine about publishing changing since I don't have a dog in that fight, but I will cry about digital technology in movies. At some point in the near future, they're going to stop needing to shoot films on location...at which point I am truly f-d.

John Scalzi | June 4, 2007 04:21 PM

Well, they haven't really need to shoot on location, ever -- that's wy they have backlots, etc. You'll always have some films that shoot in NYC because they want it to look authentic.

Dana King | June 4, 2007 04:28 PM

Yes, enough whining. Anyone writing only to be published is in the wrong line of work. Everyone else will get over it.

Patrick | June 4, 2007 05:03 PM

That's right. Writing should only be done to make money.

Theresa | June 4, 2007 05:07 PM

Yep, and to buy me a nice dress.

Theresa | June 4, 2007 05:10 PM

Yep, and to buy me a nice camper.

Chang, for rizzle. | June 4, 2007 05:35 PM


Patrick | June 4, 2007 07:46 PM

Well, once you get a camper, there's really no need for a skirt anymore.

Theresa | June 4, 2007 08:17 PM

You're evil.

Patrick | June 4, 2007 08:22 PM

John, I think she is talking to you, now.

Evan | June 4, 2007 08:45 PM

She came into my shop during SXSW. I didn't have the slightest clue who she was until these two girls started flipping out over her.

Amy | June 4, 2007 10:08 PM

What kind of fuckery is this?

Oops...sorry...wrong Amy Winehouse song.

Diana Pharaoh Francis | June 5, 2007 12:04 AM

Was it just me or were you channeling Jar Jar Binks with that comment? Just saying . . .


Bookninja | June 5, 2007 08:22 AM

According to my last class (library science) the hours spent reading print books has not, on average, changed between 2000 and 2007 (Foundations of Library and Information Science, 2nd ed, Richard Rubin, 2004, p. 9). It did drop from 1999 levels, but immediately stabilized (from 119 hours/year to bouncing around 109 hours/year). Internet hours are way, way up and print news has been the big loser.

Literary reading has decreased, but other markets - specifically what has been called a golden age in young adult fiction - has offset that. But, you know, reading genre fiction isn't good for our souls or something.

Mark Tiedemann | June 5, 2007 09:41 AM

Geez, Scalzi, tell us how you REALYY feel.

Actually, I think this is why most writers tend to be reclusive. They know they have a Sufferability Limit, even among their own kind. The glass is always half-empty, and who needs to be constantly reminded of that kind of philosophy?

CJ | June 5, 2007 10:07 AM

I raising two avid book worms, so I'm doing my part to hold off the apocalypse. Of course, they only read that horrible genre stuff, like Old Man's War, rather than works with true literary merit. So maybe the end is not being held off by much.

Brian Slattery | June 5, 2007 10:24 AM

I can't remember where I came across it, but a couple of years ago I read a great article that argued that books should be with us in some form for a very long time, for some pretty straightforward reasons:

1. Paper is cheap.
2. Books are relatively portable, lightweight, and very effective at holding lots of information in a small space. And you can spill your margarita on them without losing everything.
3. People seem to like them. Especially avid readers.

Now, points 1 and 3--particularly 1--are subject to change. But I agree with everyone here: Enough already about the imminent demise of the publishing industry. Sure, it's going to change over time. And we've gone through eight (if I'm counting correctly) forms of recorded music in the last 100 years. But books have been around for like, how long now?

Lyn LeJeune | June 5, 2007 10:28 AM

I decided to small press my book, The Beatitudes, Book I in the New Orleans Trilogy and arranged to have all royalities sent directly to the New Orleans Public Library Foundation to help rebuild the libraries in New Orleans. Did I get comments? Well, isn't that sort of like giving your books away. Life is too short to play with the agent and big publishers. I'm going on tour and helping to rebuild a library. What more can a writer want?

Patrick | June 5, 2007 07:35 PM

That's true. Life is too short. I cannot be bothered with feeding my children. Give me a book tour instead!


Carlos Moura | June 6, 2007 01:45 PM

(Foreword: please give me a break on grammar; English is not my native language... Feel free, however, to correct me!)

Hi from Portugal!
I have been a constant visitor but today I've decided (finally) to drop a word and some congratulations.
So, congratulations on your work and blog.
Regarding writters that whinge: it's useless to give them any kind of attention, they just won't go away. As a good reader and a small-time writer myself, I believe that, no matter what's the hype, good books are always good books. And they always find the way to readers. Obviously, there's also always a lot of crap on the shelfs, but they just come and go.

bowerbird | June 6, 2007 05:44 PM

pretty soon, if you don't give away your books, you
won't be able to sell any. then what will you do?


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