There has been a lot of discussion among writers, lately, about Amazon.com’s library lending and publishing imprints, not to mention the usual publishing ills–and even some DRM discussion. Now, I’ve worked for a large corporation or two (if you also count the military), and one thing I’ve found is that though some “entity” might do something that might piss off the rank and file (and evil/criminal activity notwithstanding), there are a lot of well-meaning people in those organizations–actual human beings–who exist at every level. It’s so easy to vilify a “corporate giant,” an entire entity, but the one thing I’ve thought about through all these discussions I’ve heard and read is that (to my mind) if something really is the best and the greatest–shouldn’t it survive? Bear itself out? Because if it wasn’t, won’t it fail? Just as “the cream always rises,” isn’t it also true that “the chaff always sinks?”
Sure, if you feel strongly about something, you should take action…be part of those who cause that chaff to sink…and I guess all the ongoing discussion is in determining just that. But what I take issue with is that everyone continues to throw poison-tipped spears at Amazon.
Look: I don’t see a whole lotta change coming out of anywhere else.
At least these well-meaning guys and gals at Amazon.com are trying to make an effort at things. Last I heard, they even pour lots of profits back into the company, rather than taking it all to their local yacht or bling establishments. They seem to be doing two very important things here: 1) giving writers new outlets, and 2) giving readers new outlets. Whether or not they have it “just right,” or “perfect,” isn’t so much the case…it’s evolving. The newest hip term: WiP (work in progress). Unless I’m missing something, if readers want to pay money to rent things, let em. We already have libraries. Contracts and legal definitions are being re-examined, put to their (as a friend on mine years ago used to say) “logical conclusions.” And, sure, and of course, these things can make Amazon a shitload a dough–but who cares?
Do you really care if Amazon makes more money?
This whole dang world revolves around making money or gaining power, and there’s always gonna be someone more wealthy and powerful than you. It’s just the way it is. But hopefully, along the way, some of that wealth and power can be put to good use, right? There’s nothing wrong with that, is there? Yes, intentions are everything, but we can’t control everyone’s intentions. We can only control our own, and–maybe–help others to see their way to a little bit of good intention along their journeys through life. But we can’t control their intentions. Hopefully their legal teams make it known to the Rich and Powerful that if you “want this” you have to “give that” to make it publically viable.
So, maybe Amazon didn’t do exactly the right thing by grabbing publishers’ works like they did, or maybe it was due to legal [mis]interpretations that got lost in the shuffle, I don’t know. But what I do know is that if something is truly wrong, it will either be corrected or stomped. If anything about what they did was right…it will succeed. But either way, they (the people at Amazon) are trying. And if you know anything about succeeding in life, in success, you know one takes many stumbles along the paths to greatness. People make mistakes, well-meaning and otherwise, in trying to make something better.
Once again, I point this out: I don’t see anyone else trying to change…trying to make things better.