Ether for Authors: Goodreads. Badreactions.

This post, by Porter Anderson, originally appeared on Publishing Perspectives on 4/1/13. It gives an excellent overview of the facts about Amazon’s intended acquisition of Goodreads, a roundup of reactions, and some analysis from cooler heads.

To many, Amazon is an evil corporation hellbent on destroying the world. They have made these intentions clear by paying authors a shitload and fighting to lower the price of books for readers. I think we can all agree that authors and readers are scum, and this preferential treatment on the part of Amazon should be looked at with complete distrust.

Hugh Howey writes about the destruction of the world for a living. In this instance, he’s on his site, in Amazon and Goodreads.

And by Thursday afternoon, around 4:45 p.m. Eastern, he had a lot to write about. The Amazonian Apocalypse indeed was upon us. We were up to our digital derrieres in that greatest of all booky community blessings: reach out and share the hysteria.

In four sections of this edition of the Ether, I’m going to focus on this new development at length, here at Palpitating Perspectives.

The event, in and of itself, is of genuine interest, certainly. But also worthy of our attention is the fact that it’s not cause for the self-defenestration you’d think was contemplated by some of our colleagues on hearing the word.

We didn’t just get news Thursday. We also got a fever dream’s descent into alarmist indulgence.

I was reminded of a typo in the Sunday bulletin at one of my father’s churches many years ago. We were posted at the time to the Methodist church in Denny Terrace, a suburb of Columbia, South Carolina. The listing was for a parish picnic that afternoon: 4 p.m. today: Church-Wide Panic. Please be prompt. Well, here was Goodreads being acquired by Amazon. The panic surely started promptly. And now was the fimbulwinter of our discontent made glorious slapstick by such loud reactions.

Never mind Goodreads founder Otis Chandler’s statement on his site’s blog, Exciting News About Goodreads: We’re Joining the Amazon Family!

It’s important to be clear that Goodreads and the awesome team behind it are not going away. Goodreads will continue to be the wonderful community that we all cherish. We plan to continue offering you everything that you love about the site.

The angry faithful blew off those niceties with the ease of Amazon Certified Frustration-Free Packaging. It didn’t seem to matter what Chandler said. This man who 30 minutes earlier was thought a hero by his lit-legions now was pictured with his wife, both of them holding Kindles with Goodreads stickers on them.

Read the rest of this very lengthy and in-depth post on Publishing Perspectives.

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