Amazon's reviews have long been an outlet for mocking humor, which the company has long tolerated. They're mostly harmless, and get people in the door and engaging on the platform. But Jay Greene at the Seattle Times looks at the darker of review activism.
Increasingly, though, people are launching coordinated campaigns to push political and social agendas through negative reviews often only tangentially related to the product for sale. They are able to do so because Amazon welcomes reviews regardless of whether the writer has actually purchased the product.
Some retailers have always worked on razor-thin margins, but it's amazing to look inside the world of discount online booksellsers -- like Auburn's own Thirft Books.
Despite the naysaying about the death of publishing, the industry’s most vital numbers — sales and revenue — aren’t actually all that gloomy. In 2014, publishers sold just over 2.7 billion books domestically, for a total net revenue of just under $28 billion, a larger profit than in the preceding two years, according to the Association of American Publishers. There were just over 300,000 new titles (including re-releases) published in the United States in 2013. The book industry may not be as strong as it once was, but it’s still enormous, and generates a considerable amount of surplus product each year.
For as long as I'm penning the Sunday Post, Murdoch will be a commmon theme. There's a lot of interest in her works right now, as her letters are being collected and released. Here, Standpoint founding editor Daniel Johnson offers some remberences.
By the time I made her acquaintance in the 1980s, Iris had been a public figure for a generation. Her only rival as a philosopher-novelist had been Sartre, whom she had introduced to the Anglo-Saxon world. Having outlived and in many ways outshone him, she was a star of the first magnitude in the intellectual constellation of post-war Europe. Though she belonged to a brilliant generation of female philosophers — her “dearest girl” Philippa (“Pip”) Foot, her “friend-foe” Elizabeth Anscombe, and her friends Mary Midgley and Mary Warnock — all of whom made major contributions to academic and public life, Iris was the only philosopher of either sex among her contemporaries to become a truly national figure. She deserved her renown; her posthumous reputation as a writer and thinker has survived the scrutiny of biographers and critics. She never wrote an autobiography, but her letters reveal her introspective side, as she looks back over la vie antérieure and forward to new fields — and men — to conquer.
Rosemary Hill looks at a newly released volume of Angela Carter's poetry.
“Unicorn”, like The Bloody Chamber, draws out what a post-Freudian age sees beneath the surface – the phallic unicorn’s horn, the virgin in the garden – draws it out, blows it up into imagery as lurid as a flashing neon sign outside a sex shop and then drops it bathetically flat at the end. This woodland’s “innocent and fragile leaves” conceal the strip-club agents who are using an unappealing virgin, “raw and huge … the only virgin to be had” to lure the unicorn. As Carter once said of Walter de la Mare, a writer she, surprisingly perhaps, much admired, these are images that stick like a splinter in the mind.