Thursday, 3 November 2011

Frankly Amazed part 2

A lively discussion has ensued round here from the considerations touched on in the previous entry. In the drafty outhouse that passes for an office, Shuffling Sid our roving sales clerk was ‘in’, resting between vigorous bouts of recondite sales technique, which, as far as I can tell, seems to involve rather a lot of phlegm-streaked coughing. He assures me that this approach produces quite startling results. Who am I to comment? I just pay the man’s wages.

Sid approached the issue as one of Democracy, which he insisted came with a capital D. He regarded the issue as of one of elitism and the creation of an underclass. He posed his most trenchant observation thus; “Should a sufferer from advanced Knucklum Shufflerosa not also be treated with compassion, be able to find inclusion within the big tent of society? Surely, it’s not asking too much to be included cheek by jowl with those other outcasts of our culture; the uniformed bus conductress, the photographic model, or the pouting topless tractor driver of the month?” He dissolved into a coughing fit induced by the heightened intensity of his engagement with the subject. I think I got his drift, but lost interest in it and sent him on his way with a flea in his ear, which rapidly became lost amongst the teeming multitudes already inhabiting his wretched tweed mackintosh.

Gloria, ever attentive at her desk, tush-tushed, and reminded me that I had failed properly to consider Sid’s line of reasoning. “I didn’t want to”, I said. “Get out of that if you can.” She couldn’t.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Frankly Amazed part 1

At Turn Up, if the investment stream were larger than the trickle necessary to keep us thirsty, we would probably be at the cutting edge of emergent technology. We would have a gadget for this, a gadget for that, and undoubtedly a gleaming swivel-armed gadget for the other.

I am frankly amazed (part 1), however, at the deep conundra produced for some by the digital age and the reluctance to engage with anything that has not been systematically proven by at least forty years of use. Others leap aboard new ways of doing things without a backward glance, a flick of the scarf and a merry song at their lips. I’m referring to the reaction of some to our new digital products and a refusal to contemplate reading anything that is not in printed form.

I am certainly not anti the printed version of books, but there are certain realities and practicalities that have to be faced (do they?) Shut up, no-one asked you. The truth is that we could not afford to have any books printed as matters now stand. By going down the Kindle route we are able to produce our volumes and keep producing them. They would not exist otherwise. You may consider that not to be any great loss. You would not then be troubling us for a place in our customer base and can unceremoniously be told to bugger off in the most forthright terms.

However, you, if I can distinguish you with such particularity, are to be cosseted upon the sofa of smarm-swathed inducement and complimented for your debonair devotion to cultural exemplars, never mind the method of their delivery.

Also, like it or not, none of us are in a position to divert the march of evolving technology. It will go wherever it finds its niche. I would suggest that if it was unusable or no good, people wouldn’t go for it. The fact is that among the people I know, the ones who have gone for Kindle are those who are the most voracious readers of books. I had thought that they might be the very ones to be leading the resistance, but they have quickly realised that they have more room for more books, usually for less.

I am concerned for the effect these changes may have on printers, bookshops and libraries, but I think there are other larger pressures on them.