Reviews, competition, and the whole soap opera....

Real life has come back to bite me in the ass--the roof is leaking again, in more than one place, so I'm bringing in the actual professionals. Ugh. This house is such an attention whore.

Finding a roofer is not something I usually do (it's a metal roof! Those things are supposed to last forever!), and I have other large house projects coming up that are beyond the ken of my regular contractor, so I signed on to Angie's List and was immediately faced with the are-these-reviews-bullshit-or-not? question. (Lessee, a bunch of A-grade reviews all posted at the same time, all by people who have only one review on the site. Hm....) So, I was happy to see that Yelp is actually conducting stings on companies that pay reviewers. That's nice to see.

There have been a couple of interesting stories on all the competition that's happening in the book industry now. Jaye Manus notes that competing standards make life hard for DIYers. I agree, which is why I don't plan to prettify my books past the chapter ornaments--every complication has the potential to...complicate things. I do aim for making the book look like it doesn't have mistakes in it, but I don't sweat having everything be a particular size or proportion, because that's never going to happen, and there's nothing I can do (or should do) about it.

The other story is a Wall Street Journal piece on how Amazon's imprints haven't been a slam dunk, at least not when it comes to paper sales. E-book sales may be doing fine, but of course there's no data, so.... Yeah. We don't actually know that Amazon's imprints haven't been a slam dunk, or maybe they've been a complete fiasco--it's a total mystery at this point, and unless Amazon starts breaking out its revenues in greater detail than they do now, it's going to stay one. What we do know is that Barnes & Noble's boycott is hurting paper sales, that other retailers are reluctant to carry Kindles, and that author Timothy Ferriss is plotting his revenge. Stay tuned for our next exciting episode of As the Publishing Industry Turns!