paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Tue 22 Dec 09 17:18
I also love bookstores, from clean and well-lit places with shiny new bestsellers to musty dusty places full of old treasures. But despite my love of the physical book, I am finding e-books (read via the kindle app for the iPhone or the stanza reader on the same platform mostly for things available via project gutenberg) to be terrific. It's always there, ready to go, and I've read a lot more novels recently that I would not have otherwise. I have a long list of stuff to try to find when I get to the library, but I don't get there often enough these days. And there are a lot of books that I would hardly ever buy--hardback novels for $30 or nonfiction that I'm not likely to reread or keep as a reference. It doesn't have the seductive feel of a well-made book, but it is easier and lighter than the well-made book for reading in bed with the light off, and is always in my pocket for when I encounter a long checkout line while shopping. And that's how I'll be reading The Enthusiast, which had to wait a bit for a couple of other books to be finished before it could come to the head of the kindle line...
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Tue 22 Dec 09 18:54
debunix, that's the most tempting Kindle pitch I've heard yet. You touch on another of its selling points -- our house is scarily overrun with books, and no number of runs to donate them to the Friends of the Library bookstore can cope with the surplus. With all that's happening, there seems to be an abiding place for the small, well-curated bookstore. Browser's Books in SF, with its clearly hand-picked inventory, comes to mind, but there are lots of others. Thanks for shedding light, and thanks very much for reading my book.
(fom) Tue 22 Dec 09 21:53
I was in a bookstore earlier this evening, and it was packed with customers -- Pendragon on College Ave. I know it's xmas shopping time, but still, the bustlingness there was happymaking.
Gary Greenberg (gberg) Wed 23 Dec 09 03:05
>Maybe an audio book could be done with a third-party >distributor... I wonder if you can buy those rights back and do it yourself. THey're not worth that much in general. Unless you're Stephen King. >People in publishing are alarmed by the Kindle because if it becomes >very popular, it may eventually enable Amazon to dictate pricing, >margins, and other terms. Amazon already does this to a great extent. That's why the $9.99 kindle price was so upsetting to publishers, and why at least one big publisehr (Simon and Shcuster) decided to delay kindle release for some books this winter and spring. From an author's perspective, the kindle wouldn't be so bad if the publishers weren't trying to impose the print royalty structure on e-book sales. After all, the cost to the publisher of the download is much less than the cost of a book---no distribution or printing, etc. So they could conceivably pay a higher royalty and still make the same per unit, and for the author, if you get 25 percent of a 25.00 book, your royalty is the same as if you get 50 percent of a 10.00 download.
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Wed 23 Dec 09 09:23
My editor (a saint) answered my e-mail despite the holidays, and says essentially what Gary's saying, that my agent can ask for the audio rights back and I can record the book. That leaves the question of distribution, which I will look into in the new year. (As is probably apparent, this publishing-biz stuff is all new to me.)
Lisa Harris (lrph) Wed 23 Dec 09 09:28
Charlie, I had truly intended to be able to participate in this discussion more, but my husband hijacked your book before i could get past chapter 2. He tells me now that he is done and that it was the most enjoyable fiction he has read in years. I'd like to thank you so very much for joining us for the past two weeks. We will be turning our attention to a new discussion this week. You are welcome (and urged) to stick around The WELL for as long as you like. I'm sure our members will continue talking about this very excellent book.
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Wed 23 Dec 09 09:39
Lisa, thanks (and please thank your husband for his kind words). I'll continue checking in here in case people have more questions or comments about the book. This has been a terrific experience... big thanks to Ed, Lisa, Gail, David, and everyone who's written in!
David Gans (tnf) Wed 23 Dec 09 15:22
Great having you here, Charlie. And to all who are reading this who haven't yer read "The Enthusiast": READ IT! You will be glad you did.
Ed Ward (captward) Wed 23 Dec 09 15:45
I'd like to echo that, even if the damn thing is available on Kindle. And now I'm looking forward to the next one, although it's probably not going to be finished just yet.
Strangest I Could Find (miltloomis) Sun 27 Dec 09 10:12
A very enjoyable discussion, thanks, and thanks for the excellent novel. I'm just finishing it and dreading that. That's my highest compliment for a book: that I dread finishing it because then I have to try to find something as good to read. And I'm sure The Enthusiast will be one that my wife Bev will enjoy, too. Oh, thanks for the link to the notebook supplier. I soon will receive what should be a lifetime supply unless I start writing novels (unlikely). Also enjoyed the discussion of Kindle and the like, and the hilarious piece in the New Yorker on book promotion. Happy New Year to all!
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Sun 27 Dec 09 10:34
Strangest, thanks so much, and a very happy new year to you too!
(fom) Mon 4 Jan 10 01:03
So yesterday I was at this memorial event at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach, and there was a room with videos, and one was a maybe early 80s episode of Claim to Fame, with panelist Charlie Haas. I was suspicious -- the panelists all seemed to arrive at the answer so quickly and unanimously. And everyone seemed so smooth and glossy. But in any case, it was very entertaining. (I've never seen this show on TV, though I attended it live once when a friend of mine was a guest.)
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Mon 4 Jan 10 09:03
fom, how funny that you ran into that. Had the memorialized person been a guest on the show? Being on that show (a local version of "I've Got a Secret" or "What's My Line?") was one of the stranger things I've done, which is saying a lot. My friend Bob Klein was then an exec producer at KRON and asked me to do it. (Bob left TV a few years later when he and his wife Maggie opened the restaurant Oliveto in Oakland.) The quiz wasn't fixed, suspicious as it may have seemed. I sometimes felt the clues were too easy. I remember being sent to Macy's with a few hundred dollars to spend on loud, TV-appropriate sport coats. Straight to Goodwill in Oakland when the thing ended. I wonder where they are today.
for dixie southern iraq (stet) Mon 4 Jan 10 09:25
I saw this piece in yesterday's NY Times magazine and immediately thought of a new magazine for the novel. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/arts/television/04dragon.html?scp=4&sq=video %20game&st=cse
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Mon 4 Jan 10 09:59
I think you're right... next edition. My wife read that NYT story at breakfast this morning and, despite the fact that we're both 100% computer / video game virgins, looked up and said, "Maybe we should get this, although our arms would fall off." Not to mention our works in progress.
Ed Ward (captward) Mon 4 Jan 10 10:11
On the other hand, things like that can help break mental blocks by causing you to concentrate furiously on something else.
(fom) Mon 4 Jan 10 20:15
I think you were wearing a sort of bright brown plaid sport coat! The person being memorialized was Dave Warren, legendary character, proprietor of the Giant Camera (aka Camera Obscura) at the Cliff House, fire eater, magician, a founder of the Suicide Club and the Cacophany Society and the first person to ignite the first Man at the first Burning Man, or something like that. I am not a Burning Mannist but I knew Dave from the Cliff House and from the group Friends of Ocean Beach (formed to fight the condos, and after that attempt failed, to protect Parcel Four from further condos). Have you been to Playland Not at the Beach? It's a very fine example of the crackpot museum genre.
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Tue 5 Jan 10 08:24
Oh my gosh, I knew nothing about it, but just looked at their web site: <http://www.playland-not-at-the-beach.org/> Pinball! Thirty pinball machines! Thank you!
Ed Ward (captward) Tue 5 Jan 10 08:39
Mr. Haas's publisher has just announced a six-month delay in publication of his next novel due to what the author told him was "in-depth research."
uber-muso hipster hyperbole (pjm) Tue 5 Jan 10 09:27
(fom) Wed 6 Jan 10 15:01
They have the best game ever, where you attempt to roll a bowling-ball-size ball along a track just fast enough to go over the hump but not to return. When you get it right, lights flash and bells clang. There are three tracks in a row so you can compete with two other players. They also have Fascination! It's an oldschool one from the Santa Cruz boardwalk. They also have endless rooms full of cutesy miniature villages, and three genuine Laughing Sals, and tons and tons of other stuff. I believe there is an entire room full of Eartha Kitt memorabilia.
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Wed 6 Jan 10 17:02
Good thing it's only open on weekends, or Ed's joke about my next book being delayed 6 months wouldn't be so funny.
(fom) Wed 6 Jan 10 23:39
Where can I find a copy of The Enthusiast in the East Bay, tomorrow? Maybe Diesel? I tried Pegasus tonight. I need it for a gift. Does anyone know?
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Thu 7 Jan 10 07:19
fom, thanks so much! I've recently spotted copies at Great Good Place for Books in Montclair and Barnes & Noble in Emeryville. Less recent sightings, but worth calling if more conveniently located for you, are Moe's in Berkeley and Barnes & Noble at Jack London Square. So nice of you.
Charlie Haas (charliehaas) Thu 7 Jan 10 09:06
Just remembered -- also sighted semi-recently at Books Inc. on 4th St. in Berkeley.
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