Monday, September 11, 2006

Who's Missing?

In its mission to gain as much expertise as possible for its board of directors, CLMP could search even further for talented corporate bigs who love literature.

A few suggestions:

Why not the best? No one knows better how to create a business from scratch. Gates could further standardize the industry, so that ALL writers are interchangeable and alike, with the technical efficiency and smoothness of Microsoft. (Many believe author Jonathan Franzen has reached this level of robotic accomplishment.)

Now that this scion of wealth has run his family's company into the ground (as well as the Detroit Lions football team) and stepped down as Ford Motor CEO, there might be a place for him with CLMP. He well fits the pattern of privileged lit-folk like Rick Moody: a modestly talented well-connected "nice guy" with an effective smile.

If CLMP is embarked on the direction of whole-hearted embrace of monopoly, why not go all the way? If nothing else, Wal-Mart's owners would help regain literature's audience. Of course, they might offer too useful advice: put all American writers out of business and import poets and novelists from China!

If you're going to recruit high-priced political consultants, then instead of bringing in someone whose last client lost his election by a record margin, go for a man with a track record of success. Word is that Rove is feeling the heat and may soon be available. Who better to restore Rick Moody's glamor? He's put W across as a populist "man of the people." All banker's son Moody has to do is learn to mispronounce a few key phrases, wear cowboy boots, squint a little bit, and his lectures to small-press folk about rugged individualism and how to make it through the obstacles of life might be believable.


King said...

Sorry for putting this up on 9/11-- I have to post when I can.
The best thing artists can do for America is to renew American culture, by restoring the American dream, its fairness, confidence, and promise.

chapman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
- Leopold said...

Ug, the disgusting plot thickens...

Anonymous said...

Actually, small/indie presses gaining control of distributors might help them get their books into bookstores. Many "alternative" presses, writers, artists of whatever kind, can't get enough or even any distribution--it's the same thing with indie films.

I think that if word-artists had more say in the end-paths to readers--distribution and bookselling/bookstores--they'd have more power. They'd at least make more money, at least more of certain writers would, the ones who tend to be ostracized by mainstream distributors and booksellers but might sell more if they had better access to their readers, who may be more spread out in little isolated bits here and there in the reader-pool. In that way, outside-the-mainstream writers need wider distribution more than mainstream writers do. Writers should really open up their own competently-run bookstores and bookselling sites, like an Amazon By And For Artists....

But, somehow, I doubt all that's the CLMP's angle.

- Leopold said...

Fran, I agree with you whole heartedly. And somewhere along the line we'll get to a point where we can do this.

But yeah, Fran, I don't think this is CLMPs angle. Call me cynical, but I don't believe that a group of priviledged elites who overthrow a board and then buy up an indie book distributor (both of whom were doing fine before these guys came around) have the interests of independent artists in mind. If anything they're are buying the appearance of being indie, and are just going to use the brand to sell the 'authenticity' of what they already publish.

This is largely what my book is about, though with computer gaming companies, which I've done a fair bit of research on. If it smells like shit, looks like shit and tastes like shit...

King said...

Who's putting up the money to buy SPD? Just two years ago CLMP had total assets of $10,000. The funds must be coming from Lependorf's big money friends, who are well-embedded inside the book monopolies.
SPD may well give small journals distribution (and someone should look into SPD's track record; there've been a lot of distributors who've ripped off zeensters)-- but it'll come at the cost of their independence.
As I suggested, this is already happening. For instance; the hazard of non-profit status if one seeks to grow or take on debt. Midwest-based Graywold Press has as trustee one James L. Bildner, east coast capitalist formerly in the food industry, now with connections to a host of big money foundations run by big money players.
If New York City ends up controlling everything-- then where's the independent press?

Anonymous said...

Hi again to both of you. I think it's part-stealth action and part-stupid action: how many big companies buy up other big companies only to break up into smaller (weakened) companies again within a short period of time? I've noticed that kind of thing a lot in recent years. Often the bigger something grows, the more inefficient it tends to become; there seem to be size-limits on system efficiency in general. But in a capitalist "we must always be growing!" society especially, many people refuse to keep things simple and small. They really believe bigger is automatically better.

Much of modern society, especially the business part, seems The Blob-like to me. The Blob grew without bounds and destroyed what it absorbed. (Maybe that movie is a metaphor for big-business actions--or for modern-society's hypergrowth in general?) I think growing too fast and too huge can be a very negative thing, but few people want to hear that today, at least in America.

Aside from all that stuff, it's like publishing is about control-freakdom now--every one of the big people and companies involved cannot stand having to share the market. And maybe the biggest root cause of all this is likely imminent environmental collapse, which is causing many in whatever parts of society to grab-grab-grab whatever resources they can while they're still around. I don't know. But I'm getting really sick of so many people's excessive selfishness.

King said...

The problems with the Big Book companies go beyond merely their size. Worse is their closed-mindedness.
I passed the word about the Report as much as I could-- even sent flyers to people like Doubleday's Gerald Howard. Think he'd ever respond on this forum? No way!
For the most part these people are terrified of free debate; of anything which questions things as they are.
The entire lit-world from top-to-bottom is becoming a blindly unquestioning monolith. . . .