Change

Authorial remuneration in transition:

Amazon’s letter to writers who publish through its Kindle Select program explained that the formula was changing because of a concern “that paying the same for all books regardless of length may not provide a strong enough alignment between the interests of authors and readers.” Amazon is being clever: While the authors of big, long, and important books felt that they were shortchanged by a pay-by-the-borrow formula, they probably didn’t expect that Amazon would take their proposal a step further. Instead of paying the most ambitious, long-winded authors for each page written, Amazon will pay them for each page read.

A lot of people are going to be rushing to moral-political judgment about this (whatever the precise technical details of their arguments — which scarcely matter). Denunciation, predictably, will be institutionally selected for. Inconsequentiality will be total.

There’s an industrial revolution taking place, now at the level of culture. The most sensible judgment at this stage would be restricted to: this is interesting.

(‘Faster please’ is also an endorsed response here.)

Schism Serialized

Something disturbingly intense this way comes:

… while a great deal has been written on the subject of serial killers, very little has been written alongside them, approaching them as they approach us: without recourse to any of the usual courtesies or mercies, taking what they want, leaving behind new signatures in what remains. The point here, then, is not to construct further taxonomies, or to pin these killers down like so many zoological specimens, but to put their logos and their methods to use, to open them up not merely to observe their workings, but in order that we might fearlessly climb inside.

Underlinings (#13)

Nathaniel Rich’s 2013 NYRB story on saturation diving begins:

The first dive to a depth of a thousand feet was made in 1962 by Hannes Keller, an ebullient twenty-eight-year-old Swiss mathematician who wore half-rimmed glasses and drank a bottle of Coca-Cola each morning for breakfast. With that dive Keller broke a record he had set himself one year earlier, when he briefly descended to 728 feet. How he performed these dives without killing himself was a closely guarded secret. At the time, it was widely believed that no human being could safely dive to depths beyond three hundred feet. That was because, beginning at a depth of one hundred feet, a diver breathing fresh air starts to lose his mind. …