I was sitting in the Loop the other night with my son, waiting for over 30 minutes for our order. As we sat there I watched as people pulled up to the three designated spots in front of the restaurant, marked “Loop to Go” and sat in their cars not 3 feet from the door, while someone brought their dinner to them then took their ATM card back inside, ran their ticket and returned with the receipt for signature. I had a hard time with this…and the fact that I we had yet to receive our dinner.
After several employees passed by our table without giving us a second glance, I decided to go see what the problem was. I got to the counter and discovered that our dinner was boxed up and ready for take-out, yet we were dining in. They took everything out of the boxes and warmed it back up, put it on dinner plates and promptly delivered it to our table.
On the way back from the counter I counted 15 steps to the door and approximately another 7 from the door to the reserved to go spots. I understand this is for the convenience of their customers, but come on…who the hell can’t get their lazy ass out of their car and walk 22 steps to go inside and pick up their dinner?! And why are the take-out customers getting top-notch service while the dine-in patrons are being ignored? Makes no sense to me, but then what do I know about the food industry?
I do however know a little about the literary industry and I just read an article that made my head spin…sort of like Linda Blair in the Exorcist and by the time I was finished, I was very nearly close to mimicking her hurling scene as well.
Apparently, in order to accommodate the masses, there are two new programs soon to be offered at Amazon.com that they claim will not only change the way books are purchased, but written as well.
The first program, Upgrade, will allow purchasers to get instant online access to the content of the book they just bought. In other words, when you order a reference book on Amazon, for a few dollars more, you’ll be able to look up the things you need to know in an online version of the book, while you wait for the print book to arrive in the mail. This would only be available to customers who have purchased the print book. Well, I would hope so!
Individual publishers will make the decision as to whether they want to offer this option for their books or not. But consider the following, I have no doubt they will all be jumping on the money train!
Amazon anticipates the price of an Upgrade will be about 10% of the print book price. That means the publishers would make an extra few bucks per book, i.e., a $25 book with a $2.50 Upgrade. Sure, that may not sound like much, but that dollar is pure profit; profit which requires no inventory or investment to obtain. Multiply it by thousands of copies of different titles, and you are talking serious money!
The second program Amazon announced is called Pages. This will allow customers to download sections of books, or even individual pages, for a small fee per page. The specifics haven’t been announced yet, but here’s how it might work:
You want a recipe for Chicken Florentine but you don’t want to buy the entire cookbook. What do you do…you go to Amazon.com and download just that one recipe for $.35. Perhaps your favorite poets has just published new works in an anthology, but you don’t care about the other poets, only your favorite, violá…you can go to Amazon and download that one chapter for $3.00. And the possibilities go on and on and on….
This is yet another opportunity for publishers to increase profits by slicing-and-dicing content to meet the needs of customers. Where, I ask you, does that leave the author? And what does this say about our society as a whole?
Gluttonous…You Betcha! (And we’re not just talking food here).
Not only do we expect to be catered to at every turn, but let’s face it, we want it our way or no way; we want it now or not at all! We are a society that takes a hell of a lot for granted and is spoiled beyond my comprehension and yet it still is never enough. And the sad thing is, that industries are getting filthy freaking rich off our greed…YES, OUR GREED.
Think about it, and think about the author who toiled for endless hours, pouring their heart and soul into their book, whether it be a cookbook, a reference book or a novel. Then think about how much of that $.35 is going to the author because they didn’t sell a book, only one recipe out of it; or the $3.00, because the only thing the reader wanted was one lousy chapter.
We’ll continue to slice and dice, thinking absolutely nothing of it, because it’s convenient for us, it’s giving us what we want, and pretty soon, their won’t be any shreds left to slice or dice, and I’m not just talking about the literary industry, I’m talking about all phases of our very existence.
There are no shortcuts, only temporary bypasses cut through the highways and byways of our lives, often leaving us wandering aimlessly, as we try to find our way back to the main thoroughfare where we should have stayed the course.