Definition of the Week
MAJORITY RULE, n. The governing principle of the United States. The revered concept that it is every bit as right and just that two million individuals impose their will upon one million, under threat of force, as it is that two individuals impose their will upon one, under similar threat.
(Our Definition of the Week is taken from our new revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic's Dictionary. A sample of the book's nearly 700 definitions and 60 illustrations is available here.)
Some comments on the original edition:
"Such bitterness, such negativity, such unbridled humor, wit and sarcasm."
"The quirky cartoons by J.R. Swanson nicely complement Bufe's cruel wit. Recommended." —Free Inquiry
"Sick and offensive." —Small Press
For a look at a sample of the definitions and illustrations in pdf form, click here.
Popmatters recently ran a nice review of the Cookbook. The review reads in part:
"Newly published, prefaced by a typically charged introduction by Chris Hedges, the 2015 publication of The Anarchist Cookbook features a lively tone and inspiring argument. . . . [It's an] affordable and handsomely produced compendium."
The full review is on the Popmatters site.
For a sample in pdf form, click here.
20 Reasons is now available for $1.99 from all major e-book sellers.
The original uncorrected version is available free in html format here.
May the Farce be with You is now available for $1.99 from the usual outlets.
For a sample in pdf form, click here.
Here's one of the book's more than 20 illustrations.
Anarchist and Atheist Pamphlet SaleWe're currently having a 65%% to 70% off sale on our Anarchist and Atheist pamphlets. All 12 of our Anarchist pamphlets (29.50 cover price) are now just $10.00; all 21 of our Atheist pamphlets ($50.35 cover price) are now just $15.00; and all 32 anarchist and atheist pamphlets ($79.85 cover price) are now just $20.00.
Editorial: Why Your Reviews MatterYour reviews matter, probably more than you realize.
There has been a drastic decline in the numbers of magazines and newspapers over the last two decades, and an even more drastic decline in the number that carry book reviews. The number of daily papers in the U.S. dropped roughly 15% over the past quarter century, and a great many of those remaining have reduced or entirely eliminated their book review sections. (This is in line with their overall reductions in news and feature coverage during the same period due to huge, presumably Internet-caused, revenue drops.)
The status of weekly papers is perhaps even more dire. Forty years ago there were independent weeklies in almost every major and mid-size city in the country, and a great many carried reviews. Since then, those that survived have been, and are still being, gobbled up by media conglomerates, the New Times chain being a case in point. That chain bought weeklies in half of the country's largest markets, and the New Times papers I'm familiar with (and probably all or nearly all of the rest) do not review books.
The situation here in Tucson is a case in point. Six years ago, Arizona's oldest daily newspaper, The Tucson Citizen, went under. The remaining daily, The Arizona Daily Star, now devotes only a half-page to reviews in its Sunday edition (no space at all in the others), and the formerly independent Tucson Weekly, has been bought twice over the last 15 years by small media conglomerates. It used to carry weekly in-depth reviews of books by local authors. No more. Following its most recent sale, it stopped carrying book reviews, and almost everything else that made it worth reading. It's now little more than an advertising sheet of use only as bird cage liner.
Magazines are in somewhat similar shape. Circulation (especially news stand circulation) has been declining simultaneously with the ascent of the Internet, and revenue has been plummeting: from $48.3 billion in 2007 to $27 billion in 2015. Two specialty magazines, Guitar Player and Bass Player, owned by the same company, are a case in point. From their glory days in the 1990s, their circulation has dropped by roughly half, and a few years ago they combined their staffs in a cost-cutting move. The end result of all this is that magazines have cut back their coverage, and it's harder than ever to get reviews. (Bass Player and Guitar Player are exceptions to the rule, and are still very good about reviewing books.)
Compounding all this is the explosion in the annual number of new titles over the last 25 years or so. The number of new titles reported by Books in Print, the best source for information on physical books, more than doubled over the last 15 years; the current total of new print books exceeds 300,000 per year. Add in e-books, and the number is likely over 1,000,000. (No one really knows how many e-books are published annually.)
Add this all up, and you have far more books competing for far fewer reviews in the remaining magazines and newspapers, and for what little shelf space remains in bookstores.
The number of independent bookstores, where readers in decades past could discover books that received few or no reviews, has declined drastically over the last half-century. At present, they account for only 10% of the book market. So, that channel for readers to discover books has all but disappeared.
To make matters even worse, the large-circulation magazines tend to ignore books from small presses and to review primarily, often only, books from the half-dozen conglomerates that dominate the book publishing industry, and both television (and syndication-dominated) radio talk shows tend to book only the authors published by those same conglomerates.
What's left for small publishers? Reader reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, B&N, and other online retailer sites.
If you read a book that you like issued by an independent publisher, please consider writing even a one- or two-sentence review for Goodreads or any of the online book retailers. It'll help both the author and the small publisher. And it'll help other readers discover books they would enjoy.
Your reviews are more important than you think.
Pinche Blues Band is back!We're back, and we're bad — as always. Watch for us in your favorite Tucson dive bar that has the good taste and the good judgment to feature live music. For some of our tunes, go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
Our BlogSharp and Pointed features new writing by many of our authors—opinion pieces on politics and religion, science fiction reviews, cartoons, quotations, tips on writing, and much more.
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