Changing Habits


Best sellers. Bernard Maddoff.  Wanting the best.  Not knowing the ethics behind someone.  In the day to day.  In the present.  Bringing stories of daily life.  Of the world.  Of a city.  In newspapers.  The best sports’ columnist in town just took a radio job during morning drive time beginning January 12th.  At 5:30 am.  His paper probably would not make it through January.  The year 2008 might well be dubbed “While Minnesota Slept.”  No one was doing anything about the death of a paper.    Bernard Maddoff.  


Wanting the best.  Not knowing the ethics behind someone.  Avista Capital Management.  Why did they come in here?  Why did they come here to buy the Minneapolis Star Tribune?  Stock companies I could figure out, if they hired honorable accountants.  Was Avista Capital Management the Devil with a capital “D”, or a victim in the age of the internet?   


Changing habits.  Bernard Maddoff.  Investors wanting the best.  For the cheap.  Not knowing the ethics behind someone.  In the day to day.  In the present. 


CD sales plunged after music could be downloaded.  Newspapers are hurting.  In 2007, books and the industries that sell them, were the next to go. 


I started buying books on-line in 2006.  A lot of them.  In 2006.  In 2007.  I bought only one or two this year.  Today there was an article in the New York Times by David Streitfeld.  “Powell’s, the huge store in Portland, Oregon, said sales were so weak it was encouraging its staff to take unpaid sabbaticals.  The state of the book industry is the fact that this is a golden age for those in love with old-fashioned printed volumes.”  I had a $75 gift card bought at Powell’s and I had better spend it.  I also would mourn the loss of their existence. 


David Streitfeld wrote that the effect of internet book-selling was not due to the economic downturn.  Rather, no one is buying books.  Except for the one-penny variety.  “This is not about Amazon peddling new books at discounted prices, which has been a factor in the book business for a decade, but about the rise of a worldwide network of amateurs who sell books from their homes or, if they’re lazy like me, in partnership with an Internet dealer who does all the work for a chunk of the proceeds.” 

Unlike the issue of newspapers and the collapse of the business, it is not related to the internet.  Really?  


But it is the business model.  It is your kids.  It is what you allowed them to do.  It is the pure nonsense that encapsules our lives.  It is you.  David Streitfeld wrote of buying a book for one-penny, taking the work of a Ms. Lesser, of depriving her as an author of income.   Someone told him the day would come when he would regret his selfish actions, when all the physical stores were gone.  The scalpers of the world were the threat.  Everyone was scalping.  Tickets.  Music.  Books.  It was I.


Changing habits.  The business model was being changed.  People operating businesses had no protection.  Scalping was now legal here.  I was not sure why.  It was the gambling mentality.  It was e-Bay.  It was why the Dodgers left Brooklyn.  We all wanted the right to scalp.  Pure market conditions, without regulation.  Scalping junk.  Or free agents, without loyalty.  C.C. Sabathia.  Scott Boras and his list of clients.  Mark Teixeira.  Manny Ramirez. Scalping was, if not a Ponzi scheme, part of the lack of regulation. 


New Year’s resolutions.  It was about changing habits.  Take it from a history major, in a world with little interest among young people for history.  It was about the new business model.  It was about scalping.  Wanting the best price.   But not seeing the cost.  Of scalping.  A lot like the people done in by Bernard Maddoff.  

With a public blind to such changing habits, with books left on Kindle, leaving western civilization subject in the future to censorship. In a world that made Bill Gates such a hero. Just as Bernie Maddoff had been. Once upon a time, in a vanquished world which had seemed so real.

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