Saturday, December 14, 2013

Support Your Non-Mainstream Authors--Buy a Book/eBook

Buying a book to support non-mainstream authors' livelihoods is a small but very meaningful action anyone can take.

Since we are what we do every day (Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do"), if our daily actions consist of supporting, affirming or acquiescing to the status quo, any claim of "being outside the mainstream" is unsubstantiated. The core purpose of this blog is to describe the perspectives, goals and actions of constructing a resilient, sustainable and largely independent way of living that opts out (as much as is practical) of the self-destructive fakery and inauthenticity of the status quo.

One small but very meaningful action anyone can take is to buy a book or ebook written by a non-mainstream author. The publishing industry, like every other mainstream sector, has consolidated into a handful of global giants that own dozens of imprints/subsidiaries. You can buy a dozen books, each one published by a different house/imprint, and the money all flows to one corporation.

Outside of this cartel lies a wilderness/desert of self-publishing and small, independent publishing houses which are often operated by one or two people.
A narrow ecosystem of mid-sized and academic publishers lies between this core and periphery.

Most of the authors in the academic press have jobs in academia, and as a result they do not rely on royalties from book sales to pay their bills. The farther an author is from the mainstream, the more precarious and marginalized his/her income will be, for all the obvious reasons: since the mainstream academic press and corporate media/publishing world (in many cases, one and the same corporation) derive no financial benefit from independent books and authors, they are shunned.

The outlier book by an unknown that achieves liftoff to mainstream recognition and financial success is always hyped to the heavens, but the reality for 99.9% of self-published/small press authors is a place far from the bright spotlight of corporate media coverage and a trickle of sales.

Being self-published does not necessarily make one an independent voice, of course, and so the goal I am suggesting is supporting independent, non-mainstream authors regardless of the publisher of their work.

Buying a used book is a perfectly fine action, but the author receives no fee for the work of writing the book. I buy many used books by deceased authors or books that are no longer in print, i.e. a used copy is the only available option.

But I also make a point of buying new books by living authors I wish to support. Most recently, this includes:

The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 by my blogging colleague Mike Swanson. The book has garnered dozens of very positive reviews on, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in understanding how the U.S. developed into a permanent war state and economy.

The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered by John Michael Greer, an independent thinker whom I admire greatly. Greer has written many books; please browse his catalog to discover the wealth of his writing.

Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail by William Ophuls, another independent thinker whom I hold in great esteem. This book, a mere 75 pages, is a succinct summary of core issues we now face.

Michael Pettis is one of the small circle of economists who do not simply accept conventions as truths. I found out about his latest book The Great Rebalancing: Trade, Conflict, and the Perilous Road Ahead for the World Economy from Mish, who invited Pettis to speak at his conference in Sonoma earlier this year. Pettis' analysis was so clearly stated and insightful that I was scribbling notes madly during his presentation.

In a number of cases, independent authors help each other during the final editing of their works by reading drafts and offering suggestions. I played just such a modest role in Adam Taggart's career-development workbook, Finding Your Way To Your Authentic Career, which is a natural companion for the second half of my book The Nearly Free University and The Emerging Economy.

To my own surprise (and perhaps dismay, as in: goodness gracious, I'm addicted to writing), I have written 14 books: seven novels and seven non-fiction works. I would be honored if you found something worthy of your support in this  admittedly eclectic list. Since I pay my bills and taxes with the income earned from my writing as well as from my work in the real world, your purchase of a book is most definitely meaningful to me, as it enables me to finance this free website and its thousands of essays. (The web is "free" unless you need a dedicated server at $230 per month to ensure a quick page load for readers.)

There are thousands of books and authors worthy of support; I have listed a few by way of example. You undoubtedly have your own favorite independent authors; please consider supporting them financially by purchasing one of their works, for yourself or as a gift. You will recognize many such authors and books in my substantial and interesting list of Books & Films. I think you will enjoy browsing the dozens of subcategories even if you have no intention of buying a book or film.

If You Seek Practical Gifts, Consider These Everyday Kitchen Tools

The Nearly Free University and The Emerging Economy:
The Revolution in Higher Education

Reconnecting higher education, livelihoods and the economyWith the soaring cost of higher education, has the value a college degree been turned upside down? College tuition and fees are up 1000% since 1980. Half of all recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed, revealing a deep disconnect between higher education and the job market.

It is no surprise everyone is asking: Where is the return on investment? Is the assumption that higher education returns greater prosperity no longer true? And if this is the case, how does this impact you, your children and grandchildren?

go to Kindle edition
We must thoroughly understand the twin revolutions now fundamentally changing our world: The true cost of higher education and an economy that seems to re-shape itself minute to minute.

The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy clearly describes the underlying dynamics at work - and, more importantly, lays out a new low-cost model for higher education: how digital technology is enabling a revolution in higher education that dramatically lowers costs while expanding the opportunities for students of all ages.

The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy provides clarity and optimism in a period of the greatest change our educational systems and society have seen, and offers everyone the tools needed to prosper in the Emerging Economy.

Read the Foreword, first section and the Table of Contents.

print ($20)       Kindle ($9.95) 

Things are falling apart--that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:

go to print edition1. Debt and financialization
2. Crony capitalism
3. Diminishing returns
4. Centralization
5. Technological, financial and demographic changes in our economy

Complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).
We are not powerless. Once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.
Kindle: $9.95       print: $24 

Thank you, Stephen S. ($5), for your most generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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