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The first week of classes went fine, but I have Blackboard and Moodle shells to fill and that's why I'm up this early (no, this was NOT queued days ago).

Three things.

1) George Packer has a LONG takedown of Amazon in this week's New Yorker, and THIS is an article that they will let you read! His question is "Amazon is good for customers, but is it good for books"? His take is no, it isn't but there's an interesting metaphor here. Somebody compared Amazon to one of Al Capp's creatures from the cartoon Li'l Abner -- the shmoo, which the Urban Dictionary defines thus (in part):

The shmoo had the power to supply the whole world with all of its' wants and needs.
Is that what Amazon has become?

2) Because of this, my last diary inspired me to stop using links to Amazon or any of the aggregate booksellers when I want to send you to someplace where you can buy a book that I recommend or praise in a diary. From now on, the links will be to a real independent bookstore, most often The Strand Bookstore in New York, because they have everything. Do any of you have other specific bookstores you use for links like this?

3) Our latest LA meetup was at a restaurant two blocks south of another independent bookstore. This one, Skylight Books, is doing so well that it has two storefronts (the main store and an art annex) on Vermont Avenue in the Los Feliz district, which is just south of Griffith Park. It has gone in part to a membership model to make sure it has a steady stream of funds and it seems to be thriving. Do any of you have bookstores like this in your neighborhood?  Are any of you members of bookstores? I'm thinking of joining this one.

Anything else you'd like to see in this space in the coming weeks?

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