Blogging continues to be quite an experience for me and today was….interesting….
Two longish posts appeared on my blog today. In one, expressed my dislked of the naming of the “____ For Dummies” line of books, expressing irony that a company has a hit based on books which call their customers STOOPID in real big letters on the front. The second discussed my concerns about pricing quality and other issues with blog2print, a new service that lets you put a button on your blog from one can click and purchase a bound book copy of your entire archive of blog posts, (“your blog in a book).
I have in the past so many times expressed just these sorts of complaints about companies publicly online before. And it was always pissin’ in the wind which was all I ever expected it to be.
But today an employee of Wiley publishing dropped by the blog comments, threw an arm around Ron’s shoulders, chuckled manfully and spoke “Like you said, buddy, we’re all dummies about something, and a good guide book can sure help.” It was an odd moment for me, being addressed through Ron while I was standing right there….
My review of blog2print was significantly more critical, and I was even more surprised to get a LONG e-mail from one of their staff who took some pains to address the issues I presented. According to Ann Manby of SharedBook, Google may a change to an API that is interferes with their ability to pull posts from all dates and they are working on a software upgrade to fix the problem I encountered. Then she spammed me a bit of legalese from the click through in stressing that her company has no liability whatever for any copyright violations in any material they print, which I’m sure is true. But it’s little comfort when their software widget has selected, seeming at random two images from among dozens that appear in the pages they were to publish, put the front cover of one author’s book on the front cover of my book and another books front on my back cover. And they were both books I panned.
I also told Ann that I love the concept of what they’re trying to do and hoped future updates would address some of these concerns.
What’s so remarkable about to me about these exchanges is that they happened. I’ve been bitching about flaky software and the companies who distribute it and criticizing things publishers do with and to books pretty much since I started reading and since I started using a computer. This was the first time the publisher and the software company talked right back.