Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: Facebook

Taking Responsibility

This morning, a couple of things caught my eye, and not in a good way. Both also center on social media. The first is a prime example of how we need to always be aware of the potential for anything we say or do being captured on someone else’s smart phone, either via video or through their social media accounts. The second is an prime example of the faux outrage that is gripping part of our country right now.

The first is actually getting more media coverage than the second. I first became aware of the situation when I saw it being retweeted on Facebook, along with all the accompanying outrage. Very simply put, over the weekend, a gate agent in Denver refused to allow an 11-year-old to board a United flight unless she put a dress (or, I’m sure, any other “appropriate” form of clothing”) on over her leggings.

Another passenger, waiting in line behind the girl, was outraged. So she took to social media to chastise the airline for what was happening. I’ll admit, my initial reaction was basically to wonder why leggings weren’t appropriate. But, as I read more about the situation, I soon realized there was more to the story than what the initial tweets, the ones raising all the outrage, told.

First of all, let’s be clear here. Most airlines have a provision in their terms of service that gives them the right to refuse boarding to anyone who violates those ToS. I know I’ve never read all the fine print and I doubt most of the rest of you have either. It would surprise me if the woman behind the tweets had.

Second, what isn’t clear in the initial tweets is the fact that the girl was flying non-rev. What that means is that either someone in her family or a third party works, or worked, for United, and gave her a pass to fly free. Most airlines have a separate set of rules for their non-rev passengers. These rules include provisions about what clothing is appropriate for the trip.

So, at least in the mind of the gate agent, the leggings the girl wore were in violation of the dress code.

When that provision was pointed out to some of those on FB who were condemning the airline and the gate agent, they shifted the goal posts. Suddenly, it became an issue of United and the agent applying a double standard because the girl’s father was allowed to board while wearing shorts. He was in casual clothes, so why couldn’t she?

I have two issues with this line of argument without further information being given. The first is a logic issue. Those making the argument assume the father was also flying non-rev. He may have been, but I’ve not seen that reported. The second is the assumption that the rules weren’t being applied to him when they were to the girl. What this second assumption fails to take into account is that some airlines, and I assume United is included in this, allow for shorts to be worn by non-rev passengers if the shorts meet certain standards. Because the father was allowed to board without changing clothes, and assuming he was also flying non-rev, it is safe to assume his clothing met the standard of the dress code.

Now, do I think an 11-year-old wearing leggings should have been denied boarding, non-rev or not? No. However, I get tired of situations being twisted just to fit a certain view point so they can be used to argue something that might not even be an issue. I do think United needs to review their non-rev dress code and make sure it is fair to both genders (oops, will I get in trouble for that?) But to make a federal case out of something, especially when you don’t know all the details and when you admit you are doing it because you assume a bias, helps no one.

It also shows the problem with the easy access to social media and the way one tweet can be taken viral — and how those following the original tweet on someone else’s social media feed may never see the follow-ups and learn the entire story.

The second example also came from Facebook and is a prime example of the Trump Derangement Syndrome that seems to have infected some of those on the left. I see it every morning with the Dallas Morning News. Reminiscent of the early days of ABC’s Nightline during the Iran hostage crisis where the show opened with “Day X”, the Dallas Morning News has an ongoing post of “Day Y of the Trump Presidency” (or words to that effect).

The Facebook post bringing it all to mind this morning was dated 18 hours before I first saw it. Someone was condemning Trump because he hadn’t issued a statement about the protests and arrests in Russia. The implication being he hadn’t issued a statement because he is a Russian mole in the White House. The only problem was I’d been up for more than an hour and hadn’t seen anything about the protests in my wandering through the interwebs, nor had I seen anything about it the night before when I watched the news.

So, I went strolling through the internet, looking at the homepages of some of the major news outlets and other sites where such a story might show up. It took me four sites before I found anything and, even then, I had to scroll down three screens or more before I found the story.

Funny, there had been no condemnation of the media for not carrying the story, only of Trump because he hadn’t been vocal in condemning the Russian handling of the situation as soon as he learned of it. Oh the horror because Russia did something and Trump didn’t instantly jump in to say Russia needed to stop being, well, Russia.

But let’s not consider the fact Trump might be waiting for more information about what really happened in Russia. Information not only from media sources and Russia itself but form our own intelligence community. Oh no, let’s immediately respond. How much you want to bet the person condemning him on Facebook would have a different view if the protest and arrests had occurred in London or Paris — or even Beijing? The fact it was Russia and Trump is president was enough of a connection for her to condemn him.

That’s the problem with social media. Well, one of the problems. We can do or say anything we want and hit enter without thinking. Too many of us tend to do so. We post things without considering that we might not have all the facts. We forget that once something hits the internet, it is there forever. Social media is the modern day version of walking out of the restroom with toilet paper trailing behind you, tucked into your pants or stuck on your heels.

But there is another problem with social media, one we are all guilty of. We are too quick to accept as accurate what we see posted on Twitter or FB or whatever our favorite platform might be. It is up to us to ask the same questions of those “sources” we do of the media and of our politicians, etc. If we don’t, then we hold at least some of the responsibility if a story is later clarified or proven to be false and we shared the false or misleading information without disclaimers or questions. It is time for each of us to start taking responsibility for what we put out into cyberspace.

In other words, it is time we start thinking before hitting the “share” button.

The gloves came off

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been fighting the urge to respond to a post in a private Facebook group that is supposedly dedicated to the appreciation of the writings of Robert A. Heinlein. I say supposedly because it had become more and more apparent that wasn’t necessarily the case. But the crowning point came when one of the members posted a link to a story about why Connie Willis would not be presenting at the Hugo Awards. I’m not going to get into Ms. Willis’ reasons other than to say I don’t agree with them. But it was her decision and she will have to live with the consequences — good, bad or indifferent.

However, what got to me was the poster of the link starting out by saying that she was a so far unpublished science fiction writer who is just so angry at the “talentless and angry malcontents” who have supposedly ruined the Hugos. Okay, nothing new there. Still, it was a bit surprising to find such a position being advocated in a Heinlein forum, especially when it became clear that the whole issue was that there have been more men nominated for a Hugo and that more men have won than women. Again, nothing new.

But where I finally drew the line was when one of the page’s moderators chimed in. She took up the call first set out by the OP. She even took the OP’s post and copied it over to her home page, complete with the OP’s comments and a “I feel this way to” or words to that effect. When members of the page tried to discuss the reasons behind SP3 with her, she either sidestepped the issue or kept moving the goal posts.

She was quick to jump to the OP’s defense but never, at least not where anyone could see, took the OP to task for personal attacks. The closest she came was starting a thread that warned everyone not to make personal attacks, a ruling she violated pretty quickly in that very same thread.

So I watched the thread over two or three days, debating whether to leave the page or not. I finally had enough this evening and drafted the following:

As one of those so-called “talentless and angry malcontents” who have supposedly ruined the Hugos simply because we’ve raised awareness among those who love science fiction and fantasy that they have the ability to nominate authors and work they feel deserve to win the Hugo, it is clear this forum is not for me.

When we become more worried about the sexual preference, gender, race, religion and politics of an author instead of the story, we have strayed much too far from what Heinlein himself thought important in a story. The fact that one of the moderators has continued the attacks on those who want story before message and who dared tell fans, not Fans, that they could vote simply confirms my decision to leave. Indeed, that moderator shared the linked post with her support of all it and the OP said. It is clear this forum is not devoted to the discussion of Heinlein, his work or his impact on the genre. Instead, we have to fall in line and march lockstep to the cause du jour. Well, have fun. I’m going to other pages where one of the Grand Masters of SF is discussed and the rest of the BS isn’t taking over the page.

I hit the enter button and then did something I can’t remember doing except for pages I’ve been added to without being asked. I left the group. I was one of several that I know of who had done the same thing over the past few hours. It wasn’t because of the attacks on SP3 but on the abuse of her position by the moderator. I left junior high behind me a long time ago. I don’t need to relive it on FB.

Shortly after I posted my comment and left the page, the moderator in question basically threw a snit fit and took down the thread in question. In another thread, she went on to tell those who weren’t falling in line to either stand down or leave the group. It is my understanding that she alleges that she spoke privately with the OP and even admitted the OP might owe an apology to some of the other members of the group. Not that she was going to make the OP give one. No, she obviously gets a pass but no one else does.

This is the problem moderators can’t separate their personal feelings from their duty to be fair and impartial. If the group has rules, those rules need to be applied just the same to one group as they are to others. That isn’t the case in this situation. When you let someone insult your members — and yes, some of the driving forces behind SP3 were members of the group. I say were because I know at least one of them left because of what was going on. Why stay somewhere you can be attacked and abused and yet you can do nothing to defend yourself or try to explain your position? — you open yourself up to mockery and anger and members leaving. The fact it happened in a Heinlein forum is more than a bit sad and even ironic.

So I am down one group on FB and I won’t miss it. There are other groups out there that do love the work of Heinlein and don’t let the current contretemps about the Hugos and their personal prejudices destroy what could have been a fun and informative group.

Oh, and word of warning, when you start threatening your members because you don’t like what they are saying, they will take screen caps and will make sure others know. Just sayin’.

Thursday thoughts

Let me start by saying I have a guest post up at According to Hoyt this morning where I look at some of the issues we currently face with our education system and some of the idiocy it is putting out there. Namely, the FitnessGrams sent home in New York where kids were told they were overweight based on their BMI and nothing else — and where those measurements are, in all likelihood, flawed in some circumstances.

I’ve been silent on this blog so far this week because I needed to calm down. This past Sunday I “shared” a photo on my Facebook feed that was meant to honor our fallen for the Memorial Day weekend. Someone from Australia took exception to the photo and what it said and decided it was up to her to educate and take us neobarb Americans to school. Among the things said or alluded were that instead of waving the flag — and she has a real issue with how we do that — we ought to be making donations to veteran’s organizations and how we don’t honor other countries’ equivalents to Memorial Day and how we ought not to post such things on an international forum.

Friends piped in and she then took to quoting the Bible and she didn’t like it when folks quoted it back to her. If finally came out that she really just has a problem with Americans and with the American military — at least that’s my interpretation. And that is a problem, you see, since my son is in the military and we can trace military service in our family to the American Revolution. So, I wasn’t in the mood to deal with her and basically told her to go away.

Her response was to go to her wall on Facebook but to tag me. Now, for those of you not familiar with how Facebook works, when you tag someone, that thread shows up on their wall. This one did. And it went nuclear fast. Even after I chose to quit taking part in the so-called discussion, my friends and folks I didn’t know were coming to my defense. I appreciate each and every one of them. What I don’t appreciate is the woman who started it all.

Worse in some ways, she is still posting in different threads on her wall allusions to the two threads and how 1) she is misunderstood and 2) Americans are basically boors and 3) who the hell knows. Now, this isn’t unusual behavior for her and the only reason I know about it is because the two threads were so active that, for the moment at least, her posts are showing up on my feed.

But what really sent me over the edge from frustration and “OMFG is she really serious?” into outright anger was to learn that she’d tried to continue the argument over into private messages to the men who responded to the threads. Funny thing, to the best of my knowledge, she didn’t do this with the women. Some of the guys who let me know said they didn’t even read her PM. Other’s basically told her to sod off. At least one wound up blocking her. And she wonders why folks aren’t taking her seriously.

Any way, trying to pick this particular argument over a holiday I take very seriously was not the thing to do. As my anger has abated, I came to the realization that one of the issues this woman has is that she doesn’t understand our culture. She abhors our “flag waving” and said we were putting more importance on the flag than we were on the fallen soldiers. What she doesn’t get is that the flag and the fallen are tied together. The flag, with its thirteen stripes representing the 13 original colonies and its 50 stars representing the 50 states, is part of our culture. We hang it from our homes to honor those who served in the armed forces. As Americans, we may be brash and vocal but that doesn’t make our ways wrong any more than the more subdued memorials held elsewhere do.

I guess the best way to put it is that while we commemorate the loss of our servicemen and women on Memorial Day we also celebrate their lives and their service. We have our serious ceremonies at the different monuments and cemeteries, places of worship and governmental buildings. But we also have our celebrations — the meals and activities like Carry The Load. Some or somber. Others not so much.

That’s not to say one way of commemorating the day is better than the other. To each his own. But do not, absolutely do not, come onto my wall and condemn the nation as a whole for how we do something, especially if you have never been part of the day. Then don’t make the mistake of telling me that it is soldiers who start wars and that they are not peacekeepers. If you believe that, go back and study some history. Talk to survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto and their families or Prague in 1968 or Hungary in 1957 or any of the other wars or conflicts, current or past. Then come back and tell me who starts the wars.

So maybe I’m not as calm yet as I ought to be. I will ask this much. If you read this and feel the need or desire to go leave a comment on my wall in either of the threads I’ve alluded to, don’t. I probably ought not to write this blog but I needed to get it off my chest. However, if you post to the threads on FB you are giving the gal exactly what she wants — another reason to play her victim card.

Instead, do me a favor. Thank a soldier or vet, let their families know how much you appreciate what they have sacrificed so their loved one could serve their country, whether it is the US or another country. And thanks for letting me vent.

* * *

Vengeance From Ashes (new)Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty) (written under the pen name Sam Schall) is the first in the Honor and Duty series.

Here’s the blurb:

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back. 

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long. 

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

It’s time to push back

I don’t think there is anyone who has paid any attention to current events for the last few decades, and who has studies history, who doubts that our individual rights have been slowly eroding away. No, i’m not going to talk about what the NSA is or isn’t doing. There’s been more than enough written about that. Besides, on one level, I can almost, sort of understand the mindset of the folks who put those rules in place. But it is the idiotic erosion of rights that really bothers me.

The first doesn’t actually fall into an erosion of “rights” but most definitely is idiotic and falls close to the “rights” side of the column. Fort Worth has had in place for some time a policy where city employees (or contractors) drive through neighborhoods, checking what you put in your recycle bins. The basic justification for this is two-fold. First, it’s trash so you no longer have any expectation of privacy in it. That means they can look through it without getting your permission. The second justification the city gives for this action is that it needs to stop people from putting the wrong items into their recycle bins.

Now, on its surface, this doesn’t seem too bad. It’s not a job I’d want. However, Fort Worth isn’t satisfied with that approach. After scaring people with the threat of having their recycle bins searched — and potentially being fined if they violate the rules too often — the city is going one step further. Now they are going to start searching your trash to see if you AREN’T recycling items. The plan is if they find items in your trash you haven’t recycled and should have, they are going to call you and talk with you about why you aren’t recycling.

I have a couple of issues with this. The first is that recycling isn’t mandatory. Or at least I don’t believe it is. The second is that the city has already used intimidation tactics to force people to be more careful with what they recycle. I’ll lay odds it has caused at least some folks to stop or limit what they are tossing into the recycle bin. But the real issue I have is a monetary one. Fort Worth, like so many other cities, has ongoing financial problems. There are things in the city that need to be fixed or renovated but the money isn’t there. So why is it so important that they spend additional monies on becoming the trash police instead of using that money to repair roads or improve library buildings? Then there are the issues of will the city employees be calling the cops if they find something they think might be illegal and, if they do, how will the cops prove up chain of evidence, etc.? There are so many potential issues with this new policy. But it all comes down to this: does the city have a right to tell its citizens what they can or can’t throw into the trash or that they have to recycle certain items?

That’s a pretty mild case, true, but it is indicative of the nanny state that we are finding ourselves in more and more. Worse is what one school — and a number of employers — did.

A school in Minnesota initially gave a student detention after she posted a message on her Facebook page the administration thought was threatening. Basically, the student, Riley Stratton, posted that she didn’t like a teacher’s aide because she was “mean”. The post was not made from a school computer. At the time, Riley was in the sixth grade.

But it doesn’t stop there. After she was given detention, she was called into the principal’s office because someone — allegedly a parent. Whose, I’m not sure except it wasn’t Riley’s — had alleged Riley and a boy were using Facebook private messaging and email to discuss — gasp — sex. The administration demanded Riley turn over her Facebook password and let them look at her posts and emails. If she didn’t, she would receive more punishment. Oh, and just to make sure she was thoroughly intimidated, a sheriff’s deputy was there to look at her postings as well.

In tears, scared and not wanting to get into any more trouble, Riley agreed and gave them her password. There was never a signed permission slip obtained from her parents to search her phone. Of course,“It was believed the parent had given permission to look at her cellphone,” according to Minnewaska Superintendent Greg Schmidt. Funny how that is now a district policy. I guess hindsight really is 20-20.

Needless to say, Riley’s parents were as furious about what happened as their daughter was upset. Even though Riley was brought into the principal’s office based on a complaint by a third party and not for something that was currently happening, her parents weren’t advised nor invited to be there when their daughter was, in their words, interrogated. I’d be upset too if I found out my child had been brought in to answer questions with a law enforcement officer present and no advocate there to look after her rights and best interests. And I would have done just what they did. I’d have found an attorney to take the district to court.

You see, as Riley’s ACLU attorney noted, Riley was doing only what kids have done for decades and longer. She was complaining about teachers and those who work at the school. She didn’t threaten anyone. There is no way what she said should have fallen under a Zero Tolerance rule. She was expressing her personal feelings that the aide in question was mean and didn’t like her. She wasn’t using school computers or internet to post the comment. She was at home.

There has to come a point when we finally say “enough is enough”? Our kids can’t protect themselves from bullies without fearing they will be punished for standing up for themselves or someone else. They are punished for wrong speak and wrong think. Schools have taken to policing them even when they are off-campus and not involved with school activities. Now schools, like employers, have started demanding access to private social media accounts. At least in this case, Riley and her parents found an attorney willing to take the district to court and they did “win” a settlement and the district has amended its policies.

I’ve had enough of Big Brother telling me what I should eat and drink, think and say. I know a lot of others have as well. It’s time we stand up and let our voices be heard for a change. If not for ourselves then for our children and grandchildren. Otherwise, they will truly find themselves living in an Orwellian future none of us want to imagine.

 

Friday morning rant

[Edited to add: I have taken great care not to name names in this post. While discussion is encouraged, I will not allow through any posts where names are mentioned or links given. Sorry, but this post is meant as a general blowing off of steam and comments about how we ALL need to be a bit more circumspect in what we post.]

I know, I know. I was supposed to come back yesterday and do a post. I promised and I really do try to keep my promises. However, yesterday was one of those days when it was wiser to stay away. You really wouldn’t have wanted me back. I was in a black mood. No, I wasn’t depressed. I was furious most of the day and then frustrated. Neither of which are good when it comes to blogging — or writing fiction — or editing, which is what I was trying to force myself to do.

That’s where the frustration came from. The editing is late. I had done it — and the book is wonderful. I can’t wait to announce it and link it here. No, it’s not one of mine but it is coming out from NRP from one of our other authors — but before I could save out the complete file, my hard drive died and I lost most of it. So, I’ve been going back through it. Real life, illness and other issues have kept me from finishing it so I’d put yesterday aside to do it.

Only to find myself unable to finish. I have maybe 75 pages left and I hope to get them done after a number of out of the house appointments today.

Anyway. . . .

As I said, that was the frustration. The fury came from idiocy on Facebook. My normal pattern of waking up each morning is to stumble in, turn off the alarm system, toss the dog out and make coffee. Then I sit down at the computer to check the headlines, the weather and social media. Facebook did me in. I started seeing red and it continued throughout the day.

Maybe I should have realized when the first thing I saw was a PM from a good friend saying she was ready to kill someone on her timeline. This friend is the nice one of our group. She’s the nurturing one and usually the last of the group to lose her temper. Me, well, I’m a natural redhead with the temper that goes with it. I’m also protective of friends and family. So, like any good friend, I went to her timeline to see what was happening.

Look, guys, social media is the bane of our existence and a necessary part of it if you are a writer. But we all tend to forget from time to time that it isn’t the same as face-to-face conversation. In this case, however, the person who’d upset my friend had decided to take her to task for something he saw as “wrong” in her status. He saw it as his job to “educate” her. And it went downhill from there.

Now, before you start saying that if she’d posted something wrong and he knew it, he was within his rights, you need to know one thing. What she’d done was simply “share” someone else’s blog post. The so-called offending statement wasn’t even my friend’s. It was from the blog. But that didn’t matter to this guy. Oh no. He was offended and he was going to lecture.

He even admitted that he hadn’t gone to read the linked blog. At least not for much of the discussion, and I use that word loosely. No, his duty, as he saw it, was to continue lecturing my friend and anyone else who didn’t agree with him because he was right. He didn’t need to prove he was right. All he had to do was teach what was right. (paraphrasing him here, but this is basically what he said).

Okay, to each his own. But if you are going to say you are right and everyone else is wrong, first, don’t be condescending. Second, present proof of it when you start out. My friend was giving cites to back up her responses as was at least one other commenter. But not him. He “didn’t have time”. Funny, he had plenty of time to lecture.

Okay, I’m giving too much word count to this. My point is, look at what is posted on Facebook or any other form of social media. Then look at the source of the material. If it is a “share” or a link to another site with nothing more than a “check this out”, then don’t start lecturing to show how wrong the poster is for their “position”. The simple truth of the matter is that a lot of folks share blogs and such from friends and they might not agree with everything that particular post says. Even if they do, if no discussion is invited — and if you aren’t a regular commenter on that person’s wall — then don’t start one by being in your face about it.

More than that, if you want to discuss the issue and show that there might be a faulty premise, take it to the originating site. That is the appropriate place for any discussion of the topic UNLESS the linking person on Facebook or wherever invites comments. Even then, if they cut off the discussion for whatever reason, drop it. It is their sandbox and you aren’t going to win any points by continuing on after they leave the virtual room.

This is especially true for writers or folks who are wanting to be writers. People “friend” writers because they want to know what’s going on in their lives and what they are working on. When someone comes in and is an ass, they remember and you have just lost a future sale. It really isn’t much different from going to a party and making a fool out of yourself.

Okay, this is a rant. Normally, I can let go of stuff like what happened yesterday. But the fact that this guy kept coming back instead of going to the source site to debate the issue, the fact he didn’t “get it” when some of us went in and suggested that he’d be better doing just that and that he’d been insulting in the way he’d tried to get his point across and then the fact that someone else came in and tried to get us to apologize to him (and that one still blows my mind) has continued to bother me. I finally figured out why.

Because I see this happening more and more. I see authors who think that just because they are a “name” that they can insult anyone who doesn’t agree with them on politics or religion or whatever making monumental asses out of themselves on Facebook. I see others who condemn men for being, gasp, men and then there are my all time favorites, the women who claim that every man is a rapist because no woman enjoys sex. Folks, get a grip. Start thinking before you type and, for the love of God, read what you just typed — read it aloud if you have t — before you hit enter.

Discussion is fine. Hell, it’s great. But condescending lecturing, condemnation because someone doesn’t agree with you and the overall idiocy of thinking that you aren’t hurting your bottom line by being an ass needs to stop.

End of rant.

Kansas State Library takes on the Big Six

(Thanks to Patrick Richardson for the heads up on this story.)

Over at Mad Genius Club, I’ve blogged about how the Big Six in publishing (Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Random House and Penguin) have gone to war with libraries over e-books. Between either not allowing libraries access to their new digital titles or charging prices that are, at best, exorbitant, or limiting the number of times a digital title can be loaned, these publishers are making it almost impossible for libraries to meet patron demands for digital titles. When these publishers have tried to justify their actions, they come off sounding like paranoids who are willing to spite their customers and potential customers just because someone might try to pirate a copy of one of their books. Worse, they seem to think that being able to borrow an e-book at your local library will lead to closures of bookstores and less income to publishers and authors. Using that sort of thinking, how long is it going to be before publishers decide it’s bad business to let libraries have hard copies of books as well?

But that’s not what this post is about. No, this is a post to support the efforts of the Kansas State Library. Frustrated with the lack of movement on the part of publishers and wanting to do what it can to meet the needs of its patrons, the Kansas State Library has taken its case to social media.

“Writing to publishers and complaining to each other about the publisher/library e-book conflict wasn’t enough,” State Librarian Jo Budler said in a statement. “We needed a (social media) platform of our own to come together with the public and really take a look at the content not available.”

In this case, Budler is talking about a Facebook page. Go there. Like the page. While you’re there look at the prices publishers are demanding for their e-book titles. If you think they are asking too much when you want to buy an e-book, it’s nothing compared to what they are asking for from libraries. Oh, that’s if the e-book you’re interested in is even made available for libraries.

MAKEUP TO BREAKUP, by Peter Criss with Larry Sloman (Simon & Schuster) not available

THE MASTER OF DISGUISE, by Antonio J. Mendez with Malcolm McConnel (HarperCollins) $13.99 and limited to  26 checkouts. ($2.09 this morning on Amazon)

THE SIGNAL AND THE NOISE, by Nate Silver (Penguin) not available.

INTO THE FIRE, by Dakota Meyer and Bing West (Random House) $81.00 ($13.99 on Amazon)

THE SIGNAL AND THE NOISE, by Nate Silver (Penguin) not available.

ROD, by Rod Stewart (Random House) $81.00 ($12.99 on Amazon)

KILLING LINCOLN, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (McMillan) not available.

This is just a small sample. You can find others listed on the facebook page.

It’s bad enough that these publishers think e-book consumers are inherently crooked and will try to rip them off by copying the e-books we buy and then giving them away. That’s one of their biggest excuses for adding DRM — which costs money — to their titles. But to treat libraries like this is, in my mind, criminal. Because of the actions of these publishers, the digital shelves of libraries are missing up to 90% of the best sellers.

What continues to astound me is the short-sightedness of these publishers. They forget that readers often discover new authors because of books they’ve checked out of the library. A reader might be hesitant to buy a book because they aren’t familiar with an author, don’t normally read the genre the author is writing in or because of reviews they’ve heard or read. But they will check the book — or e-book — out of the library to try it out. If they like it well enough, they will buy the book, either as print or in digital. But this refusal to allow libraries to stock the digital version of a book, or pricing it so high libraries can’t afford it, results in not only bad feelings for the author — folks don’t tend to get mad at publishers, unfortunately — but also in lost sales.

It also leads to people getting upset with their local libraries. Reading trends are changing. E-books now account for a large percentage of the books being read. Part of it is because of convenience. How nice it is to be able to go online with our tablets or e-book readers or smart phones and instantly buy and download a book. I love being able to travel with hundreds of books all on my tablet that weighs only ounces instead of pounds and pounds and pounds. Part of it is necessity: some people simply can’t hold a heavy book but they can hold a reader or tablet that weighs next to nothing. Part of it is concern about the ecology. So, people turn to their libraries to check out a digital book just like their would a hard copy, only to find the book not there.

So here is the time when, if you support your local library, you need to make your voice heard. Speak up with your voice and with your wallets. If your library is unable to get e-books you want to read due to high costs or because the publisher refuses to release the book to libraries, let the publisher know you are aware that THEY are the problem. Contact the author and let them know how upset you are. It isn’t the author’s choice that the e-book be priced so high or that it not be made available. In a number of cases, I can pretty much guarantee that the author doesn’t know. They can’t change anything, but they can join their voices to ours in asking for better terms for libraries.

Join me in spreading the word and congratulations to the Kansas State Library for taking to social media to get the word out.

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