Friday, July 24, 2009

Things I'd Like to See This Weekend on C-SPAN's "Book TV"

10:00 am Big Brother Bezos
Jeff Bezos, CEO of, explains how Amazon was able to delete unauthorized digital copies of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four from thousands of Kindle devices, in much the same way the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's novel eliminated information deemed too subversive for public consumption. In a related case of life imitating art, Bezos reveals that Amazon also caused Kindles containing downloads of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 to suddenly burst into flames and burn to cinders.

3:00 pm Near Miss USA
Controversial Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean talks about her forthcoming book Still Standing. Prejean stirred controversy during the Miss USA Pageant when she voiced opposition to same-sex marriage in answer to a question from judge Perez Hilton. In the book, she'll clarify her position, saying she believes that "the issue of same-sex marriage should be decided by individual states, like Miss North Dakota and Miss Rhode Island." She'll also vent her feelings about Mr. Hilton, vowing to never again stay at one of his hotels.

10:00 am Free Chris Anderson
The author of Free: The Future of a Radical Price defends his premise that companies should give away digital products and information rather than charge for them, but notes that there are subtleties to the concept. For instance, it's perfectly OK to use information from Wikipedia for free, right up until you fail to attribute it--then you'll pay for it in spades, brother. Mr. Anderson says his theory has applications beyond the digital realm. For example, he argues that furniture should be free, a notion he put to the test by removing a loveseat and matching ottoman from a Raymour & Flanigan store in Watchung, New Jersey without paying for them. As a result of charges stemming from that incident, viewers are invited to contribute to "Free Chris Anderson"--Mr. Anderson's defense fund--because good legal representation is another commodity that isn't free. Or even cheap. [This program is brought to you by taxpayer dollars.]

2:00 pm Michael M. Thomas
The bestselling author of Love and Money and other novels clarifies remarks he made earlier this week about the publishing industry. "You have large publishing companies essentially run by young people who aren't interested in reading books," Mr. Thomas said. "What they are interested in is lunch." A former partner at Lehman Brothers and a pugnacious New York City journalist, Mr. Thomas says he prefers companies that are run by grouchy older guys who want to eat your lunch.

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