Monthly Archives: September 2022

How to Resist Amazon (and Why) 2nd Edition

When a company’s workers are literally dying on the job, when their business model relies on preying on local businesses and even their own vendors, when their CEO is the richest person in the world while their workers make low wages with impossible quotas… wouldn’t you want to resist? Danny Caine, owner of Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas has been an outspoken critic of the seemingly unstoppable Goliath of the bookselling world: Amazon. In this book, he lays out the case for shifting our personal money and civic investment away from global corporate behemoths and to small, local, independent businesses. Well-researched and lively, his tale covers the history of big box stores, the big political drama of delivery, and the perils of warehouse work. He shows how Amazon’s ruthless discount strategies mean authors, publishers, and even Amazon themselves can lose money on every book sold. And he spells out a clear path to resistance, in a world where consumers are struggling to get by. In-depth research is interspersed with charming personal anecdotes from bookstore life, making this a readable, fascinating, essential book for the 2020s.

Even Cowbots Get Blue Balls

The latest in Microcosm’s Queering Consent series is this m/m high heat erotic fantasy from S. Park!

In the distant future where hovercars flit between ruined cities, a sexy stranger comes to town. The hardworking cowboy owner of The Only Chance Inn is usually pretty hands-off with customers, but when the enticing stranger turns out to be broke, he offers him his own room. The immediate intimacy they develop is soon rocked by the stranger’s otherworldly secret—and the innkeeper’s fluid sexuality is put to the ultimate test, with supremely pleasurable results. In these five stories of erotic speculative fiction, S. Park explores themes of attraction, belonging, and identity. A lonely pair meets cute at a hotel bar, a demon hunter meets his match, a computer tech negotiates their new office’s alpha-beta-omega pecking order, and a fairy-tale prince on a hunt bites off more than he can chew. Steamy, kinky, and emotional, these stories explore masculinity, sex, submission, and dominance in ways that can only happen when very different strangers from different worlds encounter each other.

Unf*ck Your Brain Workbook (updated & expanded!)

Bigger and better than ever, the bestselling Unfuck Your Brain Workbook by Dr. Faith G. Harper has been transformed from slender zine to substantial book! 8×10″ pages are perforated so you can tear them out and the perfect size to photocopy so you can do an exercise more than once and track your progress! Exercises are geared towards recovering from trauma, stress, anxiety, depression, grief, addiction, triggers, and freakouts. Grab a book and a cup of tea and maybe even a friend and get to work because unfucking is totally possible!

Do half of all new books sell less than 12 per year?

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly tackle a bit of viral misinformation that’s making the rounds: The myth that more than half of new books by major publishers sell less than a dozen copies a year. (The first comment on this newsletter, from someone at NPD Bookscan laying out actual stats, is our primary source.) Don’t get us wrong, the numbers for most books put out by the biggest publishers are astonishingly bleak. But not that astonishingly bleak.

Unfuck Your Grief

When we lose someone or something close to us—a loved person or animal, a relationship, our health, our dream, our idea of who we are—it hurts. A lot. Grief is both what we experience and how we heal. Dr. Faith Harper, bestselling author of books like Unfuck Your Brain and Unfuck Your Boundaries brings us a counseling and neuroscience perspective on grieving. She explains what is actually happening in our brains and bodies and what we need in order to allow it to happen fully. She also shows us how to identify and treat traumatic grief, the variety of grieving processes we experience, what grief looks like in the long term, when to get professional support, and how to ask the people in our lives for what we need (and to give ourselves the care we need as well). You’ll also find solid advice on how (and how not!) to support a grieving person in your life. Wise, a little crass, and gently funny. 

Microcosm is hiring: Join our Cleveland warehouse team!

We are seeking a full-time worker to join our growing team of shippers at our warehouse in Cleveland, Ohio’s Lee-Miles neighborhood. This is a warehouse and fulfillment position, helping people get their books and be happy. We practice mask-wearing and are set up for social distancing.  Position closes September 23rd, 2022.

We need someone who can:

• Lift at least 50 pounds

• Demonstrate an exquisite attention to detail (we aim for 99.99% error free shipments)

• Work with minimal supervision once trained

• Believe in what we do but be confident to identify flaws in the system, ask questions, and bring up your own ideas about how things could be better

• Listen, learn from mistakes, and find solutions that work for everyone involved

• Be very comfortable with alphabetizing and similar data sorting

• Show up prepared and work hard for their whole shift

• Locate books and pull and pack orders four to five days per week (90% or more of your time)

• Work 40 hours per week on site

• Start as soon as reasonable and commit to at least two years

Benefits:

• All company profits are distributed to staff in the form of raises and bonuseswe aim for (and have been exceeding) 20% annual raises

• Health insurance after trial period

• Employee ownership program after five years

• Some flexibility in work hours

• Meaningful, career-track work at a fast-growing company

No experience needed. Entry level position. Equal opportunity employer. Starts at $14/hour with 90 day trial then $15/hour. 

Apply by September 23, 2022 by completing this application and this test and submitting it to elly @ microcosmpublishing.com with the subject line “Cleveland warehouse application.” no resume or cover letter necessary unless you believe that additional details would be helpful.

On the big changes at Barnes & Noble

This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly look at some current events. Big bookstore chain Barnes & Noble recently announced that they’d be dramatically cutting back buying on new hardcovers, a cause of deep concern for many authors. We unpack what is actually changing, what it actually means for authors, publishers, and readers, and how B&N maybe could have talked about it a little more sensitively.

Punk USA: The Roots of Green Day & the Rise & Fall of Lookout Records

Updated and revised second edition with new interviews and photographs. Through hundreds of exclusive and original interviews, Punk USA documents the empire that was built overnight as Lookout launched a teenaged Green Day, sold millions of records, and rode the wave of the second coming of punk rock until it all came crashing down.

Hot takes from the Penguin Random House / Simon & Schuster merger trial

When dinosaurs fight, should the small mammals worry about it, or just continue scurrying along on our merry business? This week on the People’s Guide to Publishing podcast, Joe and Elly offer some commentary on the current trial as the US Justice Department tries to prevent publishing giants PRH and S&S from merging into a single mega-publisher. How big of a deal is this merger in the publishing world and in the economy as a whole? Who does it actually affect? Should smaller publishers be taking any lessons or warnings, or just make some popcorn and enjoy the show? In under 10 minutes, we break down what’s interesting, why it matters, and to whom.