Fellow Red House Authors, Visitors, please pardon my long absence from my blog (or blogs, for I am unsure where this goes). I have been working like crazy on a book titled Mad In Translation that will be the first to introduce a large sampling of the genre called kyoka, or Japanese mad poems. Blessed with great cooperation from a gentleman in Japan, I am trying to finish the book while I still have it. I had intended to wait until that book and two others (The Cat Who Thought Too Much and A Dolphin In the Woods) were published, to resume blogging, but something enormously harmful to all small publishers who export, that I expected others to address, has, as far as I know, not yet been brought to the public attention, so, here we go.
In Fall or early Winter of 2007, the US Post Office in one fell, or rather foul swoop raised the minimum price for sending a book abroad from $9 to $37. They did not call it the book rate, as the preference for books that was taken for granted in the good old days had long since been replaced by a preference for the corporate customer. It was and is called the global priority flat-rate. So, if I want to send a book for review, or a present to a cooperative researcher in Japan -- all my books contain much Japanese in the original, which is the main reason I became an author-publisher -- I would have to pay four times what I paid before. As the weight-allowance has risen several times, the PO may argue that the increase is not 400%. But, that is no help for those of us whose pr and networking has been destroyed by it. Moreover, the space in the package allows me to send less than twice what i could – if I only had gold bullion, it would be a bargain! – so I can no longer consider the direct export of signed books. And, all this while the dollar is low and we exporters could make hay! (And, note, this was before the fuel prices rose!)
What really pisses me off is that I would prefer to send things surface. I hate wasting limited fuel resources on air mail and would prefer waiting with a good conscience than saving time and feeling guilty about living irresponsibly. First, you may recall, surface mail became imposible to insure. Then it stopped completely. We were forced and are being forced to do things in a way future generations consider to be criminally negligent. Yet, I constantly see products made across the seas that weigh more and take up more space than my books do, sold for less than the cheapest rate I can get for postage alone.
Do you understand what this means? It means that all the ships no longer serve anyone but giant corporations. The public no longer has access to inexpensive mass commerce facilities.
What the hell are we supposed to do? Must we give up the time we spend on creating things and organize our own collectives to buy container ships that we may use for ecological and more inexpensive shipping? Was not this exactly what the Post Office was supposed to do for us?
I used that $9 minimum flat rate, though it made me feel guilty as it was air-mail. Maybe the quadrupled rate would not have been such a bad idea if it was done as a surcharge against luxury. But, without surface mail for an alternative, I can only call that new $37 flat-rate what it is, one more step towards a hundred-percent corporate infrastructure that has no place for the little guy.
An investigative television program should find out who stole our ships, how they accomplished the crime, and what might be done to have environmentally sound mail again.
"Rise, Ye Sea Slugs!"
Causes Robin Gill Supports
I have been told by readers inspired by my books that they went to work for NGO's because they read my book, but I have been a pauper for so many years now...