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The True Deceiver
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Archive > March 2013: The True Deceiver

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New York Review Books | 212 comments Mod
Hi all,

Here is where we will discuss our March book club pick, Tove Jansson's The True Deceiver. I'm a bit stuck at the moment but will get to it as soon as I can. But everyone else feel free to start.


Cynthia Dunn | 71 comments I'm enjoying it so much that I'm going to feel bad when I'm finished.

Topher | 6 comments Did anyone read "The Summer Book?" just finished it a few months ago.

New York Review Books | 212 comments Mod
In fact we read The Summer Book last year (2 years ago?) in this bookclub. I would say the general reaction was love. And I suspect that is why True Deceiver won this last poll. I've heard from at least people who have read both that they like True Deceiver better, which is pretty great since I, and others, really liked The Summer Book.


New York Review Books | 212 comments Mod
Sorry for the recent absence, it's been a busy period for me, and I haven't even started reading True Deceiver yet.

I also wanted to ask, what does everyone think about the purchase of Goodreads by Amazon? In one way I find it very worrying, we as a publishing house are very much, and have been from the beginning, supported by independent bookstores, many of which have championed our books while Amazon relies solely on algorithms and the like. On the other hand, it does seem like an understandable partnership. Though we are no doubt giving Amazon more information than before, I feel like they already had everything they needed about me (credit card, email address, mailing address) so not sure what they could possibly gain from Goodreads. But also Goodreads did feel independent, user-generated, and generally anti-corporate (as I look at a Progressive ad on the right column of my screen). Will this now change? A lot of my friends, many of whom work in indie bookstores, have deleted their Goodreads account today. I don't think I will.

What do you guys think?


message 6: by William (new) - added it

William Mego (willmego) Abebooks has been owned by Amazon since 2008, and most people didn't notice. The companies Amazon acquires either profit or die based upon the behavior of it's operators (in this case Otis) after they get the money. Obviously time will tell how he operates GR, post-cash.

message 7: by Mmars (new) - added it

Mmars | 1 comments What do I think? One word - Ugh!

Lobstergirl | 127 comments My heart sank of course when I heard the news. Best case scenario is that Amazon's influence will be fairly invisible, and all they will do is data mine us, try to push Amazon links, Amazon published books, and Kindles on us as a captive audience, and gaily follow us around the web as we go from Goodreads to various other sites, then push more stuff on us. Which is already being done by data mining sites anyway, it's just now Amazon is the beneficiary of all that data.

Worst case scenarios I'd prefer not to think about.

I haven't bought books from Amazon in ages, although I have bought music and groceries (quinoa and chewing gum, no I'm not kidding). They are the only source for the chewing gum I like. I buy the vast majority of my books used, from bricks and mortar independent stores and random book sales.

Lobstergirl | 127 comments Incidentally this is some of what Amazon owns:

"Over some 15 years, the company has bought AbeBooks.com, Audible.com, Brilliance Audio, the Book Depository, Shelfari, BookFinder.com, Lexcycle, BookSurge, CreateSpace, Mobipocket.com and (through AbeBooks) 40% of Library Thing."


message 10: by Declan (new)

Declan | 89 comments I feel like we will now have a big magnifying glass over us to so that our every move can be examined for its revenue generating potential. Jeff Bozo only cares about making more and more money and now we are helping him to do so, even when we aren't buying anything directly from him we are creating the kind of information he seems to view as useful. Apparently it will be the end of the year before he takes full control, so I have decided to hold tight and see how insidious the changes are. I've gained a lot from being part of this site and would much prefer to stay, but we'll see....

message 11: by Seana (new)

Seana | 407 comments I am kind of with Declan at this point, although amplified by the fact that I work in an indie store, and a fair number of my friends and coworkers will or already have bailed. Selfishly, I'm hoping that many of the NYRB group will stay aboard, at least for the short term, as I really enjoy the discussion here. Although obviously, it could probably take place as easily somewhere else.

message 12: by Guy (new) - added it

Guy | 144 comments I won't be deleting my goodreads account due to the recent Amazon acquisition. It was probably inevitable, and to think that the founder of goodreads wasn't going to sell out (you can take that phrase a few ways)is naïve. Goodreads has been collecting a data base and we're part of it, and now it's big enough to be worth .. what was it... a billion? This sort of thing happens every day in many sorts of industries.

I don't work in the publishing industry, and if I did perhaps I'd feel differently.

The Amazon marketplace provides a place for sellers and their products that I wouldn't be able to find otherwise, so I'm happy they exist. I hope Goodreads doesn't change too much, but then IMDB hasn't altered, so I don't expect too much change. And even if Goodreads does change, it may not be a bad thing. Perhaps there will be more giveaways etc, but some people like that.

Anyway, I'm here to stay.

message 13: by Seana (new)

Seana | 407 comments Yes, as I read somewhere else, Goodreads was always for sale. It happens that Amazon finally moved in on the possibility.

Uh, is anyone reading True Deceiver?

message 14: by Guy (new) - added it

Guy | 144 comments Not yet!

Lobstergirl | 127 comments Guy wrote: "now it's big enough to be worth .. what was it... a billion?"

No, that billion figure from a Bloomberg columnist was widely mocked.

WSJ reports: "Amazon will pay between $160 million and $170 million in cash up front for the San Francisco-based company, with the remainder in cash and stock, depending on whether Goodreads meets certain performance targets, according to two people with knowledge of the deal structure. It could end up paying more than $200 million, these people said.

An Amazon spokesman declined to comment. AllthingsD earlier reported that the price of the deal was near $150 million."

Still, 150m is a helluva lot bigger than what was first being reported, which was the low 8 figures.

Lobstergirl | 127 comments Seana wrote: "Uh, is anyone reading True Deceiver?"

I read it 2 years ago and didn't really dig it that much. But I'm glad other people seem to like it.

message 17: by Seana (new)

Seana | 407 comments I am a fair ways into it and though it hasn't grabbed me as much as The Summer Book, I am holding my judgment for now.

message 18: by Guy (new) - added it

Guy | 144 comments And $150 million probably narrows the buyer market. Well I hope Amazon uses Goodreads well. Makes sense Bezos would be interested in it.

message 19: by Odette (last edited Apr 01, 2013 08:51PM) (new) - added it

Odette | 2 comments Just read this post about amazon buying GoodReads. It pretty much sums up all my worries about it.

message 20: by Seana (new)

Seana | 407 comments That's a good link, Odette. What it makes me wonder is, where exactly is the critical warning sign? Has it already happened, or is it ahead? Will I recognize the point where Amazon has stepped over the line, or have I already missed it? It's not just Amazon, of course. It's Google and Facebook and all the rest of it. We allow the data mining because it doesn't really affect us in a day to day way, but we don't really know what it means in the aggregate.

One thing for sure--Katri Kling would never have put up with any of it.

message 21: by Seana (new)

Seana | 407 comments I finished True Deceiver this afternoon. Although I didn't entirely understand the ending, this book really grew on me over the course of reading it. I really hope a few more of you will read it so that we can discuss it.

Cynthia Dunn | 71 comments Read it and enjoyed it.

message 23: by Seana (new)

Seana | 407 comments It looks like we may not actually get to a full discussion of it, but I did write up a blog post about it HERE.

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