October 01, 2003

Important to Check Your Email

Well, I'm glad I checked my email before heading out to my local Walnut Creek Barnes and Noble:

Virginia Postrel: Dynamist Blog: WALNUT CREEK TALK CANCELED: Following the great book business tradition of atrocious logistics management, the Barnes & Noble in Walnut Creek has sold out of its original small shipment of TSOS and hasn't received, or can't find, the 40 books they were supposed to have in stock for my appearance tonight. They're in the business to sell books, not to host authors' talks. So they told me not to come. My sincere and profuse apologies to any readers for whom this last-minute cancellation causes problems. I will be appearing at the Stanford bookstore (on campus) tomorrow night at 7:00.

At the book signing I went to last Friday, small independent Signal Books had no problem coming up with extra boxes--nay, extra truckloads of Paul Krugman's The Great Unraveling.

Posted by DeLong at October 1, 2003 07:40 PM | TrackBack

Comments

Whoever this silly woman is, she sounds
full of herself.

Posted by: Bartolo on October 1, 2003 07:46 PM

doesn't PK outsell VP by a lot? Low numbers = low rent snafu = lower numbers

Posted by: bakho on October 1, 2003 09:45 PM

Forgive me Brad...

As someone who grew up in Lamorinda, and escaped in the 80's, I cannot but chortle to myself at the thought that Barnes and Noble in Walnut Creek somehow failed to secure the necessary quantity of books to make an author's apperance "profitable". I couldn't get anybody at said store to find the me a copy of The Economist, or locate a Ender's Game last Christmas. Things have changed. Head quickly to the Roundup and enjoy a beer because tomorrow the DVD player in your child's carpool ride may be on the fritz.

Posted by: ThunderingTyphoons on October 1, 2003 09:50 PM

Forgive me Brad...

As someone who grew up in Lamorinda, and escaped in the 80's, I cannot but chortle to myself at the thought that Barnes and Noble in Walnut Creek somehow failed to secure the necessary quantity of books to make an author's apperance "profitable". I couldn't get anybody at said store to find the me a copy of The Economist, or locate a Ender's Game last Christmas. Things have changed. Head quickly to the Roundup and enjoy a beer because tomorrow the DVD player in your child's carpool ride may be on the fritz.

Posted by: ThunderingTyphoons on October 1, 2003 09:50 PM

Why is Virginia Postrel worth going to hear? Does she actually know anything?

These are real questions. All I know about her is that:
1)She has written a book named "The Future and its Enemies." Titles like that set off my bullshit detector. This one seems to say "I know what the future will/should be, because I have word from on high," perhaps a la Ayn Rand (whose work I have given far more study than it deserves, and consider to be of small worth).
2)She hangs out with a dubious crowd. I say this because I once saw her listed to spead at a bionomics conference.
3)She's a libertarian. For me, this is not a plus.

OTOH, our host, for whom I have a high regard, thinks she's worth going to hear. So, would anyone be so kind as to say what her good points are?

Posted by: Jonathan Goldberg on October 2, 2003 06:40 AM

Did they have _Paladin of Souls_ in stock?
My B&N was sold out.

Posted by: Pouncer on October 2, 2003 11:27 AM

Yes, Virginia Postrel is a libertarian. She also has a column for the New York Times, and is one of the more high-profile bloggers, in the sense of having a "real world" reputation. (www.dynamist.com)

Her husband is an economist at SMU, and graduated MIT a year after our host graduated Harvard. As small as that world is, I wouldn't be surprised if Dr. Mr. Postrel and our host knew each other.

Posted by: rvman on October 2, 2003 01:26 PM

Not to suggest that our host's interest in the VP is personal.

Her thesis in "Future and its Enemies" isn't that she knows what the future is going to look like - she doesn't. Her thesis is that the liberal vs. conservative battle is breaking down, to be replaced by "dynamists" who believe in a decentralized approach to progress and science (including free markets) and an openness to new technology (including Wal Mart, genetic modification, etc.) on one side, and "stasists" who believe in a centralized control of progress (including those who would ban GM foods, and fret over whether GM, or technology, will result in the loss of what it means to be human) or who want to return to an idealized past (whether that be environmentalists harkening back to hunter-gatherers or fundamentalists harkening back to a simpler era of churchgoing and obeyance to authority) on the other.

The new book is about how "style" or aesthetics is a real thing, of real value, and not just a gloss put on products to fool people into buying them. (I've read the first book, not the second.) For an example (not sure if she uses it) "spoilers" on cars add value even if they don't affect drag coefficients, or cornering, or whatever. If people just like how they look, they are valuable. (Personally, I think they look like some sort of weird handle, and would pay NOT to have one. Again, aesthetics.) Further, she argues that aesthetics are an increasing component of the value of goods and services, and that this is fine.

Posted by: rvman on October 2, 2003 02:05 PM
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