The Like Fire Guilty Conscience Speaks Out

I try and lead a life of consistent ethics, and for the most part I sleep nights. But a few difficult areas always crop up, grey zones where there’s a gap between my actions and my ideals that I have trouble resolving. Eating meat is one; buying cheap tank tops at Target that were probably made by third-world children is another; being an Amazon affiliate here at Like Fire is the third. And possibly the most problematic, because while eating meat and buying outsourced clothing is a personal choice, by setting up all the book links on this site to funnel back to Amazon I’m encouraging our readers to follow along.

I have reasons, even if they’re not stellar. The “New and Noteworthy” sidebar is an Amazon plugin that lets me feed in a series of ISBNs and end up with a nice (and hopefully useful) feature. But mostly I find Amazon is good reference, returning a lot of information you can use in a lot of ways. Whether or not you think that kind of data monopoly is a good or bad thing, there it is. What I do believe is that Like Fire readers are intelligent and aware and capable of making up their own minds as to where and how they wish to purchase their books.

Which is to say: Independent bookstores and small presses where possible. Granted, those aren’t always viable options. But when the choice presents itself, they’re good ideas.

In that spirit, here’s a small sampling of 10 Indie Publishers and 10 Books You Might Not Have Heard of For All the Wrong Reasons from Flatman Crooked, an independent online and print publishing house out of Sacramento. While you’ve probably heard of a few of them, probably McSweeney’s and maybe Dzanc, take the time to check out Mud Luscious, Featherproof Books, Hobart, and the rest. They may not have that ring of familiarity you get from your Amazon recommendations, but today’s small press author could be next year’s breakout bestseller—this is how you Know Them When. As Elijah Jenkins says,

I hate to think that it is the fate of indie presses to take all the risks and then lose authors to larger publishers when they’ve been vetted on smaller stages. But, if it is to be our lot, so be it.

Take a chance; try something new and strange. At the very least you stand to soothe the collective conscience, if just a little.


1 Comment to The Like Fire Guilty Conscience Speaks Out

  1. Kat Warren's Gravatar Kat Warren
    April 10, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s far more likely that independent presses can be “saved” than can independent bookstores.

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