So I think reasonable people can agree that there are categories of use that you have no right to recoup from. And I think that, for example, search results fall into that category. You know, the fact that Amazon or Google want to show quotes from your book alongside search results for people who are trying to find out which books contain which string, I think it’s just crazy to say that you deserve to be compensated for that—even if they could figure out a way to make money off of it. Indexing books is just not in the realm of things that we deserve to get compensated for, any more than library lending is.

But here’s the thing: Regular people on the web *love* Snap previews. I know you don’t believe it — I didn’t want to believe it. But it’s completely true. In the testing and feedback I’ve seen, it’s some emotional pull about the fact that links “do something” now, instead of just being on the page. I know we all feel these people are idiots, but it’s our own geek cultural imperialism that makes us think we know better than non-techy folks.

None of that wimpy softcover action for you, no sir. You’re a man — or woman, presumably — of hard living, and you demand that your books be able to take care of themselves. Softcovers, books that require coddling, are worthless to you. Unless it can survive unscathed beneath the pedals of a Land Rover during a six-hour dash across the Kalahari, it’s just not worth your time.

The Shape of Days: Okay, now I’m gouging you