The Literary Catastrophe of Kindle Unlimited

TLDR: Since July 2014, Amazon has used Kindle Unlimited to transfer $5 billion to itself that would have otherwise gone to authors and publishers under the traditional ebook sales royalty arrangement.

Our original plan for Castalia House, launched in 2013, was to focus entirely on publishing ebooks. After all, ebooks were the future, the technologies were only going to improve, and the level playing field of Amazon allowed even a solitary self-publisher to compete with the star authors of the Big Five publishers. The industry analysts even projected that total US ebook revenues would rise from $2.34 billion to $8.6 billion by 2018!

Sure, there were some minor concerns about Amazon’s launch of 47 North and other genre publishing imprints in 2011, especially since its cherry-picked authors seemed to be sitting at the top of the various bestseller lists for inordinately long periods of time, but no one, besides the Big Five, was at all concerned about Amazon, which was making around 35 percent of every ebook sale, turning on the writers who were making the Kindle platform so successful and making bank by doing so. It was a win-win situation, or so everyone thought.

In retrospect, that unnecessary desire to take advantage of the ability to offer its own products on its own platform was the tell that everyone missed, including us.

Kindle Unlimited was launched in April 2014. And while many authors were dubious about putting their books into the exclusive Kindle Select program, Castalia House initially regarded it with indifference. It seemed harmless, and a potentially good way to reach new readers, who might become future buyers once they became familiar with new authors through the monthly all-you-can-read buffet. My original response was as follows:

  • My initial impression is that this is excellent for serious readers.
  • Casual readers, book collectors, and fans of particular authors aren’t likely to be too fussed about it.
  • It is horrific for the Big Five publishers and their writers, as their unwillingness to participate indicates.
  • It’s neutral to modestly positive for independent publishers, their writers, and self-publishers.  

However, by December 2014, I’d changed my mind on the last point.

  • It appears I was correct about the first three points and wrong about the last one. I wasn’t aware of the relevant math, but it is entirely clear that $120 < $5,200 and $1.33 < $3.50. The math doesn’t work for the writer.
  • So, my revised conclusion is that Kindle Unlimited is likely to prove massively unpopular among successful self-published writers, of no interest to independent publishers and their writers, and off-limits to mainstream published writers. Barring significant changes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon ended up discontinuing it within two or three years. If they don’t, Kindle Unlimited will likely become a digital books ghetto filled with little more than romance, porn, and conspiracy theory written by unknown authors who can’t draw interest from independent publishers.

Castalia House did end up dabbling a little in the Kindle Select waters for a time, but by 2018, we’d recognized that the situation was an unfolding disaster for every single writer and every single publishing house. That’s why we turned our efforts to direct sales, created Castalia Library, and pulled all of our books from Audible and Kindle Select. We don’t even sell our ebooks on Amazon anymore, much less participate in the Kindle Select program, and November 2023 was the best sales month we’ve ever had. Amazon is now entirely irrelevant to us.

But the overall situation in the publishing industry has turned out to be even worse than we believed it to be, and recall, we believed it was bad enough to entirely jump ship and start building our own distribution network before most people even thought there was a serious problem.

Considerably more details on the next page. If you’re a writer, you definitely need to continue reading.

Continue reading “The Literary Catastrophe of Kindle Unlimited”

Zelensky in the Bunker

It appears that the days of the Zelensky regime are numbered, as even his allies are preparing to remove him from office:

I read a new report which seems completely believable given the somewhat ‘strange’ and inconsistent tactics of the grand counteroffensive, that essentially Zaluzhny in some ways ‘threw’ the offensive. Not deliberately sabotaged it per se—but rather that Zelensky really wanted an “all in” approach, maximum meat sacrificed, while Zaluzhny played it extremely safe after the disastrous opening, where the 47th and other brigades were mauled, with the famous Leopard/Bradley orgies of destruction. If you’ve noticed, since that point, the offensive devolved into a very cagey company-at-a-time approach that seemed more like an endless probative action rather than full on multi-brigade combined arms maneuvers into one direction. According to this opinion, this was a deliberate attempt of Zaluzhny’s to countervail the ‘orders of sacrifice’ and save as many men as possible.

Zaluzhny has been known to be the one calling for defensive fortifications and a retreat from various blood-baths like Bakhmut and Avdeevka, while Zelensky has always pushed forward to not give an inch, same as currently happening in Avdeevka. So it seems Zaluzhny has always been the one most amenable to whatever will save the men’s lives.

Now onto the second thing regarding Hersh’s claims. The confidante made some tongue-in-cheek mention of Zelensky’s ‘trip to the Caribbean’ being prepared. Ironically, a new such report actually did hit the streets, which claims that a secret operation is already underway to prepare Zelensky’s relocation to the U.S.

A US Secret Service agent who wished to remain anonymous has revealed to DCWeekly details about the arrangements being made for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s relocation to the United States. The agent claims that the Biden administration has issued orders to ensure the safety and accommodation of President Zelensky’s family starting in the spring of 2024. This decision is based on the belief that Zelensky’s presidency in Ukraine may conclude next year, and remaining in Ukraine thereafter could pose security risks.

And certainly, the way in which the Zelensky regime has been observably trying to freeze out and minimize the Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, while someone has been assassinating his deputies, does point toward a serious struggle for control of the regime.

Whether of this makes any difference at all, given the fact that Russia doesn’t have to agree to any of the terms that will be proposed by a post-Zelensky regime, remains to be seen. While Russia would have settled for the recovery of the Crimea and the two Donbass republics two years ago, there is no reason it should do so now that it has already recovered and annexed those regions. I can’t imagine Russia now agreeing to settle for anything less than Odessa, Kherson, and Nikolayev, an end to all European sanctions, and the complete demilitarization of Ukraine.


Russia’s Volkskriege

Big Serge explains the transformation of the Russian approach to its war with NATO/Ukraine:

Russia began a Kabinettskriege in 2022 when it invaded Ukraine, and found itself mired in something closer to a Volkskriege. Russia’s mode of operation and war aims would have been instantly recognizable to a 17th Century statesman – the Russian professional army attempted to defeat the Ukrainian professional army and achieve limited territorial gains (the Donbas and recognition of Crimea’s legal status). They called this a “special military operation.”

Instead, the Ukrainian state has decided – like the French National Government – to fight to the death. To Bismarck’s demands for Alace-Lorraine, the French simply said “there can be no reply but Guerre a Outrance” – war to the utmost. Putin’s cabinet war – limited war for limited aims – exploded into a national war.

Unlike Bismarck, however, Putin has opted to see Ukraine’s raise. My suggestion – and it is only that – is that Putin’s dual decisions in the autumn of last year to announce a mobilization and to annex the disputed Ukrainian territories amounted to a tacit agreement to Ukraine’s Volkskrieg.

In the debate between Moltke and Bismarck, Putin has chosen to follow Moltke’s lead, and wage the war of extermination. Not – and again we stress this – a war of genocide, but a war which will destroy Ukraine as a strategically potent entity. Already the seeds are sown and the fruit begins to bud – a Ukrainian democide, achieved through battlefield attrition and the mass exodus of prime age civilians, an economy in shambles and a state that is cannibalizing itself as it reaches the limits of its resources.

There is a model for this – ironically, Germany itself. After the Second World War, it was decided that Germany – now held to account for two terrible conflagrations – could simply not be allowed to persist as a geopolitical entity. In 1945, after Hitler shot himself, the allies did not demand the spoils of a Cabinet War. There was no minor annexation here, no redrawn border there. Instead, Germany was annihilated. Her lands were divided, her self-governance was abolished. Her people lingered on in a stygian exhaustion, their political form and life now a plaything of the victor – precisely what Moltke wanted to do to France.

Putin is not going to leave a geostrategically intact Ukraine which will seek to retake the Donbas and exact revenge, or become a potent forward base for NATO. Instead, he will transform Ukraine into a Trashcanistan that can never wage a war of revanchism.

Clausewitz warned us.

This is why studying history, even as an amateur hobbyist, is invaluable. The ability to recognize the patterns that play repeatedly play out over time will often provide the intelligent, but informed amateur a better basis for understanding and anticipating events than the professionals and political decision makers.

It’s educational to note that while the professionals and politicians never understood the significance of the Special Military Operation designation, many of the armchair military historians did.


DECEMBER: The Thousand Worlds

The December book of the month is THE THOUSAND WORLDS, a hardcover omnibus that includes three science fiction novels by Rod Walker: MUTINY IN SPACE, ALIEN GAME, and YOUNG MAN’S WAR. They are written in the style of Robert Heinlein’s juvenile novels, with a strong emphasis on themes of freedom, responsibility, and self-discipline.

THE THOUSAND WORLDS will be on sale at a 20 percent discount on the Arkhaven store for the month of December. Shipping is free, and the purchase also includes all three ebooks in DRM-free EPUB format.

A sample from MUTINY IN SPACE.

The night everything fell apart, I was sitting on the couch in my mom’s apartment, watching a video on my screen, when Sergei stalked inside. He had grown a scraggly beard that he thought made him look like a revolutionary, but just made him look dirty, and he had taken to wearing the unofficial uniform of the Social Party activists—black T-shirt, black jacket, and a black stocking cap all marked with a red fist that was supposed to represent the blood of the oppressed or something.

It was too hot for the jacket and the cap, but I didn’t tell Sergei that.

“Mom here?” said Sergei.

I shrugged. “Haven’t seen her. I was with Corbin all day.”

He sneered. “That loser?”

“He’s not a loser,” I said.

“He’s a reactionary,” said Sergei. “A running dog of the old order. When the revolution comes, men like him will learn their place.”

“He’s a starship mechanic,” I said, turning my attention back to my screen. “Men like him make three times more money than Mom.”

“Mom helps advance the cause of the revolution,” said Sergei. “Corbin repairs the machines of corporate profiteers.”

“Yep,” I said. “And when the revolution comes, he’ll repair the machines of the revolutionaries or they won’t be going anywhere.”


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People are Still Dying and They are Still Lying

You may recall that I wrote, before the vaccines even began to be administered en masse, that the one thing its advocates would not be able to deny would be the body count. But that does not mean they are not going to try.

Heart attacks among young people in England are on the rise, MailOnline analysis shows. Cases in some younger age groups have almost doubled over the last decade, with rates in under-40s as whole rising by a quarter.

Our revelation comes after the death of 29-year-old mother Lauren Page Smith, who was discovered lying on her bathroom floor with her two-year-old daughter clinging to her chest just hours after paramedics had given her the all-clear.

Experts say the rise, which has become increasingly obvious in the wake of Covid, is down to a multitude of factors, including rising obesity rates in the young. Over half of under 35s are now overweight or obese.

Being too fat is a major contributor to heart attacks, as critical arteries get clogged over time.

Fears that Covid vaccines may have fuelled the increase are way off the mark, top cardiologists have said.  Heart attack admissions were broadly increasing across most adult age groups, including the young, before the pandemic took off. 

Why ARE so many young people suffering heart attacks? DAILY MAIL 1 December 2023

Sooner or later, there will be a well-deserved reckoning for the great evil that these men and women have committed in the name of science and public health. They’re not going to be able to hide their crimes against the naive, credulous, and innocent public forever. Not when the mainstream media is already being forced to publicly address the obvious questions, however deceitfully.

UPDATE: Literally no one is buying it.

  • Those with a memory will point out to a document that was published by the CDC in 2020 that listed HEART ATTACK and DEATH as a list of possible side effects of taking the product that we all know has caused this issue.
  • Started with that footballer not long after they were pushing the jabs for travel. The media have a lot to answer for. Athletes seem the badly affected especially.
  • Even when faced with evidence people still try to deny the real reason. Wake up.
  • Omg it is so infuriating reading this when they know damn well what the reason is as does any sane person.
  • They are really insulting our intelligence. “Feed the public lies and let them lap it up”. Do not believe anything anymore because 99% of it is lies.


Don’t See That Often

In which a term I coined – in this case, “midwit” – is correctly attributed to me.

IQ Bell Curve, also known as IQ Distribution Curve and Midwit, refers to a series of memes that use the IQ distribution diagrams to mock one of the three main groups represented by the diagram, most often targeting the largest group of people representing the average intelligence. The concept of IQ Bell Curve memes utilizes the horseshoe theory, implying that the groups with low intelligence and high intelligence often chose to follow the same goals while being guided by different reasoning. Those who possess average intelligence are referred to as “midwits.”

The word “mid-witted” was popularized by far-right activist and writer Vox Day. On February 17th, 2012, Vox Day[1] published the blog post “The tragedy of the mid-witted” in which he commented on a life story article “Lessons of a very sexy pirate costume” by Jennifer Wright.[2] In the blog post, Vox Day writes that “those who possess above-average intelligence and trouble to occasionally read newspapers and magazines tend to genuinely be under the erroneous impression that they possess superlative intelligence.”

It will be interesting to see how long that particular attribution lasts. I tend to doubt they’ll do the same with Gamma Male or Sigma Male, at least not until the SSH book is published and the terms are sufficiently clarified again.

I do find it a little confusing that people continue to refer to me as some sort of activist, given the fact that I’m almost the exact opposite of one. An activist generally doesn’t write novels or completely shun both the media and the government-corporate complex, as he is usually far too busy running around demonstrating, seeking attention, and attempting to strike up relationships with celebrities and other influential individuals.

The problem, I suspect, is that in the aftermath of the death of the late, great Umberto Eco, the term “public intellectual” has been essentially abandoned due to the way in which most figures in the public eye these days are both anti-intellectual and mid-witted.


Last Day of the Library Sale

Today is the last day of the extremely successful Castalia Library Thanksgiving Week Sale, in which Castalia is selling four Library books at a discount price of $69.99 for everyone in the USA and the UK. This includes both subscribers and non-subscribers alike; no discount codes are necessary or applicable to the books on sale. Free shipping is included.

  • The Lawdog Files
  • The Jungle Books
  • The Black Swan
  • Fooled by Randomness

Castalia Library is also selling four Libraria books at a discount price of $199.99. The same rules apply.

  • Ethics
  • Politics
  • Summa Elvetica
  • The Promethean

I can attest from personal experience there are very, very few Christmas gifts that are better received than a beautiful leatherbound book. So, it’s something you might want to consider even if you already have one of the sale books in your personal collection.


Bran Stark is Sauron

This is a theory put forth by an SG reader. I made a few minor edits for clarity.

TLDR: We know that Bran is Sauron from the nature of A Song of Ice and Fire. ASOIAF is the Satanically-inverted Lord of the Rings, so the winner, by definition, has to be Sauron. QED.

Leaving that aside, let’s look at Bran as Sauron using LOTR, the Silmarillion, the Appendices, the Bible, and vampire lore. When we look at Bran as Third-Age Sauron we have to see him as inverted from the Dark Lord all-seeing eye in the movies. We also have to see Bran as Second-Age Sauron, aka Annataur.

Second Age Sauron is a very seductive figure who Tolkien writes as the Antichrist from the Book of Revelation. Also keep in mind that vampires are a representation of the Antichrist . Now that we’ve laid that ground work, let’s look at how we know that Rape Rape made Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven (3ER) into a combination of Sauron and The One Ring.

The Wall and the Land Beyond is the inverted Mordor. Mordor is fire and ash. The land beyond The Wall is a world of ice. The White Walkers are the Black Riders. The Wall is the Mountains of Shadow and the Ash Mountains which were either raised by Sauron himself or by Morgoth as a fortress against the world. The Wall was raised to protect the world from the Three-Eyed Raven. 3ER’s cave is Barad Dur. We see Sauron watching the whole world from Barad Dur and 3ER watches the whole world from his cave and sends out emissaries from his cave.

Bran/Sauron as vampire: In ASOIAF, in the Cave Bran eats acorn paste which is highly likely the ground up remains of his friend Jojen Reed. This was done to turbo-charge his powers. This is vampiricism of Bran consuming his friend to gain more power. This is likely also some kind of satanic Eucharist, to use the Catholic term which is appropriate here.

Sauron was portrayed as a vampire in The Silmarillion. When he was defeated by Luthien, Sauron turned into a bat and flew away. Bran also sacrificed others so he could live. We saw Bran sacrifice Hodor and Bran sacrifice a whole freaking army at the Battle of the Long Night. These are the actions of Sauron, who loves to sacrifice other to advance his agenda

Sauron uses the Palantir to spy on the whole world. Likewise Bran uses the weirwood trees and ravens to spy on the whole world, and likely cause chaos as well.

More of Bran as a vampire. Bran with 3ER had to be invited into the world of the living when they were permitted to enter Castle Black from the land beyond just like how vampires have to be invited in. This has correlation to Sauron in the Second Age where first he disguised himself as Annataur, the Lord of Gifts to Celebrimbor in Eregion. He presented himself as wise and beautiful. Annataur just wanted to “heal the world” aka “Tikkun Olam” from the damage of the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age. He always provided the Noldor with hidden knowledge.

Sauron/Annataur used this hidden knowledge that he provided to pit Celebrimbor against Galadriel and divided the Elves to prevent them from uniting before he destroyed Eregion. Sauron used the same trick against the usurper king of Numenor at the end of the Second Age. He allowed himself to be taken prisoner to Numenor where he corrupted the king and people.

Bran is the inversion of Annataur. Annataur cloaked himself in beauty, wisdom and hidden knowledge. Bran cloaked himself in weakness, autism, false humility and hidden knowledge. Bran uses his hidden knowledge to pit people against each other. The best example is how he used his hidden knowledge of Jon’s true identity to pit him against Dany. This was a major cause of driving Dany mad and making her burn King’s Landing, delegitimizing Jon as a contender to the throne and paving the way for Bran’s ascension to total power

In conclusion, Bran’s actions are Sauron’s action. Bran acts as vampire, Lord of Gifts and pathetically inverted Dark Lord in Martin’s satanically-inverted manner. But it’s all good because Rape Rape approves of Bran’s tax policy.