Why the bookstore chains are dying

Two of my favourite authors have published new books this year and I’ve been waiting to read them for some time. The books:

Last man in the tower by Arvind Adiga, and
River of Smoke by Amitava Ghosh

I ventured into the Waterstone’s store 100m from my house with an intention to buy the books. They had only the hardcover versions (expected) priced at £20 & ~£18. I wasn’t willing to pay that much for the books. Checked a few other books around, paperbacks all. None was cheaper than £7.99. Didn’t like anything much, so walked out.

Came home and checked on Amazon – the £18 book was priced at £8.99 while the £20 book was available for £11.99 – new copies in hardcover. Immediately ordered the £8.99 book and added the other to wishlist for ordering after I’ve finished the current book and the ordered one. By then that book may be available in paperback too.

P.S.: If the chain bookstores, with their scale, centralised buying and logistics networks can’t come close to competing with Amazon, how can the little, standalone guys survive? And frankly, I’ll miss the small, standalone neighbourhood bookstores a lot more than the likes of Borders and Waterstones

NotW is no more Whattay brilliant move by…

NotW is no more.

Whattay brilliant move by The Empire – the subject of all that bad publicity disappears, the key people in the publication are safe, Dave Cameron gets something to present as outcome of his tough talk … and, eventually, get rewarded for their swift corrective action with the ownership of BSkyB.

As for the other media organisations making a big thing out of this, they were clearly warned by Dave Cameron yesterday when he announced that the new enquiries will focus on behaviour of not just NotW but all media organisations in the country. Barely a veiled threat from a PM who has one ex-head of NotW as his personal head of media relations and another as his close friend and neighbour.

I doubt if Ed Mill shouting from the rooftops can do anything to hurt the Conservative-NewsCorp alliance.

It’s 5:30 AM and I’m still awake Spent…

It’s 5:30 AM and I’m still awake. Spent half the night reading on greader and, just as sleep started to envelope me, got an invite to Google+ in my mailbox. For the last hour or so been creating my profile and testing out the features.

Like it so far, perhaps this will become my alternative to Facebook (quit 2.5 yrs back) and Twitter (been inactive for almost 2 months now).

Thanks Harry prah!

P.S.: Missing my Nexus One even more, what with the G+ app on android.

First encounter with Box Hill

Surrey Downs & Box Hill ride

The original plan was to ride to Brighton but having started really late, it became clear by the 1/3rd distance mark that I wasn’t going to make it in time for a return train. So, after getting over the Surrey Downs, I changed route and headed over to the famous Box Hill.

Frankly, it was a disappointment at first. I kept waiting for a killer climb but nothing came and suddenly I found myself in middle of the Box Hill village. This famous climb into Box Hill is featuring prominently in the road race at next year’s Olympics yet even the couple of Cat 5 climbs (acc to MapMyRide) in Surrey Downs had been much harder. The disappointment (actually, relief) was short-lived.

A quick review of the area on Google Maps in terrain view revealed a sharply rising road on other side of the village called, appropriately, Zig Zag road. At that point, I had two options – to head back the way I had come and just mark Box Hill as conquered or to head down the Zig Zag road and see for myself how much of a challenge it’d be.

Well, when I looked up after the first switchback on the way down to see how high the car I had just passed was, it became clear I may have bitten more than my legs & wheels could chew. Thankfully, I still had an exit clause. I could take an alternate route by passing Box Hill and climbing barely half of what ZZ road required in over 4 times the distance.

Took a short break, had a sizzling hot hotdog, a pepsi and some rest. Also used the time to research a bit and discovered that it was this Zig Zag road clilmb that was to feature on the Olympic road race route, not the easy tweasy route I had taken up earlier.

That bit of info was reason enough, so headed back up the Zig Zag rd.

Thankfully, saw a couple of other riders on MTBs just about 100m ahead of me so put in a bit of extra effort and quickly caught up with them. After that it was just a matter of using whatever of my will- & leg-power I could muster to stick with them. Made the climb without stopping even once and at least half the credit goes to those two fellas. Having them around prevented me from giving up midway or even stopping to take a break. It was the first time I realised how having a training partner, or few, could help one stretch self farther and improve faster.

After cresting the hill and passing through the village, it was a clean, mostly level or slightly downhill, 12 km stretch before I hit civilisation and red lights again. So, gave it a go and averaged, despite three red lights a little over 30kmph in that section. Once I entered Sutton though, it was just another urban ride with the magic of Surrey Downs and Box Hill well behind me. It became so boring that after a short break to buy some water, I even forgot to start the garmin (add 2.6km to the distance in the pic above for actual ride distance). Took a slightly roundabout way home so I could complete 100kms on the garmin and tick off this week’s century ride.

Done :)

P.S.: Just saw that I have totalled 859kms so far in June. Wondering if I should go for a 41-ish km ride tomorrow to take that total above 900 mark :)
P.P.S.: Total for the year, despite the dismal first 4 months, now reads 1200 miles. Still 520 odd miles short of Martin. I had planned to equal his mileage this year. Seems now like a tough ask.

Love the rain in LDN these days it…

Love the rain in LDN these days – it pours well, more like the monsoon back home than the dreary, fickly drizzle this city usually gets.
I love the sun – always have, but more so in LDN since I know I’ll soon be spending months in a row begging for a good sight of it.

The rain, accompanied by those loud thunderstorms and lightening, wrecked my plans for a century ride to Brighton today. Still, finding it really hard to diss it. In fact, wishing for some more… rather lots more… before a dry day tomorrow :)