News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wal-Mart & Amazon price war reaches AMERICA LIBRE

The battle between Wal-Mart and Amazon has escalated to more than just "marquee" authors. An hour ago, I learned Walmart has undercut the listed price of my novel AMERICA LIBRE by 19 cents, making Wal-Mart's the lowest price for my novel on the web.

Although this is a boon for readers, they should also know that if this price war keeps up, many independent bookstores may be driven out of business -- and the brick and mortar chains may not be far behind. Also, the chances for a new author to get published in this kind of environment become infinitely more staggering than they already are.

While I welcome anything that makes books more accessible for readers, I think this may prove to be a short-sighted approach that ultimately hurts everyone. There truly is no such thing as a free lunch.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez


Anonymous said...

I want to comment on your use of the name O'Connor to depict a racist, bigoted character, who is ultimately killed in your novel for a number of vile deeds.

I'm very disappointed that you chose this name, and it shows a heartbreaking ignorance of the O'Connor family's history, and what that name symbolizes for many Irish people.

Francis O'Connor was a member of the San Patricio brigade, which fought valiantly on behalf of the Mexican people during the U.S.-Mexican war.

O'Connor was captured after losing both his legs in battle, and ultimately hung, despite his disability, for choosing to stand for justice.

And let me explain to you that this man's life -- and martyr's death -- exemplified the kind of strength and character that typifies the O'Connors.

Another Francis O'Connor, the nephew of one of the men who led the Irish uprising of 1798, was one of the leaders of Simon Bolivar's army, an army that is central to the liberation of Latin America from colonial rule.

Moreover, as an Irish Catholic, the O'Connor name is one that, frankly, I revere. In the face of religious and ethnic persecution that continued for centuries -- ultimately driving much of the Gaelic leadership from the country -- the O'Connor chieftains never fled and never wavered in their faith.

Their endurance became a symbol of perseverance through a dark, and terrible time in Irish history.

I am frankly heartbroken that you would choose to disrespect that great and honorable name, by choosing it for an ignorant bigot you portray as being murdered at the hands of your novel's heroes.

-- Brian

Anonymous said...

Raul Ramos y Sanchez said...


I am familiar with the San Patricios who chose to leave the prejudice of the U.S. Army and fight on the Mexican side during the U.S.-Mexican War. If you found the choice of the name O'Connor offensive, please understand it was not meant to be.

If you know much about my writing, you may know I am quite familiar with the injustices the Irish suffered at the hands of the Know Nothings and other nativist groups during the Ellis Island era. Italians, Jews and Eastern Europeans suffered similar scorn and violence during the same period. In fact, I chose an Irish character for the role in the book to underscore the nature of assimilation. That is, someone whose ancestors were once terrorized becomes the tormentor to the most recent arrivals. In many ways, that's a microcosm of U.S. immigration.

We all have a lot to learn about each other in this still new nation. I'm grateful to you for pointing out the O'Connor legacy. It's one of which you can be rightly proud.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your response, and the good will with which it has been offered.

But I cannot swallow this pill.

We go to the same churches as you do. We go to the same schools. Priests with Irish names have preached, and demonstrated, and struggled for the rights of today's immigrants.

We share the same cemeteries and holy places.

Even our names reflect the language we brought with us from the Iberian peninsula, the language of the Gaels, spoken in that country before its conquest by the Romans.

Many of us still speak it.

And yet you give the name of one who is dear to our people to a piece of trash? One who is killed because of his "Anglo-Saxon" values?

Could you even bother to look up that name, to study its history before using it?

Would you tell the former president of Mexico Vicente Fox Fox (Sionach, in the original Gaelic) that he can't be trusted not to absorb such evil 'anglo' values because he doesn't bear the name of a conquistador?

This breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

The Turner Diaries is banned from the Walmart shelves, but your version of racist hate is for sale there? Total hypocrisy!