January 2011

Matthew Peterson
Author of the Parallel Worlds Series
Host of The Author Hour radio show

Matthew Peterson
Matthew Peterson

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Hi there! Hope your new year has started out well. It seems that the older I get the faster time flies by. I suppose when youíre waiting for the economy to bounce back, thatís a good thing.

The Latest Book News

Book News


 Jared in the stocks

I thought this was a cute picture of my son
in "the stocks" of our kitchen table. I sure
hope he doesn't get lead poisoning from
the wood varnish. Perhaps the government
should enact a law about that...

The book market is definitely having its ups and downs. Some companies like Amazon, who are claiming to have had a 40% sales increase this year, are having an up, while national bookstores like Borders seem to be swirling down the toilet. Iíve been seeing this trend for several years now and companies keep bailing them out.

Hereís the latest potential bailout: "Borders announced Thursday evening that GE Capital has agreed to provide the company with $550 million in new financing, but the deal is subject to a number of conditions..." Publishers arenít too happy with the state of Borders either. Itís never happiness to sink money into a company that may just go bankrupt.

Iíd hate for Borders to go out of business, but it makes me wonder why this is happening. Poor business model, poor management, dwindling customer base? Perhaps a combination of many factors. Other large brick and mortar book chains (i.e. Barnes & Noble) are not having these same difficulties... at least not to the extent of Borders.

Another news item Iíll mention is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), which is supposed to go into effect the second week of February. The CPSIA has become a thorn in the side of just about everyone who works in the manufacturing of childrenís products, including publishers. The crux of the problem is that overbearing and confusing laws are forcing publishers to spend unneeded money testing books for lead and other chemicals. Plus there is a concern for libraries/bookstores that contain older books that have not been tested. Another problem is that there arenít enough testing facilities that can handle such a large demand. These same problems span into other industries like the clothing and toy industries.

Most childrenís books are made from paper and ink, which pose more of a threat for paper cuts than for lead poisoning. What will this mean to the consumer? Perhaps higher costs, perhaps less product options, perhaps more lay-offs, perhaps a warm and fuzzy feeling seeing a label that states that the book doesnít contain harmful quantities of lead (well, duh!). Publishers might as well put a label on their books saying they donít contain arsenic, anthrax, or cooties. I know that would make me feel a lot safer... If the government is scared that too many children under the age of twelve are eating books (and thus somehow becoming poisoned from chemicals not normally found in traditional books), then perhaps we should institute classes in school to teach kids about better nutrition.

Other countries have enacted similar laws to the detriment of everyone. For example, one item I wanted to replace from my house fire was my Time Base Encoder for my video editing hobby. Itís an expensive device that I got from overseas a while ago. Well, turns out that the company canít afford to produce them anymore because the inside components contain lead. Arrg! What does their government think people are going to do with their electronics? Pry open up the devices and lick the solder off of microchips or something!

Okay, I'll get off my high horse about this topic. I'm sure that the CPSIA originated with good intentions (i.e. to protect children from potential hazards). But you don't burn down an entire forest to get to one sick tree. Instead you isolate and rectify the problem, while making exclusions so innocent bystanders don't get hurt.

Family Life

 At the Suns game
Matt and Alicia at a Phoenix Suns game

 William Joseph and Alicia Peterson
William Joseph and Alicia at musical production

Life has been uneventful for me this month, but not for my wife. She sang with 200+ people at the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction in Scottsdale. It was shown on the Speed Channel. Her high school friend, William Joseph (the man in the last picture) organized the music for the event. William played the piano at our wedding reception oh so many years ago. Heís since gone on to do great things with his music: opening for many famous people, creating albums and touring the country. I think he was even on a Dr. Phil episode once about child prodigies.

Anyway, it was a fun event for my wife, especially since she got to perform. I suspect that sometimes she wishes she could tour the country, singing or playing the piano. Sheís very good at both.

I went to my first Phoenix Suns basketball game (the first picture). They lost, but it was pretty fun. Iíve never been so close to the court before. The referees gave new meaning to the phrase ďblind as a bat.Ē

Last remarks...

Every once in a while, I contemplate my life and the direction Iím going. I certainly am not where I thought Iíd be at age 35, but Iím sure Iíll say that at 45 and 55. Looking back, my successes outweigh my failures, but I canít help but want more. Time is my enemy right now. I never have enough of it. Perhaps Iím nearing the age where I should be having my mid-life crisis. Oh, well, at least I still have my hair! Until next time....


Matthew Peterson - 20403 N. Lake Pleasant Road, Ste. 117-125, Peoria, AZ 85382