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As regular visitors to The Review have surely noticed, I have never permitted Internet advertising on our website, and have no plans to change this policy in the future. I regard typical display ads as garish, distracting, and totally wasteful of screen space, while sometimes greatly increasing the load time of pages. Plus these days they generate negligible revenue. Why would any rational publisher allocate 20% of his screen real estate to annoying ads that merely cover 5% of his operational expenses?

However, there is one special exception to this general rule, and I’m sure people have noticed that over the last couple of days our website has begun running advertisements for books, books that were either written by our regular contributors or are otherwise closely related to the topics our website covers. Initially the selection of books has been quite limited, but as time goes by we will surely expand our coverage. And since Amazon pays our website a small commission on any books or other items purchased, this allows readers a very convenient means of supporting our website and its writers, without the irritation of fundraising drives or similar interruptions.

These promoted books are presented in several different ways. First, both the Home page and the standard Sidebars now display three books randomly drawn from our featured set, with the “Read Me” buttons providing access to those of our articles that review, excerpt, or otherwise relate to the book in question. Second, all the thousands of articles by any of our columnists now automatically contain links to a selection of their published books, so that readers who find their writing impressive can easily obtain much more of it. And finally, the “Books” link in the top menu provides access to a selection of our published reviews and the books they cover, for now just a dozen or two, but intended to become much more numerous in the future:

http://www.unz.com/review/

One sad consequences of the sharp decline of our daily print media is the the tremendous loss of effective distribution channels for serious books, and perhaps our webzine, with its steadily growing traffic and highly involved readership may partly compensate for this disturbing state of affairs by becoming a useful distribution channel for the sorts of books regularly ignored by our mainstream media. At least that’s the theory; whether it becomes a reality depends upon you, our readers, so feel free to provide your comments or suggestions.

 

Meanwhile, several readers have said that since some of our discussion-threads grow exceptionally long, with 100, 200, or 300 comments, they would prefer some means of examining only those comments that attracted particular attention. I’ve always been reluctant to allow casual Liking or Disliking of comments lest feuding and gang-warfare become even more of a serious problem, but the system does allow established commenters who have saved their user information to apply one Agree or Disagree per hour to a comment; and there is now a “Agrees/Disagrees Only” button that temporarily hides all other comments, allowing a 300-comment thread to be reduced to the five or ten comments have have attracted such responses.

Also, I was notified that the Agrees and Disagrees were not being shown on the Commenting History pages, and that problem has now been fixed.

 

Finally, I should mention that our November traffic numbers once again broke records, easily topping 1.8M pageviews. Our small webzine is obviously not in the league of The Huffington Post or National Review, but we’ve certainly come a great distance in a very short time, with our readership up 60% in just the last twelve months.

 
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  1. excellent idea, thanks. I’ve already seen several titles of interest. And Unz R., unlike the declining socialist HuffPo and neo-con’d National Cuck, will no doubt continue to take off

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  2. Mark Green says: • Website

    Unz Review is definitely among my favorite sites on the entire web.

    It already boasts a very diverse, daring and distinguished collection of writers. And so far, the guardians of political discourse have been unable to transform its mission, which might be loosely characterized as 1) unfettered dissection of assorted sacred cows, 2) unfiltered free speech, and 3) an unabashed commitment to personal liberty and intellectual freedom.

    In the atrophied marketplace of political ideas (where political correctness seemingly contaminates all opinion and analysis) Unz Review is an exhilarating alternative.

    Congratulations, Ron. Your success is well-deserved.

    Keep up the outstanding work!

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  3. Harold says:

    Also, I was notified that the Agrees and Disagrees were not being shown on the Commenting History pages, and that problem has now been fixed.

    Yay!

    Are you interested in bugs however inconsequential?

    Here is a bug likely to never come up:
    http://www.unz.com/announcement/book-distribution-instead-of-internet-advertising/?highlight=a

    I have mentioned some bugs elsewhere that haven’t been fixed so I don’t know if you are aware of them. I hesitate to mention them again in fear of being annoying.

    I will re-mention the italic bug because it is related to another (small) issue:

    Before this paragraph is an italic opening tag.

    After this paragraph is an italic closing tag.

    The related issue is that they are both italic in the preview box and this is just one of a few ways I have noticed the preview box doesn’t correspond to the comment.

    For example &lt is a less than sign in the preview box. Emoji are not stripped out in the preview box.

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  4. Have you considered anthologizing some of the posts here and packaging them as ebooks? Since the text will already be in HTML it is relatively easy to convert to .epub format (for distribution at Apple, Kobo, etc.) and thence (via Amazon’s free Kindlegen software) to .mobi for distribution at KDP (Amazon’s ebook platform). Amazon pays as much as 70% of the cover-price to the publisher (varies with price), and the other outlets have broadly similar terms. You could also sell the ebooks directly from here and keep 100%; you would need to keep the prices the same everywhere as Amazon always tries to match the lowest price. That is, if your ebook is priced at $5 at Amazon and $4 at Kobo, Amazon will reduce their price to $4.

    You could either collect posts dealing with individual topics or those written by the same author; or both, of course. Authors might want to donate their share to the site, or negotiate a fair recompense, bearing in mind that they would not otherwise have been paid for hitherto dormant material.

    If you are minded to include the comments, an obstacle exists in that copyright in these presumably belongs at present to their authors. You might want to consider a change in the terms and conditions of posting, such that comments may be reproduced without payment.

    Just an idea. The financial cost would be zero; the main investment would be time. If you need more info on formatting epubs, the go-to guy is Paul Salvette at BB eBooks. He has a very helpful web site and has also published an up-to-date guide.

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    • Agree: Hail, Mark Green, Clyde
    • Replies: @Hail
    Paper books as well. Why not? There remains a great prestige in paper books. IMO. Unz Review is an Internet-driven forum, and it works, but it can also feed paper book printing (reversing the former model, now in continuous decline, of paper publications feeding Internet content). Even just as a prestige project, this is worth it -- because so much of the content here is so valuable.

    Seeing some of Steve Sailer's greatest hits in tangible form would be great. Perhaps a series of smaller books divided up by topic? Someone smarter at these things than I can come up with a way to do it.

    To my knowledge, Sailer's only published book remains his Obama biographical analysis book in 2008. I dream of the day we can see books of Steve Sailer's compiled writings on display in bookstores, just as commentators like Chomsky's are now.

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  5. Hail says: • Website

    The Unz comment section is the best designed I know of.

    One small oddity: Why are comments not searchable (“ctrl-f”-able)? If I want to quickly find, say, comment #182 on a particular thread, it seems I cannot search it. The comment numbers somehow are not highlightable and do not show up in ctrl-f.

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    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    One small oddity: Why are comments not searchable (“ctrl-f”-able)?
     
    Actually, the text of comments is fully searchable via Ctrl-F. However, comment numbers are automatically generated in HTML via the <li> tag, so they don't show up in the HTML as numbers, and hence aren't searchable via Ctrl-F.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. Hail says: • Website
    @Thomas Fuller
    Have you considered anthologizing some of the posts here and packaging them as ebooks? Since the text will already be in HTML it is relatively easy to convert to .epub format (for distribution at Apple, Kobo, etc.) and thence (via Amazon's free Kindlegen software) to .mobi for distribution at KDP (Amazon's ebook platform). Amazon pays as much as 70% of the cover-price to the publisher (varies with price), and the other outlets have broadly similar terms. You could also sell the ebooks directly from here and keep 100%; you would need to keep the prices the same everywhere as Amazon always tries to match the lowest price. That is, if your ebook is priced at $5 at Amazon and $4 at Kobo, Amazon will reduce their price to $4.

    You could either collect posts dealing with individual topics or those written by the same author; or both, of course. Authors might want to donate their share to the site, or negotiate a fair recompense, bearing in mind that they would not otherwise have been paid for hitherto dormant material.

    If you are minded to include the comments, an obstacle exists in that copyright in these presumably belongs at present to their authors. You might want to consider a change in the terms and conditions of posting, such that comments may be reproduced without payment.

    Just an idea. The financial cost would be zero; the main investment would be time. If you need more info on formatting epubs, the go-to guy is Paul Salvette at BB eBooks. He has a very helpful web site and has also published an up-to-date guide.

    Paper books as well. Why not? There remains a great prestige in paper books. IMO. Unz Review is an Internet-driven forum, and it works, but it can also feed paper book printing (reversing the former model, now in continuous decline, of paper publications feeding Internet content). Even just as a prestige project, this is worth it — because so much of the content here is so valuable.

    Seeing some of Steve Sailer’s greatest hits in tangible form would be great. Perhaps a series of smaller books divided up by topic? Someone smarter at these things than I can come up with a way to do it.

    To my knowledge, Sailer’s only published book remains his Obama biographical analysis book in 2008. I dream of the day we can see books of Steve Sailer’s compiled writings on display in bookstores, just as commentators like Chomsky’s are now.

    Read More
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  7. Ron Unz says:
    @Hail
    The Unz comment section is the best designed I know of.

    One small oddity: Why are comments not searchable ("ctrl-f"-able)? If I want to quickly find, say, comment #182 on a particular thread, it seems I cannot search it. The comment numbers somehow are not highlightable and do not show up in ctrl-f.

    One small oddity: Why are comments not searchable (“ctrl-f”-able)?

    Actually, the text of comments is fully searchable via Ctrl-F. However, comment numbers are automatically generated in HTML via the <li> tag, so they don’t show up in the HTML as numbers, and hence aren’t searchable via Ctrl-F.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Harold
    Your comment has munged this page (on both up-to-date Firefox and my old mobile Safari). Seemingly by whatever comes just after “Generated in HTML via the”

    Suggestion: A “less” link/button, or whatever you call it, to go with the “more” one. Someone on a recent comment thread made a comment that, when expanded, was so long that it would have been convenient to collapse it again. Also, the more link/button could be a bit less obtrusive.

    thanks for all your good work.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. Harold says:
    @Ron Unz

    One small oddity: Why are comments not searchable (“ctrl-f”-able)?
     
    Actually, the text of comments is fully searchable via Ctrl-F. However, comment numbers are automatically generated in HTML via the <li> tag, so they don't show up in the HTML as numbers, and hence aren't searchable via Ctrl-F.

    Your comment has munged this page (on both up-to-date Firefox and my old mobile Safari). Seemingly by whatever comes just after “Generated in HTML via the”

    Suggestion: A “less” link/button, or whatever you call it, to go with the “more” one. Someone on a recent comment thread made a comment that, when expanded, was so long that it would have been convenient to collapse it again. Also, the more link/button could be a bit less obtrusive.

    thanks for all your good work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    Suggestion: A “less” link/button, or whatever you call it, to go with the “more” one. Someone on a recent comment thread made a comment that, when expanded, was so long that it would have been convenient to collapse it again.
     
    Good suggestion. I just added a "Hide MORE" button to the system, but you'll need to refresh your browser in order to load the updated Javascript and CSS for it to have effect.
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  9. Hail says: • Website

    Something has happened that has distorted the comment thread here. A faulty tag?

    I have seen this happen before when people try to make links surrounded by square brackets, for some reason.

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  10. Ron Unz says:
    @Harold
    Your comment has munged this page (on both up-to-date Firefox and my old mobile Safari). Seemingly by whatever comes just after “Generated in HTML via the”

    Suggestion: A “less” link/button, or whatever you call it, to go with the “more” one. Someone on a recent comment thread made a comment that, when expanded, was so long that it would have been convenient to collapse it again. Also, the more link/button could be a bit less obtrusive.

    thanks for all your good work.

    Suggestion: A “less” link/button, or whatever you call it, to go with the “more” one. Someone on a recent comment thread made a comment that, when expanded, was so long that it would have been convenient to collapse it again.

    Good suggestion. I just added a “Hide MORE” button to the system, but you’ll need to refresh your browser in order to load the updated Javascript and CSS for it to have effect.

    Read More
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  11. AKAHorace says:

    Unz,

    I realize that serious political commentary is increasingly threatened my the superficiality and conformism of the main stream media. But, can we have some more ads with slutty looking women ? We need a balance here.

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    • Replies: @Pontius
    And I'll never know that one weird trick that causes dermatologists to hate her.
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  12. in case any are unaware, here’s another great RonUnz-provided online resource:

    http://unz.org/Pub/AllPeriodicals?Category=AllMedia

    hundreds of classic political/cultural journals and magazines, many in complete runs

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    • Agree: res, Hail, Richard S
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  13. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    As for your statement that your “small webzine is obviously not in the league of The Huffington Post or National Review,” I’d like to say that the intellectual/analytical quality of the small number of articles that you publish is far far above anything you find in Huffington Post (the other publication I don’t even know). There’s nothing like Mike Whitney, Paul Craig Roberts, The Saker, Philip Giraldi or – yeah – Pat Buchanan, etc. in Huffington Post. Plus the mere quality of writing (style, rhetoric) is way better than girlie undergraduate essays in the other publication.

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  14. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    What is the end game here?

    Surely you are not out to run a little vanity webzine?

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  15. JackOH says:

    ” [F]euding and gang warfare . . .”. One site where I discontinued commenting had a comments section that was pretty much shot through with just that, although I couldn’t think of a phrase to describe it at the time. Maybe 300 or 400 comments beneath a well-written article, and 90% or more of those comments were canned thoughts uttered in predictable phrases with minor variations regardless of the article’s subject.

    I’m a newcomer to “UR”, and I’m glad too see you in business, Ron. The material you publish has the frankness and forthrightness I imagine could be heard at a city club or faculty get-together back in 1915, but likely not today.

    I second the writer above who suggested book publication, maybe a “Best of Unz Review”, with a promotional speaking tour by some of the writers.

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  16. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    One suggestion – I AM interested in books that you suggest. However, I hail from the UK. Thus, I buy from amazon.co.uk, not from amazon.com. I am sure I am not alone. Perhaps it would make sense (and certainly no real effort) to arrange that, for people with the UK IP addresses, a book link would redirect to the UK site, with the commission arrangement suitably updated?

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    • Agree: Hail
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  17. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Just discovered your website. Clearly one of the best. Appreciate your rejection of ads and pop-ups. Keep it up!

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  18. Harold says:

    I just added a “Hide MORE” button to the system

    Great! And even before the figurative ink was figuratively dry on my suggestion!

    Maybe there should be a link to the page with all books right by the featured books.

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  19. Max Payne says:

    I’m now asking myself… how did I find unz.com?

    Every writer on this website is new to me.

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  20. Mr. Unz, I found your ‘zine seeking Fred Reed who used to write for WashTimes many years ago. Unz is a fine publication, may the success continue.

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  21. Pontius says:
    @AKAHorace
    Unz,


    I realize that serious political commentary is increasingly threatened my the superficiality and conformism of the main stream media. But, can we have some more ads with slutty looking women ? We need a balance here.

    And I’ll never know that one weird trick that causes dermatologists to hate her.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  22. The two sites I spend the most time at, are Facebook and this one. And on Facebook, I spend a lot of my time basically rehashing stuff I read here, often with other people who’ve also read it here.

    I like the new book ads. Most ads are vulgar crap, and so should be eschewed by any serious website, but these ads actually enhance the overall site experience. Of course, in most cases, I’ve either read the book already, or decided not to (because you can’t read everything good, alas), but I’m sure I’ll eventually come across something I need to purchase.

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  23. Ron, when will you provide a paper version of your new book for purchase on Amazon? Some of us don’t read on Kindle. I was looking forward to reading, asap, “The Myth of American Meritocracy.”
    Thanks for a magnificent site.
    ilana

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    • Agree: Hail
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