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In all the fuss over digital vs. paper, cord cutters vs. subscribers, this format vs. that one, two stories crossed my inbox today that showed me, yet again, even in this digital age, the two most important things—quality and availability—remain the same. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, in what format, via what technology or medium—quality and availability always come first.

Exhibit A: Netflix Turfs Viacom

Laura Hazard Owen is one of many who reported about Netflix declining to renew their contract with Viacom. The fallout? Millions of unhappy parents whose children enjoyed streaming episodes of Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

availability and qualityAmidst the amusing anecdata on the disheartened children and ruined birthday parties came the tidbit that Amazon Prime actually still has these shows. So, what’s a parent of a toddler to do? Well, they’ll weigh their own use over their child’s, and decide for themselves whether they’d miss Netflix all that much.

Personally, we don’t have the toddler relatives over often enough that we care that much. And while I love me some Netflix, the Beloved is a pickier viewer than I am, and he’s been dismayed at the quantity of the updates lately. If he had another option (alas, we don’t have Amazon streaming here in the wilderness hinterlands of Canada), I suspect he would happily jump ship.

Exhibit B: Charlaine Harris Disappoints Her Fans

The final instalment in the popular Sookie Stackhouse series (the basis for the show True Blood) just came out and the reviews are absolutely scathing. Take this one, for instance:

“The decline in reader ratings on both Goodreads and Amazon.com for each successive book since From Dead to Worse is testament to the fact the author has lost her passion for and interest in these characters. Maybe this series was stretched out just a little too long. Slapping words together for a paycheck is not the hallmark of a great author, even if you do have a few New York Times bestsellers under your belt.”

Or this one:

“Thank you for teaching me a very valuable lesson. I will never waste another dollar or minute of my time on anything you write again.”

That just goes to show you: Fame or no fame, you write a bad book, and the people will punish you for it! Harris won’t get some of these folks to buy again even if she does have a ‘big’ publishing house behind her!

 
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