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on May 20, 2014
If you ever been to a concert or sporting event and want to know what all of the hustle is about when it comes to tickets. This book provides some meaningful insight on what the lifestyle is all about. Clancy Martin does an excellent job at writing a brief, succinct story that keeps you engaged. If you want a short read that is the price of a Starbuck's coffee and you can easily finish while you are having that coffee, then I would definitely recommend it.
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on May 10, 2011
Scalper by Clancy Martin and Hank Chilton doesn't take readers into the life of people who gruesomely saw the tops of people's heads off, but rather into the world of "professional" ticket scalpers. Martin and Chilton follow a man who is only referred to as Sunshine, a well seasoned ticket scalper who makes most of his living off the practice, which is surprisingly enough to sustain an entire family. They follow him through a particularly active day as they hop from different venues across the Bay Area of Northern California from various sporting events, such as Raiders or Stanford football games, the San Francisco Air Show, and a few concerts.
This story worked for me because it explored a type of job, if you can call ticket scalping a job, which many are unfamiliar with. Ticket scalping sits in a grey area between being legal and illegal as Martin and Chilton point out that it is legal in some states, but the scalping still holds a certain amount of uneasiness whether someone is a ticket scalper or someone is being offered tickets from a scalper. However Martin and Chilton's ability to follow Sunshine gives this job a human element as they describe certain tactics Sunshine uses to maximize profit, how he avoids police, the people Sunshine has taught the fine art of scalping to, and a look within the industry of ticket scalping that is feeling the effects of the internet.
Although this piece gave insight into a unique job choice, I couldn't love this piece. I believe Martin and Chilton tried to add in several minor characters to give the story more dimensions, however, each minor character wasn't given enough detail or time in the piece to become memorable except for the character White Rabbit. Furthermore, I felt that there were many moments throughout the piece that could have been made into a major story arc, perhaps focusing more on one of the places Sunshine did his scalping rather than covering all of them or going more in depth into Sunshine's character and background to let the readers understand why he chose to become a ticket scalper instead of finding a more conventional job or give focus to how internet ticket selling websites are changing how Sunshine conducts his business.
But that isn't to say this piece isn't well written. One of my favorite passages reads, "Sunshine won't deny that the Internet hasn't changed the way he works. It's definitely cut into his sales volume [...] They need Sunshine." As a student studying Literary Journalism, I found a parallel between the Internet changing the ticket scalping industry and the Internet changing the journalism industry.
For example, I downloaded and read this article using the Kindle App through Amazon.com, not in a newspaper or magazine. I think that the Kindle App will become an integral part of keeping long form journalism alive despite the rise of popularity of short, quick writing found in blogs and breaking news sites. The most difficult part will be marketing these Kindle Singles and make people aware that these are written outside of the more common journalism outlets like the New York Times et cetera. These Kindle Singles way also be helpful for freelance writers as well, giving them a place to publish their work instead of submitting story ideas to different publications.
On the other hand, this essentially makes Amazon the dominant place for writers to go turn to. There is the possibility of being published, but it's at the cost of having the prestige of being published in The New Yorker or The Washington Post, which hold a significant amount of weight to some writers and publishers.
Like Scalpers said, although the internet is cutting into sales and changing the industry people need the scalpers just as people need journalism and writing regardless of where it comes from and while people are still willing to write, they'll be prepared to write for any medium.
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on May 10, 2011
Though I haven't read many Kindle Singles, I do believe that "Scalper" is and will continue to be one of the better ones. In this brief expose of ticket broking, you get an in depth look at the strategic business that is ticket scalping. If you're like me, scalpers are nothing more than homeless men who prey on ticket buyers outside of the nations most famous arena and stadiums, but low and behold the truth to what I, and assuming, most Americans believe.

Right off the bat we meet Sunshine, the character on which this story is surrounded. We also immediately find out that in a year, a good one, he makes up to five hundred grand. So much for being a dirty hobo.

The story is based around Sunshine and his fellow scalpers, which when presented seem as though they're one big business family. One person knows how the others person sells, where they sell, how big their buyer demographic is, and so on. The group embarks across California buying, selling, and scalping tickets of all sorts. This piece not only gives an interesting story about the characters involved in this world, but does so with a sufficient amount of information about the ticket market itself. Almost everyone in America has either attended or bought tickets to some kind of entertainment event, and "Scalper" shows you exactly how Sunshine and his men run the market as strategically as they do.

In "Scalper" you're learning about economics, expanding a business, and ultimately how insanely smart these people are. Sunshine is an older, experienced man who, like most of his buyers, has a family, friends, a life and so much more that is depended on his success as a ticket scalper. Sunshine is also a cheater, a liar, and one hell of a business man.
"Scalper" was easily a great piece overall. The short story held enough information for the reader to get a jest of the environment, and it wasn't overdone or underdone, simply an interesting story about an interesting person, in an interesting business, written well and easy to read.

Also, being only the 3rd single I've read thus far, i am slowly becoming a fan of this new form of journalism. Personally, shorter pieces have always resignated well with me, not so much based on length but because to be able to completely tell a story in such a limited amount of space is commendable not only as a aspiring journalist but as a reader. I think that most people do and will continue to enjoy this form of writing as the world of journalism changes, for it is easily accessible and can be easily appreciated by various groups of readers. In such a fast paced age, the shorter the read, the faster the climax and conclusions appear, the more appealing to read. What Martin and Chilton did with "Scalper" was keep a reader interested, knowing that the story wasn't going to linger on with unneeded information simply to fill a space gap. Future generations will appreciate this form or writing, i guarantee it.
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on May 9, 2011
Clancy Martin and Hank Chilton's Scalper was an interesting read. It worked because it allowed the reader to see a lifestyle that is never really touched on. We hear about scalpers and see a few when we go to games and concerts, but to find out how their system works and how it is run from a subject's (Sunshine) perspective is something only a journalist could get. The authors did a good job in really bringing their subjects and their habits alive. Giving background stories to Sunshine and White Rabbit allowed the reader to see them as more than just the stereotypical creepy scalpers but guys who are the best at what they do and they get by with that experience. However, to improve the piece I think Martin and Chilton should have rethought the ending. It's clever to keep the conclusion open, like the game of scalping, but I would have liked to known if Sunshine's surgery went well or if he decides to quit, why or why not, and so much more. A good conclusion would have really sealed the story and the question as to why it was written.
If I were an editor at Kindle Single I would choose stories like this one because it shows how something like scalping can produce a great story. To make the Kindle Singles more appealing, I would add some side facts such as a little about the authors, how they got the story and where else it was published. As readers, we want to know about the truth value of journalism pieces so having those facts attached with the story would be really beneficial. Long-form journalism can appeal to the next generation of readers because the narrative arcs and style of writing is more interesting than news-style reporting. Also, the new generation of readers would find long-form journalism more interesting because it allows them to see deeper into stories that have just been touched on the surface while learning something new about the subject of the story.
For journalists, in order to prepare themselves for the shift from print to E-reading, I think an important thing to remember is writing about stories people want to read about. I feel like we live in a very ADD type of world, so what was popular and caught people's attentions one day will be old news and forgotten the next day. To maintain relevance in the reading world, I think stories with universal themes are key because they are timeless stories that can be shared and enjoyed.
Overall, I really enjoyed Scalpers and the reporting that must have gone into the story. Getting the perspectives of buyers and sellers really allowed the reader to see how others see scalping and why the art of scalping exists. The story allows the reader to get into a world one normally would never even think of entering, and does it well.
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on November 21, 2011
This is a great short read that will keep your eyes pinned to the paper with anticipation. This collection of on the job experiences from a scalper that's done it all from selling fake tickets to the real deal, to paying off gangs, gate keepers, flipping tickets on game day, and everything in between.

Not a how-to-scalp step by step, but you will learn a lot of offline and online strategies that work now and those that don't. They really should make this into a movie, it's got plenty of moments where your mouth will drop as you're reading, and for $1.99 it's a steal.
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on March 25, 2014
I found the it to be a bit of a fish story; I think the amount of money he claimed to make, might have happened on occasion, but I didn't find it believable as the rule. In general, there seemed to be a lot of swagger going on. Bribing ticket takers to let 70 people in? How would that go unnoticed? Where would they sit, once they got in?
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on February 4, 2016
I am personally trying to understand the meteoric rise in ticket prices. I learned some scalper tricks, which is cool, but this is more of a short story about a Scalper's experiences.
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on June 3, 2011
This short opened my eyes to what the guys around a stadium or theater are doing. I always thought people with a sign asking for tickets just really wanted to attend the event. Now I know they are scalpers, working hard to acquire tickets. Once acquired, their signs will flip over and the tickets will be sold at a higher price. The length was good- not too short. The subject was interesting and allowed a behind the scenes look at a subculture. Fascinating and entertaining. Worth the price.
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on July 15, 2013
Whenever I've been to a sporting event or concert I always wonder about the scalpers, how they acquire their stock, how much they're making, the risks and rewards, etc. This is a good Single that lets the reader tag along with one longtime scalper, giving the reader a behinds-the-scenes look at this very public business. And it also throws in some buyer's advice.
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on April 9, 2011
This is my second Kindle Single and I liked it a lot. The story follows a couple of ticket scalpers who ply their trade as some events in California. Great inside look at an industry that has changed in the Internet era. Great human interest story as well - you really begin to like the main character, Sunshine.

As with the other single I reviewed - Murdered - it was a quick read that both entertained and informed. Highly recommended.
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