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The Parasitic Reading Room | dpr-barcelona
"“[Books] can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.”

—Neil Gaiman
‘Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming.’ The Guardian, 2013

Aristide Antonas and Thanos Zartaloudis define ‘The Parasitic Council’ as that place “where a public space can be the plateau for the occupancy of a commonhold in order that it performs multiple parasitic functions of common use without claims to property.” Following this protocol of action and occupancy of the city, and connecting them with the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial ‘A School of Schools,’ dpr-barcelona and the open raumlabor university joined forces to set up a Parasitic Reading Room for the opening days of the IDB, in September 2018, a nomad, spontaneous and parasitic set of reading spaces that took place along the biennale venues and other spots in the city, with the intention to ‘parasite’ the event participants, visitors, ideas, contents and places, and to provoke a contagion of knowledge. The Parasitic Reading Room is a spontaneous school, made by reading aloud a selection of texts that are related with the biennale’s scope.

On his book Deschooling Society, Ivan Illich states that most learning happens casually, and training of young people never happens in the school but elsewhere, in moments and places beyond the control of the school. When claiming for the revolutionary potential of deschooling, Illich makes a call to liberating oneself from school and to reckon that “each of us is personally responsible for his or her own deschooling, and only we have the power to do it.” This is why the wide domain of academia needs to be challenged in radical and unexpected ways and we need to envision other spaces of encounter and knowledge exchange out of its walls. Similarly, Michael Paraskos rightly pointed on his essay The Table Top Schools of Art, that “we might well say that if four individuals gather together under a tree that is a school. Similarly four individuals around a kitchen table. Or four individuals in the café or bar. By redefining the school in this way we also redefine what it means to be a student in a school or a teacher.”

Perhaps the essential question at this point is what kind of readings should form this alternative bibliography on different pedagogical models, about other sources of knowledge, that come not only [but also] from the pages of our favourite books? This question can have multiple answers which all of them are to be intertwined, multi-connected, overlapped. Poems, films, instagram photos—and its captions—, songs, e-mail exchanges, objects, conversations with friends over a glass of wine or a coffee, dreams; we learn from all of them albeit [or often because] the hectic diversity of formats, and sometimes its lack of seriousness.

By reading aloud we share a space of intimacy, a time and place of learning not only from the contents, but from the nuances, the accents, the cadence of the reading. Abigail Williams called this ‘the social life of books,’ “How books are read is as important as what’s in them,” she pointed—we call it ‘the book as a space of encounters.’ This means spaces where different books coexist and enrich each other; books as the necessary space where the author can have a dialogue with the reader, where different readers can read between the lines and find a place of exchange, where to debate, and discuss ideas. Books and encounters as an open school.

If everywhere is a learning environment, as we deeply believe, and the Istanbul Design Biennial intended to prove by transforming the city of Istanbul into a school of schools, we vindicate the importance of books—be them fiction, poetry or critical theory—as learning environments; those spaces where empathy and otherness are stronger than ideologies, where we can find space to ‘parasite’ each other’s knowledge and experience and create an open school by the simple but strong gesture of reading aloud together.

Because, what is a school if not a promise?"

[See also:

"For the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial ‘A School of Schools,’ dpr-barcelona and the open raumlabor university will set up for the opening days of the IDB a Parasitic Reading Room, a nomad, spontaneous and parasitic set of reading spaces that will take place along the biennale venues and other spots in the city, with the intention of 'parasite' the event participants, visitors, ideas, contents and places, and to provoke a contagion of knowledge. 'The Parasitic Reading Room' is a spontaneous school, made by reading aloud a selection of texts that are related with the biennale's scope. As initial readings—that can be paratised afterwards—we have collected some remarkable texts about education, radical thinking, literature, and many other sources of knowledge, and published them at The Parasitic Reader 01 and The Parasitic reader 02. Feel free to parasite them as well and share them."
https://issuu.com/ethel.baraona/docs/parasitic_reader_01
https://issuu.com/ethel.baraona/docs/parasitic_reader_02

"Based on previous conversations around the topic in the frame of “Body of Us”, the Swiss contribution to the London Design Biennale 2018, the project’s curator Rebekka Kiesewetter has invited friends to continue the discussion around political friendship: dpr-barcelona, initiators of the “Parasitic reading room” [along with the Open raumlabor University] at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial 2018; architect Ross Exo Adams, one of the contributors to Body of Us publication, and continent., the experimental publishing collective, initiators of “Reading Friendships Paris“ at Centre Culturel Suisse 2016. At this same venue, three years later, the stage opens for an edition of the “Parasitic Reading Room” and a reprise of “Reading Friendships”, an evening of readings, thinkings, creating and discussion. A collective reading in Paris on March 20th, 2019."
https://issuu.com/ethel.baraona/docs/friend_ships_reader ]
ethelbaraonapohl  césarreyesnájera  2019  reading  howweread  learning  informallearning  informal  sharing  books  bookfuturism  aristideantonas  thanoszartaloudis  deschooling  unschooling  ivanillich  education  lcproject  openstudioproject  michaelparaskos  libraries  multimedia  multiliteracies  intimacy  encounters  experience  howwelearn  schools  schooling  film  instagram  raumlabor  dpr-barcelona 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
The 'Future Book' Is Here, but It's Not What We Expected | WIRED
"THE FUTURE BOOK was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very environment into its story—the name of the coffee shop you were sitting at, your best friend’s birthday. It would be sly, maybe a little creepy. Definitely programmable. Ulysses would extend indefinitely in any direction you wanted to explore; just tap and some unique, mega-mind-blowing sui generis path of Joycean machine-learned words would wend itself out before your very eyes.

Prognostications about how technology would affect the form of paper books have been with us for centuries. Each new medium was poised to deform or murder the book: newspapers, photography, radio, movies, television, videogames, the internet.

Some viewed the intersection of books and technology more positively: In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote in The Atlantic: “Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

Researcher Alan Kay created a cardboard prototype of a tablet-like device in 1968. He called it the "Dynabook," saying, “We created a new kind of medium for boosting human thought, for amplifying human intellectual endeavor. We thought it could be as significant as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press 500 years ago.”

In the 1990s, Future Bookism hit a kind of beautiful fever pitch. We were so close. Brown University professor Robert Coover, in a 1992 New York Times op-ed titled “The End of Books,” wrote of the future of writing: “Fluidity, contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day, and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.” And then, more broadly: “The print medium is a doomed and outdated technology, a mere curiosity of bygone days destined soon to be consigned forever to those dusty unattended museums we now call libraries.”

Normal books? Bo-ring. Future Books? Awesome—indeterminate—and we were almost there! The Voyager Company built its "expanded books" platform on Hypercard, launching with three titles at MacWorld 1992. Microsoft launched Encarta on CD-ROM.

But … by the mid-2000s, there still were no real digital books. The Rocket eBook was too little, too early. Sony launched the eink-based Librie platform in 2004 to little uptake. Interactive CD-ROMs had dropped off the map. We had Wikipedia, blogs, and the internet, but the mythological Future Book—some electric slab that would somehow both be like and not like the quartos of yore—had yet to materialize. Peter Meirs, head of technology at Time, hedged his bets perfectly, proclaiming: “Ultimately, there will be some sort of device!”

And then there was. Several devices, actually. The iPhone launched in June 2007, the Kindle that November. Then, in 2010, the iPad arrived. High-resolution screens were suddenly in everyone’s hands and bags. And for a brief moment during the early 2010s, it seemed like it might finally be here: the glorious Future Book."



"Yet here’s the surprise: We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice. Instead, technology changed everything that enables a book, fomenting a quiet revolution. Funding, printing, fulfillment, community-building—everything leading up to and supporting a book has shifted meaningfully, even if the containers haven’t. Perhaps the form and interactivity of what we consider a “standard book” will change in the future, as screens become as cheap and durable as paper. But the books made today, held in our hands, digital or print, are Future Books, unfuturistic and inert may they seem."

[sections on self-publishing, crowdfunding, email newsletters, social media, audiobooks and podcasts, etc.]



"It turns out smartphones aren’t the best digital book reading devices (too many seductions, real-time travesties, notifications just behind the words), but they make excellent audiobook players, stowed away in pockets while commuting. Top-tier podcasts like Serial, S-Town, and Homecoming have normalized listening to audio or (nonfiction) booklike productions on smartphones."



"Last August, a box arrived on my doorstep that seemed to embody the apotheosis of contemporary publishing. The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition was published via a crowdfunding campaign. The edition includes a book of images, three records, and a small poster packaged in an exquisite box set with supplementary online material. When I held it, I didn’t think about how futuristic it felt, nor did I lament the lack of digital paper or interactivity. I thought: What a strange miracle to be able to publish an object like this today. Something independently produced, complex and beautiful, with foil stamping and thick pages, full-color, in multiple volumes, made into a box set, with an accompanying record and other shimmering artifacts, for a weirdly niche audience, funded by geeks like me who are turned on by the romance of space.

We have arrived to the once imagined Future Book in piecemeal truths.

Moving images were often espoused to be a core part of our Future Book. While rarely found inside of an iBooks or Kindle book, they are here. If you want to learn the ukulele, you don’t search Amazon for a Kindle how-to book, you go to YouTube and binge on hours of lessons, stopping when you need to, rewinding as necessary, learning at your own pace.

Vannevar Bush's “Memex” essentially described Wikipedia built into a desk.

The "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is an iPhone.

In The Book of Sand, Borges wrote of an infinite book: "It was then that the stranger told me: 'Study the page well. You will never see it again.'" Describing in many ways what it feels like to browse the internet or peek at Twitter.

Our Future Book is composed of email, tweets, YouTube videos, mailing lists, crowdfunding campaigns, PDF to .mobi converters, Amazon warehouses, and a surge of hyper-affordable offset printers in places like Hong Kong.

For a “book” is just the endpoint of a latticework of complex infrastructure, made increasingly accessible. Even if the endpoint stays stubbornly the same—either as an unchanging Kindle edition or simple paperback—the universe that produces, breathes life into, and supports books is changing in positive, inclusive ways, year by year. The Future Book is here and continues to evolve. You’re holding it. It’s exciting. It’s boring. It’s more important than it has ever been.

But temper some of those flight-of-fancy expectations. In many ways, it’s still a potato."
craigmod  ebooks  reading  howweread  2018  kindle  eink  print  publishing  selfpublishing  blurb  lulu  amazon  ibooks  apple  digital  bookfuturism  hypertext  hypercard  history  vannevarbush  borges  twitter  animation  video  newsletters  email  pdf  mobi  epub  infrastructure  systems  economics  goldenrecord  voyager  audio  audiobooks  smarthphones  connectivity  ereaders  podcasts  socialmedia  kevinkelly  benthompson  robinsloan  mailchimp  timbuktulabs  elenafavilli  francescacavallo  jackcheng  funding  kickstarter  crowdfunding  blogs  blogging  wikipedia  internet  web  online  writing  howwewrite  self-publishing  youtube 
january 2019 by robertogreco
These ain't no books […]
"These ain't no books [...]
Realized projects lectures / talks / workshops
[...] But aesthetic investigations
these ain’t no books (…)

(…) But pro­jects in di­gi­tal and hy­brid pu­blis­hing.

*******

MISSION

We work at the in­ter­sec­tion of de­sign and tech­no­logy, crea­ting and de­si­gning in­di­vi­dual di­gi­tal and hy­brid pu­blis­hing work­flows.

Take a set of en­cy­clo­pe­dias and ask, “how do i make this di­gi­tal?” you get a Mi­cro­soft En­carta CD. Take the phi­lo­so­phy of en­cy­clo­pe­dia-ma­king and ask, “how does di­gi­tal ch­ange our en­ga­ge­ment with this?” you get wi­ki­pe­dia.

Post-artifact books and publishing – digital’s effect on how we produce, distribute and consume content.

“Most people are tal­king about a 1:1 Text trans­fer to di­gi­tal. Much more in­te­res­ting is the ques­tion: What lies bey­ond that bor­der? how do new ways of books look like? how can they be dis­played on di­gi­tal de­vices?” —Leander Wattig

*******

DESIGN

The de­ve­lop­ment of an in­di­vi­dual, cha­rac­te­ris­tic vi­sual lan­guage for every pu­blis­hing pro­ject is the main goal in our pro­cess.

By ex­pe­ri­men­ting, using tools dif­fer­ently and con­nec­ting lose ends in a new way, we try to find our own me­thods and work­flows.

*******

TECHNOLOGY

Pro­gramming and de­si­gning at the same time al­lows us to take ad­van­tage of the cur­rent tech­no­lo­gi­cal pos­si­bi­li­ties, thus co­m­ing up with uni­que so­lu­ti­ons.

“I don’t know… pro­gramming and de­si­gning is the same thing…” —Erik van Blokland

“We live in a tech­ni­cal rea­lity.” —Mercedes Bunz

“How ex­actly does the tech­no­logy we use to read ch­ange the way we read?” —Ferris Jabr

*******

ABOUT

“These ain’t no books (…)” is a pro­ject by John­son / Kings­ton, emer­ging from the en­ga­ge­ment with the fu­ture of the book and rea­ding on screens.

Tech­no­lo­gi­cal pro­gress has a big im­pact on so­ciety – it is our duty to take part in sha­ping these ch­an­ges.

*******

These ain't no books [...]
is a project by
Johnson / Kingston
Ivan Weiss / Michael Kryenbühl
Bern / Luzern

Contact us:
info@theseaintnobooks.com
www.johnsonkingston.ch"
books  bookfuturism  digital  screens  print  leanderwattig  publishing  technology  design  programming  erikvanblokland  mercedezbunz  ferrisjabr  ivanweiss  michaelkryenbühl  microsoftencarta  encarta  multimedia  encyclopedias  projectideas  howweread  reading  howwewrite  writing 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Primer Stories
"Primer Stories, together with our studio arm, Primer &Co is a digital storytelling concern.

We create visual narratives that integrate text, illustrations, animation, photos, and sound to inform, enlighten, and expand the interactive medium. We are dedicated to highlighting, exploring, and sharing the most interesting and complex ideas in the world, through the power of narrative and visual design.

We believe there is an unmined field in online visuals and narrative that is somewhere between the serious long form piece or white paper and the superficial tweet or listicle. Our own user testing*, as well as independent market research, has shown that data retention increases exponentially when partnered with narrative and rich visual media.

For interested organizations, Primer Stories LLC offers both the possibility of native partnerships as well as custom for-hire digital storytelling through our studio, Primer&Co.

Primer Stories LLC has offices in Seattle and San Francisco. If you’d like to meet up for a coffee to discuss a project, or just to say hi, drop us a line, we’re friendly.

* In a series of user tests, we leveraged the audience from our web magazine, Primer Stories, to see if we could prove that dynamic visuals increase knowledge comprehension and retention. Results between users who view plain text versus illustrated primers showed an increase in knowledge retention of 23%"

[See also:

Dragons of the Alps: Johann Jakob Scheuchzer's Scientific Quest for Evidence, by Anindita Basu Sempere
http://primerstories.com/3/dragons

Spacesuits and Spaceship Earth, by Nicholas de Monchaux
http://www.primerstories.com/2/primer-0023-spacesuit

The New Nationalism, by Douglas Rushkoff
http://www.primerstories.com/4/nationalism

Ultimate Dissent: Self-Immolation in the Global Village, by Rob Walker
http://www.primerstories.com/2/self-immolation

The Inventive Solipsism of Mondegreens, by Laura Goode
http://www.primerstories.com/3/mondegreen

Crepuscule with Socrates, by Matthew Glaser
http://www.primerstories.com/3/socrates

You Are Here, a visual investigation of the life and (spoilers) death of the universe
http://www.primerstories.com/3/cosmictimeline ]

[via
https://twitter.com/anindita/status/1012780745537048586
https://twitter.com/PrimerStories/status/1012775219839361024 ]
stories  storytelling  digital  webdesign  books  bookfuturism  classideas  lauragoode  aninditabasusempere  nicholasdemonchaux  douglasrushkoff  robwalker  matthewglaser 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Fantasies of the Library | The MIT Press
"Fantasies of the Library lets readers experience the library anew. The book imagines, and enacts, the library as both keeper of books and curator of ideas--as a platform of the future. One essay occupies the right-hand page of a two-page spread while interviews scrolls independently on the left. Bibliophilic artworks intersect both throughout the book-as-exhibition. A photo essay, “Reading Rooms Reading Machines” further interrupts the book in order to display images of libraries (old and new, real and imagined), and readers (human and machine) and features work by artists including Kader Atta, Wafaa Bilal, Mark Dion, Rodney Graham, Katie Paterson, Veronika Spierenburg, and others.

The book includes an essay on the institutional ordering principles of book collections; a conversation with the proprietors of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco; reflections on the role of cultural memory and the archive; and a dialogue with a new media theorist about experiments at the intersection of curatorial practice and open source ebooks. The reader emerges from this book-as-exhibition with the growing conviction that the library is not only a curatorial space but a bibliological imaginary, ripe for the exploration of consequential paginated affairs. The physicality of the book—and this book—“resists the digital,” argues coeditor Etienne Turpin, “but not in a nostalgic way.”

Contributors
Erin Kissane, Hammad Nasar, Megan Shaw Prelinger, Rick Prelinger, Anna-Sophie Springer, Charles Stankievech, Katharina Tauer, Etienne Turpin, Andrew Norman Wilson, Joanna Zylinska"
books  toread  libraries  future  bookfuturism  anna-sophiespringer  etienneturpin  erinkissane  hammadnasar  meganshawprelinger  rickprelinger  charlesstankievech  katharinatauer  andrewnormanwilson  joannazylinska  print  prelingerlibrary  curation  opensource  ebooks  kaderatta  wafaabilal  markdion  rodneygraham  katiepaterson  veronikaspierenburg  2016 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Do You Read Differently Online and in Print?
"The Internet may cause our minds to wander off, and yet a quick look at the history of books suggests that we have been wandering off all along. When we read, the eye does not progress steadily along the line of text; it alternates between saccades—little jumps—and brief stops, not unlike the movement of the mouse’s cursor across a screen of hypertext. From the invention of papyrus around 3000 B.C., until about 300 A.D., most written documents were scrolls, which had to be rolled up by one hand as they were unrolled by the other: a truly linear presentation. Since then, though, most reading has involved codices, bound books or pamphlets, a major advantage of which (at least compared to the scroll) is that you can jump around in them, from chapter to chapter (the table of contents had been around since roughly the first century B.C.); from text to marginal gloss, and, later, to footnote."



"Comprehension matters, but so does pleasure. In Proust and the Squid, Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University, observes that the brain’s limbic system, the seat of our emotions, comes into play as we learn to read fluently; our feelings of pleasure, disgust, horror and excitement guide our attention to the stories we can’t put down. Novelists have known this for a long time, and digital writers know it, too. It’s no coincidence that many of the best early digital narratives took the form of games, in which the reader traverses an imaginary world while solving puzzles, sometimes fiendishly difficult ones. Considered in terms of cognitive load, these texts are head-bangingly difficult; considered in terms of pleasure, they’re hard to beat.

A new generation of digital writers is building on video games, incorporating their interactive features—and cognitive sparks—into novelistic narratives that embrace the capabilities of our screens and tablets. Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizzaro’s 2014 iPad novella, Pry, tells the story of a demolitions expert returned home from the first Gulf War, whose past and present collide, as his vision fails. The story is told in text, photographs, video clips, and audio. It uses an interface that allows you to follow the action and shift between levels of awareness. As you read text on the screen, describing characters and plot, you draw your fingers apart and see a photograph of the protagonist, his eyes opening on the world. Pinch your fingers shut and you visit his troubled unconscious; words and images race by, as if you are inside his memory. Pry is the opposite of a shallow work; its whole play is between the surface and the depths of the human mind. Reading it is exhilarating.

There’s no question when you read (or play) Pry that you’re doing something your brain isn’t quite wired for. The interface creates a feeling of simultaneity, and also of having to make choices in real time, that no book could reproduce. It asks you to use your fingers to do more than just turn the page. It communicates the experience of slipping in and out of a story, in and out of a dream, or nightmare. It uses the affordances of your phone or tablet to do what literature is always trying to do: give you new things to think about, to expand the world behind your eyes. It’s stressful, at first. How are you supposed to know if you’re reading it right? What if you miss something? But if you play (or read) it long enough, you can almost feel your brain begin to adapt.

Most of the Web is not like Pry—not yet, anyway. But the history of reading suggests that what we’re presently experiencing is probably not the end times of human thought. It’s more like an interregnum, or the crouch before a leap. Wolf points out that when it comes to reading, what we get out is largely what we put in. “The reading brain circuit reflects the affordances of what it reads,” she notes: affordances being the built-in opportunities for interaction. The more we skim, the more we’re likely to keep skimming; on the other hand, the more we plunge into a text, the more we’re likely to keep plunging. “We’re in a digital culture,” Wolf says. “It’s not a question of making peace. We have to be discerning, vigilant, developmentally savvy.” And of course we have to be surprised, delighted, puzzled, even disturbed. We have to enjoy ourselves. If we can do that, digital reading will expand the already vast interior space of our humanity."
howweread  readin  albertomanguel  technology  reading  digital  internet  paullafarge  maryannewolf  web  online  staugustine  ambrose  nicholascarr  socrates  brain  agostinoramelli  history  attention  digitalmedia  rolfengelsing  rakefetackerman  morrisgoldsmith  johannesnaumann  dianadestefano  jo-annelefevre  hypertext  michaelwenger  davidpayne  comprehension  engagement  enjoyment  talyarkoni  nicolespeer  jeffreyzacks  psychology  memory  linearity  footnotes  marginalia  bookfuturism  information  wandering  cognitiveload  games  gaming  videogames  samanthagorman  dannycannizzaro  ipad  pry  interiority  affordances  interface  linear  awareness  immersion  skimming  cv  humanity  interregnum  interactivity  interaction 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Eli Horowitz Wants To Teach You How To Read - BuzzFeed News
"This might all sound very precious, or very insufferable. But Horowitz is used to people feeling that way: It’s the same sort of criticism that’s long been levied at McSweeney’s, the indie publishing organization that Horowitz ran for the better part of a decade. The cabins expand upon the aggressively twee style that made McSweeney’s publications into bookshelf fixtures in Brooklyn studios and dorm rooms across the land, but the work Horowitz does in those cabins is anything but stale. It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s true: He’s radically rethinking the boundaries of narrative and our expectations for the technology that surrounds us.

At the moment, Horowitz is commissioned to figure out a new form of audio tour for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and putting together the narrative puzzle pieces as a contributing editor of Starlee Kine’s Mystery Show podcast. He’s editing a narrative project called bcc that plays out in the form of a series of back-and-forth emails between two characters — on which the reader is bcc’ed. But most urgently, there’s The Pickle Index, his collaboration with developer Russell Quinn, which aims to effectively reconceptualize the book — in its digital and printed forms alike.

Horowitz helped change the book world once. Can he do it again?

Horowitz’s name is on five books; as an editor, he’s worked closely with dozens of authors, including those of Dave Eggers, indie filmmaker and artist Miranda July, essayist Wells Tower, Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, and Denis Johnson. Every book he’s written has been optioned for film or television: The New World, published in May, was optioned by Olivia Wilde; The Silent History, a digital app turned paperback from 2012, is slated to become AMC’s new prestige drama. “Everyone who knows him thinks of him as their secret weapon,” July told me.

But to understand how Horowitz arrived at this position of would-be digital visionary, you need to understand a few things about McSweeney’s, and the attitudes at its core. Much of it can be traced, at least originally, to the ethos of Dave Eggers — who, in the early ‘90s, moved to San Francisco and launched satirical magazine Might and slightly less satirical lit magazine Timothy McSweeney’s Literary Tendency. In 2000, Eggers, then 30, published his unconventional memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which became a best-seller and a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize.
With Heartbreaking Work, what had been a largely San Francisco-based literary phenomenon went national, and the Eggers name — and McSweeney’s along with it — came to stand in for a particular mix of playfulness and sincerity, doubling down on the intrinsic value of the printed object as the specter of a digital, bookless future started to haunt publishing. McSweeney’s can thus be understood as an attitude (optimism), a tone (oscillating, dynamically, between sincerity and satire, but never irony), and a posture (open).

Enter Horowitz. “The mythic version of how I came to McSweeney’s is pretty much true,” he told me, settling into a couch at the cabin. “826 Valencia (a writing tutoring program launched by Eggers) was getting ready to start. They needed help building the place, and I had this mild carpentry background — I’d taught myself from a book — so I helped build the Pirate Supply Store,” the storefront attached to the tutoring center that sells McSweeney’s publications and, uh, pirating supplies.

“They needed someone to sit at the register,” Horowitz tells me. “So I did that, and I would read books, and Dave saw that. He was busy trying to finish his first novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity, and he was like, ‘Wanna read this and tell me what you think?’”
Three months later, Horowitz found himself the managing editor of McSweeney’s. “There wasn’t anyone else around to manage,” he admits. “Which was good, because I didn’t know anything. None of us had ever worked in publishing before.”

Horowitz says this, like he says everything, with a tone of slight bemusement. His work has a sense of humor that oscillates between wry and farcical. He loves digressions and declaring new sections of conversation: “Now that’s a topic.” He’s around 5’10”, and feels coiled, like you might get an electric shock when you shake his hand. Chris Ying, editor-in-chief of the food magazine Lucky Peach, which launched under McSweeney’s, describes his mind as “endlessly churning.” In his demeanor, like his cabins and his projects, there’s a sense of “the new sincerity” — a term from music and film criticism often affixed to McSweeney’s. He might joke about the shitty construction of the dumbwaiter he made to bring up his book to one of his sleeping lofts. But he deeply, unmistakably loves it.

Horowitz winds through the story of how McSweeney’s gradually became more and more of a thing. In 2003, there was the launch of The Believer, a sister publication for interviews and nonfiction, the second 826 outpost in Park Slope, Brooklyn; then, a slew of books with the McSweeney’s imprint, all solicited and edited by Horowitz. And the predictable backlash: In its inaugural issue, the literary journal n+1, largely composed of East Coast intelligentsia, railed against it, calling Eggers and his followers “a regressive avant garde.”

Through all of this, Horowitz was holding the place together. He didn’t have Eggers’ visibility or celebrity, but behind the scenes, he was refining the voice and sensibility of the organization. He was editing and fixing the printer and figuring out how to make the postage work when the new issue took the form of a mass of old-timey letters and pamphlets in a box. “He came up with some of the best and strangest concepts for the journal and for our books,” Eggers told me. “He embodies a rare dichotomy of being very organized and very calm, but also has the soul of an artist.”

McSweeney’s, I’m told by others who’ve lived through it, was like any other close-knit organization, literature-based or otherwise, in that it functioned somewhat like a cult. And when you were in, you were in deep: Everyone was breaking laws and cutting corners and fucking around and each other.

So when I ask Horowitz, who left in 2012, if he’s nostalgic for those years, he looks at his lap and makes a laugh that sounds like a sigh. He pauses, gathers himself, half-smiles.

“No. That’s not what I feel.”"



"Horowitz applied the same philosophy to his newest work, The Pickle Index, which tells the story of a delightfully unskilled circus troupe against the backdrop of a fascist dystopia, united by a forced devotion to fermented items. “There are all these different ways that you can read that are valid, so I wanted to fully imagine all of those formats. So: the book-iest book I could do, and the app-iest app. Even the paperback, and the Kindle version. They’ll have their own sort of thing, with different reaches and different audiences.” For the hardback version of The Pickle Index, you go back and forth, chapter to chapter, between two beautifully illustrated volumes, each around 100 pages. For the paperback, those chapters are integrated, this time with accompanying woodcut illustrations. And then there’s the app, which releases sections of the narrative over the course of 10 days.

Horowitz paid for the 5000-copy hardcover run himself; whatever profits it and the app makes will be his and Quinn’s. When I ask how he’ll know if the project is a failure, he pauses. “I don’t see how this project could fail,” he says. “It just is! It might turn out well, people might like it, I might think back on it more fondly or less fondly. But it can’t be a failure. Failure is when you’re trying to be the No. 1 photo sharing platform, and then you either are or you aren’t.

Which is something Horowitz is uniquely capable of saying, of course, from the cushion of one of the Airbnbs that effectively bankroll his experimentation.

It’s pitch-black along the River Road back to Eli’s other cabin. He points out a roadside establishment, TJ’s Grill at Angie’s George’s Hideaway, whose name pleases him greatly. He’s pleased so easily, really: by a good garage sale, or teaching himself how to fix something, however poorly, so long as he learns something in the process, or by the artist who creates simply for the process, the doing, of it. “I really believe in people who make things just because they want to make things. Like a guy who dies, and you look in his backyard and find 700 little sculptures of little dudes. Like that.”

That ethos, however, is alien to the structures of the mainstream publishing industry, which ask for pitches with concrete promises of a final product, a certain audience: concrete markers of success. The sort of things that are hard to think about when you really just want to fiddle your way through a process, living the platonic ideal of the artistic experience, unencumbered by monetary concerns. Which is why Russell Quinn described the unifying quality of Horowitz’s projects as “low risk.”

“A lot of Eli’s projects appear to be big and monumental,” says Quinn, who lives in a geodesic dome, a five minute drive from Horowitz. “But even his cabins come from a place where he would rather buy a cheap thing and do it his way than buy a suburban house and do it up. Same for projects: We like thinking about how we can do them just the two of us. Because Eli has to get past the point where he doesn’t hate what he’s working on, and he doesn’t want to do that publicly, or with backers, or selling the concept of a book before it’s written. It’s a low-key humbleness: not figuring things out until the end.”

That night, I sleep the sleep of the well-cabined, and the sunrise wakes me instead of an alarm. We have plans to explore the app for The Pickle Index, but once we open it, I’m … [more]
elihorowitz  suddenoak  thepickleindex  annehelenpetersen  2015  books  publishing  mcsweeneys  apps  applications  ebooks  epublishing  srg  826valencia  daveeggers  bookfuturism  russianriver  tumblr  twitter  digital 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Pickle: A Conversation About Making Digital Books — The Message — Medium
"1: Opening Salvo

Okay, Craig, I know you’re critical of the arrested state of ebooks today. For my part, I’m more… curious. It’s clear to me that, for all their commercial success, we don’t know what books on screens are supposed to look like; not yet. But that shouldn’t be surprising; the first Kindle came out a mere eight years ago, and most people have been reading books on screens for a few years at most.

It’s only now that we’re starting to see the really interesting work emerge.

I believe you’ve read The Pickle Index, and I think we can agree that it represents something interesting and new. The novel’s digital edition is much more than words on a screen; instead, it masquerades as a recipe app, complete with menus and lists and a wonderful little map. It’s quite slick; if it was a real recipe app, it would be a pretty solid one! Its creators, Eli Horowitz and Russell Quinn, use the idiom of the app to pull you more deeply into the story, to make you, as a reader, feel somehow like an accomplice.

It’s fabulous.

But the Pickle Index app (for reasons I don’t want to give away to people who haven’t read it yet) can only tell the Pickle Index story; the way it works is bound up with the tale it tells. Eli and Russell can’t reuse this machine for, say, The Istanbul Protocol or The Dragon Wizard. Those stories wouldn’t fit.

So, with your earlier criticism in mind: What do you think? Is this matching of content to container the road forward, or is it a lovely cul-de-sac? Is the non-naive, non-repackaged future of ebooks more of these unique apps, or is it some new, reusable “master format” that we have yet to invent?

Note to readers: This is (going to be) a long, loopy conversation. The Pickle Index is crisp and compact. Consider sampling its tangy delights."

[Craig's first response: https://medium.com/message/the-pickle-a-conversation-about-making-digital-books-1e8464b469e4#.xjy0jenpm

Collection here: https://medium.com/tag/the-pickle-index/latest ]
2015  robinsloan  ebooks  books  publishing  elihorowitz  russellquinn  thepickleindex  bookfuturism  craigmod  epublishing  applications  suddenoak 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Reading Right-to-Left | booktwo.org
"At a conference I attended recently, one of the speakers noted how the US army trains observers to “read” a landscape from right to left. The idea is that, as Anglophones accustomed to reading left to right, reversing the direction of attention brings more concentration to bear on the situation. Moving from right to left disrupts the soldier’s instinctual recognition patterns, and so they are more likely to spot things. This skill has apparently migrated from soldiers to photographers:
“One of the first tricks I learned many years ago had nothing to do with photography, but was drilled into me by an army sergeant. It only took a few smacks up the back of my head to learn how to look from right-to-left when scanning a landscape in an effort to see the hidden “enemy” in our mock battles. This process of reverse reading forced me to slow down and read each tree as if it were a syllable I was seeing for the first time. Even today, about thirty years after I called that sergeant every adjective not found in a decent dictionary, I still find myself scanning a landscape from right-to-left.”

The conference speaker contrasted this way of seeing, and the assumptions explicit within it, with the Japanese way of reading, which may be right-to-left, or vertical:

[image]

One might also, in the context of today’s military operations consider the right-to-leftness of Hebrew and Arabic script (and Farsi, and Urdu) – and from there consider the verticality and three-dimensionality of text and thought online, the way it branches and deepens, how it recedes through the screen, through hyperlinks, into an endless chain of connections and relationships.

This reversal and inversion of language patterns has many historical and thus military uses. In Reality is Plenty, Kevin Slavin relates a tale told to him by a photography professor, who was trained as a World War II radar operator.

When radar signals were received aboard an aircraft carrier, they were displayed on a radar oscilloscope. But in order for this information be used in the midst of battle, the positions needed to be transcribed to a large glass viewing pane, and as part of this process they needed to be inverted and reversed. To perform this operation quickly and accurately, the radar operators were trained and drilled extensively in “upside down and backwards town”, a classified location where everything from newspapers to street signs were printed upside down and backwards. This experience would not so much create a new ability for the radar operators, as break down their existing biases towards left-to-right text, allowing them to operate in multiple dimensions at once.

[image]

This process, in Kevin’s reading and in mine, is akin to much of our experience of new technology, when our existing frameworks of reference, both literary and otherwise, are broken down, and we must learn over once again how to operate in the world, how to transform and transliterate information, how to absorb it, think it, search for it and deploy it. We must relearn our relationship not only with information, but with knowledge itself.

And I was reminded of this once again when I found myself at the weekend defending, for the first time in a long time, but certainly not for the first time ever, the kind of thinking and knowledge production which is native to the internet. In this oft-rehearsed argument, whether it be about ebooks or social media or news cycles or or or, the central thrust is that x technology is somehow bad for us, for our thought, our attention, our cognitive processes etc., where x always tends towards “the internet”, as the ur-technology of our time.

And the truth is that I cannot abide this kind of talk. I know people don’t read books like they used to, and they don’t think like they used to, but I struggle to care. Most of this talk is pure nostalgia, a kind of mostly knee-jerk, mostly uncritical (although not thoughtless) response to entirely rational fears about technological opacity and complexity (this nostalgia, of course, was the basis for the New Aesthetic). But this understandable reaction also erases all the new and different modes of attention and thought which, while they are difficult to articulate because we are still developing and discovering the language to articulate them with, are nonetheless present and growing within us. And I simply do not see the damage that is ascribed to this perceived “loss” – I don’t see the generations coming up being any less engaged in culture and society, reading less, thinking less, acting less, even when they are by any measure poorer, less supported, forced to struggle harder for education and employment, and, to compound the injury, derided at every opportunity as feckless, distracted, and disengaged. I see the opposite.

I’m getting more radical in my view of the internet, this unconsciously-generated machine for unconscious generation. I’m feeling more sure of its cultural value and legacy, and more assertive about stating it. We built this thing, and like all directed culture of the past, it has an agency and a desire, and if you pay attention to it you can see which way it wants to go, and what it wants to fight. We made that, all of us, in time, but we don’t have full control of it. Rather, like the grain of wood, it’s something to be worked with and shaped, but also thought about and conceptualised, both matter and metaphor.

It’s possible, despite the faults of data and design, to be an unchurched follower of the internet: undogmatic, non-sectarian, wary of its faults, all too conscious of its occupation by the forces of capital and control, but retaining a deep faith in its message and meaning. A meaning which it is still up to us to explore and enact, to defend where possible and oppose when necessary. If there is progress, if things can be improved, then they must be improved by new inventions, by the things we have not tried before. No going backwards to the future."
culture  knowledge  internet  japanese  arabic  howweread  understanding  noticing  books  reading  meadia  online  socialmedia  newaesthetic  future  bookfuturism  control  change  data  design  technology  criticalthinking  kevinslavin  observation  seeing  howwesee  waysofseeing  perspective  rewiring  attention  knowledgeproduction  society  difference  cv  canon 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Will digital books ever replace print? – Craig Mod – Aeon
[See also: http://kottke.org/15/10/on-the-declining-ebook-reading-experience

"The Kindle is a book reading machine, but it's also a portable book store. 1 Which is of great benefit to Amazon but also of some small benefit to readers...if I want to read, say, To Kill A Mockingbird right now, the Kindle would have it to me in less than a minute. But what if, instead, the Kindle was more of a book club than a store? Or a reading buddy? I bet something like that done well would encourage reading even more than instantaneous book delivery.

To me, Amazon seems exactly the wrong sort of company to make an ebook reader 2 with a really great reading experience. They don't have the right culture and they don't have the design-oriented mindset. They're a low-margin business focused on products and customers, not books and readers. There's no one with any real influence at Amazon who is passionately advocating for the reader. Amazon is leaving an incredible opportunity on the table here, which is a real bummer for the millions of people who don't think of themselves as customers and turn to books for delight, escape, enrichment, transformation, and many other things. No wonder they're turning back to paper books, which have a 500-year track record for providing such experiences."]
amazon  kindle  ebooks  books  publishing  bookfuturism  craigmod  2015  print  paper  bretvictor  alankay  dynabook  materiality  marshallmcluhan  vannevarbush  borges 
october 2015 by robertogreco
The Book of the Now on Vimeo
"When asked to explain the title of his seminal book "The Medium is the Massage", Marshall McLuhan explained that it was actually a fortunate mistake: "Now there are four possible readings for the last word of the title, all of them accurate: MESSAGE and MESS AGE, MASSAGE and MASS AGE" he said.

'The Book of the Now' summarise possible readings of the publishing task and research carried by dpr-barcelona. Understanding publishing as "the act of making public", our work is subjected to explorations, failures and goals that are helping to shape the new territory of publishing in architecture. Take your past, enhance present tensions and foresee the future tense.
Make, make, make books.
...............
THE BOOK OF THE NOW
Concept and research: Ethel Baraona Pohl and César Reyes Nájera
'From the [mess]age to the [mass]age' Lecture. Architectus Omnibus?. Berlin 2015.
Voice: Marshall McLuhan
Ideas: Marshall McLuhan, H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury
Music: 'THE BOOK OF THE NOW' - THE MASSES [Adam Michaels, Daniel Perlin, Jeffrey T. Schnapp], 2012
Promo video
Idea and assemblage: Cesar Reyes Nájera | dpr-barcelona
With excerpts from:
-'H.G. Wells. The Time Machine'; George Pal, 1960
- 'Toute la Mémoire du Monde'; Alain Resnais, 1956
-'Fahrenheit 451'; Francois Truffat, 1966
-'Archinhand'; dpr-barcelona, 2010
-'Network'; Michael Rigley, 2012
Animated GIFs :
-'Architecture Animée'; Axel de Stampa
From following photos:
-Mirador Building, MVRDV and Blanca Lleo. Luis García.
-Memory Museum, Estudio America. Nicolas Saieh
-Zollverein School, SANAA."
books  bookfuturism  ethelbaraonapohl  césarreyesnájera  2015  marshallmcluhan  dpr-barcelona  publishing  architecture  themediumisthemassage  themediumisthemessage  thebookofthenow  theelectricinformationagebook 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Book to the Future - a book liberation manifesto
"The Book Liberation Manifesto is an exploration of publishing outside of current corporate constraints and beyond the confines of book piracy. We believe that knowledge should be in free circulation to benefit humankind, which means an equitable and vibrant economy to support publishing, instead of the prevailing capitalist hand-me-down system of Sisyphean economic sustainability. Readers and books have been forced into pirate libraries, while sales channels have been monopolised by the big Internet giants which exact extortionate fees from publishers. We have three proposals. First, publications should be free-at-the-point-of-reading under a variety of open intellectual property regimes. Second, they should become fully digital — in order to facilitate ready reuse, distribution, algorithmic and computational use. Finally, Open Source software for publishing should be treated as public infrastructure, with sustained research and investment. The result of such robust infrastructures will mean lower costs for manufacturing and faster publishing lifecycles, so that publishers and publics will be more readily able to afford to invent new futures.

For more information on the Hybrid Publishing Consortium see http://consortium.io "



"1. Introduction ᙠooʞ ƚo ƚʜɘ ᖷuƚuɿɘ – ɒ mɒnifɘƨƚo for book libɘɿɒƚio∩ Book to the Future front cover

The Hybrid Publishing Consortium (HPC) is a research network which is part of the Hybrid Publishing Lab and works to support Open Source software infrastructures. The HPC wishes to present practical solutions to the problems with the current stage of the evolution of the book. The HPC sees a glaring necessity for new types of publications, books which are enhanced with interfaces in order to take advantage of computation and digital networks. The initial sections of this manifesto will outline the current problems with the digital development of the book, with reference to stages in its historical evolution. We will then go on to present a framework for dealing with the problems in the later sections.

Now that there are floods of Open Access content for users to sort through, the book must develop to take on fresh interface design challenges – for improving reading, but also to support a wide range of communities. The latter include art, design, museums and the Digital Humanities groups, for all of whom video, audio, hyper-images, code, text, simulations and game sequences are needed.

HPC’s view is that current technology provisions in publishing are costly, inefficient and need a step-up in R&D. To support technical, open source infrastructures for publishing we have identified the ‘Platform Independent Document Type’ as key. Our objective is to contribute to the working implementation of an open standards based and transmedia structured document for multi-format publishing. With structured documents and accompanying systems publishers can lower costs, increase revenues and support innovation.

HPC is about building public open source software infrastructures for publishing to support the free-flow of knowledge – aka book liberation. Our mission statement is:
‘Every publication, in a universal format, available for free in real-time.’

This is our reworking of Amazon’s mission statement for its Kindle product:
‘Every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.’

Currently digital publishing is dead in the water because for digital multi-format publications prohibitive amounts of time and costs are needed for rights clearance: the permissions required for each new format, the necessary signed contracts etc. So something has to give. For the scholarly community, Open Access academic publishing has fixed these problems with open licences, but other publishing sectors outside of academia remain frozen by restrictive licensing designed for print media.

Our efforts in building technical infrastructures will be wasted if content continues to be locked in, and this is where HPC's issue becomes as much a political as a technical problem. Open intellectual property licences, such as Creative Commons, are not enough on their own. Something else is needed if we want to support the free flow of knowledge: a way to financially support the publishers and the chain of skilled workers who are involved in publication productions. This can be either by a form of market metrics or by fair collections and redistribution methods, with the latter involving a little less fussing around than some market measurement. Open Access has meant publishers are still paid; it is simply that the point of payment has moved away from the reader to another point in the publishing process, where the free flow of knowledge is not hampered."
books  bookfuturism  2015  publishing  archives  bookliberation  copyright  copyleft  manifestoes  oer  libraries  technology  digital  ebooks  openlearning  repositories  creativecommons  print  amazon  kindle  universality  transmedia  hpc 
june 2015 by robertogreco
CommentPress: A WordPress plugin for social texts in social contexts
"CommentPress is an open source theme and plugin for the WordPress blogging engine that allows readers to comment paragraph-by-paragraph, line-by-line or block-by-block in the margins of a text. Annotate, gloss, workshop, debate: with CommentPress you can do all of these things on a finer-grained level, turning a document into a conversation. It can be applied to a fixed document (paper/essay/book etc.) or to a running blog. Use it in combination with multisite, BuddyPress and BuddyPress Groupblog to create communities around your documents."

[via: http://blog.ayjay.org/uncategorized/assignment-commentary-and-anthology/ and
http://blog.ayjay.org/uncategorized/more-about-my-new-writing-assignment/ ]
wordpress  plugins  publishing  social  socialtexts  buddypress  via:ayjay  classideas  writing  commenting  text  bookfuturism  groupblogs  groupblog  annotation  gloss  onlinetoolkit  themes  commentpress 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The novel is dead (this time it's for real) | Books | The Guardian
"Literary fiction used to be central to the culture. No more: in the digital age, not only is the physical book in decline, but the very idea of 'difficult' reading is being challenged. The future of the serious novel, argues Will Self, is as a specialised interest"



"I repeat: just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. When I finished my first work of fiction in 1990 and went looking for a publisher, I was offered an advance of £1,700 for a paperback original edition. I was affronted, not so much by the money (although pro rata it meant I was being paid considerably less than I would have working in McDonald's), but by not receiving the sanctification of hard covers. The agent I consulted told me to accept without demur: it was, he said, nigh-on impossible for new writers to get published – let alone paid. At that time the reconfiguration of the medium was being felt through the ending of the Net Book Agreement, the one-time price cartel that shored up publishers' profits by outlawing retailer discounting. In retrospect, the ending of the agreement was simply a localised example of a much wider phenomenon: the concertinaing of the textual distribution network into a short, wide pipe. It would be amusing to read the meliorism of the Panglosses if it weren't also so irritating; writing a few months ago in the New Statesman, Nicholas Clee, a former editor of the Bookseller, no less, surveyed all of the changes wrought by digital media – changes that funnel together into the tumultuous wordstream of Jeff Bezos's Amazon – before ending his excursus where he began, with the best of all possible facts implying we were in the best of all possible worlds: "I like," Clee wrote, "buying books on Amazon."

Groucho Marx once said to a man with six children taking part in his TV show: "I like my cigar, but I know when to take it out." By the same token: I also like buying books on Amazon, but I'm under no illusion that this means either the physical codex, or the novel – a form of content specifically adapted to it – will survive as a result of my preferences. Because I'm also very partial to sourcing digital texts from Project Gutenberg, then wordsearching them for a quotation I want to use. I like my typewriter as well, a Groma Kolibri manufactured in the German Democratic Republic in the early 1960s, but I'm under no illusion that it's anything but old technology. I switched to writing the first drafts of my fictions on a manual typewriter about a decade ago because of the inception of broadband internet. Even before this, the impulse to check email, buy something you didn't need, or goggle at images of the unattainable was there – but at least there was the annoying tocsin of dial-up connection to awake you to your time-wasting. With broadband it became seamless: one second you were struggling over a sentence, the next you were buying oven gloves. Worse, if, as a writer, you reached an impasse where you couldn't imagine what something looked or sounded like, the web was there to provide instant literalism: the work of the imagination, which needs must be fanciful, was at a few keystrokes reduced to factualism. All the opinions and conceptions of the new media amount to nothing set beside the way they're actually used.

While I may have registered the effect of digital media on my sense perception, I by no means feel immune from them; on the contrary, I've come to realise that the kind of psyche implicit in the production and consumption of serious novels (which are what, after all, serious artists produce), depends on a medium that has inbuilt privacy: we must all be Ambroses. In a recent and rather less optimistic article in the New Yorker on the Amazon phenomenon, George Packer acknowledges the impact on the publishing industry of digital text: the decline in physical sales; and the removal of what might be termed the "gatekeepers", the editors and critics who sifted the great ocean of literary content for works of value. He foresees a more polarised world emerging: with big bestsellers commanding still more sales, while down below the digital ocean seethes with instantly accessible and almost free texts. Packer observes that this development parallels others in the neoliberal economy, which sees market choice as the only human desideratum. The US court's ruling against the big five publishers in the English-speaking world and in favour of Amazon was predicated on this: their desperate attempt to resist Amazon's imposition of punitive discounting constituted a price cartel. But, really, this was only the latest skirmish in a long war; the battles of the 1990s, when both here and in the US chain bookstores began to gobble up the independents, were part of the same conflict: one between the medium and the message, and as I think I've already made clear, in the long run it's always the medium that wins."

I've no doubt that a revenue stream for digitised factual text will be established: information in this form is simply too useful for it not to be assigned monetary value. It is novels that will be the victims of the loss of effective copyright (a system of licensing and revenue collection that depended both on the objective form of the text, and defined national legal jurisdictions); novels and the people who write them. Fortunately, institutions are already in existence to look after us. The creative writing programmes burgeoning throughout our universities are exactly this; another way of looking at them is that they're a self-perpetuating and self-financing literary set-aside scheme purpose built to accommodate writers who can no longer make a living from their work. In these care homes, erstwhile novelists induct still more and younger writers into their own reflexive career paths, so that in time they too can become novelists who cannot make a living from their work and so become teachers of creative writing.

In case you think I'm exaggerating, I have just supervised a doctoral thesis in creative writing: this consists in the submission of a novel written by the candidate, together with a 35,000-word dissertation on the themes explored by that novel. My student, although having published several other genre works, and despite a number of ringing endorsements from his eminent creative-writing teachers, has been unable to find a publisher for this, his first serious novel. The novel isn't bad – although nor is it Turgenev. The dissertation is interesting – although it isn't a piece of original scholarship. Neither of them will, in all likelihood, ever be read again after he has been examined. The student wished to bring the date of his viva forward – why? Well, so he could use his qualification to apply for a post teaching – you guessed it – creative writing. Not that he's a neophyte: he already teaches creative writing, he just wants to be paid more highly for the midwifery of stillborn novels.

If you'll forgive a metaphoric ouroboros: it shouldn't surprise us that this is the convulsive form taken by the literary novel during its senescence; some of the same factors implicated in its extinction are also responsible for the rise of the creative writing programme; specifically a wider culture whose political economy prizes exchange value over use value, and which valorises group consciousness at the expense of the individual mind. Whenever tyro novelists ask me for career advice I always say the same thing to them: think hard about whether you wish to spend anything up to 20 or 30 years of your adult life in solitary confinement; if you don't like the sound of that silence, abandon the idea right away. But nowadays many people who sign up for creative-writing programmes have only the dimmest understanding of what's actually involved in the writing life; the programme offers them comity and sympathetic readers for their fledgling efforts – it acts, it essence, as a therapy group for the creatively misunderstood. What these people are aware of – although again, usually only hazily – is that some writers have indeed had it all; if by this is meant that they are able to create as they see fit, and make a living from what they produce. In a society where almost everyone is subject to the appropriation of their time, and a vast majority of that time is spent undertaking work that has little human or spiritual value, the ideal form of the writing life appears gilded with a sort of wonderment. The savage irony is that even as these aspirants sign up for the promise of such a golden career, so the possibility of their actually pursuing it steadily diminishes; a still more savage irony is that the very form their instruction takes militates against the culture of the texts they desire to produce. WB Yeats attributed to his father the remark that "Poetry is the social act of the solitary man"; with the creative-writing programmes and the Facebook links embedded in digitised texts encouraging readers to "share" their insights, writing and reading have become the solitary acts of social beings. And we all know how social beings tend to regard solitary acts – as perversities, if not outright perversions.

As I said at the outset: I believe the serious novel will continue to be written and read, but it will be an art form on a par with easel painting or classical music: confined to a defined social and demographic group, requiring a degree of subsidy, a subject for historical scholarship rather than public discourse. The current resistance of a lot of the literate public to difficulty in the form is only a subconscious response to having a moribund message pushed at them. As a practising novelist, do I feel depressed about this? No, not particularly, except on those occasions when I breathe in too deeply and choke on my own decadence. I've no intention of writing fictions in the form of tweets or text messages – nor do I see my future in computer-games design. My apprenticeship as a novelist has lasted a long time now, and I still cherish … [more]
books  culture  reading  writing  essays  willself  2014  bookfuturism  digitalmedia  novels  narrative  mfa  teaching  highereducation  highered 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Library Beyond The Book - Jeffrey Schnapp - YouTube
"Harvard Prof. Jeffrey Schnapp on redundancy between digital and analogue formats, physically assembled communities, and multiple types of libraries"
libraries  jeffreyschnapp  2014  reading  books  ebooks  digitalbooks  digitalpublishing  epublishing  digitalage  future  matthewbattles  archives  databases  knowledge  pop-ups  popuplibraries  multiplicity  plurality  thirdspaces  diversity  libraryfuturism  bookfuturism  collecting  access  local  communities 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Designing in the Borderlands by Frank Chimero
"We spend a lot of time making arguments over how to choose sides on these splits. But after a lot of reflection, I’ve decided that I’m not particularly interested in choosing sides.

I want to be the line, and I want to mess with that line, because that line is a total fabrication. Why fall on the side of print or digital if what’s usually needed is both? Isn’t that a more interesting design problem? Why make books with only text or images if they get better with both? The questions go on and on.

Luckily, these distinctions were drawn by us, which means that we can redraw them. We can move the line, toe it, and breach it with a transgressive practice that tries to turn opposition into symbiosis. But you can only cross the line and confuse the distinction if you commit to the middle space.

These borderlands are the best place for a designer like me, and maybe like you, because the borderlands are where things connect. If you’re in the borderlands, your different tongues, your scattered thoughts, your lack of identification with a group, and all the things that used to be thought of as drawbacks in a specialist enclave become the hardened armor of a shrewd generalist in the borderlands."



"I learned a lot through the design process of The Shape of Design. First, that there are opportunities to produce projects that elegantly incorporate multiple mediums. One only needs to look for them. And second, that these design problems become easier to handle if one considers the system as a whole, instead of attempting to chop it up into separate pieces and attack it as smaller bits. Division reduces them in the same way that Massage, Electric Information Age Book, or The Shape of Design would be made small if the individual parts were isolated. The individual bits would be have differently, and the designer would miss the most important thing: these projects are important and big because they are multiple, and to temporarily make them not so is to misunderstand and misconstruct them. For these sorts of projects, my mantra has become:

Everything all at once.
Everything all together.



I had two goals today.

First, I wanted to articulate the biggest opportunity I see in design today: designer as translator, designer as integrator, designer as a merchant of ideas. We’ve built up so much knowledge that is tucked away in books and websites, and often all that’s needed to get that knowledge the attention it deserves is a gentle massage of tone and a switch of format. We can introduce physical materials to the web to reap the benefits of the network, but we can also translate the web’s content to the physical realm to stabilize it so it can be held and appreciated.

The second goal was to cast an additional mold for a designer, and to provide an explanation about why a person would want to go make weird little books and sit and write essays instead of working at an ad agency or startup for six figures. It’s worth documenting the different ways one can go about pursuing a design practice. There are many stories and paths, and I hope all of this is a reminder that the lines we draw to create the contours of our expectations can be disrupted. And that this disruption can, somehow, be soothing to those of us who identify as something different than the standard.

I’d like to finish by revisiting that Calvino quote:
Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification.

I hope you get the opportunity to do this at some point in your career, and that my conclusions will help those of you who identify as generalists. If you do not, perhaps I have convinced you that our conception of work is more flexible than we typically believe. The field is wide open; that is why it’s called a field."
generalists  frankchimero  creativity  design  borders  seams  interstitial  cv  trickster  departmentalization  interdisciplinary  dualism  transdisciplinary  print  digital  books  ebooks  bookfuturism  marshallmcluhan  quentinfiore  buckminsterfuller  multimedia  jeffreyschnapp  adammichaels  allsorts  italocalvino  translation 
april 2014 by robertogreco
» History and Future of the Book (Fall 2014 Digital Studies Course) SAMPLE REALITY
"A book may only be made of paper, cardboard, ink, and glue, but it is nonetheless a remarkable piece of technology—about which we have mostly forgotten it is a piece of technology. This class is concerned with the long history, the varied present, and the uncertain future of the book in the digital age.

We will approach the history of the book in the most materialist way possible. In other words, when we say “books,” we don’t mean novels. We don’t mean texts. We mean books, the actual physical objects. Books have heft. They burn. They mildew. They smell. Their shape and design limit certain uses and encourage others. Similarly, books in the future—or whatever replaces books—will foster certain practices over others.

Over the course of the semester History and Future of the Book will return again and again to three central questions: (1) What is the history of the book as a physical and cultural object? (2) How have current disruptions in reading and writing technology changed the way we use and imagine books? (3) What does the future of the book look like?

Along the way we will consider reading and writing innovations such as electronic paper, e-readers, touchscreen interfaces, DIY publishing experiments, and place-based authoring. We will also address what some critics call the phenomenon of bookishness in contemporary culture—an exaggeration of the most “bookish” elements of a book, which may represent either the last dying gasp of the printed book or herald a renaissance of the form"
books  syllabus  bookfuturism  marksample  2014  projectideas  ebooks  technology  digitalhumanities  syllabi 
april 2014 by robertogreco
The Electronic Labyrinth Home Page
"The Electronic Labyrinth is a study of the implications of hypertext for creative writers looking to move beyond traditional notions of linearity.

Our project evaluates hypertext and its potential for use by literary artists in three ways:

1. By placing the development of hypertext in the context of the literary tradition of non-linear approaches to narrative. This context provides a means of re-evaluating the concept of the book in the age of electronic text. Specific points of investigation include Cortázar's Hopscotch, Nabokov's Pale Fire, Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars, and Sterne's Tristram Shandy.

2. By investigating literary works created specifically for computerized hypertext. These include Joyce's Afternoon, A Story, McDaid's Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, and Wilmott's Everglade.

3. By evaluating the hardware platforms and software environments available to writers. Criteria include ease of use, availability, methods of distribution and publication, and the tools available to the writer and reader. Our emphasis is placed on the assumptions each environment makes of the writing and reading processes, the metaphors reinforced by the environment, and the freedom allowed the writer to explore new forms. We have focused on IBM-compatible and Apple hardware platforms, and reviewed such software as Eastgate System's Storyspace, Claris' HyperCard, IBM's Linkway, and Ntergaid's Hyperwriter."
via:litherland  1993  christopherkeep  timmclaughlin  robinparmar  storyspace  linkway  hyperwriter  hypercard  jamesjoyce  hypertext  bookfuturism  ebooks  books  publishing  nonlinear  narrative  rayuela  juliocortázar  vladimirnabokov  electroniclabyrinth  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Institute for the Future of the Book
"We're a small think-and-do tank investigating the evolution of intellectual discourse as it shifts from printed pages to networked screens. There are independent branches of Institute in New York, London and Brisbane. The New York branch is affiliated with the Libraries of New York University."

[blog: http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog/ ]

[via http://digress.it/ via http://toolsforconviviality.digress.it/ ]
books  future  bookfuturism  publishing  writing  media  ebooks 
august 2013 by robertogreco
B&B: Good drinks and good reads in Shimokitazawa | PingMag : Art, Design, Life – from Japan
[Wayback: https://web.archive.org/web/20151028003033/http://pingmag.jp/2013/04/22/bandb/ ]

"Times are changing for publishing. E-books are here to stay and publishers are trying out a range of digital strategies to entice new customers. The music industry was one step ahead and the large retailers like Tower Records and HMV have all felt the pain of declining business, replaced by iTunes and Amazon. Bookstores are likewise looking at an uncertain future.

Well, one answer to how bookstores can continue to bring in readers to shop may lie in a new type of bookseller that has opened in Shimokitazawa, the laid-back Tokyo neighborhood just west of Shibuya.

The formula is visible in the name: B&B. British readers might be forgiven for thinking the shop is actually a cheap form of accommodation (bed and breakfast), but the two b’s are even better than that — “Book & Beer”, two things we at PingMag certainly love. Having coffee and tea for sale in bookstores has been the norm in other parts of the world for years now, but B&B has opted for a more alcoholic version. There is a proper bar with beer on tap, meaning customers can browse while sipping a chilled bevy or read a purchase with a beer in hand.

But this isn’t just about drinking (there are countless bars in Shimokitazawa, after all!). The books are also highly curated, selected per theme and genre by the staff to match the concept of the store. In other words, the entire place is like a magazine.

We sat down with B&B owner Shintaro Uchinuma to chat about the Shimokita’s latest hangout."
bookstores  books  cafes  2013  pingmag  tokyo  japan  openstudioproject  booksellers  shimokitazawa  bookshops  retail  bookfuturism  b&b  publishing  ebooks 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Starbooks and the Death of the Work | booktwo.org
"I used to talk about how Pynchon and Illuminatus and Grant Morrison’s “Invisibles” rewired my brain, but the internet is the greatest work of literature I’ve ever read. It’s my favourite book. A combinatory literature, the literature of the digital dérive, the literature of the wikihole. Hyper-referentiality is the new style – this is why I obsess over Wikipedia, which is a subset of the whole internet, self-similar, at a shorter grain, why I obsess over Fanfiction, which uses the canon as its context: you learn more at each level, like Mandelbrot’s map."
hypertextnovels  hypertextliterature  hypertextfiction  hypertext  grantmorrison  flickr  bookfuturism  futureofbooks  workingbooks  internet  online  web  writing  reading  destabilization  newjournalism  newnewjournalism  discordia  indignados  endlessdigitalnow  future  williamgibson  punk  danhancox  jessedarling  trashtheory  tiqqun  thomaspynchon  lauriepenny  mollycrabapple  wikipedia  cv  jamesbridle  present  starbooks  books  2012  internetasfavoritebook  internetasliterature 
december 2012 by robertogreco
SVA Workshop: Books After Books | booktwo.org
"The workshop started with two briefs. The first examined the book cover: its purpose in the old world of bricks-and-mortar bookshops and bookshelves, and its new place online and embedded in devices, more avatar than wrapper for the book. The second looked at the problems of navigating a long-form electronic text, without the ability to thumb and spatially conceive of a solid block of paper.

After group discussions, the students split into three groups. Using Dickens’ Hard Times as a base, one took on the challenge of re-evaluating the cover, another of graphical forms of navigation, and the third looked to the presentation of the text itself, to see how it could be presented in new, hybrid forms between the page and the screen."

[See also: http://booktwo.org/files/BooksAfterBooksSVA.pdf ]
bookcovers  ebooks  digitalbooks  howweread  reading  design  futureofbooks  future  bookfuturism  2012  svaixd  jamesbridle  books 
november 2012 by robertogreco
PowellsBooks.Blog – Q&A;: Mark Z. Danielewski - Powell's Books
"The way many tablets automatically alter fonts, for example, or authorize the reader to select from a limited list, disregards a tradition, centuries old, of designing and carefully selecting a type design. And it's a tradition not born out of constriction and control, I think, but expression and the aesthetics of sense and beauty. We both know how much time goes into designing a book. Personally, I go through hundreds of fonts before choosing one. And that's just the start: margin size matters (put that on a T-shirt!). Folios. Colors, of course. Not to mention how the book as an object sits in the reader's hand…

How is meaning altered if a book is typeset in Legacy instead of Garamond or Minion? How is meaning altered if word density is constant? If ink color is uniform? If there is no cover?"

[So much more, read on…]
print  images  text  art  expression  bookcovers  edg  srg  glvo  bookfuturism  interviews  2012  via:bobbygeorge  markdanielewski  tablets  ebooks  digital  bookdesign  design  books  petermendelsund 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Scan/flip/spread | Soulellis
"How we author, design and publish language-based communications is undergoing a radical shape-shift. The acceleration of the book (as commodity, technological device, art object) has entered a new stage of evolution in our trajectory towards constant presence and the post-human, and reading—the eye-brain processing of written culture—has much to lose, and gain, in the transformation.

What legacy of the book do we wish to bequeath to the future?

What is the futurestory of the book?

Several attributes of reading that are about to be lost, perhaps only temporarily (patina, olfactory, nostalgic), have opened up deep space for others (gestural, social, access, speed). And even more are on the way, as we prepare for the near-future absorption of the screen into the body (Google Glasses)…

…I propose a series of printed book experiments on the occasion of MutaMorphosis: Tribute to Uncertainty. These are actions of resistance—strategies for countering our growing need to read in haste. Three concepts will direct us to a poetic, if analog, investigation of book/time and the fast/slow speed of reading: scan, flip and spread. Working with found texts, public domain works, bot-generated ephemera and other digital artifacts, a printed book or short series of books that encourages and/or discourages slow reading will be produced as a limited print-on-demand edition for the MutaMorphosis conference (via Espresso Book Machine or other inexpensive digital-to-paper solution). The books will be distributed to all conference participants for discussion (panel, artist’s presentation or otherwise, TBD).

Scan/Flip/Spread puts forward the idea of the fast(er) book (print-on-demand) and braises it with the slow read. The investigation will explore the interface of the printed book—page-to-language ratio, typographic depth and density, page-turn-time, frame, weight, read rhythm, chance, flip speed and other formal aspects of the page; as well as content—questions of narrative, sense, curation and image/word play. Our goal, as a group, will be to create a space to embrace and counter the technologies of automation that are transforming language, visual culture, the page and reading—through the printed book object."
paulvirilio  design  longform  automation  dromosphere  printondemand  mutamorphosis  uncertainty  spread  flip  scan  future  ebooks  bookfuturism  googleglass  speed  access  socialreading  gestures  nostalgia  smell  patina  reading  publishing  books  2012  paulsoulellis  slowreading  slow  selfpublishing  self-publishing 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Above the Silos: Social Reading in the Age of Mechanical Barriers (Travis Alber & Aaron Miller) | Book: A Futurist's Manifesto
[See also: http://book.pressbooks.com/table-of-contents ]

"A book and its patterns, and the place we sit reading it, and the person we fall in love with, can become forever tied together. It is at this level that reading interests and addicts us. We think of it as a solitary act, but it’s often the connections we make back to the real world that make it so rewarding. These connections are sometimes even more interesting when made across larger gulfs. Fake worlds, or extinct ones, can interest us more than the one we live in. We’re fascinated by fictional characters when they mimic or reflect real personalities. Even the most outlandish science fiction can be interesting in this way, because of the allegory, or the grand sense of scale that crisply dramatizes contemporary issues, or the parallels we can make between even the most alien worlds and our own. It’s these very large, meaningful connections that are the ultimate goal of reading. It’s the understanding we gain, or at least feel we gain, about the world we live in, and the people…"
bookfuturism  books  oreilly  o'reillymedia  2012  readsocial.net  readsocial  socialreading  ebooks  bookglutton  groupreading  browsers  bookgluttony  howweread  networks  connections  via:litherland  social  reading  aaronmiller  travisalber  browser 
september 2012 by robertogreco
China Miéville: the future of the novel | Books | guardian.co.uk
"With the internet has come proof that there are audiences way beyond the obvious."

"In fact what's becoming obvious - an intriguing counterpoint to the growth in experiment - is the tenacity of relatively traditional narrative-arc-shaped fiction. But you don't radically restructure how the novel's distributed and not have an impact on its form. Not only do we approach an era when absolutely no one who really doesn't want to pay for a book will have to, but one in which the digital availability of the text alters the relationship between reader, writer, and book. The text won't be closed."

"A collection of artists and activists advocating the neoliberalisation of children's minds. That is scandalous and stupid. The text is open. This should – could – be our chance to remember that it was never just us who made it, and it was never just ours."

"We piss and moan about the terrible quality of self-published books, as if slews of god-awful crap weren't professionally expensively published every year."

"There's a contingent relationship between book sales and literary merit, so we should totally break the pretence at a connection, because of our amplifying connection to everyone else, and orient future-ward with a demand.

What if novelists and poets were to get a salary, the wage of a skilled worker?"

"This would only be an exaggeration of the national stipends already offered by some countries for some writers. For the great majority of people who write, it would mean an improvement in their situation, an ability to write full-time. For a few it would mean an income cut, but you know what? It was a good run. And surely it's easily worth it to undermine the marketisation of literature for some kind of collectivity.

But who decides who qualifies as a writer? Does it take one sonnet? Of what quality? Ten novels? 50,000 readers? Ten, but the right readers? God knows we shouldn't trust the state to make that kind of decision. So we should democratise that boisterous debate, as widely and vigorously as possible. It needn't be the mere caprice of taste. Which changes. And people are perfectly capable of judging as relevant and important literature for which they don't personally care. Mistakes will be made, sure, but will they really be worse than the philistine thuggery of the market?

We couldn't bypass the state with this plan, though. So for the sake of literature, apart from any- and everything else, we'll have to take control of it, invert its priorities, democratise its structures, replace it with a system worth having.

So an unresentful sense of writers as people among people, and a fidelity to literature, require political and economic transformation. For futures for novels – and everything else. In the context of which futures, who knows what politics, what styles and which contents, what relationships to what reconceived communities, which struggles to express what inexpressibles, what stories and anti-stories we will all strive and honourably fail to write, and maybe even one day succeed?"
writers  writing  publishers  democratization  democracy  futures  politics  selfpublishing  self-publishing  neoliberalism  copyright  hypertextnovels  fiction  literature  weirdfictionreview  ubuweb  lyricalrealism  zadiesmith  jamesjoyce  poulocoelho  oulipo  modernism  brunoschulz  lawrencedurrell  borges  ebooks  hypertext  hypertextfiction  text  cv  economics  publishing  leisurearts  bookfuturism  futureofbooks  2012  chinamieville  collectivity  money  artleisure 
august 2012 by robertogreco
April 27 #followreader conversation between @kissane and @katmeyer · maxfenton · Storify
"Every Friday, Kat Meyer hosts an hour-long conversation on twitter about the future of publishing. It's open to anyone following the hashtag. This one with Erin Kissane took place on April 27."
onlinetoolkit  utilitybelt  bookfuturism  howweread  reading  comments  maxfenton  2012  future  publishing  katmeyer  erinkissane 
april 2012 by robertogreco
TOC 2012: Tim Carmody, "Changing Times, Changing Readers: Let's Start With Experience" - YouTube
Notes here by @tealtan:

"unusual contexts in writing / reading text

“In a hyperliterate society, the vast majority of reading is not consciously recognized as reading.”

“What readers expect is more important than what readers want.”

Bill Buxton: “every tool is the best at something and the worst at something else”

skills, path-dependency, learning effects

“…we actually like constraints once we're in them.”"

And notes from @litherland:

"11:40: “I do things like … just obsess about weird little details. So, for instance … like, how do you do text entry in a Netflix app on the Wii? You know? I think about this a lot.” Your many other talents notwithstanding, Tim, you may have missed your calling as a designer. /

18:30: “I think it’s a tragedy that we have not been able to figure out a good interface for pen and ink on reading devices.” Holy grail. My dream for years. I would give anything. I would give anything to be smart enough to figure this out."
design  reading  writing  journalism  history  timcarmody  toc2012  via:tealtan  constraints  billbuxton  bookfuturism  ebooks  stéphanemallarmé  paper  2012  media  mediarevolutions  sentencediagramming  advertising  photography  change  books  publishing  printing  modernism  context  interface  expectations  conventions  skills  skeuomorph 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Speculist » Blog Archive » In the Future Everything Will Be A Coffee Shop
"Eventually you could have local campuses becoming places where MITx students seek tutoring, network, & socialize—reclaiming some of the college experience they’d otherwise have lost.

Phil thought this sounded like college as a giant coffee shop. I agree. Every education would be ad hoc. It would be student-directed toward the job market she’s aiming for.

This trend toward…coffeeshopification…is changing more than just colleges:

Book Stores Will Shrink to Coffee Shops…

The Coffee Shop Will Displace Most Retail Shops…

Offices Become Coffee Shops…Again…

What Doesn’t Become a Coffee Shop?…

…houses of worship…

What will remain other than coffee shops? Upscale retail will remain…[for] experience…Restaurants remain. Grocery stores remain.

Brick and mortar retail stores will be converted to public spaces. Multi-use space will be in increasing demand as connectivity tools allow easy coordination of impromptu events…"
restaurants  multipurpose  multi-usespace  impromptuevents  events  coffeeshopification  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  howwelearn  howwework  work  enlightenment  stevenjohnson  amazonprime  amazon  shopping  espressobookmachine  coffeehouses  coffeeshops  coffee  on-demandprinting  highereducation  higheredbubble  highered  information  reading  ebooks  stephengordon  future  retail  deschooling  unschooling  sociallearning  self-directedlearning  mitx  mit  learning  srg  glvo  2011  universities  colleges  education  opencoffeeclubdresden  3dprinting  ondemand  ondemandprinting  bookfuturism  books  cafes  openstudioproject 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The New Value of Text | booktwo.org
"Text lasts. It’s not platform-dependant, you don’t just get it from one source, read it in one place, understand it in one way. It is not dependent on technology: it is what we make technology out of. Code is text, it is the fundamental nature of technology. We’ve been trying for decades, since the advent of hypertext fiction, of media-rich CD-ROMs, to enhance the experience of literature with multimedia. And it has failed, every time.

Yet we are terrified that in the digital age, people are constantly distracted. That they’re shallower, lazier, more dazzled. If they are, then the text is not speaking clearly enough. We are not speaking clearly enough. Like over-stuffed attendees at a dull banquet, the mind wanders. We are terrified that people are dumbing down, and so we provide them with ever dumber entertainment. We sell them ever greater distractions, hoping to dazzle them further."
reading  writing  distraction  text  books  jamesbridle  publishing  content  technology  2011  bookfuturism  multimedia  fear  efficiency  storytelling  complexity  simplicity  digitaltext 
october 2011 by robertogreco
(party) per bend sinister ["Dexter Sinister is the compound name of David Reinfurt and Stuart Bailey."]
"David graduated from the UNC in 1993, Yale in 1999, & went on to form O-R-G, a design studio in New York City. Stuart graduated from the University of Reading in 1994, the Werkplaats Typografie in 2000, and co-founded the arts journal Dot Dot Dot the same year. David currently teaches at Columbia University and Rhode Island School of Design. Stuart is currently involved in diverse projects at Parsons School of Design (NYC) and Pasadena Art Center (LA).

Dexter Sinister recently established a workshop in the basement at 38 Ludlow Street, on the Lower East Side in New York City. The workshop is intended to model a ‘Just-In-Time’ economy of print production, running counter to the contemporary assembly-line realities of large-scale publishing. This involves avoiding waste by working on-demand, utilizing local cheap machinery, considering alternate distribution strategies, and collapsing distinctions of editing, design, production and distribution into one efficient activity."
dextersinister  davidreinfurt  stuartbailey  design  art  architecture  books  justintime  nyc  performance  production  booksellers  libraries  workshops  printing  publishing  bookstores  distribution  bookfuturism  efficiency  future 
july 2011 by robertogreco
I Read Where I Am
"Exploring New Information Cultures"

"For example, words are colour-coded in a gradient from dark (more) to light (less) as a comparative value of frequency versus uniqueness. Also, several indexes are featured as random access interfaces to the articles. And finally, the subject matter in the texts is extended beyond the book through comparisons with Wikipedia entries of similar semantic meaning (micro- versus macro-context).So in essence, in the conceptualization of this book, we are not only trying to produce graphic and typographic design. But, by augmenting code and form with critical language theories, we are also practising what we like to call Digital Anthropology."
design  art  culture  future  writing  reading  toread  ellenlupton  kevinkelly  erikspiekermann  dunne&raby  jamesbridle  bobstein  digital  books  text  digitalanthropology  wikipedia  indexing  typography  criticallanguage  language  narrative  semantic  literaryanthropology  screens  screen  behavior  etexts  linguistics  bookfuturism  experience  fionaraby  anthonydunne 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Vivek Haldar : Stallman's Dystopia
"It sounded like a ridiculous, unbelievable dystopia. It was even written like sci-fi. Of course that would never happen! Nobody would stand for this, ever, right?

But exactly what Stallman described has come to pass, with very little protest.

For example, here are the terms under which you can lend your Kindle books: books where lending is enabled by the seller, “can be loaned once for a period of 14 days.” Most other ebook stores and audio book stores have similarly restrictive policies."

[Refers to this Richard Stallman piece from 1997: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html ]
technology  books  information  activism  2011  vivekhaldar  richardstallman  sharing  law  dystopia  bookfuturism  stevenjohnson  ipad  ebooks  copying  copyright  drm  1997 
may 2011 by robertogreco
*openmargin
"Read. In our minimalistic eReader the focus is on the text, so you can listen to the author's voice. Let his words inspire your own thinking.

Write. When a passage resonates with you, make sure you highlight it and add a note. It's your contribution to the dialogue surrounding the book.

Share. The openmargin lies next to the text, it's the place where the notes of all the readers are collected. Here you connect thoughtfully with readers you never met before."
books  social  socialmedia  reading  community  ebooks  openmargin  annotation  notetaking  via:cervus  bookfuturism  ios  ipad  applications  writing 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Curious Pages: LANE SMITH on It's a Book
"Unlike Grandpa (me), today's kids are whip smart and tech savvy. I know eventually everything will be digital and kids won't even know from a regular old book book and that's fine. Truthfully? The reason I made the book? Certainly not to "throw down the gauntlet" as one critic has stated. Naw, I just thought digital vs. traditional made for a funny premise. No heavy message, I'm only in it for the laffs. <br />
<br />
My first version featured a kid. I dummied up some ruffs showing a dummy of a kid who doesn't know what this thing called 'a book' is. "What's this?" he said. The narrator answers, "It's a book," etc."<br />
<br />
[See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4BK_2VULCU AND ªªhttp://www.lanesmithbooks.com/Home.html ºº]
books  culture  reading  illustration  lanesmith  technology  bookfuturism  process  howwework 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Eye blog » The app of A Humument. ‘The iPad is one of the oldest things in the world … a pad or a slate.’
"JLW: I just interviewed the designer Paula Scher in Eye 77, who hates computers but loves the iPad.<br />
TP: I’m a bit like that. It’s different things at different times, a serious research tool, or a communication device, but it’s a toy, I can play with it and find things I didn’t know existed.<br />
<br />
JLW: It’s like a cross between a stained glass window and a book.<br />
TP: It’s also one of the oldest things in the world, as its called, a pad or a slate. This is a child’s slate like the one I had when I was five years old."
ipad  slates  bookfuturism  books  ui  writing  design  apple  2010  art  ahumument  tomphillips 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The Future of the Book. on Vimeo
"Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?"
ideo  future  ebooks  books  design  ipad  ixd  publishing  bookfuturism 
october 2010 by robertogreco
A Bookfuturist Manifesto - Science and Tech - The Atlantic
"Bookfuturists refuse to endorse either fantasy of "the end of the book" [bookservativism and technofuturism] -- "the end as destruction" or "the end as telos or achievement" as Jacques Derrida would have it. We are trying to map an alternative position that is both more self-critical and more engaged with how technological change is actively affecting our culture.

We're usually more interested in figuring out a piece of technology than either denouncing or promoting it. And we want to make every piece of tech work better. We're tinkerers. We look to history for analogies and counter-analogies, but we know that analogies aren't destiny. We try to look for the technological sophistication of traditional humanism and the humanist possibilities of new tech."
bookfuturism  timcarmody  future  futures  ebooks  fiction  books  publishing  manifesto  futurism  bookservatives  technofuturism  clayshirky  nicholascarr  reading  technology  tinkering  thinking  humanism  complexity  manifestos 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Reading in a Whole New Way | 40th Anniversary | Smithsonian Magazine
"Books were good at developing a contemplative mind. Screens encourage more utilitarian thinking. A new idea or unfamiliar fact will provoke a reflex to do something: to research the term, to query your screen “friends” for their opinions, to find alternative views, to create a bookmark, to interact with or tweet the thing rather than simply contemplate it. Book reading strengthened our analytical skills, encouraging us to pursue an observation all the way down to the footnote. Screen reading encourages rapid pattern-making, associating this idea with another, equipping us to deal with the thousands of new thoughts expressed every day. The screen rewards, and nurtures, thinking in real time. We review a movie while we watch it, we come up with an obscure fact in the middle of an argument, we read the owner’s manual of a gadget we spy in a store before we purchase it rather than after we get home and discover that it can’t do what we need it to do."
books  reading  via:hrheingold  ipad  screens  active  patterns  interactive  bookfuturism  doing  contemplation  thinking  howwework  cv  literacy  media  technology 
july 2010 by robertogreco
De inventione punctus | Bookfuturism
"All signs suggest punctuation is in flux. In particular, our signs that mark grammatical (and sometimes semantic) distinctions are waning, while those denoting tone and voice are waxing. Furthermore, signs with a slim graphical profile (the apostrophe and comma, especially) are having a rough go of it. Compared to the smiley face or even the question mark, they're too visually quiet for most casual writers to notice or remember, even (or especially) on our high-def screens.

[Also at: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/5792 ]
english  writing  punctuation  language  history  future  change  bookfuturism  technology  communication  reading 
june 2010 by robertogreco
From space to time « Snarkmarket
"Bri­dle says read­ers don’t value what pub­lish­ers do because all of the time involved in edit­ing, for­mat­ting, mar­ket­ing, etc., is invis­i­ble to reader when they encounter final prod­uct. Maybe. But mak­ing that time/labor vis­i­ble CAN’T just mean brusquely insist­ing that pub­lish­ers really are impor­tant & that they really do do valu­able work. It needs to mean some­thing like find­ing new ways for read­ers to engage with that work, & mak­ing that time mean­ing­ful as THEIR time.

In short, it means that writ­ers & pro­duc­ers of read­ing mate­r­ial prob­a­bly ought to con­sider tak­ing them­selves a lit­tle less seri­ously & read­ers & read­ing a lit­tle more seri­ously. Let’s actu­ally BUILD that body of knowl­edge about read­ers and their prac­tices — let’s even start by look­ing at TIME as a key deter­mi­nant, espe­cially as we move from print to dig­i­tal read­ing — & try to offer a bet­ter, more tai­lored yet more vari­able range of expe­ri­ences accordingly."
reading  writing  snarkmarket  comments  thebookworks  books  publishing  annotation  quotations  interactivity  experience  time  space  data  amazon  penguin  jamesbridle  robinsloan  respect  ebooks  kindle  ipad  bookfuturism  attention  timcarmody  edting  formatting  value  understanding  commonplacebooks  transparency  visibility  patterns  patternrecognition  friends  lisastefanacci  bookselling  npr  practice 
may 2010 by robertogreco
The Library, Through Students’ Eyes - Room for Debate Blog - NYTimes.com
"After a Room for Debate discussion last week, “Do School Libraries Need Books?” the comments from readers included some first-hand views from students. Below are excerpts of their observations on how studying has changed, how they use libraries (if at all) and how to use the space differently."
libraries  education  learning  technology  future  books  students  reading  controversy  debate  advocacy  architecture  bookfuturism 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Small bookshop refuses to be muscled out - SignOnSanDiego.com
"Stefanacci, on the other hand, can strike you as the smartest student in the physics lab. In fact, she left a career as a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute to buy a bookstore that drew her like a velveteen rabbit through the business world’s version of the looking glass. ... Despite a recent 10 percent downturn in revenue, Stefanacci is defiantly bullish on the future of what she likes to call a “curated bookstore,” a passionate marriage of emporium and museum."
thebookworks  friends  books  bookfuturism  booksellers 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Interactive fiction novels for mobile phones
"mifiction is an exciting new concept in publishing interactive fiction for mobile phones for the teenage market.
mobile  writing  fiction  storytelling  bookfuturism  via:rodcorp 
january 2010 by robertogreco
DIY - Neven Mrgan's tumbl
"Regarding the tablet and Apple’s rumored future as a merchant of content, here’s something I’d like: An easy way for people who write, draw, play, and combine all of these, to publish their work to a simple, popular, digital store serving a device ideal for reading; a publishing equivalent of the App Store." [via: http://bookfuturism.com/?q=content/digital-lulucom]
apple  tablet  publishing  diy  itunes  art  comics  reading  ebooks  lulu  bookfuturism  islate  editors 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Book Review - 'Reading in the Brain - The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention,' by Stanislas Dehaene - Review - NYTimes.com
"More than any other animal, we humans constantly reshape our environment. We also have an exceptionally long childhood and especially plastic young brains… At this very moment, if you are under 30, you are much more likely to be moving your eyes across a screen than a page. And you may be simultaneously clicking a hyperlink to the last “Colbert Report,” I.M.-ing with friends and Skyping with your sweetheart… the ancient media of speech and song and theater were radically reshaped by writing, though they were never entirely supplanted, a comfort perhaps to those of us who still thrill to the smell of a library… surely, in the end, the story of the reading, learning, hyperlinking, endlessly rewiring brain is more hopeful than sad."

[See also: http://bookfuturism.com/?q=content/future-reading-brain
AND http://snarkmarket.com/2010/4636 ]
bookfuturism  alisongopnik  timcarmody  books  reading  neuroscience  technology  plasticity  learning  media  newmedia  brain  adaptation  adaptability  noamchomsky  stanislasdehaene 
january 2010 by robertogreco
BBC - BBC World Service Programmes - Business Daily, Is The Book Dead?
"Will eBooks push volumes with paper pages off the shelves for good? They're defined as "an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a personal computer or hand-held device designed specifically for this purpose". So, they have the weight of one book but contain hundreds of volumes - but they don't feel like a book.
books  ebooks  kindle  future  technology  bookfuturism  booksellers  print 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Reading or Technology | Bookfuturism
"I used to work in a bookstore and often parents would ask me how they could get their children to read more. Always, my first question was "what was the last book you read?". Unvariably, the return answer was "Oh, I don't read." <insert head in doorway, slam door hard until rendered unconscious.> That is one reason I was happy to find this site. ... So, we return to the question at the top. How do we get children to read more? We have to focus on the children because it is already too late to convince the latest generation to hit twenty that reading is a singular, important and valid experience itself. This leads to two points:
books  reading  children  bookfuturism  tcsnmy  parenting  print  booksellers  publishing  online  future  classicalmusic  classical  mucic  appreciation 
december 2009 by robertogreco
...lisa's blog: The Book Works and Evolution: Adapting to the Future | The Book Works
"The Book Works intends to spend a lot of time visitng Bookfuturism. We encourage you to do so, too. Our interests are philosophical but also very, very practical. We want to survive, we want to adapt, we want to stick with you (and vice versa) through the next several decades. If we are inspired enough, we may try out some ideas in a project that I'm calling "Bookfuturism: A Case Study"."
friends  lisastefanacci  thebookworks  bookfuturism  books  booksellers 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Meet Bruce Mau. He wants to redesign the world
"Early in his career, Mau began to consider the idea that everything a business does matters; that every action communicates a message to the world and also has consequences on some level...saw...compartmentalised thinking as standard practice in business, & felt that it allowed industry to wreak havoc on the world...Study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Mau has always believed that a design studio should be a place of study & that designing should be an exercise in lifelong learning. Mau recommends making your own design studio, wherever it may be, into an environment that encourages learning. Surround yourself with ideas; stock the place with books. Just don't spend too much time arranging the bookshelf...new iterations of Massive Change idea...network of schools, or "centres for massive change"...franchise concept of massive change to universities or companies, enabling them to set up their own design/innovation labs using Mau's methodologies"
brucemau  bmd  iwb  lifelonglearning  tcsnmy  lcproject  learning  bookfuturism  design  gamechanging  manifestos  innovation  optimism  future  schooldesign  growth  massivechange  change  society  glvo  diy  tinkering  making  do  doing  openstudioproject 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Bookfuturism | mapping the future of reading [Background: http://snarkmarket.com/2009/4468]
"Bookfuturism.com is a digital commons and multi-user blog open to anyone interested in the future of reading. It's also a social network for bookfuturists - men and women who believe that books, bookshops, libraries, publishers, newspapers, authors, and readers have a future -- albeit one that may be radically different from the present -- and who want to participate in that future."
bookfuturism  books  innovation  publishing  copyright  googlebooks  future  bookstores  booksellers  technofuturism 
december 2009 by robertogreco
All the while, it was growing « Snarkmarket
"AN IDEA. I have an idea! ... More to the point — book­fu­tur­ists. I love it because the first word mod­i­fies the sec­ond as much as the other way around. A futur­ist (in the orig­i­nal sense) wants to burn down libraries. A book­fu­tur­ist wants to put video games in them. (And he wants one of those video games to be Lego Ham­let.) A book­fu­tur­ist, in other words, isn’t some­one who purely embraces the new and con­signs the old to the rub­bish heap. She’s always look­ing for things that blend her appre­ci­a­tion of the two. (The book­fu­tur­ist might be really into steampunk.) The book­fu­tur­ist is deeply dif­fer­ent from the two peo­ple he might oth­er­wise eas­ily be mis­taken for — the tech­no­fu­tur­ist and the book­ser­v­a­tive. Tech­no­fu­tur­ists and book­ser­v­a­tives HATE each other. Book­fu­tur­ists have some affec­tion for each of them, even if they both also drive him nuts. What do I mean by “tech­no­fu­tur­ists” and “book­ser­v­a­tives”? Well, I can show you."
bookfuturism  books  booksellers  change  bookstores  thebookworks  bookservatives  timcarmody  technofuturists 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Embracing eclecticism « Snarkmarket
"How will my book­store evolve over the next sev­eral decades? How can I retain the essence of what I do — and how the store serves the com­mu­nity? It’s sound­ing like the cur­rent model will be obso­lete pretty soon, at least in terms of finan­cial via­bil­ity. I can’t tell at this point how the Amer­i­can Book­sellers Asso­ci­a­tion is going to help us tran­si­tion to the near future, but I doubt there will be any rev­o­lu­tion­ary changes — they are advo­cates for too many indies to try any­thing too rad­i­cal too quickly. As for me, I’m plan­ning to stick around and fol­low your con­ver­sa­tions, per­haps try out an idea or two, and attempt to fash­ion a model that will fly in the real world. Maybe I’ll start a blog on the store web­site: Book­fu­tur­ism: A Case Study."
thebookworks  bookfuturism  snarkmarket  timcarmody  comments  friends  booksellers  bookstores  future  lisastefanacci 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Your local stationers’ shop « Snarkmarket
"key point seems to be that book­store patrons today are kind of like Repub­li­can Party — almost every­one who hasn’t given up on the project alto­gether is a zealot. To stay alive, book­stores need to fos­ter their com­mu­ni­ties & har­ness that zealotry, mak­ing sure that they don’t lose a gen­er­a­tion of future zealots sim­ply because they didn’t show up. I like Doctorow’s for­mu­la­tion: “In that world, book­sellers become a lot more like blog­gers who spe­cial­ize in all things book­ish — wun­derkam­mer­ers who stock exactly the right book for the right peo­ple in the right neighborhood.” Now this actu­ally loses book­stores the pure democ­racy argu­ment. It will no longer be the case that book­stores are the only places offer­ing sal­va­tio — er, I mean, books. Book­stores might not be Catholic churches, where every­one is wel­come — but could be our hard, thrifty Puri­tan churches, whose mem­bers go out into world & demon­strate their sal­va­tion through their worldly works."
books  future  timcarmody  booksellers  business  clayshirky  change  corydoctorow  thebookworks  bookfuturism  bookservatives  technofuturism 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Local Bookstores, Social Hubs, and Mutualization « Clay Shirky
"The core idea is to appeal to that small subset of customers who think of bookstores as their “third place”, alongside home and work. These people care about the store’s existence in physical (and therefore social) space; the goal would be to generate enough revenue from them to make the difference between red and black ink, and to make the new bargain not just acceptable but desirable for all parties. A small collection of patron saints who helped keep a local bookstore open could be cheaply smothered in appreciation by the culture they help support...All of which is to say that trying to save local bookstores from otherwise predictably fatal competition by turning some customers into members, patrons, or donors is an observably crazy idea. However, if the sober-minded alternative is waiting for the Justice Department to anoint the American Booksellers Association as a kind of OPEC for ink, even crazy ideas may be worth a try."
bookselling  books  business  clayshirky  adaptation  community  trends  publishing  digital  bookstores  culture  future  online  local  thirdplaces  social  media  activism  commerce  thebookworks  bookfuturism  technofuturism  thirdspaces 
november 2009 by robertogreco

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