Some (other) things I thought were interesting:
“A great time for small presses”, says publishing ‘vet’: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6552045.html
A followup to my first post: whatwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com becomes the second ‘hit blog’ to have a book out later this year.
This website, which attempts to re-imagine books in terms of… what’s going to happen to them: http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog
I’m going to talk about a particular post on the if:book blog, which I wanted to post a picture of, but am not allowed to access that feature, so here you’ll have to click the link: http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog/archives/2008/04/illumination.html.
How cool does that look?!
When we passed around the Amazon Kindle in our class, most of us had a reaction of mixed disgust and awe. I felt like I was going to break it; someone else (I can’t remember who) was afraid touching it would contaminate them. But when I saw this thing created by some student in the UK, I was intrigued and excited. This kind of ‘book’ looks more like an art project (and upon investigating creator Kyle Bean’s ‘portfolio’, it appears that’s mostly what it is) than an industrialization. The thought of a way of making books a technological creation rather than a machine is what is so thrilling, even if this particular instance is just a visual representation of what is a possible piece of book-future.
It occurs to me then that it is really the ‘aura’ (thanks Benjamin) of the book that concerns me, the thing as an object, and not the actual experience of reading up-close. I still have to think about the matter a little bit more, but while I had been worried that reading was cheapened when it was relegated to the world of the screen, that is actually not the biggest qualm I have with an internet-dominated world of literature. While I care less about the preservation of the ‘CD’ as an object of ‘aural’ significance, that is probably because the significance of a ‘music object’ in general has been slowly decreasing through the lifetime of the ‘music industry.’ Once mix-tapes were being handed out by guys to their girlfriends left and right (about the time that I was born), it didn’t seem like there was a whole lot of integrity left for the art object of a musical document. However, a friend of mine that grew up in a house full of jazz records disagrees, and so we see how gaps in experience lead to the degeneration of old technologies. Anyway.
If only interactive techno-savvy books could look like art somehow, be type-set in stone and arranged in a delicate pattern of buttons, if only it could remind me, just a little bit, of paper or something, then I could accept the idea as not a deconstruction/reducer of the value of text. But until that becomes a reality, the Kindle will still be a scary thing to me not only because of its alien qualities, but for its lack of observable depth.