Future of the Book

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May 12, 2009

The Strand's "Books by the Foot"

Wandering around The Strand yesterday I could not help but be amazed by the amount of people there. Who says that people don't read? I could barely move!

Obviously, there were quite a few tourists in the lot. After all, if you claim to have 18 miles of books and you're not the Library of Congress, you are by definition an attraction.

But there were also many wanderers like me who were just there enjoying the experience. There is something to be said about navigating through book stacks, smelling people's curiosity as they leaf though old volumes and new paperbacks. It conveys a quiet feeling of excitement. 

The Strand knows what it is doing. It carries everything - cheaper. And it seems to understand that books are not just about their content; they are also about making us feel part of something greater than us.

That's why, I guess, they cleverly offer the ultimate anti-digital service. The Strand offers to help decorate your walls with books. "We will custom design a library that is sure to be a perfect match for any home or office space, one
that will please the eye and satisfy the mind.
" The service is called "Books by the Foot". 

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October 13, 2008

The End?

I am way behind in my readings...but when I stumbled on this article by Boris Kachka in New York Magazine, I could not help but think you might find it interesting.

It is headed by a short paragraph that starts with the following statement. "The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after."


Of course it won't! Who still does believe it will.....After all as Boris Kachka states in his first paragraph, "Harpercollins occupies floors 1 thourgh 22 of a giant steel-and-glass box on 53rd street..."

Sounds more like a law firm than an literary outfit to me... more like an over-bloated corporation...so if we are talking - again - about an industry that will need to adapt and learn new ways to distribute their product, or will have to accept that the book as we know it, is about to disappear, yes, that industry is dying...But perhaps is it time to differentiate the publishing industry from the activity it feeds: reading...same as it is time to split music distribution from listening to music....

July 3, 2008

Future of the Book

Attended a fascinating talk by Bob Stein last week on the future of the book. Seems like Kindle and e-Reader are just the beginning. Their institute if:book has been working on an open source software called Sophie that according to their website "opens up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of people and institutions". So, practically, a book will exist on the web, instead of still photos, you might have videos, if you want more information about a word, thought or concept, you click and it will connect you to wikipedia or a search engine. You can read it, or have the author read it, you can comment in the margins and the author(s) can dive into a live virtual discussion with you. The experience is as rich and interactive as you make it. All the tools are there. They even have tutorials, how-to movies and sample books to guide you through. If you're ready for Book 2.0, download the software and start writing.