Note: don't miss our last interview to Ken Liu » We Use Narrative As a Way to Make Sense of the World
HOW WE WILL READ: MARIA POPOVA
"Reading is a bootcamp for developing and exercising critical thinking. Without that — intellectual apocalypse! And critical thinking is about developing a point of view, and all writing is — or, should be — about arguing a point of view, implicitly or explicitly. When you bring the crowd into the equation, this concept completely disappears — because a crowd cannot have a point of view, at least not one that is simultaneously focused and authentic to each individual in the crowd."
THE INNOVATION WE NEED TO SEE BEFORE EBOOKS CAN COMPLETELY REPLACE PBOOKS
"Now, I understand there are a few advantages to paper. But I see a lot more advantages to digital. The fact that I now carry about a hundred books with me, wherever I go, that I can read whenever I want, outweighs any advantage a paper book could give me. Well, beyond the shallow extremities of the paper book, like its smell.
There are however a few technical challenges that could be overcome by Amazon and Apple that would make my digital books even better and would let me forget about paper altogether."
The Next Web
WHY PUBLISHERS NEED A CONTENT STRATEGY TODAY
"The traditional linear publishing process becomes instead a network of modularised processes that enable dynamic, personalised content creation. Publishers as content providers do not create more and more products, but design and maintain a content centre, from which they are able to feed into the growing diversity of business opportunities. These paradigm shifts require an extensive rethinking for publishers – and make a content strategy essential. They entail having a content strategy which recognises that books are not just information or data."
THE RETURN OF THE NOVELLA, THE ORIGINAL #Longread
"I think novellas have intimidated publishers, who cannot easily parse the form. Novellas range so widely in length, from several dozen to over 200 pages, that it's impossible to characterize them as a group. There really is no precise formal definition for what even constitutes a novella, nor will there be—each narrative relies on its own structural logic to determine its length. Writers love this freedom, but for publishers the novella's protean borders are a risk and a headache."
SUSTAINABILITY IN PUBLISHING: WHO CARES?
"Surely we could just switch to e-books? Ah, of course it’s not that easy. You have to consider how many books are read on each e-reader in its life, its production methods, toxicity of the materials, what other uses it might have, how soon it will be obsolete, and whether it’s recyclable or destined for landfill. Oh, and let’s not forget social sustainability: the less-than-golden reputation for developing world manufacturing; the impact e-books have on independent bookshops; and the risk of making books less accessible to poorer social groups. And that’s just the beginning. Studies suggest e-readers become greener than print once you’ve read between 14 and 70 books. Oh yes, it’s THAT conclusive.
It’s almost enough to put you off books altogether. No, no, no, no it’s not."
AMAZON AREN'T DESTROYING PUBLISHING, THEY'RE RESHAPING IT
"Before agency was introduced, Amazon boasted of controlling 90% of the ebook market. Barnes & Noble's Nook now has a share in the mid-20s, with Apple down around perhaps half that and assorted others making up a few more percentage points. Whatever agency's sins may be, it opened the way for something like competition, which is why it seems on the face of it painfully odd that publishers should face legal action for anti-competitive practices in adopting it.
And why is competition important? Because it drives not just lower prices, but better products. And let's face it, the products we have are ho-hum."
NOTE TO PUBLISHERS: YOUR ADDICTION TO DRM IS KILLING YOU
"Has DRM prevented piracy? That seems unlikely, since it is relatively easy to get around those locks and copy a book if you really want to. What is pretty clear, however, is that those rights-management locks have cemented Amazon’s control over the publishers’ content. In other words, it has given the online retailer a stick with which to beat them, as Stross described it recently. And it has also made it more difficult for some independent e-book sellers, because publishers won’t let them sell their books without DRM."
THINKING THROUGH A STRATEGY FOR DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT
"With this analysis, one might assume that I am in favor of DRM. I am not. I am simply being realistic. A publishing strategy to move away from DRM requires a great deal of thought and contingency planning. Can we afford to lose our course adoption sales? How do we monetize reading groups? And what about the used-book market, from which we currently derive no revenue? Can we come up with new ways to monetize books so that we can recapture some of that lost revenue? The issue concerning DRM is falsely thought to be a technological one. It is not; it is a marketing issue. What is the best way to reach markets, and does DRM help or hinder that goal?"
The Scholarly Kitchen
HERE'S ANOTHER FAST-GROWING SOCIAL NETWORK: GOODREADS
"Goodreads saw an opportunity, and began offering e-books directly from the site. Now authors could sell 13,000 books to their fans. With the rise of the self-publishing industry, which many writers have taken to nowadays - and with the likes of imprints like Chicago's own Tortoise Books and Featherproof popping up all over the place - it's not surprising that 35,000 self-promoting, social-networking authors have taken to Goodreads. The site currently has 8 million registered members who have written more than 13 million reviews and added more than 280 million books to their virtual shelves."