Table of Contents Notes Defensive Reading “Anything Except Readerly Books” “Print versus Digital” “Where I Get Unhappy” Those Lists Notes (1) As you may know, I’ve begun a weekly feature with The Bookseller in London, “Porter Anderson Meets,” in which I interview a newsmaker each Monday, live on Twitter, and then produce an article from [...]
Michael Tamblyn of Kobo was The FutureBook’s Most Inspiring Digital Dude of the Day and, I’m sure, of many days to come. In a finely arranged conference full of important and edifying detail and personality, Tamblyn seized that room’s collective intelligence with gratifying honesty, pink lightning on a bare stage.
It comes as news to no one in the industry! the industry! that self-publishing is controversial. We may tend, however, to think of it as controversial for that industry, while not looking at what it can mean for writers and writing. It is, in fact, a development full of argument not only for publishers but also for literature.
PubSmart 2014 may be creating something we’ve needed to see much more of: a conference in which not only business-conscious authors but also smaller publishing companies can start doing the logical networking they’ve needed: with each other.
As a hand-wringer here, I’m one of the “but not all” skeptics Coker mentions, unpersuaded, and how good that he’s careful to note that we’re not all mollified. For me it’s not the compensation issue, actually. I’m more concerned about how literature of all genres (don’t get sidetracked here, I mean all books) fare on the buffet.
The digital dynamic, which makes it possible for people to publish books with or without traditional publishing support, also seems to be revving many folks into a shared assumption that faster is better.
As long as we envision “the book” as that thing with pages—or its digital descendant on an e-reader or tablet—we’re not giving the original artistry and impulse behind a new body of work a chance to live as the unique content it is in the context of its creation.
Are we impatient for the “new books”? We are. Do we have to have them tomorrow? We don’t. Will they be better “new books” if we take a little time to make sure everyone is accounted for, considered, even consulted and heard before we declare digital tools our icons and traditional publishing our new parking lot? They will.
Here at the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair this week, if we’re not actually walking past a couple of smoothly contoured bends, we may at least be able to peer around them. (1) Self-publishing. We may be seeing a widespread, collective nod of recognition going on; not a big “eureka!” moment, but a frank acknowledgment that the energies of the entrepreneurial-author community no longer can be dismissed as a faddish bubble of activity nor as negligible in their effect. Bowker has stepped in to add some new edge to this concept. (2) Amazon. Not only is there less time and energy wasted on bad-mouthing Seattle here in Frankfurt than in many such earlier gatherings, but one rant against the retailer has been met with stark derision in the publishing community, and, in a more signal moment, a major leader in the business has waved the closest thing we’ve seen yet to an olive branch.
Table of Contents Three Valuable Views A Word for the Publishers Humming the Bookstore And Just Write It Already View from the North Ten: Poems after Mark Rothko’s No. 15 by Dave Malone Inspired by the primary colors of Mark Rothko’s vibrant No. 15 painting, these poems give life to the canvas of the rural Ozarks. [...]