Tag Archives: publishing

What is the business of literature?, by Richard Nash, is one of my all-time favorite essays about authorship and publishing. The entire piece is phenomenal and this bit was perhaps my favorite:

It was a sign, almost one hundred years ago, of the book beginning to achieve what most technology will never accomplish—the ability to disappear. Walk into the reading room of the New York Public Library and what do you see? Laptops. Books, like the tables and chairs, have receded into the backdrop of human life. This has nothing to do with the assertion that the book is counter-technology, but that the book is a technology so pervasive, so frequently iterated and innovated upon, so worn and polished by centuries of human contact, that it reaches the status of Nature.

Add that to Instapaper and settle in for some thought-provoking reading.

Bonus link on a related note is Fetishizing the Text, by Kieran Healy.

The Future of RSS Isn’t Another NetNewsWire:

My hope is that people don’t use this second chance at a decade old technology just to build NetNewsWire with popovers, a Tweetie-like sidebar and Twitter and Facebook sharing. The future of RSS isn’t in the feeds itself. It’s in figuring out how to extract the information out of those feeds and present it in an interesting and non-overwhelming way.

The Archive is a Campsite:

Search is an interface for accessing the archive, just as the front page is an interface for accessing the news. The archivist’s task is to build an interface that offers a better experience than search.

Such a great article about archives and their potential for highlighting the ongoing value of writing. I appreciate the emphasis it places on human touch. Someone once told me that, "Great content doesn’t scale. You always need someone to have their hands on it."

Took a bit of a break this afternoon and watched Linotype: The Film. Really great documentary about what was, for many years, revolutionary publishing technology. It’s a little crazy to realize that the gap between idea and mass publication used to literally require liquid metal poured one line at a time.

Mid-week reading list

With the craziness of running a WordCamp last week I didn’t have much time to read through my Instapaper queue. Thankfully, I had some extra time to catch up on things tonight. Interestingly I had a lot of articles that hit on similar themes. Last week seemed to be the week to publish pieces about publishing.

Scott Hanselman’s Your words are wasted was first up. It speaks to my belief in the importance of open source software and owning what you publish. As he says, “I control this domain, this software and this content.”

It’s been a while since I’ve read something from the Nieman Lab but I think I need to start following them more closely again. 13 ways of looking at Medium was well done. They save the critical questions for the end and there could have been more of those, but it’s an interesting look at Ev Williams’ new publishing tool.

The Dangers of Being a Product Instead of a Customer was another good post. As Diego writes there, “I’d much rather be a customer of web services than a product.”

Anil Dash’s musing on streams was interesting as a somewhat higher level piece. People do read on the internet, they just require content to be presented in the right way.

Interesting stuff going on.

Chris Bowler:

But tools can only go so far. In the end, it comes down the writer. In writing, the friction that has to be dealt with the most is that which takes place in your head. Not from your tools. A good writer can change thoughts, opinions and even worlds, regardless of the tool or platform used.

Platforming Books:

I strongly believe digital books benefit from public endpoints. The current generation of readers (human, not electronic) have formed expectations about sharing text, and if you obstruct their ability to share — to touch — digital text, then your content is as good as non-existent. Or, in the least, it’s less likely to be engaged.

Word. Art Space Tokyo is a gorgeous site and I bet will drive a lot of digital sales, in addition to readers.