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March 2012

Books and publishing are two different things

This fabulous journal by Craig Mod talks about his creation of a product (as part of a team) and the chronicle of that journey in a book. The book will never be published in the sense that publishing is a risk-taking business venture that involves a sale. But the magic of its bookness still matters. [...]

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The null set

Ask a friend with a tablet (iPad or Fire) to show you her bookshelf. More and more, you’ll see nothing. Emptiness. When we juxtapose an ebook with a movie, Instagram or pigs that attack turtles, the ebook often loses. One of the very real truths of our culture is being hidden in the dramatic shift [...]

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What is Bach worth?

Well, today and tomorrow, about 99 cents for 9 hours worth of music (download link). (US only, I’m told… sorry). Enough of a bargain to make it the top selling album on Amazon. Is that all the genius is worth? Of course not. Once again, it’s an issue of substitutes. If you want Bach, you [...]

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Demolishing the argument that abundance causes scarcity

The only public policy argument that can be made in favor of draconian opposition to fair use sharing of work online is that if too many people share it, more won’t be created. Copyright is part of the US Constitution NOT because the founders were trying to make Ira Gershwin’s great grandchildren happy, but because [...]

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Will you miss the encyclopedia?

Britannica has announced what we all knew was coming: the print version is no more. And they continue to proclaim that the digital version is far better than the free alternative. Consider this entry on Rick Santorum (free this week only), and compare it to this one from Wikipedia. The first is out of date, [...]

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When talking about your work is the same as your work

Movies are a special case. When Tom Cruise goes on Oprah to promote a movie, the interview is of course no substitute for the movie. Even the coming attraction for a movie isn’t usually a replacement for the movie (except for stuff like Cowboys and Aliens…) On the radio, pop music had this debate fifty [...]

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Spreading ideas outside the bookstore

More and more, bookstores are turning into places where books go to die. Without active promotion, and even better, an easy way for the idea to reach people who don’t hang out in bookstores, it’s difficult for a book to catch on. Here are two authors/crusaders who have figured out how to put alternative distribution [...]

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Burbling: watching an idea go from page to conversation

Stop Stealing Dreams is closing in on half a million readers since I launched it eight days ago. There are about 100,000 Google matches for the phrase, up from four when I published it. What’s fascinating to me is how visible the spread of an idea is now, how much more quickly and socially we [...]

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An ebookstore is more like a web browser than a bookstore

[An addendum for this post] Google Chrome is made by Google. It’s free. Safari is made by Apple. It’s free too. The question one could ask is: Should Google be able to keep you from seeing web pages that criticize Google or compete with Google? Should there be a system in place where the people [...]

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