The exclusionary aspect of single format release can be viewed in terms of the book market overall. My sense was that screen and print book markets sectors have been fairly separated with incentives to dual format publication. Perhaps we are now seeing a macro-genre of screen book reading emerge more clearly at the same time that a macro-genre of print reading distills its own smaller market.
So far an equivalence of the screen and print versions of a single title has been assumed. This simple sameness was always a debatable premise. What if the market separations for screen and print preference are actually telling us something about fundamental product differences? Perhaps story line content flows well on screen and polemic of scholarly research works well in print.
“It is strange to think of them as disposable as tissues. Yet economic and cultural forces have made many used pianos, with the exception of Steinways and a few other high-end brands, prone to being jettisoned. With thousands of moving parts, pianos are expensive to repair, requiring long hours of labor by skilled technicians whose numbers are diminishing. Excellent digital pianos and portable keyboards can cost as little as several hundred dollars.” NYT
Sounds familiar as paper books are displaced from libraries. One aspect is the displacement of physical by virtual and another is a diminished means of culture transmission and another is deterioration of the whole text as with the Aleppo Codex.
This latest new book, A Commonplace Book, is a scroll of selected postings here at http futureofthebook.com. Just send a shipping address and you will be billed ($10 + $3 shipping) later. Please use Iowa Book Works email; iowa.book.works (at) mchsi (dot) com to place your order.
What is it all about? This site is my forum for discussion of the future of the book. I focus on a narrow field of the continuing role of print or paper books in a context of their screen delivery. A further constraint is focus of the perspectives of library preservation. The tag line has been there from the beginning; “persistence and preservation of the changing book”. I have never revised that.
What can be said of the jumble of topics? Somehow I sense they all relate to the destiny of books from the discovery of the boson, to librarian rants, to ebook marketeering. So there is no overt thread except that precept of book destiny and the chronological thread of the 2006-2012 postings that is only indirectly apparent. So to lend commodity to this menagerie it is titled a Commonplace Book because a commonplace book is described as “a collection of short extracts including elegant turns of phrase”.
The Oxford Companion to the Book entrée also mentions ”…personal commonplace books were probably rare until cheap paper notebooks became available in the 15th century”. In this instant it is the advent of cheap laser photocopiers that have made production possible. I use a little Cannon black copier and a nice, four color Ricoh. I also depend on the smooth running Domtar COUGAR Digital 60 lb.text, natural paper.
Of course there is a weird paper Wiki aspect to my print publishing of blog postings. I guess I am a steam punker at heart. But you can also note a lurking, futuristic prospect of print; of print on demand and of advancing electrostatic imagining on ever more miraculous papers.
But what is the book destiny? The “take home” here is a contention that print and screen books are interdependent and neither will flourish without the other. The book encompasses both print and screen delivery and this Commonplace Book suggests that the book has long absorbed innovations of display and systems of distribution into a single transmission ecology. Such complexity, conflict and ambiguity offers a way forward as well. This is a strange destiny realizing an interaction of all the possibilities.
Don’t disregard this notice.