After 14 years the 47 stores of Archiver’s scrapbook supplies has closed. They join the many other sudden tent foldings of the short-lived paper scrapbook craze. This industry was based on high profit, paper conversion products. Industrial, hand-made scrapbooking was a short interlude between the long history of commonplace book repository and household economies of heirloom making and the new economies and formats of social media. The industry veneration of preservation and archival materials was rather shallow and the endless adulation of family history is over. Or will these commercial prompts pop up again?
One outcome is the “personal” photo book. The self-published photo book is not homemade but mass-produced as an entirely new sector of book production. The future of the jet printing of full color is represented by services such as blurb. These products, created by previous scrapbook and photo album markets and other self-publishing markets are the new commonplace books.
theory of the book
A recent thread on SHARP queried a theory of the book. Three components for a theory of the idea of a book can include (1) culture traits as a cohesive content, (2) material traits as made commodity, (3) a resilience traits of useful mobility.
Cultural Traits as a class of patrimony featuring cohesive reading content; content tagged however compiled to text and illustration, time-paced with infiltrating paratext prompting, an educational tool auxiliary to other patrimony and augmenting meaning of other media, commerce driven influencing social enclaves as canonic, fandom witness
Material Traits as a manufactured commodity; compact retail commodity assembled into distribution systems, libraries and access utilities; cognitive refinement as designed for bicameral, haptic, and pattern recognition reading capacity, transmission diversity spanning paper, screen, and audio formats, propagation capacity of mass production with widespread reproducibility
Resilience Traits of cross-disciplinary definition and useful hand-held mobility; a distributed preservation repertoire with institutional obligation, cross disciplinary attention including collaborative book history, current commerce and technology, cognitive science, library science, book arts, and literary studies, mobility encompassing a codex template and a variety of electronic devices with their extended connectivities, user authoring, revision and redistribution, an eerie complementary relation of genres, formats and locales of usefulness
“…the amount of data worldwide grew 48% between 2010 and 2012 to 2.7 zettabytes.” This exponential dynamic spills over to books. Digital books in a library cloud quietly compound as data points, as complex, composite sources, and, as on-line collections. Of interest may be the digital and screen delivered influence on any analog idea or theory of the book.
The usage constraint of a bionic reader is now exceeded with book use by reading utilities of algorithmic search, pattern recognition and content analysis. Analog books are transformed by automated reading. As with negotiation of a steady-state or dynamic universe, a theory of the book can be transacted again. Both digital and analog books will need to be encompassed. The encompassing may itself be the theory. Encompassing resilience may be the idea of the book.