A copuple of days ago I listened to this conversation with Hayao Miyazaki. It’s from 2010, so I guess you saw it already. But, i’s like all Miyazaki: beautiful, humble, different. I liked the bit about forests, but I was truly impressed when he explained something about the height level of their newly reconstructed family house. Warmly recommended.
Publishers weren’t troubled that Amazon sold their books at dramatic discounts.
At Amazon, original writing wasn’t even called “content.” It was known as “verbiage,” simplified to “verbage.”
Amazon executives considered publishing people “antediluvian losers with rotary phones and inventory systems designed in 1968.
Publishers paid ten thousand dollars for a book to be prominently featured on the home page.
Machines defeated human beings.
I was the last human editor of the home page.
Publishers knew that they would stop being favored by the site’s recommendation algorithms if they didn’t comply.
Few customers realize that the results generated by Amazon’s search engine are partly determined by promotional fees.
Proceed as if your goal is to put everyone selling physical books out of a job.
The evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness.
In any case, Amazon’s warehouse jobs are gradually being taken over by robots.
But one survey found that half of all self-published authors make less than five hundred dollars a year.
Americans don’t read as many books as they used to—they are too busy doing other things with their devices.
The only people who can afford to write books make money elsewhere — academics, rich people, celebrities.
A small selection of hand picked quotes from George Packer’s recent article in The New Yorker.
Devices that we carry around in our pockets are far more powerful than those first computers we once had – and yet we are not allowed to do all the things we could do with these. It’s like my iPhone isn’t entirely mine.
As near as I can work out, there’s no one poised to do anything about this. Google, Apple and Microsoft have all built proprietary DRM silos that backed the WC3 into accepting standardization work on DRM (and now the W3C have admitted the MPAA as a member – an organization that expressly believes that all technology should be designed for remote, covert control by someone other than its owner, and that it should be illegal to subvert this control).
Check out Cory Doctorow every once in a while.
This is from a short article I wrote for a new issue of revija Hiše:
Po pisanem toboganu tlakovanem z udobjem, drsimo v svet neskončnih možnosti. V tem procesu sporazumno izgubljamo osebne svobode. Mogoče gre samo za navidezen paradoks in moje nerazumevanje sprememb. Mogoče pa gre za izjemen dosežek godpodarjev kapitala in snovalcev vertikalnih distribucij. Srhljivo je, da se le malokdo upira in da večina drsi z nasmehom, v pričakovanju še večjega udobja. Vpričo teh sprememb je zapiranje Behemota le zanemarljiva iskra v požaru, ki osvetljuje nočno nebo nad našimi mesti.
They spent time together in their Highland Park home, bonding over books as Aaron mowed through the family’s canon. One summer, they cataloged several thousand of their books according to the Library of Congress classification system. One night a fight erupted over standards. Aaron won.
Another time, Bob took Aaron to the Crerar Library at the University of Chicago, just as his own father had once taken him. Bob led Aaron through the stacks, pulled a book off the shelf, and cradled it in his hands. It was from the 1800s, a marvel. He told his son libraries were portals into the knowledge of the world.
Books as family’s canon. Libraries as portals. And yet, publishers seem to remain silent proprietors of copyright laws. Amazon is only a tip of an iceberg. There are other, deeper issues in the book-business that need to be addressed. Read this heavy sad story.
And this is how it ends. I will have enough kindling for several winters to come.
An interesting article by self published Hugh Howey:
If I had to guess what the future holds, I would say that the world of literature has its brightest days still ahead. That we have come so far in such a short period of time is revealing. We take for granted changes in other mediums—the absence of that tall rack of CDs beside home stereos, the dwindling number of people who watch live TV, that missing thrill of opening a paper envelope full of printed photos. There will be casualties in the publishing industry as the delivery mechanisms for stories undergo change. There already have been casualties. But there are opportunities as well. And right now, the benefits are moving to the reader and the writer. Speaking as both of these, I count this a good thing. I marvel that there are so many who fight for higher prices for consumers and lower pay for authors, all to protect a legacy model. That model needs to change.
Do you also wonder what Mike Shatzkin might have said about this? Well, we shall see.
Now I’m the farthest thing from a Luddite ladies and gentlemen, but when I contemplate this particular technical marvel my author’s blood runs cold.
This is Bruce Sterling at the Game Developers Conference, March 1991. ReadMan was en early concept that eventually resulted in Kindles, iPads and similar.
It’s really hard for books to compete with other multisensory media, with modern electronic media, and this is supposed to be the panacea for withering literature, but from the marrow of my bones I say get that fucking little sarcophagus away from me.
via Cory Doctorow
Go get a broom, get a shovel, get bricks and mortar, whatever you need. It won’t be the first time that artists have rebuild the slam. To tell the truth, artists are pretty great at that – especially when everyone else is giving up.
Bruce Sterling at Transmediale.
On the 20th November 2013 I was invited by MMC Zavoda K6/4 to give a talk on the subject of e-books. I shared my perspective from the point of view of an independent bookseller. Here’s a video recording of the result:
There are some interesting bits. I share my analysis of the subject. And, yes, I depart into the wide and dangerous forests of talking abut subsidies, vertical distribution, interests of capital, and the virtues of sharing. I even dare to speculate about possible reincarnation of Behemot.
The talk is in Slovene. To be precise – in a very relaxed, colloquial, almost my own private Slovene. Language purists beware!
If you prefer reading, here is an abridged and heavily edited transcript. Down from 5.000+ words to less than 3.500. And it’s still neither grammatically nor politically correct. Read at your own risk.
Thanks to Maja and Dare for inviting me.
Thanks to Alenka Pirman for recommending me.