MA thesis by Waldek Węgrzyn, Academy of Fine Arts, Katowice.
Craig Walzer, Atlantis bookshop, Oia, Santorini, Greece:
Both these videos have a soothing, pacifying effect on me. Congratulations, guys.
via Book Patrol
Cory Doctorow in Berlin. Good talk, beautiful jacket.
Prague, fifteen years ago, opening of Anagram bookshop:
Here you can see Zachary, Anna, Alice, Benny, Declan, Mojca and me. Benny and Declan are Zachary’s friends who came over from UK to help. Benny made our first sign in the old fashioned hand-painted lettering technique. Declan came from Saudi Arabia and was on his way to UK or Ireland, I don’t remember which. Alice was Zachary’s girlfriend. She lived in Prague. Anna is Zachary’s daughter. She came over from UK to spend some time with her dad and help with opening of a new bookstore. I think that now she has her own bookshop in UK.
It is very difficult to describe people like Zachary. Or to even attempt to put words onto what he means to me. Words can only do a limited amount of magic. I often remember the sparkle in his eyes. The life, the curiosity, the wit! In a way, I think of him as of a comet star. Crossing the universe and igniting life. Traveling around the world and changing people’s lives.
There are no schools for book-sellers. These people just kind of spring out of vacuum, like universes. Monkey’s Paw is an interesting universe in Toronto.
You could also say that the Monkey’s Paw is an idea masquerading as a bookshop. It’s a cross between a retail establishment and a conceptual art installation, which upends traditional book-trade values and views the literary canon through a cracked lens. It’s a bookstore that argues that bookstores are, by definition, Dickensian old curiosity shops.
I love this language: A conceptual art installation. Dickensian old curiosity shop. An idea masquerading as a bookshop! It sounds like something I might have said.
“You have these hip 26-year-old downtown Toronto kids — they’ve actually literally never been to a bookshop,” Fowler says. “They come here and they’re like: ‘It reminds of a scene in “Harry Potter.”
In Monkey’s Paw you can also find this Harry-Potterish serendipity randomizer vending machine.
“The experience of Web browsing makes it possible for a shop like this to exist,” Fowler says. “The randomness of the book displays, they’re like the Web — masses of unrelated information popping up next to each other, their context pretty much wiped out. Basically, the Monkey’s Paw is a celebration of old print culture, presented in way that resonates with digital-age people.”
Good ideas. Great work. Also great fun. Total respect.
I guess I often got lost into those books vs. technology debates. This great article puts things into the right perspective. It’s a life-saver. It explains that books are technology per se. The true agent of change.
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.
What is wrong with books? Nothing.
The lack of video, the lack of audio, the lack of ways to change the forking outcomes of plot (what is rather crudely referred to as “interactivity”) is a feature of literature, not a bug. And, as it turns out, books are interactive. They’re recipes for the imagination. Conversely, video is restrictive—it tells you what things look like, what they sound like.
How to make ends meet?
One theory from the creative industries has been to educate the public that content is worth something, and therefore they should pay for it. That notion is everywhere, in trailers before movie screenings and in the pages of magazines, whether they talk about themselves or the book business. As charitable as Americans are, and as willing as Europeans are to subsidize, relying on the notion that one deserves to get paid will fail every time. Imagine that as a dating strategy: I deserve to be desired by you.
And that, as it so happens, points precisely to what publishing can do, to what the business of literature is. It is not about making art; it is about making culture, which is a conversation about what is art, what is true, what is good.
Evgeny Morozov’s new book (To Save Everything, Click Here) came out recently. You can no longer order it at Behemot and we won’t have it until it’s either remaindered or we get it second hand.
But, you can read it in the meantime – let me know what you think. And you can read this blog post by Nicholas Carr. The humorous debate that ensued mostly features a small safe, a set of screwdrivers and an interesting exercise in self-discipline.
His best work by far. Thanks to Ebbe who first showed me this.
I might be overreacting, but I just cannot go on like nothing happened.
I think that bit torrents are far more ethical than the copyright industry.
Behemot is departing from copyright industry. We now focus solely on copyright outcasts: remainders, old books, locally sourced books, zines, indie art & craft.
If everything goes well, Behemot will morph into an anarcho-alter-indie-queer-local-community-bookstore-library-activist-infospot. In one word: anarcho-bookstore (Hvala, Nuša!)
This tendency was always visible in our selection. But, this time it is not about our selection. It is about doing things differently. And doing them together.
The way I feel about copyright industry has changed. The way I feel about selling books has changed.
Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing, but I feel I have to do it. I need to adjust my compass. The night sky has changed. Aaron is shining brightly.
Life Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation :: Quinn Norton
The Tragedy of Aaron Swartz :: Larissa MacFarquhar
Transcript :: Lawrence Lessig on “Aaron’s Laws, part I
Transcript :: Lawrence Lessig on “Aaron’s Laws, part II
Lawrence Lessig’s lecture (YouTube video, you can skip the long introduction and start at mark 8:35)
David Byrne I
David Byrne II
Carl Malamud: Aaron’s Army
Aaron Swartz’s A Programmable Web: An Unfinished Work
On related subject we have this beautiful photography book.
The digital content of these dedicated display devices may be called “books” for legal and economic skeuomorphic reasons, but they’re not “books” any more than an mp3 file is the Beatles playing live in your living room.
I like his style. Straight and clear. I hope publishers read his blog. The difference between e-books and other digital files is very thin and unstable.
Once digitized, books turn into something else. They become a starting point.
The above chart shows a distribution of 2500 newly printed fiction books selected at random from Amazon’s warehouses. What’s so crazy is that there are just as many from the last decade as from the decade between 1910 and 1920. Why?
Articulating relationships between some of Amazon’s sales data and some aspects of copyright laws. Interesting.
This reminded me of my early days in book-selling. The first time I had cash-flow difficulties and frightening letters from publishers poured in. I was very nervous. My wonderful teacher-friend Zach tried to put things into perspective: “It’s only money!”
I wonder if the same trick could work again. It’s only a book, right?
Well, certainly there are many books that could have easily stayed a single blog post. On the other hand, there are tweets with precious narrative structures. How do these compare? How to compare reading to browsing, tweeting to writing?
What the internet portends is not the end of the paper container of the book, but rather the way paper organized our assumptions about writing altogether.
I agree. Book is an industry standard overthrown. But so is vinyl. We are in the midst of an epic battle between major content-providing corporations. We are told it’s technological progress.
I don’t believe e-books are that important. I think time is important.