A Brief History of the Book - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

One ofrepparttar first acts ofrepparttar 108516 French National Assembly in 1789 was to issue this declaration: "The free communication of thought and opinion is one ofrepparttar 108517 most precious rights of man; every citizen may therefore speak, write and print freely." UNESCO still defines "book" as "non-periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages excluding covers".

Yet, haverepparttar 108518 innovations ofrepparttar 108519 last five years transformedrepparttar 108520 concept of "book" irreversibly?

The now defunct BookTailor used to sell its book-customization software mainly to travel agents. Subscribers assembled their own, private edition tome from a library of electronic content. The emerging idiosyncratic anthology was either printed and bound on demand or packaged as an e-book.

Consider what this simple business model does to entrenched and age-old notions such as "original" and "copies", copyright, and book identifiers. Isrepparttar 108521 "original"repparttar 108522 final, user-customized book - or its sources? Should such one-copy print runs be eligible to unique identifiers (for instance, unique ISBN's)? Doesrepparttar 108523 user possess any rights inrepparttar 108524 final product, compiled by him? Dorepparttar 108525 copyrights ofrepparttar 108526 original authors still apply?

Members ofrepparttar 108527 BookCrossing.com community register their books in a central database, obtain a BCID (BookCrossing ID Number) and then giverepparttar 108528 book to someone, or simply leave it lying around to be found. The volume's successive owners provide BookCrossing with their coordinates. This innocuous model subvertsrepparttar 108529 legal concept of ownership and transformsrepparttar 108530 book from a passive, inert object into a catalyst of human interactions. In other words, it returnsrepparttar 108531 book to its origins: a dialog-provoking time capsule.

Their proponents protest that e-books are not merely an ephemeral rendition of their print predecessors - they are a new medium, an altogether different reading experience.

Consider these options: hyperlinks withinrepparttar 108532 e-book to Web content and reference tools; embedded instant shopping and ordering; divergent, user-interactive, decision driven plotlines; interaction with other e-books using Bluetooth or some other wireless standard; collaborative authoring, gaming and community activities; automatically or periodically updated content; multimedia capabilities; databases of bookmarks, records of reading habits, shopping habits, interaction with other readers, and plot-related decisions; automatic and embedded audio conversion and translation capabilities; full wireless piconetworking and scatternetworking capabilities; and more.

In an essay titled "The Processed Book", Joseph Esposito expounds on five important capabilities of e-books: as portals or front ends to other sources of information, as self-referencing texts, as platforms being "fingered" by other resources, as input processed by machines, and e-books serving as nodes in networks.

E-books, counter their opponents, have changed little beyond format and medium. Audio books are more revolutionary than e-books because they no longer use visual symbols. Considerrepparttar 108533 scrolling protocols - lateral and vertical. The papyrus,repparttar 108534 broadsheet newspaper, andrepparttar 108535 computer screen are three examples ofrepparttar 108536 vertical kind. The e-book,repparttar 108537 microfilm,repparttar 108538 vellum, andrepparttar 108539 print book are instances ofrepparttar 108540 lateral scroll. Nothing new here.

E-books are a throwback torepparttar 108541 days ofrepparttar 108542 papyrus. The text is placed on one side of a series of connected "leaves". Parchment, by comparison, was multi-paged, easily browseable, and printed on both sides ofrepparttar 108543 leaf. It led to a revolution in publishing and, ultimately, torepparttar 108544 print book. All these advances are now being reversed byrepparttar 108545 e-book, bemoanrepparttar 108546 antagonists.

The Fall and Fall of the P-Zine

Written by Sam Vaknin



The circulation of print magazines has declined precipitously inrepparttar last 24 months. This dissolution of subscriber bases has accelerated dramatically as economic recession set in. But a diminishing wealth effect is only partly to blame. The managements of printed periodicals - from dailies to quarterlies - failed miserably to grasprepparttar 108515 Internet's potential and potential threat. They were fooled byrepparttar 108516 lack of convenient and cheap e-reading devices into believing that old habits die hard. They do - but magazine reading is not habit forming. Readers' loyalties are fickle and shift according to content and price. The Web offers cornucopial and niche-targeted content - free of charge or very cheaply. This is hard to beat and is getting harder byrepparttar 108517 day as natural selection among dot.bombs spares only quality content providers.

Consider Ploughshares,repparttar 108518 Literary Journal.

It is a venerable, not for profit, print journal published by Emerson College, now marking its 30th anniversary. It recently inaugurated its web sibling. The project consumed three years and $125,000 (grant fromrepparttar 108519 Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds). Every title Ploughshares has ever published was indexed (over 18,000 journal pages digitized). In all,repparttar 108520 "website will offer free access to over 2,750 poems and short stories from past and current issues."

The more than 2000 (!) authors ever published in Ploughshares will each maintain a personal web page comprising biographical notes, press releases, new books and events announcements and links to other web sites. This isrepparttar 108521 Yahoo! formula. Content generated byrepparttar 108522 authors will thus transform Ploughshares into a leading literary portal.

But Ploughshares did not stop at this standard features. A "bookshelf" will link to book reviews contributed online (and augmented byrepparttar 108523 magazine's own prestigious offerings). An annotated bookstore is just a step away (though Ploughshares' web site does not include one hitherto). The next best thing is a rights-management application used byrepparttar 108524 journal's authors to grant online publishing permissions for their work to third parties.

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