Some bits about publishing

Is the e-book a dead format?

For the moment, reports of the e-book’s death are exaggerated. If the disinterest of Amazon and resistance from the book trade continue, however, there is a chance that the e-book is killed — in my view, prematurely. Publishers should see e-books as complementary to print rather than as competition. Letting the e-book die may benefit print sales in the short-term, but the wider transition to digital media consumption presents a longer-term threat. Books need to remain visible and distinct from other genres of writing in the competition for attention. Publishers may wish to build upon the success of e-book/audiobook bundling to build a sustainable future for the e-book.

Up to this moment, existing publishers have spent most of their efforts trying to replicate traditional publishing paradigms and business practices in the digital domain, mainly in order to preserve the status quo.

I believe that if we want to leverage the full potential of digital publishing we have to shift to an entirely new, social-driven approach.

I have been saying this for years, in fact, I literally took these paragraphs from a pitch I made in 2014.

August 8, 2017

Vonnegut: How To Write With Style


All these varieties of speech are beautiful, just as the varieties of butterflies are beautiful. No matter what your first language, you should treasure it all your life. If it happens to not be standard English, and if it shows itself when your write standard English, the result is usually delightful, like a very pretty girl with one eye that is green and one that is blue.

I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.

Kurt Vonnegut, as brilliant as ever, explaining the importance of simplicity, clarity, and authenticity in writing.

February 22, 2017

Algorithms Could Save Book Publishing, But Ruin Novels

“Part of the beautiful thing about books, unlike refrigerators or something, is that sometimes you pick up a book that you don’t know,” says Katherine Flynn, a partner at Boston-based literary agency Kneerim & Williams. “You get exposed to things you wouldn’t have necessarily thought you liked. You thought you liked tennis, but you can read a book about basketball. It’s sad to think that data could narrow our tastes and possibilities.”

In the recommendation age, algorithms have the power to confine us in “taste bubbles”, where we are only able to reinforce existing tastes, rather than develop new ones.

Automatic recommendations based on existing data can be really useful, but serendipitous discovery still plays a vital part in the way we shape our tastes. If skating where the puck is going is our preferred strategy, we are going to miss out. A lot.

November 14, 2016
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