[-empyre-] HYBRID BOOKWORK, Week Two - Paradoxical Publishing, Postmedia, Critical Aesthetics

Ethel Baraona Pohl ethel.baraona at gmail.com
Thu Feb 13 00:12:42 EST 2014

Dear all,
Thank you for all the inputs an the generosity of sharing valuable
information to enhance the conversation and to learn from each other.
I have been following with lots of interest this discussion, as publisher
myself and having several questions on the transformation of the publishing
field in the current times, let's say pre-digital, digital and post-digital.

To contextualize, we have an independent publishing house called
dpr-barcelona [www-dpr-barcelona.com] specialised in architecture, theory
and art. On the past years we have been researching on the concept of
"hybrid books" with the combination of printed and digital by different
approaches, including different formats that already have been mentioned by
some of you, such as e-Books, Print-on-Demand and enriched ePubs, among

I'll share here two case studies that, in my opinion are the closest we're
reaching to the concept of *hybridization*, to hear your feedback about
them and join the conversation.

1. The first one is the use of Augmented Reality interactions on a printed
book, to connect the paperback edition with the digital tools. The first
experiment we did was as contributors for Domus Magazine, where we proposed
to the editor to include this technology in one of the articles we wrote.
The result was very dynamic and well received, as being an architecture and
design magazine, the possibility to link videos and 3D-models using the
printed images to visualize them on any smart phone with the app [please
watch the video: https://vimeo.com/39580799]. After that we have used the
same technology in a few of our books, the interactions works really good
but maybe the most difficult part is how to communicate to our readers that
the printed book is enriched with this technology... I think even if people
think it's good or they talk about it, there are only few ones using it;
and this fact opens lots of questions in our minds.

2. The second case study is what we call "*multiplatform* projects". The
most recent one is *The Kent State Forum on the City: MADRID*, which
includes Book + Web + App, all of them complementary and inter-connected,
trying to enhance information exchange. The book also contains Augmented
Reality features accessible through mobile devices. Here we try to share
different contents depending on the platform and try to avoid repetition of
contents in order to exploit the tool according to its possibilities. This
project is so new that I can't yet share with you if it's successful or
not, not talking about commercial issues but focusing (as part of this
discussion) on how people use the different platforms and to envision what
we can learn from this experiment.
More info: http://www.ksuforumonthecity.com/

I really appreciate to be reading all your experiences and wanted to share
ours, so we all can learn from each others.

Best regards,
Ethel Baraona Pohl | dpr-barcelona <http://www.dpr-barcelona.com/>
Curator Think Space MONEY <http://www.think-space.org/en/theme/money_2013/>
twitter @ethel_baraona <https://twitter.com/ethel_baraona> |
(+34) 626 048 684

*Before you print think about the environment*

On Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 9:09 AM, Domenico Quaranta <
quaranta.domenico at gmail.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear empyreans,
> I have been producing content for books, catalogues and magazines for a
> while, but if Michael kindly invited me in this discussion on empyre, it is
> because, at some point, I became an editor and publisher. In the following,
> I will try to explain shortly how it happened, because it can be useful to
> introduce you to the approach and structure of Link Editions (
> http://editions.linkartcenter.eu/).
> In 2011, while working with some partners on setting up the Link Center
> for the Arts of the Information Age (the no-profit organization behind Link
> Editions), I started collecting ideas for a personal side project. I wanted
> to go through the texts I wrote for magazines, catalogues and blogs in
> previous years, select the ones that were still meaningful to me, edit them
> (most of them were badly translated in English by third parties), publish
> an anthology and remove everything from my website. I felt it was time to
> review this material, take it off from the fluidity of the internet, and
> make it more readable: a better formatting, a better design, a better
> indexing. Self-editing with a bit of make-up.
> I didn't know how to do it, but I knew that I didn't want to submit it to
> a publishing house. At the time, I had just published a book in Italian,
> and even if it was a wonderful experience, I didn't see any advantage in
> following the same path again. Maybe if you are a better writer it goes
> differently, but with my 2010 book what happened was that (1) I gave all
> the rights on the book to the publisher (2) for almost no money and for (3)
> 30 free copies of my book. Since then, (4) I can't put the pdf online for
> free, (5) I have no control on distribution and (6) I can have a rough idea
> about how sales are going only through the (rather opaque) filter of the
> publisher. I can't even allow my students to make photocopies, even if I do
> it all the time.
> So, I started exploring print-on-demand platforms, and what I saw was very
> interesting. With, for example, Lulu.com 1) I could keep my rights on the
> book and choose the kind of license I wanted to apply to it; 2) I could
> potentially make money, or decide on my own - not because I was forced by a
> contract - that I didn't want to make money at all; 3) I could buy as many
> books I wanted at author's price; 4) I could circulate the book in digital
> form, even on the same platform, without any restriction; 5) I couldn't be
> in my neighborhood bookstore, but I could access some of the biggest
> bookstores in the world, and 6) I could keep track of sales and downloads.
> I could even send the download link to monoskop, and spread the digital
> file through my students. Of course, print-on-demand platforms have their
> faults too, but at least everything that made me upset in traditional
> publishing seemed to be healed there.
> From here to Link Editions, the step was short. I talked about all this to
> my partners, and they agreed to set up a publishing initiative grounded in
> print-on-demand and free download. I published my book, In Your Computer,
> in May 2011. By September 2011, three other books were released: Random, by
> Valentina Tanni; In My Computer # 1, by Miltos Manetas; and the catalogue
> of the first exhibition produced by the Link Art Center, Collect the
> WWWorld. The Artist as Archivist in the Internet Age. Feel free to download
> all of them.
> With these books, our three main book collections were born. "Clouds" is
> both an attempt to allow other writers the kind of freedom I experienced
> working outside of traditional publishing, and to bring to shelves some
> good theoretical writing that meets our interests as an institution. "In My
> Computer" is a kind of concept magazine, inviting artists to share
> meaningful content stored in their hard drive (or in the cloud) that for
> some reason never got released, and that can be meaningful in book form.
> "Catalogues" collects our monographs and exhibition catalogues. Recently
> Link Editions started being an interesting platform also for other
> organizations, and we are exploring different modes of co-publishing. These
> books are filed under "Open".
> Simply put, Link Editions is an attempt to conceal the advantages of self
> publishing with the ones of working with a publishing house. One of the
> faults of POD platforms is the lack of a context around the book you
> publish. Of course, you can use categories and tags in order to index your
> book and make it easy to retrieve. But how many people look for books this
> way? Landing on Lulu.com is like entering a giant bookstore, with thousands
> of bad books welcoming you at the entrance, and with an unreliable indexing
> system. You head to the art shelf and you see calendars; you look for the
> contemporary art shelf and you see self produced portfolios; you look
> closer for "new media art" books and you find ten bad ones - the best one
> is actually indexed under Essays > Photography, and, if you spend a whole
> day there, you may be able to find a great artist book under "Software and
> code".
> Another problem, when you self-publish a book, is your lack of
> professionalism. You may be a good writer, but still need an editor and a
> proof reader for your contents, and a good designer for your book. With
> Link Editions, we tried to bypass these problems without rebuilding the
> barriers someone experiences when working with a traditional publisher. We
> offer to our authors our editing and design expertise; due to our weak
> economic model, we can't design all the books we publish, but we try to
> keep an high level of quality. We set a low income for Link Editions that
> basically pays back the expenses produced by the initiative, and we offer
> all books in free download; everything is done in a very transparent way,
> and authors are always free to request statistics on their sales /
> downloads, as well as to but their books at author's price through our
> account. It's basically like self publishing, but with a professional
> assistance, and delivering the book in a context that becomes
>   more interesting and rewarding for us and for authors any time a new
> book is published.
> Sorry for the long presentation post, but I assumed that my role in this
> conversation was more that of presenting a concrete "case study", than that
> of addressing the interesting topics raised in the first part of this
> discussion. Hopefully I will be able to say something about them later on.
> My warm regards,
> Domenico
> ---
> Domenico Quaranta
> email: quaranta.domenico at gmail.com
> skype: dom_40
> http://domenicoquaranta.com
> http://www.linkartcenter.eu
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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