[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 111, Issue 9 (Domenico Quaranta, Ethel Baraona Pohl)
quaranta.domenico at gmail.com
Fri Feb 14 09:54:28 EST 2014
> My question is: Is there a way for new forms of hybrid publications of
> dealing with the fact that books are not only dissemination platforms for
> knowledge, but books are used in performative contexts like those:
> - I apply for a job and want to put a printed book on the desk of the
> interviewers (I do not want to recommend to them that they can download the
> - I read a book on a train or in a coffee house and enjoy the ensemble of
> paper quality, varying lighting situations, coffee stains on paper that
> remind me of something, ...
> - I have to convince a sponsor for a project that I did some serious
> research in the past - via a book of mine -and know that he will not read
> the book or any document on lulu, link or dpr.
> In other words: what are your strategies to increase the culturally
> connotated paratext of the hybrid publications?
good point! Actually, one of the reasons why I like print-on-demand is that
it evades the whole digital vs physical, ebook vs paper question. I
actually don't see any difference between a book and an ebook: they are
just two ways of distributing the same content. A book is an hypertext and
an ebook is a linear flow of text. Some of our books started when I
realized that most of the articles that I sent to my ebook reader via
Instapaper were written by the same author, or published on the same
platform. I thought, why I don't contact them and ask if they are
interested in doing a book. But the book was actually already there, on my
e-ink screen. It just needed some editing, design and formatting, and a
Creative Commons Licence.
Then the "book" turns into a pdf and the pdf goes on Lulu, and Amazon, and
Barnes & Nobles, and when people buy it, it suddenly becomes a book. If you
buy it on Amazon, you may not even realize that it is done with
print-on-demand: it lands on your desk fast, and the quality is good -
perfect for coffee stains, and to impress job interviewers and sponsors.
That said, sliding a tablet in front of a collector in art fairs has become
a performative situation too, that probably will soon become familiar in
other contexts, too; and people start to enjoy the dust on their e-ink
screen, and their fingermarks on tablet screens. Ebooks don't need
strategies to increase their culturally connotated paratex, as books didn't
when they were invented. They will develop it themselves, or die.
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