July 16th, 2014
Most discourses about the survival of print, or the struggle of print against digital, derive from a simplistic view of the book – one which is typically aligned with the novel, that apogee of the literary world. There is a tendency to present change and innovation in formats and technologies as if they follow a single, linear path in which a format is replaced by the next new format in a consecutive fashion. The reality experienced by publishing practitioners is very different: a single title will often exist in a range of formats, with publishers releasing print, ebook, enhanced ebook and story app versions all based on the same source material.
I think it is more accurate, and fruitful, to conceive of change and innovation in terms of branching paths, with older and newer formats co-existing and influencing each other. A branching model also enables us to take into account the diversity that exists within a major format or medium as well as the diversity that exists between formats or media. The label “print book”, for example, covers a huge range – just think of the differences between novels, encyclopaedias and children’s storybooks. … Read more »
July 3rd, 2014
One of my favourite lyrics of all time from Hotel California by The Eagles is “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave”. According to The Eagle’s Wikipedia page,
The lyrics weave a surrealistic tale in which a weary traveler checks into a luxury hotel. The hotel at first appears inviting and tempting, but it turns out to be a nightmarish place where “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave”. The song is an allegory about hedonism, self-destruction, and greed…
The lyrics came to me again this week when I tried to leave Facebook. I’ve had a Facebook account since 2007, and have since used it regularly, before the penny finally dropped that Facebook was also using me – and at the same time turning me into a monster.
On Sunday night I finally deactivated my account – a move described by friends and colleagues as ‘radical’, ‘controversial’, ‘brave’ and ‘something I could never do’.