Bookish enhancements vs. publishing gimcrackery

Print books are still alive, despite continuing attempts to ruin them with digital enhancements. Digital bells and whistles are appropriate for textbooks, e.g., but, if anything, they’re destructive of works of fiction. According to this story in The Bookseller, early moves to klutzify fiction with such gimmicks as hyperlinks and video have not proven a commerical success, and are unlikely to.

In other developments, someone has found a wildly imaginative way to non-digitally enhance print reference books. Call it the guts of the matter at a glance, eh? (Interview with the artist.)







1 thought on “Bookish enhancements vs. publishing gimcrackery”

  1. Further to my last blog post (, Bill the Mathematician has contributed this: (Please note the reference to having pet writers starve on your watch.)

    McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: The Future of Books.
    Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
    Saturday at 10:08am · Like · · Share

    Bradley K. Martin, Wilhelm Klein and Shelley Poplak like this.

    Ann Kuzy
    Oh, Lord, I hope not! I had misgivings when I saw books being downloaded from the internet to be read from machines, but I thought to myself that at least people would be reading. The idea that books as physical objects might disappear is a frightening thing. Civilizations have collapsed before; without the written word, another dark ages might ensue. All these gadgets require power. What if there were no power? With printed text, diagrams and formulas, basic technology and philosophy can be preserved and jump started quickly. If there were a catastrophe of worldwide proportions, the first thing I would want to save, besides life itself, would be books. In a S/F book by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, the book from which the movie “Postman’ was derived, there was a character who risked his life to save several very important books which he knew could help rebuild a community of survivors in the aftermath. The written word must not perish from the face of the earth, lest all humanity has accomplished perish with it.
    Yesterday at 5:03am · Like

    Collin Piprell
    I have to agree. But think of the silver linings. It would be much harder to find fuel for public book burnings, for example. And electronic books take up less space, as our numbers grow and our urban cells shrink. Seriously, though, as much as any demise of print books I fear the digital corruption of the books we have. There’s an unfortunate tendency to do all we can with new technology only because it’s there, and because “it’s just so cool, eh?”
    Yesterday at 7:27am · Like · 1 person

    Steve Rosse
    Every newspaper or book that goes digital is a tree saved in the rain forest. Gasoline is no longer necessary to transport books and magazines to the store. A book now lives in a thousand thousand servers around the world, and cannot be lost due to mold in a single library or a fire in Alexandria. This is a good thing, guys. Don’t be afraid of the new just cuz it’s new.
    Yesterday at 9:33am · Like · 1 person

    Ann Kuzy
    I am not afraid of the new, I just don’t want o lose the old. I think, for instance, newspapers should be on line if I want them, and not thrown in my yard if I don’t.
    Yesterday at 9:45am · Like

    Collin Piprell
    My fears are related to the tendency (apparently failing, recently–see my last blog item) to tart fiction up with hyperlinks to video and background info. and suchlike, the perpetrators fearing that simple prose isn’t enough to engage the modern reader. Instead of saying whoa, maybe there are things about our lifestyle that are turning us gnat-brained in terms of attention span and capacity for linear thought, this approach says hurray–let’s cater to this newly giddy superficiality. Let 1,000 diversions bloom! Constantly, and always. We won’t speak here of the failure of the Western metaphysic and the disinclination to think too hard or too long or ever look down for fear of encountering only the Void. 🙂

    Now it’s back to my peanut butter & toast, this fine morning, and Internet radio and (it’s hard to deny) responding to Facebook messages, and … Oh, look what’s on the front page of the *Bkk. Post*, and I’ve just had a Skype message, and my e-mail inbox is blooping. And over there on the shelf are a bunch of books I’ve been meaning to read. In the meantime, here’s what looks like an interesting article on Arts & Letters Daily. Is that my cell phone ringing?
    Yesterday at 9:49am · Like

    Steve Rosse
    The new and the old can’t share the same space and time. Horses cannot coexist on the highways with cars. Horse drawn carriages will be preserved as quaint anachronisms, expensive tourist attractions in New York like camels in Egypt or elephants in Bangkok. But the new evolves to replace the old because the new is more durable, more efficient, or more economical. E-books are all three.
    Yesterday at 9:52am · Like

    Ann Kuzy
    I also do not like the tendency to “fix” books so they are more politically correct. As long as there are copies of Mark Twain in all the libraries, including my own, an important part of American history is there for all to see. I have already seen a great deal of revisionist history; as long as I have several encyclopedias I can always show my grandchildren another side from what they see on television and other digital media. I teach all my grandchildren the history that i have seen. Occasionally I have to produce the written evidence, because they were taught a different version. Corrections I understand, g a completely different history is something else.
    Yesterday at 9:53am · Unlike · 1 person

    Ann Kuzy
    Sorry about the soapbox.:)
    Yesterday at 9:55am · Like

    Collin Piprell
    One other thing I didn’t mention, amid all the other distractions, I’m pretending to write a book, a book most likely doomed never to be read, unless I can turn it into a graphic novel, maybe with soundtrack music. Anyway, best i get back to it, because at this rate I’ll be a very old writer indeed by the time it’s finished, and readers may well be extinct.
    Yesterday at 9:57am · Like · 1 person

    Collin Piprell
    Where the hell are we going to press our wildflowers, the way things are going?
    Yesterday at 9:59am · Like · 1 person

    Ann Kuzy
    Yesterday at 9:59am · Like

    Christopher G. Moore
    At the end of the day, it comes down to a funny smell.
    Yesterday at 10:38am · Like

    Collin Piprell
    You’re right, though my Kindle does smell of leather (that’s the cover). Still, it has just the one smell, unlike a variety of print books.
    Yesterday at 11:21am · Like

    Rhian Owen
    No way, Jose. Books foreva xxx
    20 hours ago · Like · 2 people

    Ross Stevenson
    If you fall asleep while reading a book and it falls on the floor all you lose is your place ………
    9 hours ago · Like · 1 person

    Collin Piprell
    Not to mention reading in the bath.
    6 hours ago · Like

    Collin Piprell
    Hi Rhian. Are you still working with books?
    5 hours ago · Like

    Ann Kuzy T
    hat too; I have dried out many a favorite that happened to get dunked in the hot tub. 🙂
    4 hours ago via · Like

    Collin Piprell
    Try drying a Kindle.
    4 hours ago · Like

    Ann Kuzy
    I have hundred year old books in my library. Wonder how long the Kindle will last after the servers are down and there is no power, no more batteries. My battered books will still be here!
    about an hour ago · Like

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