Archive
  • Read A M*F*ing Book
    Quite possibly the best thing ever. Do not watch if offended by language, or without headphones in a busy place. Do watch if interested in increasing literacy rates. And booty. The video is a product of BET, the ‘black interest’ US cable channel, who deserve utter praise for such a forthright and downright hilarious approach. It has, quite predictably, caused a bit of a furore across the pond due to it’s supposed negative stereotyping of black youth. It’s satire. It has a message. People will get the message. Acting on it is up to them. (Via Print Is Dead...
  • The idiocy of lazy categorisation
    I was quite interested when I heard about StoryCode.co.uk (via Zero Influence – there’s a .com version too). At first sight, I thought it might be a newer, better version of WhichBook.net: a way of classifying books to create a more accurate “If you liked this, you’ll love…” recommendations system. The advantage it has on WhichBook is to encourage visitors to “code” books they’ve read, which are then added to the system along with the data – a great advance on using professionals behind the scenes to classify books, which has only managed a couple of hundred titles in ...
  • Errata as Metadata
    Too long and too important for a Stop Press post: Google is throwing away information that is fundamentally characteristic of books—metadata that describe and even determine what books are, as simple and trivial as volume numbers, or artifacts of type design, editing, and artistic production. Books are not, in other words, mere bags of words, but vehicles in which ride a wide sundry of other passengers—metadata, artistic expression, whimsy, and error. Books are born and produced in a rich organizational and information-rich social and economic context, and the willing discard of that context carries with it a loss whose surface ...
  • Why Amazon works
    Matt Webb, of Schulze and Webb, gives this explanation, which pretty much nails it: A book is designed and manufactured… We discover a book, somehow. We wish for it. We select it, maybe out of a possible half dozen alternatives. We purchase it, then show it off. We discuss it, reviewing it if it’s great or if it’s terrible. We might sell it on. A bookstore on the street, a traditional bookstore, now seems quite inadequate. Or at least, inadequate before they started doing evening book talks, supporting book clubs and having employee recommendations. But inadequate—it’s really only optimised ...
  • Old tech inspired by new tech
    Whenever I have the discussion with people about the future of literature I run into a brick wall: “But I Love Books.” Well, so do I: here’s proof, if it was needed – the fruit of my Saturday. After months of having them stacked untidily around me, they’re back where they belong, out, accessible – and gorgeous. I did try thinning the collection, going through the lot in the hope there would be some in their I could bear to part with. I ended up chucking three old guidebooks and a couple of unread proofs. I am incapable....
  • Authors, literature and the screen
    In the great future lit debate, there’s one thing we keep coming back to, that we hear over and over again: “I can’t read from a screen.” Never mind that most of us spend far more time reading from a screen (as you’re doing right now) than we do reading from paper (especially if you count text messages, display boards, TV titles and subtitles and many other instances). Is fiction different? Is the novel or other long work uniquely suited to paper? Novelists like Margaret Atwood certainly believe so, in her vociferous opposition to all things electronic, and who ...
  • Printing the Obvious
    So, what a surprise. Amazon has announced that it’s starting a Lulu-type POD system, through its wholly-owned subsidiary CreateSpace, which has been churning out self-published CDs and DVDs for several years now. The difference to Lulu being that products of said service will be searchable and buyable through the mighty Amazon.com, making them much more discoverable than stuff on Lulu, which is mostly only linked to from authors’ homepages. There’s a bigger story here though, and it’s linked to this announcement: The National Archives and Records Administration, the federal government’s official archivist, has entered into an ...
  • Beyond Connected: Gibson, Locative Media, Lit
    I’ve been reading William Gibson‘s latest, Spook Country, and it’s been messing with my mind. I still consider myself a huge Gibson fan, although I confess I’ve found him a little cold and remote since around Idoru – the virtual space seems to be becoming more cluttered, and less thrilling as our reality comes ever more to resemble Gibson’s vision. Or at least, my reality. What has got me excited, however, is the novel’s focus on locative art, art that is bound up to physical locations through virtual technologies – virtual reality, geotagging, GPS tracking. I’ve been a ...
  • Numbers Matter
    We’re currently experiencing technical difficulties. This is very boring, as we have things to say, but in the mean time, watch this video: [Problems fixed! Video still good…] There’s a lot of really interesting and varied information in there, and you’ll be glad you did. Designed by Xplane for Shifthappens. Via Iain Tait. [Wordpress ninjas? Help required.]...
  • For Hire

    Booktwo.org is the blog of James Bridle, a book and technology specialist with specific expertise in planning and producing web and new media projects for clients in publishing and the arts. If you'd like to hire me, have a look at my CV and portfolio, and feel free to get in touch.

    I am also a member of the Really Interesting Group.

    You can follow me on Twitter.

    Speaking Engagements:

    I am available for conferences and other events. For examples, see my talks at Interesting, Playful, South by Southwest, dConstruct and Tools of Change Frankfurt.

    A complete list of talks, with links, is available.