• On covers
    I’ve been thinking about covers for a while now. One of the many great debates around the ephemeralisation of music has been the lamentations for the loss of cover art: now, we are reaching the same point with books. I say ephemeralisation rather than digitisation because it’s not just a physical transformation we’re going through, […]
  • Vonnegut, the Novel, the Object
    I was at a symposium some years back with my friends Joseph Heller and William Styron, both dead now, and we were talking about the death of the novel and the death of poetry, and Styron pointed out that the novel has always been an elitist art form. It’s an art form for very few […]
  • 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, […]
  • 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, making them much more […]
  • The sustainability of the archive
    Citing the crucial need to access records on nuclear waste storage, or census returns, in five, 10 or even 100 years’ time, [Natalie Ceeney, chief executive of the National Archives] said: “This is a critical issue for us, and for UK society as a whole. We assume our personal records are secure, we expect our […]
  • Google Book Search: Obfuscation & Mystification
    I’ve written about Google Book Search before, but it’s time to do so again – particularly after their PR barrage at the London Book Fair, some aspects of which I wrote up at the time. For a while now, I’ve been broadly in favour of GBS, at least in as much as it’s forcing publishers […]
  • Bookmobile: Books everywhere
    One of the subjects touched on in the fascinating talk by Brewster Kahle which I linked to yesterday was the Bookmobile, an on-demand books service in the back of a van connected to the Internet Archive’s hundreds of thousands of free, digitised texts. The set-up, which cost around $15,000 including the car (breakdown below, no […]
  • Universal access to all knowledge is within our grasp
    Via Quentin Stafford-Fraser’s Status-Q blog, I came across this fascinating talk by Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian, Director and Co-founder of the Internet Archive, which has been working to provide universal access to all human knowledge for more than fifteen years. Play audio file It’s a couple of years old, but Kahle’s major point – that […]
  • For Hire 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.

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