• Semina works
    Last night I attended the launch of Semina, a new series of experimental novels from Book Works, at Housmans. The novels are the result of an open call for submissions, and are being selected by series Commissioning Editor Stewart Home. The first two titles in the series, Bridget Penney’s Index, and Maki Kim’s One Break, […]
  • Funding gap, knowledge gap
    I’ve been spending the day listen to friends twitter from NESTA’s Innovation Edge conference at the South Bank, and an Arts Council England summit on the future of literature just round the corner. NESTA was established by the government in 1998 with an endowment of £250 million. Just last week, ACE announced £16.5 million of […]
  • The long moment
    Flickr, everyone’s favourite photo site, just added video, and not everyone is happy about it. But Flickr has been very clever – their video offering is not designed to rival YouTube or the rest as a repository for short films, comedy clips and old adverts. Instead, they’ve limited the videos to 90 seconds to create […]
  • We suspect this manoeuvre
    If you’ve not been keeping up, Amazon is making a massive and highly controversial land-grab for POD and the long tail of publishing. More info here. As this is a very big issue indeed, and no worthy body on this side of the pond seems to be making a fuss, I’m only too happy to […]
  • Amazon’s POD monopoly
    I wanted to post this quickly, before it gets lost in the weekend. Authors and publishers who use Print-On-Demand printers in the US have recently been hearing that Amazon will only continue to carry their works if they switch to Amazon’s own POD property, BookSurge. WritersWeekly has the full story. This is a pretty big […]
  • Dance of the Concords
    I was recently asked for links on the subject of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and, hunting around, came across, the utterly bonkers Finnegans Wake Extensible Elucidation Treasury, a collection of over 78,000 notes on the Wake, gathered from numerous written sources. Very easy to get lost in. It reminded me of another great resource for […]
  • Transf(orm)ats
    I’m currently reading a book in three formats at once. I’ve got a nice paperback copy for bed and sofa reading. I’ve got an ebook formatted for my mobile phone for tubes and buses. And I’ve got a free audiobook—an MP3 also on my mobile phone—for when I’m cycling along the canal to work in […]
  • Unpackaged
    Things Magazine just pointed to the growing cult of book covers online – Flickr groups for good looking books, old paperbacks, graphics and more, and similar projects like their own, wonderful Pelican Project. There are also plenty of blogs dedicated to the subject, and Penguin have spent the last couple of year deliberately turning them […]
  • 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 […]
  • Herds of Accuras
    Jeremy Ettinghausen just announced Penguin’s new Facebook page over at the Penguin blog with a particularly apposite and self-effacing quote: “Bohemias. Alternative subcultures. They were a crucial aspect of industrial civilization in the two previous centuries. They were where industrial civilization went to dream. A sort of unconscious R&D, exploring alternate societal strategies … But […]
  • Tech trolls and the space of literature
    However, the work—the work of art, the literary work—is neither finished nor unfinished: it is. What it says is exclusively this: that it is—and nothing more. Beyond that it is nothing. Whoever wants to make it express more finds nothing, finds that it expresses nothing. He whose life depends upon the work, either because he […]
  • Knowhow and readers’ metadata
    Adobe have just launched a fascinating project called Knowhow which allows user-generation of help data in CS3. Items in knowhow’s network with contextual CS3 terms appear as tooltips in CS3 itself (image and link via swissmiss). Flickr and many other services uses simple tagging to provide metadata around their content, but this system offers […]
  • Under the brown fog of a winter dawn
    An update on some of the locative stuff I’ve been talking about… I did get that GPS unit, and thanks to quite a lot of Googling I’ve managed to hack it to my laptop to update my location on Google Maps (screenshot above) – which involved teaching myself rudimentary Python and exploiting my new, poor […]
  • The idiocy of lazy categorisation
    I was quite interested when I heard about (via Zero Influence – there’s a .com version too). At first sight, I thought it might be a newer, better version of a way of classifying books to create a more accurate “If you liked this, you’ll love…” recommendations system. The advantage it has on […]
  • 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, […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Creative Commons and Publishing
    I haven’t talked about Creative Commons in a while. Last night I went to the London CC Salon, which turned out to be a sort of pep rally for free culture – not a bad thing. One of the films shown is embedded below (or watch it on YouTube) and makes for a pretty funky […]
  • Post- (but not un-) Interesting
    Saturday was definitely Interesting. A 300-person conference which noone really knew the content of beforehand, but which lived up to its name. And there were even some booktwo-related thoughts in there.
  • New kinds of readings
    A recent literary event provided a chance for an extended chat with various people about the possibilities for new types of readings. I’ve always thought they’re a bad way to appreciate lit, but they’re valuable in promoting new work, and bringing together like-minded people. What can we do about this?
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    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.

    I am also a member of the Really Interesting Group.

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    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.