the comments edition of WHEN IS A BOOK NO LONGER A BOOK

so there have been some folks with comments on email and twitter regarding my piece in shelf awareness on books and digitization, and i thought it might be fun to open it up here on the blog and let people hold forth. what did i get right? what did i get wrong? what do you think?

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the comments edition of WHEN IS A BOOK NO LONGER A BOOK

5 thoughts on “the comments edition of WHEN IS A BOOK NO LONGER A BOOK

  1. When is a book no longer a book?

    I think that’s actually the wrong way to couch this question. What seems more interesting to me is, “how does an author make use of the burgeoning various forms of multimedia to become a more effective and artistic storyteller?

    After all, I think most people would agree that the inclusion of multimedia beyond still images means a book is no longer a book. Or, taking things a step further, all eBooks are no longer books – as the term “book” is a blurring of both the medium and the message. The modern eBook is technically a self-contained, static webpage, down to the technical underpinnings of HTML, CSS and XML.

    But those are the wrong details to get hung up on, as the word processor that this was written in makes use of those same languages, as does the blog which will host this comment.

    1. speaking as a bookseller, for me the first question is more important because it impacts my customers — who are, of course, my priority. and we hear increasingly inside the shop from people who are falling on different sides of the digital divide, and so we need to find ways to talk about the changes with them and figure out how to give them what they are looking for.

      that being said, there are a whole host of opportunities for authors here, that i really am excited about. i hope that more authors (and their publishers) will start experimenting!

  2. Hi Jenn,
    I liked your piece in Shelf Awareness. We’re all trying to wrap our heads around the Formats of the Future. I think you’re asking the right questions to begin re-framing the discussion. I wrote on my blog about re-naming the formats (“The Hydra, the Chorus, the Geist, the Book: Chronicle of evolution in action.”) to encourage a clearer dialog. If we don’t make the distinctions of what a ‘book’ is, and as you say what ‘story’ is, then we lose the potential for creating new modes of storytelling; we’ll just end up creating clunky versions of the physical book.

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