Thursday, February 04, 2010

Goings On in a World in Transition

The changes happening in publishing - in economic models, in technology, in rights - are overwhelming. One could spend one's life trying to follow this mess, and I suppose some do. Here at SotB, we seek out understandable chunks and, if possible, pass them to you in some form.

With this in mind, I had to link to author John Scalzi's amusing play about the modern state of publishing, from an author's perspective, as posted on his long-running blog, Whatever. The play, entitled Why In Fact Publishing Will Not Go Away Anytime Soon: A Deeply Slanted Play in Three Acts, is about a writer being given horrendous advice on how best to publish his novel - by self-publishing - in the modern age. It shows how the exploitation of labor happens and the quality control lost due to this exploitation. It's a quick read but nicely brings up many of the issues of great concern to us and many of you.

Over at MobyLives, Meg Halpern has posted on these ridiculous MacBook covers that are made to look like old books. As the company, TwelveSouth, readily admits, it's a way of hiding something of great value in something, sadly, of little value to most people:
Tucked inside BookBook, no one will ever see your MacBook, even when it’s right under their nose. Sitting on a coffee table, dorm room or desk, BookBook looks like a vintage piece of literature, not an expensive laptop. It’s a great disguise and a simple way to reduce the risk of your MacBook getting stolen.
Can't argue with that.
A novel way to cover MacBook.

So as the work of modern book designers gets devalued by authors in the current age, as demonstrated in Scalzi's satire, book design of a past age gets replicated for new technology. \

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world, folks.

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