So Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks arrived from Amazon today. I started reading and on the first page, I found a quote I wanted to remember for use later and also blog for you. But damn that paper, it comes with no permalink, no cut-and-paste (without scissors and glue, that is). But thankfully, Yochai put his book up online. I used to save the quote. And here it is:

The change brought about by the networked information environment is deep. It is structural. It goes to the very foundations of how liberal markets and liberal democracies have coevolved for almost two centuries.

Now if only I could link you directly into that paragraph — that idea — in the book. That will come….


: Richard Charkin, blogging head of Macmillan in the UK, quotes a list of my points about the problems with books and then says:

Of course there are plenty of positives about books. We’d better make sure our marketplace understands – or we’d better address some of the book’s shortcomings using technology.

Now that’s the ticket.

And rajAT, an Indian blogger, quotes the same list and then says:

PS: It is a great opportunity for the entrepreneurs.


: Ben Vershbow of the Institute for the Future of the Book writes for Pubishers Weekly:

People today are reading vast amounts online, more and more each year, and they are reading in new ways, interested more in the linkages among texts and the discussions surrounding them than in the possession of individual copies. Yet while newspapers have felt this change acutely, books have largely been spared any growing pains. Until now, that is. …

Amid fears of piracy, publishers’ instinct is to lock down e-books in proprietary formats and protective enclosures, cutting them off from the complex links and social interactions that make the Net so rich. But this approach, predicated on the old one-copy-per-customer business model, will never succeed in creating a vibrant electronic publishing culture. Why should readers pay for these compromised creations when physical books are still, by comparison, much more versatile?

Jorge Luis Borges, a great spinner of metaphors for the information age, once said, “A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.” Publishers have an opportunity to reinvent their industry by plugging books fully into the new environment.

: Rob Hyndman asks the important question:

For those of us who spend a lot of time on the Web Jeff’s vision of the book’s future will seem an almost natural evolution. And that’s fine. But I’m willing to wager that many who spend a lot of time on the Web have already largely left the world of books behind them – and perhaps also even essay-oriented magazines – challenged by the pressures of time and the promise of the Web’s easier diversions to find the time to focus to the extent required to truly enjoy a good book or the latest New Yorker. I suspect that this raises one of the harder questions raised by Jeff’s vision: will books continue to be a place where immersive thought and extended time are required, or are they morphing into another channel in the always-on, million-channel universe, full of clicks and links and chats and tunes and videos; full of flashing lights and tinkling bells, an easy rest-stop for those who prefer to skim lightly over the surface of the world’s ideas? And of course, who decides?

: As Book Expo opens in Canada, the Globe & Mail reports similar fears of the future there.

: Scott Karp imagines book publishing 2.0 (or maybe that’s 3.0 by now).

: Rajat Gupta says the publisher is about to get squeezed out.

  • pb.

    Eoin Purcell has an interesting argument for and against the future of the book

  • Manual Trackback –

    Clueless publishers

  • If the printed book is replaced by an electronic version of information on the Internet, there is a strong, I repeat, strong, expectation that information will be altered at will by those in power. A book, once printed, is a permanent record. I am quite concerned about the possibility of the book disappearing from our culture to be replaced by an impermanent and easily alterable substitute.

  • The internet also has the advantage of allowing for new writers to try innovative approachs to being published such as:

    Sand Storm – Slaying the Dragon – An open letter to Publishers
    Attention Publishers

    Here is your chance to publish a Thriller for FREE!
    Pay No Royalties, No advance!
    Sand Storm will be 100% yours.
    Publish 1,000 copies, 5,000 or 100,000 it’s up to you.
    You publish it, market it and keep all the money!
    The catch.
    One Caveat.
    To acquire the rights you must donate $5.00 from every book sold to the International Red Cross or $5.00 for every book sold to improve the Libraries for the Armed Forces. That’s right improve the reading supplies for the men and women who wear the uniform. Foreign Rights will have the same agreement to benefit the Military Libraries of Canada, U.K., Australia etc.

    That’s it one completed Thriller, it’s yours if you want it.

    Steve Clackson
    smc AT yourlink DOT ca

    You can read sample chapters 1-10 as noted on the side bar or request entire manuscript as mentioned below in the previous post.

    If any fellow bloggers wish to talk this up please do!

    It appears from the comments and e-mails I’ve received that $5.00 is too steep a price for publishers to consider. I set it as a starting place with the idea that it would probably result in a negotiated rate. That said I will restructure the donation to just $1.00 per book, so that the publisher can make some kind of return for their efforts.

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