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.