Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Signing of the Times

One of the miscellaneous bits of handwringing about the death of printed books surrounds the book signing – that ceremonial act where the author adorns an individual copy with their moniker. But fear not, even in the eBook world, there is a way. The New York Times reports on the ‘autographer’ system:

Here’s how an Autography eBook “signing” will work: a reader poses with the author for a photograph, which can be taken with an iPad camera or an external camera. The image immediately appears on the author’s iPad (if it’s shot with an external camera, it’s sent to the iPad via Bluetooth). Then the author uses a stylus to scrawl a digital message below the photo. When finished, the author taps a button on the iPad that sends the fan an e-mail with a link to the image, which can then be downloaded into the eBook.

Wait time? About two and a half minutes. Bragging potential? Endless: Readers can post the personalized photo to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.


Byliners is a new publishing concept that sits between long-form journalism and a book. From techcrunch (discussing the furore around ‘3 cups of Tea‘:

Amazingly, within days of 60 Minutes breaking the story, a new book was already released about it. Only don’t call it a “book.” Byliner, the company that published it, is touchy about this, because this format is really something new. After all, we didn’t call blog posts articles, because blogging was a new kind of news.

But there’s not another good word for what this is. This isn’t some longer, rushed blog post released on a Kindle. Called “Three Cups of Deceit,” it’s written by award-winning author Jon Krakauer, painstakingly edited and even available to download for free for the first 72 hours of its launch. Welcome to the stunning, new rapid-fire world of long-form publishing.

Long form thrives?

And Macworld has a piece which argues against the meme that the new technologies are destroying our ability to read long-form texts:

While the Cassandras spend their time writing good books and long magazine articles about the phenomenon, something interesting is taking place. Long-form writing—both fiction and non-fiction—is flourishing. And the iPad is giving the format a new platform on which to thrive.

I happen to agree… although feel free to step around the iPad-centric spin and just accept that screens can do what paper does 🙂

The more things change

Peter Osnos has a nice piece in The Atlantic about the evolution of the book industry:

On my first day at Random House, I encountered the fundamental difference between the news business and the book business. In newsrooms, you got the story, it was printed in the paper, and then you went home. In publishing, you acquired the story, got it written, had it printed, and then—crucially—figured out how it should be sold.