Sunday, 25 April 2010

per il libro

The Festival delle Citta Impresa in Padua invited Bob to speak on the Value of Books, and he kindly offered me in his place. The session took place in a meeting room overlooking the massive printing works of Grafica Veneta (see video). Here I saw conveyor belts of Jules Verne, Peanuts and Larsson being folded, sliced and bound. Sadly my camera failed as I was filming the best machines but this gives a taste.  The debate included Cesare De Michelis, president of Marsilio Editori, Gian Arturo Ferrari, president of the Centro per il Libro e la Promozione della lettura , Fabio Franceshi, CEO of Grafica Veneta - and Christopher John Meade, codirettore dell’Institute for the Future of the Book. Journalist Stefano Salis who chaired the session introduced me as if the Institute was a defender of paper tomes against  encroaching screens, so I feared I might get lynched when it became clear I’d come to celebrate the potential of literature online.

But Mr Ferrari, a major figure in publishing here, gave a detailed breakdown of the costs of conventional versus digital books, reckoning the ebook is around 70% cheaper to make and deliver, contradicting those UK publishers who aim to justify keeping the same price for digital. He believes economics mean the rise of the ebook is inevitable, and doesn't dread this, whereas De Michelis presented himself as the pessimist about our cultural future. Ferrari pointed out that the outcomes of revolutions are always unpredictable. Books in Italy were first created to catalogue donkey ownership, then to spread the bible. And when printing was first introduced, many argued that books needed to be handwritten by monks to truly work as literature. You can’t beat the look and feel of a good monk-book. 

Thursday, 22 April 2010

free iPads for all

At if:book's event at the London Book Fair on Children's Literature and Digital Imagination, there was an audible gasp when founder Neal brought out his iPad. Bookstart's a fantastic scheme but maybe a digital version would win more votes.

Peckham Palais Launch Party

Fri Apr 23 Peckham Palais, 1 Rye Lane London, SE15 5EW Full details & map

Clubs: Freestyle and global beats

Critics' choice
Pseudo Nippon Pseudo Nippon

Time Out says

Peckham has a new crown jewel in the shape of this 1000-capacity venue, under the leftfield arty indie guidance of multimedia artist Joe Coppard (of Pat and Trevor) and Oliver Hogan, the firebrand behind the LuckyPDF collective and various warehouse parties in the area, at spots like the nearby Bussey Building. The launch party tonight is nothing short of stellar: they've DJ sets from DFA/Gucci Soundsystem's Ben Rymer, Raf Daddy, one half of terrific techno duo The 2 Bears; future electronic beat mangler My Panda Shall Fly; Transparent's indie stable; Oli D.A.B & Robin from boompity bass night Superfilth!!!; the Off Modern art collective (yes, loads of those art collectives in south east London) and plenty more.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

location of intellectual exchange

The Ecology of Ideas: An Interview with Of Swallow’s Jason Rovito

The media’s narrative goes like this: Toronto booksellers are dropping like flies, with venerable institutions like Pages and David Mirvish Books on Art as well as newer enterprises like McNally Robinson and TYPE on the Danforth shutting their doors.  But not to worry, new bookstores are cropping up all over town; plucky startups like ReReadingGood Egg and Zoinks! are going to try their luck in the strange new world of the internet, ebook and big box retail.
Into this narrative enter Of Swallows, their deeds, & the winter below.  Jason Rovito has become Of Swallow’s figurehead, the latest young entrepreneur to try his hand at redefining bookselling for the 21st century.  But Rovito’s vision of a center for knowledge exchange and an experiment in community idea building is a far cry from the usual bookseller line, and indeed neither the man nor the space fit into the usual roles of proprietor and property.  Traditional and innovative booksellers alike are trying to sell a product; Of Swallows is going to try to become a location of intellectual exchange.
READ MORE OF THIS INTERVIEW HERE. Thanks to RGB for bringing this to our attention. 

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

future of the bookshop

Prospero's Books, our local bookshop in Crouch End, is up for sale and that makes me sad, though I can't say it's been a very welcoming, literary hub in the community. But I like bookshops and want them to find a new way to flourish.

I'm interested in setting up a Future of the Bookshop, and looking for others interested in helping to think about what such a place might be. I've had experience in bookselling in the past. I ran the Penguin bookshop at Heffers in Cambridge in my early twenties and also worked at the legendary High Hill Bookshop, whose infamous owner Ian Norrie died this year. His memorial was a warm and nostalgic affair reminding me of the joys of the trade. SO, I'm seriously interested in hearing from potential partners/backers who'd like to have a crack at making a local bookshop/space fit for the 21st Century.

And, as if:book has charitable status it would also be possible to do a pop up version.
Please comment here or get in touch if you'd like to talk further about this.

Meanland: Reading in a Time of Technology

HERE are details of one of the events I'm doing in Australia.

The Wheeler Centre Auditorium, 6:15PM - 7:15PM, Wednesday 19 May 2010
Multimedia books and academic wikis, music and sound publishing, and the world of computer games: technological change has extended reading and writing well beyond the book.

Chris Meade, the author of an Arts Council England report on the technological possibilities of literature, discusses his own experiments with musical, graphical and digital fiction; the ANU’s Adrienne Nicotra explains how educational wikis might replace text books; novelist and programmer Paul Callaghan demonstrates the role narrative plays in today’s computer games; and the poet/composer Klare Lanson explores the intersection of music and text.

Paul Callaghan is a freelance writer, game developer, and co-director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival.

Over the past 20 years, performance poet Klare Lanson has worked as a writer, visual arts curator, director, truck driver, editor and also pays bills by working in the IT industry.

Chris Meade is Director of if:book LONDON. Chris has an M.A. in Creative Writing & New Media and his digital fiction In Search of Lost Tim was described by the Independent on Sunday as “a jeu d’esprit and just possibly the future of fiction.”

Adrienne Nicotra, Senior lecturer in the Research School of Biology, ANU is one of the founding Editors of PROMETHEUSWiki, a new Wiki based site for PROtocols and METHods for Explanation and Updated Standards in ecology and environmental plant physiology.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

seize the time again again

Kim Patrick of the Arvon Foundation on walking through text

Chris Holifield of the Poetry Book Society on digital book clubs and pamphlets

seize the time again

George Palmer of Apples & Snakes in the World Cafe

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

alice in zoomigraphickyland

"When a tiny software company decides to battle it out in the iPad App Store, what more unlikely weapon could they pick than the illustrations from a dog-eared copy of Alice in Wonderland, published in 1865? Little did Ben (the other half of Atomic Antelope) and I imagine that our adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic book would rise become the number one kid’s book on the platform, beating Marvel, Disney and Amazon to the prize."

Read more HERE and come along to the London Book Fair on Monday to see more from publisher

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

seize the time time 3

Jonathan Davidson, CEO of Writing West Midlands, on digital projects, the economics of writing and mining.

Monday, 12 April 2010

seize the time time 2

A sunny day in Farringdon, talking to Michael Bhaskar, Charles Beckett of Arts Council England and Dora Meade of the Roundhouse project, Leeds, about South By South West, the role of curating cnversations around the book and what artists and literature organisations offer to the future of bookness. More soonn


I'm an advisor on Amplified Leicester and ran a workshop for participants with Toni Le Busque on making short films. The project is reaching its conclusion and looks like it's been a fascinating and powerful experiment in digital means to develop a city.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

peckham palais launch party

The Peckham Palais has changed its management. Formerly that nightclub on the corner that did salsa on the weekend it is now about to become one of London's most forward thinking venues.
Coming out of Peckham's emerging art scene and creative community the Palais will be programing live acts, musicians, dj's, promoters, artists and designers, bringing them together to create great parties every single week.

It starts Friday April 23rd with two very tight party bands, a whole host of dj's to make you dance, local favorites to international talent. This coupled with a/v installations and amazing cocktails, we're starting the summer right now with this new 800 capacity venue......

9pm til 4am

£5 before 12 - More after

Peckham Palais
Number 1 Rye Lane SE15 5EW
for further information email or
or see Peckham Palais on facebook

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Wonda in the Classroom

Here are the two videos we made with Aoife Mannix as the finale of Project Wonda, our QCDA funded project for primary schools piloted recently in three schools. Aoife made a brilliant Wonda - and thanks also to Kati Rynne for her help sorting through the feedback from students who clearly loved the experience.

AN INTERVIEW WITH AOIFE MANNIX, also known as Virtual Writer In Residence W.RITER

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Sent a link to this from the Guadalajara Book Fair.

iPad - Unboxing Video from Brian Stark on Vimeo.

Thanks to for finding this.

new media prize

Now here's something if:book meant to do and never got round to. Good on Poole Literary Festival  in partnership with The Media School at Bournemouth University for establishing a Prize for New Media Writing. "The prize will allow writers working with New Media to showcase their skills, provoke discussion and raise awareness of new media writing and the future of the written word. The competition is now open for entries.
Michael Bhaskar, a member of the judging panel, said: "This award is breaking genuinely new ground in looking at how digital technology is transforming written communication. As the first award of its kind globally it will be a landmark in the increasingly exciting arena of new media writing and I am thrilled to be involved."

Here's what Poole reckons new media writing is:

"Storytelling, whether fiction or non-fiction, written specifically for delivery and reading/viewing on a PC or Mac, on the web, or via mobile phone.
Could be thought of as a short story, a novel, a documentary, or poetry.
However, ‘writing’ and ‘literature’ in the digital age now can include words, images, film, animation, and interactivity for the audience.
New media writing can be created using any equipment you wish, from a word processor, to a DV camera; you can shoot photos on your mobile phone, or scan objects on you desktop scanner – anything goes, as long as you have an engaging story to tell (or poetry to express).
You can tell your story by combining any number of media elements, e.g. words on a screen combined with images and video clips."

For more information CLICK HERE, then get entering!

Friday, 2 April 2010

from Times Higher Education

Smells like the spirit of 1968

1 April 2010
Anyone who wants to know what universities are for "should look at Britain and do the opposite".
That was the view put forward at a conference in Leeds, which heard that "those who value critical thinking and knowledge for its own sake are now cowering in the wardrobe like Anne Frank".
Paul Taylor, senior lecturer in communications theory at the University of Leeds, was speaking last week at the Roundhouse conference on critical theory and education.