Saturday, 30 October 2010

books for sale


Nick Dalziel runs a secondhand bookshop in Blaenavon, Wales, but to be honest, in true Black Books tradition, Nick has been somewhat resistant to parting with tomes from his excellent stock up until now. For some time, if:book has been pleading with Mr Dalziel to allow us to offer volumes from his shop for sale to our readers, what with there being nothing quite like the look and feel of a paper and cardboard book and all, and we think he may be caving in under pressure. Look forward to offers over coming weeks. Meanwhile if you happen to be passing his shop, see if you can convince him to let you in. Dalziels is at  32 a Broad Street,
Blaenavon, Tofaen, Wales, NP4 
9NF. And if he won't open the door, try phoning him on
079051344 for more information on his books about....
Music > Counter Culture > Science Fiction> Poetry > Local History > Politics > Modern Signed First Editions > also Contemporary Art with an emphasis on Urban.
Here's Nick with Sincerely L. Cohen.


Meanwhile we can now confirm that Simon from the legendary Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, London, will not only be selling (new) books at our forthcoming conference on THE AMPLIFIED AUTHOR IN THE LOCAL UNLIBRARY, but will also be appearing on the panel with Shreela Ghosh, George Palmer and others. To book your FREE place for the 23rd November, HURRY to www.unlibrary.eventbrite.com



Wednesday, 27 October 2010

diet on the internet


Postcard 002 from Literature Development on Vimeo.


Wes Brown introduces the NAWE Young Writers' Hub.
We'll be liaising closely with Wes as we develop a network for groups of young poets with the Poetry Society. The two sites will complement each other nicely I reckon.

Monday, 25 October 2010

university of web


Information evolution, self publishing etcetera with Alex Krotoski  
and here's Brewster Kahle talking at Books In Browsers conference.
Settle down, enjoy, learn.
https://internetarchive.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/books-in-browsers-keynote-speech-by-brewster-kahle/
https://internetarchive.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/books-in-browsers-keynote-speech-by-brewster-kahle/

Oh and...
Here's Rachel Botsman's excellent talk on Collaborative Consumption at NESTA this week.
http://www.nesta.org.uk/home1/assets/events/collaborative_consumption_re-imagining_public_services

discuss

http://futureofthebook.org/social-reading/ is your link to Bob Stein's Taxonomy of Social Reading
which was unveiled at the Books in Browsers conference and has since led to some serious discussion on the Read 2.0 list. It's presented in CommentPress form, so you can comment in its margins.

Here's Bob's Introduction


Permalink for this paragraph2When I grew up in the 50s, reading and writing were activities conducted alone and in silence. Twenty years from now, as my grandchildren come of age, I expect these formerly solitary behaviors will be perceived as highly social — something we do, more often than not, with others. This insight comes in large part from a series of experiments conducted over the past five years with my colleagues at The Institute for the Future of the Book. They strongly suggest that when we move texts from the printed page to a networked screen, the social aspect of reading and writing moves to the foreground.
Permalink for this paragraph0In recent months the phrase “social reading” has been showing up in conversation and seems well on its way to being a both a useful and increasingly used meme. While I find this very exciting, as with any newly minted phrase, it’s often used to express quite different things. For example, the Kindle reader keeps a record of your highlighted passages and aggregates them with those of anonymous others so that you can see which passages have generated the most interest. This is considered a social function. Or when RIM announced their entry in the tablet sweepstakes, Kobo posted a video touting the idea that their dedicated ebook reader for the Blackberry Playbook “makes reading social.” In making it possible to recommend books, send passages or chat in real time with friends “about a book,” the Kobo reader goes considerably further than the Kindle. But neither approaches the immersive group–based close reading central to our “networked book” experiments. In order to advance our understanding of how reading (and writing) are changing as they begin to shift decisively into the digital era, it occurred to me that we need a taxonomy to make sense of a range of behaviors all of which fit within the current “social reading” rubric.
Permalink for this paragraph1With a landscape that extends from face–to–face conversations around the proverbial water cooler to a dizzying array of web–based sites and tools, I’ve limited this proposal to books and (text–based) documents. There’s no conceptual obstacle however, to applying the same taxonomy of social reading to audio, video, even games. For example, video sites, like YouTube already allow users to leave a comment or create an annotation timed to appear at a specific moment in the video. Much of the gameplay in World of Warcraft consists of social interaction between players who effectively construct the details of the narrative as the game progresses.
Permalink for this paragraph0The boundaries drawn by taxonomies are by necessity arbitrary. If I considered all the possible variations for each category, we would end up with a matrix with virtually duplicate descriptors in each vertical cell; rending the exercise close to useless. I’ve opted instead not to address subtle nuances in the hope that drawing sharper lines will encourage a more vigorous discussion. In the same vein, I chose to number the categories to make them easier to refer to. In no way, however do I mean to imply a “progression” of value from one to the next. Meaningful, possibly even life–changing interactions can take place at any point on the spectrum.
Permalink for this paragraph0I am hoping that this proposed taxonomy will jumpstart a much needed discussion that encourages us to question all our relevant assumptions. As with a Wikipedia article, the truth isn’t on the surface as much as in the interstices where people collectively explore the fuzzy spaces between assumptions and arbitrarily drawn boundaries. The better our understanding of the affordances of different behaviors, the better our chance of designing a robust social reading environment which serves society well.
Permalink for this paragraph0The nature of social reading will evolve in response to ever–changing hardware and software platforms and the new forms of expression and interaction they will inevitably give rise to. Not the least of these changes is likely to be a blurring of the boundary between reading and writing. This will occur as authors take on the added role of moderators of communities of inquiry (non–fiction) and of designers of complex worlds for readers to explore (fiction). In addition, readers will embrace a much more active role in the production of knowledge and the telling of stories. Over time, as these new behaviors become more sharply defined and grow in importance, the categories themselves will change as well.

Friday, 22 October 2010

October 21, 2010
Institute of Contemporary Arts

Words & Money: Paywalls, E-books and the Death of Print

André Schiffrin leads a debate on the future of publishing in the digital age at the ICA
Are publishing and print media obsolete in the age of the Internet and the iPad? And if not, how should newspapers, books and magazines reinvent themselves to stay alive?
Join leading publisher and author of Words and Money Andre Schiffrin, Media Guardian columnist Roy Greenslade, David Roth-Ey Harper Collins' Digital Director and Kit Hammonds, co-founder of the Publish and Be Damned self-publishing fair in the debate.
Tickets £12 (£11 concessions, £10 ICA members)


for more information. (Nice photo).

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

browsing



One bit of video that has been much discussed lately.
Nicholas Negroponte sounds the death knell for the paper book within five years. I think he's right that the tipping point approacheth, though of course some books will be published in paper form, like vinyl still exists today, but I'm hooked on iPad reading already and people seem to be pretty swiftly won over once they've invested in the (ever cheaper) gizmos. Far more important is his point about the potential of digital for the developing world.

Meanwhile at the debate in Frankfurt we were asked about the issue of how easy it is to waste time on line. The question made me think that it's often hard to decide for oneself when time spent on line is wasted or productive. A morning spent pottering at the laptop can involve reading around topics, networking, blogging and pondering; meanwhile it can take an absurdly short time to do some of the to-do tasks which once involved photocopiers, stamps, walks to post offices and hours of time.
I'm keen to help writers think about their patterns and practices, on and off line, how to respect their need for distractions and down time, walks in the park and surfs on the web all part of the complex creative process.

I'd love to hear comments on this issue from the readers that Google Analytics tell me I have.

Monday, 18 October 2010

letter from David

Birmingham-based poet, friend and source of inspiration David Hart e-mailed me in response to the BBC Nightwaves debate on the future of the book, broadcast on 14th October and for the time being still accessible on iPlayer HERE . I said I'd like to quote his words on the blog and he sent me this revised version. 
  


Oct.15th (and revised 17th) 2010      Dear Chris

When I switched on to Nightwaves I didn't know you'd be there, as it were, it was a pleasure, good to hear you. [And then discovered it was pre-recorded, so you weren't really there then].

    I couldn't simply sit and listen, so I continued with moving my books around, which I've been doing lately, rearranging shelf space, pulling some out to take to the local Oxfam Bookshop. Which reminds me there is now no secondhand bookshop in Birmingham apart from a corridor and small back room of one in Digbeth and 3 Oxfam. The last of the traditionals, one I've been going to for at least 20 years, closed a few weeks ago. The even much older one in Lichfield closed a few weeks before that.

    My house is a small library. My son will inherit it, and it has become curious to me how different that inheritance seems year by year. When he's here from time to time he borrows books, it still works that way, but of the future I wonder.

    A few things occur to me after your discussion. I am reviewing the John Ashbury Collected Poems 1956-1987 for the Stride web site; and such individual books of his I have already from those years and more recently, are so much more variously engaging and good to handle as objects. And there's - more than an aside - the fact (I think a fact) that a poem in one format is not the poem it is in another; subtle or very obvious, there's tangible difference.

      It is of cultural interest and, one might say, measures one's life, the changing style and feel of, for example, Penguins during the past 50 and more years. I have been collecting some Virginia Woolf from their own Hogarth Press editions through to new Penguins, and I think I really do sense time passing. I have one dust cover of her sister Vanessa Bell's design, it has a presence.

    Something else that matters to me is that I can pick up a book, or even notice it on the shelves, and as it were it remembers me and I it. Here's the one book (Housman) my father gave me, here's Sylvia Plath's Ariel hb, new then when I bought it after my finals, this DADA book dated by me then (1967) tells me how early in my life it mattered to me, books signed by poets at readings, books given to me at significant moments, and there are Bibles, hymn books, books for private as well as shared occasions, here's Christopher Meade's Betty Spital, -

      I have just been told of a young poet at a book festival reading from her new pamphlet to three people and her family. I reply, 'Chris Meade would say....'

     And then I think, how does a poem via the web or an ipod connect us the way reading a poem face to face does? If the human voice, its sound, mode, mood, goes missing, hasn't something essential gone? It seems the next step or two will be - as now one way via You Tube - to connect voice and eyes electronically, reader and listener/watcher, while the speaker is at home and the reader is on a bus and can respond. Maybe it's happening already. Still, flesh goes missing, we become bodyless.

        My feeling about some books is that their physical presence provokes memories, so that even smells and particular moments 'come back' to me, and that few books are wholly neutral in this way. Some sets of books relate to poetry projects, a whole shelf, say, to an aspect of my life, many I've only dipped into but there may come a time..., some hardly opened but then I am surprised by them, and often there's a handling effect - physical contact with more than I think I remember. And there have been poetry readings, well attended or not: ah, signed books!

      There is a contrary aspect, which is when I wish I had a room with nothing in it at all except a comfortable carpet, and that my house could breathe more openly without books. 

      My daughter phones me from London walking to the tube, my son as he walks to a supermarket half way around the world. I have walked about Bloomsbury with my daughter looking for Virginia Woolf-related places. I said, when she got out her phone, Ah satnap. Satnav, she said, and it told us: up this street, cross over to that square,... It's a wonder; I'm not sure it's better, lost often though I've been.

What you said, in the broadcast, about this new generation of young people, is out of my ken really. I won't be doing this, but the fluency is there in them to be in the world quite differently, I do see that.

     I do want to say as well, though, that whereas I used to so enjoy bus and train travel, and for many years now have had no car, now this travel is a misery. And there does seem a self-consciousness about the selfishness of it, people never allow eye contact when their phone rings or they ring it, or while they are speaking. This noise (usually much louder than conversation) along with the noise of 'music' (horrible beat usually) from whatever little technos, has been a desecration of communal life. In shops, too, of course, and in the street, even along river walks and on park benches. There are little cafes where I used to sit with a pot of tea and a notebook that I would never enter now; experience has told me there is no quiet there any more.

    I've known no-one more community friendly than you, more delighting in what can happen when people come together. Even on the radio you were smiling.

Thanks all the best,

David




Friday, 15 October 2010

with jose furtado in real life



I've followed @jafurtado on Twittter for years - and now I've met him!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Homepages - here's our collaborative poem so far.

Listen!


Thanks to all contributors. Happy National Poetry Day! 





HOMEPAGES (1)

The eye inside the light blinked
Windows filled with dark dew
An invisible mingling

Their room was a-buzz with lemon joy

To be home with her in bed
Stars blinking
Snuggled down in a hotbed of networks
Clutching at her hands

Tweetheartz

Away from the epicentre
Through plasma screen portals
Treasure houses lurk
Pillowed with people

Blue screens surface familiar faces
Home sick

*

Hello there :D
Just got home 4 A Nap
My second lecture got canceled
Everything aches

Hello. My mom is awake.. and upset
Cnt Wait 2 Get Back Home
Neva Felt Like Dis B4
Sesak nih di ang-kot me-lolo
Miss my home.


home is however i tag my tweets
where the wi-fi wafts me
in invisible minglings


The wi-fi was as inconsistent
as the quality of coffee
and your willingness to leave
the colours and the people as they were.

I needed
as always
an image.
Unfortunately
what I want
is copyrighted.

Thinking about
starting
a home business
and not sure
where to begin

Today will go as follows; -
Shower. Hair + makeup.
Dressed.
Job Center.
Back home.
Find outfit for tonight..

*
The incessant soundtrack of rain

Nothing was accomplished today
This drive home feels forever

Just survived shower of rainstorm-like magnitude.
Sunshine behind me. Bouncing raindrops in front
 Now back home

When one door close and you come home late,
your ass sleeps on the lawn
and getts woken up by the sprinklers!

*
Once children are set free
They might never return
Or they may come back so much that
A shape like a mummy, will appear
On your smooth dirt floor
Where they will sleep
Leaving the beds for younger children - and pets.


Kid home today from school with mysterious eye thing.
Hoping to find out it is nothing at the Drs.
Why are toddlers filled with oddities?
why are toddlers filled with oddities?

Hello. Feel really lost :(
Left my ipod at home.

No mattress soft enough to
bear the weight of
wearied life

#@*&^?"@! (hash at star ampersand question exclamation)
That is my language
My fellow workers at
The Book House speak
!?"*%$#&}   (Exclamation question star percent hash bracket)
Can we get some help here?

I’ll swap places with anyone bored with their life,
as long as it doesn’t involve winter sports or dogs
& their ex-wives don’t turn up drunk at 2 am.

wrds wth n vwls cmpt wth wrds wth o cnsnnts

I have to go home on a peasant wagon today
cause my parents are still at work -
i actually hate them!

Working from home when sick is priceless. Sweat suited down...
Home from work browsing the news on the interwebs

"give us a homepage!" they said.
And so I did.
A page for home, a home for my pages.
And yet...
It wasn't
A comfy sofa. A smelly dog.

It was all about ME
and my creepy stuff.
Was I at home in it?
Probably not.

I showed it to the sofa, and
My sofa wobbled with laughter beneath me

My sofa wobbled with laughter beneath me

Pushkin, sitting beside me, wobbled in synchronicity

but the earth stayed still

of my maunder

the swimming pool the giant
lilo
were not after
all the place for a
Chesterfield

but it was every day
poetry all the same

Dead tired
every fiber of my being wants to be home with her in bed
Backrubs fix all

Office chairs emptied
Everything aches.
The rain is no more.
The jars by the window with sun shining through.

*
The eye inside the light blinked
Windows filled with dark dew
An invisible mingling

His beery lips in a kiss-like ‘Oo!’
He says, ‘Darling, I want to build a homepage with you!’
__________

#homepages - a collaborative poem for national poetry day - update

HERE IS a chunk of the poem, assembled by Kati and I from contributions and including tweets found on a search for mentions of HOME. Please keep those lines coming and thanks to all who have given.
Log on at www.ifsoflo.ning.com and go to the forum OR use twitter #homepages.
We'll be posting more extracts later.
best
Chris
******


The eye inside the light blinked
Windows filled with dark dew
An invisible mingling

Their room was a-buzz with lemon joy

To be home with her in bed
Stars blinking
Snuggled down in a hotbed of networks
Clutching at her hands

Tweetheartz

Away from the epicentre
Through plasma screen portals
Treasure houses lurk
Pillowed with people

Blue screens surface familiar faces
Home sick

*

Hello there :D
Just got home 4 A Nap
My second lecture got canceled
Am home early... Everything aches
Hello. Feel really lost :(
Left my ipod at home.
Hello. My mom is awake.. and upset
Cnt Wait 2 Get Back Home
Neva Felt Like Dis B4
Sesak nih di angkot melolo
Miss my home.


home is however i tag my tweets
where the wi-fii wafts me
in invisible minglings


The wi-fi was as inconsistent
as the quality of coffee
and your willingness to leave
the colours and the people as they were.

I needed
as always
an image.
Unfortunately
what I want
is copyrighted.

Thinking about
starting
a home business
and not sure
where to begin

Today will go as follows; -
Shower. Hair + makeup.
Dressed.
Job Center.
Back home.
Find outfit for tonight....

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

biff! whizz! ping! read!

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/10/04/portable-lighthouse.html

Alain Pierrot sends this link to beautiful portable library boxes supplied to US lighthouse keepers, specially selected by the Public Librarians, all very relevant to our thoughts on Unlibraries and the future of the bookshop project we're planning next year.

support your local bookshop




Which London bookseller made this very funny film, shared by Tom 'Penned in the Margin' Chivers and Chris 'Salt' Hamilton Emery?

Here's my wobbly docomentation of Barter Books in Northumberland where I went to be part of the panel at a debate on the future of the book for Radio 3, to be broadcast on 14th October.

Monday, 4 October 2010

ifsoflo conference: the amplified author in the local unlibrary


an ifsoflo event organized by if:book www.futureofthebook.org.uk 
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 23rd at HORNSEY LIBRARY,
LONDON N8
This is a day of debate and practical workshops for writers, literature development workers, publishers, librararians, teachers and all those interested in how new media is changing the way we read, write, work and belong in our local community.
The conference will be hosted at the The Unlibrary - a new co-working space and writers' hub in Hornsey Library, North London, where local writers - from the emerging to the bestselling – can learn the skills they need to amplify their words and develop their writing through social networking and new media publishing.
> AWARD WINNING NOVELIST ANDREA LEVY ON WRITING LOCAL
> WORKSHOPS ON MAKING BOOKS, SELF PUBLISHING, BLOGGING MULTI PLATFORM
AND NEW MEDIA WRITING
> THE POWER OF LOCAL – DEBATE
> HOW CAN WRITERS WORK WITH LOCAL SCHOOLS TO ENCOURAGE FUTUREPOETS?

The Unlibrary is a collaboration between Haringey Libraries and
if:book, a think and do tank based in London exploring the potential of new media for creative readers and writers

THIS EVENT IS FREE
Places are very limited so BOOK NOW at http://unlibrary.eventbrite.com/
Please email chris@futureofthebook.org.uk if you want further information

THE PROGRAMME SO FAR 
  
10.00 - 10.30
Introduction:
The Amplified Author in the Local Unlibrary
10.30 - 11.00
Interview with ANDREA LEVY on being both a local and a global author

11.30-  1.30 
Workshops
Practical sessions on:
Writing for new media and multiple platforms
Self publishing - handmade and print on demand
Social networking skills for writers
Collaborative writing and publishing
Giles Lane of Proboscis: Ruth Franklin, Artist in Residence: Anna Lewis, Completelynovel.com; Alison Norrington, StoryCentralDigital.com; Pete Law, GeekCamp; Anke Holst, Unlibrarian;  Toni Le Busque, Digital artist; Sasha Hoare, Film maker         
          
Participants can attend each group for 30mins or stay with what interests them most – or even set up their own session.

1.30 - 2.30
LUNCH

2.30 – 3.30
Panel discussion: 
The Power of Local
With traditional models for publishing and bookselling in crisis, is there an opportunity to create a hub for writers at the Unlibrary that could help to publish and sell their work to a local, national and global audience?
GEORGE PALMER - Apples & Snakes, 
SHREELA GHOSH - Director of the Free Word Centre for Literature and Free Speech  
CHRIS MEADE - if:book and MORRSH Street Party 
3.30 - 3.45
TEA 

3.45
FUTUREPOETS 
Are schools failing to help young people be creative readers and writers for the digital age? 
Meet students and teachers from local schools to explore how they can work with local writers to create the digital writers of the future
(details to be confirmed)            

4.15 – 5.00
Presentation of work by local writers and digital artists of all ages  
CONCLUSIONS

END