All signs suggest punctuation is in flux. In particular, our signs that mark grammatical (and sometimes semantic) distinctions are waning, while those denoting tone and voice are waxing. Furthermore, signs with a slim graphical profile (the apostrophe and comma, especially) are having a rough go of it. Compared to the smiley face or even the question mark, they're too visually quiet for most casual writers to notice or remember, even (or especially) on our high-def screens.
There's a semi-viral video that's been kicking around for a couple of weeks titled "The Future of Publishing." The schtick is that the same column of text, about preferences of younger readers gets read two ways -- descend and you get a sharply pessimistic, anti-book message, but if you roll the text back and read it on the ascent (get it?), it turns out that the kids love traditional books after all.
I want to extend apologies to RSS subscribers and readers for the torrent of spam that washed over the site in the past few days. I've made some adjustments to both the spam filters and the users and permissions policies that will (I hope) keep that from happening again.
Keep reading, and keep writing. These are exciting times for bookfuturists like us. I'll do my best to keep the commons clean.
We've talked before about the book as a cross-technological concept -- that a "book" can mean either (or both) a codex or a scroll, an electronic or a physical unit. Roughly speaking, our ideas of what a book is are driven by the different technologies attached to reading -- but there's also SOME sense in which "book" persists across or transcends any particular technology.
Don Linn has a terrific post reflecting on what was and wasn't said at the recent O'Reilly TOC (Tools of Change) conference. Here are a few selections (everything in a bullet point is a direct quote, with snips in between):
Dan Cohen writes a nice post on the same theme I wrote about a few days ago -- roughly, what is a book, and why do certain communities hold it sacred?:
The price-point advantage that E books have over paper books is a myth. Sure, most e-books are cheaper, but the truth is that I can probably leave my paper copy of the the book I'm reading at the coffeeshop table next to my coat when I go to the bathroom, but I wouldn’t leave a $450 kindle DX. The expense creates a trigger of investment protection. No throwing this in the back seat of your car, leaving it on the table, or anything else you could do comfortably with a paper book.