Uhhh my boss just asked me for Twitter engagement numbers... Who loves books? Like if you love books, reply if you hate them— ECW Press (@ecwpress) Dec 2, 2021
Handwriting to Website #FTW
While browsing today I ran across an awesome concept called PaperWebsite.com. It allows you to write on paper, take a photo, and then upload it to a website. Your handwritten words published to your website. A tactile writer’s dream.
My immediate thought—I need to have this now!
Articles written by hand in my journal to my website? Short notes that I write on index cards published as microblog updates. How cool would that be? I was also talking to someone this morning about voice-to-text as a note taking concept. What about that too?
Of course, as you may know, I’ve already got a website. Do I need another one like this for $10/month? Probably not.
But this has got me wondering “what the value proposition is for Paper Website as a company?” What are they really selling? Domain names? Hosting? Notebooks? They certainly seem to be selling all of the above, but the core product they’re really selling is an easy-to-use interface for transferring paper ideas to digital publishing. And this is exactly what I want!
The problem now is to buy this sub-service without all the other moving pieces like a domain name, hosting, etc., which I don’t need. Taking just the core service and abstracting it to the wider universe of websites could be a major technical hurdle (and nightmare).
IndieWeb and Micropub
Perhaps I could try find an OCR solution and wire it all together myself? I’d rather see the original developer run away with the idea though. So instead I’ll quietly suggest that they could take their current infrastructure and add a small piece.
Since PaperWebsite’s already got the front end up and running, why not add on Micropub support to the back end? Maybe Ben Stokes could take the OCR output and create a new Micropub client that could authenticate to any website with Micropub support? I have to imagine that he could probably program it in a couple of days (borrowing from any of the pre-existing open source clients or libraries out there) and suddenly it’s a product that could work with WordPress, Drupal, WithKnown, Craft, Jekyll, Kirby, Hugo, Blot, and a variety of other platforms that support the W3C spec recommendation or have plugins for it.
The service could publish in “draft” form and allow editing after-the-fact. There’s also infrastructure for cross-syndicating to other social services with Micropub clents, so note cards to my website and automatically syndicated to Twitter, Mastodon, or micro.blog? Yes, please.
And maybe it could be done as a service for a dollar a month or a few dollars a year?
I made a short mention of the idea in the IndieWeb chat, and it’s already a-buzz with implementation ideas… If you’re around Ben, I’m sure folks there would lend a hand if you’re interested.
The website, commonplace book, note taking, stationery, and fountain pen nerd in me is really excited about where this could go from a user interface perspective.
How Moleskine, Leuchtturm, LiveScribe or the other stationery giants haven’t done this already is beyond me. I could also see serious writing apps like iA Writer or Ulysses doing something like this too.
In particular, I quite enjoy the micropub client IndieBookClub for posting reading updates to my WordPress site (it supports other platforms with Micropub support too.) More details: https://indieweb.org/indiebookclub. Here’s an example of how I’m tracking what I read on my own site: https://boffosocko.com/kind/read/ or if you want just the books.
If you’d like a non-WordPress hosted solution, you might take a look at Manton Reece’s excellent Micro.blog platform which has a nice book/reading UI: https://micro.blog/discover/books or https://micro.blog/discover/books/grid. (It uses IndieWeb technologies including micropub, so you can use IndieBookClub with it. You can also syndicate to it from your WordPress site if you prefer to have your own infrastructure and just join the community there for the conversation.)
I’m happy to help if you’d like further tips/pointers for any of the above.
If you hate them, it’s not your fault.
A🧵 of annotations
What any individual infers about their hopes and dreams for an e-reader derives from their understanding of reading in the first place. You can’t have books without bookiness. Bookiness. That’s the word Glenn Fleishman, a technology writer and longtime bookmaker, uses to describe the situation. “It’s the essence that makes someone feel like they’re using a book,” he told me. Like pornography or sandwiches, you know bookiness when you see it. Or feel it? Either way, most people can’t identify what it is in the abstract. ❧
Does this only come out because there’s something that’s book-tangential or similar and it needs to exist to describe the idea of not-book, book-adjacent, or book-like on some sort of spectrum of bookishness.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:28PM
The ancient Romans sometimes connected wax tablets with leather or cords, suggesting a prototype of binding. Replacing the wax with leaves allowed many pages to be stacked atop one another, then sewn or otherwise bound together. ❧
early book prototypes
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:30PM
In other words, as far as technologies go, the book endures for very good reason. Books work. ❧
Aside from reading words to put ideas into my brain, one of the reasons I like to read digital words is that the bigger value proposition for me is an easier method to add annotations to what I’m reading and then to be able to manipulate those notes after-the-fact. I’ve transcended books and the manual methods of note taking. Until I come up with a better word for it, digital commonplacing seems to be a useful shorthand for this new pattern of reading.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:33PM
If you have a high-quality hardbound book nearby, pick it up and look at the top and bottom edges of the binding, near the spine, with the book closed. The little stripey tubes you see are called head and tail bands (one at the top, one at the bottom). They were originally invented to reinforce stitched binding, to prevent the cover from coming apart from the leaves. Today’s mass-produced hardcover books are glued rather than sewn, which makes head and tail bands purely ornamental. And yet for those who might notice, a book feels naked without such details. ❧
It is an odd circumstance that tail bands are still used on modern books that don’t need them. From a manufacturing standpoint, the decrease in cost would dictate they disappear, however they must add some level of bookiness that they’re worth that cost.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:37PM
One site of that erosion, which may help explain ebook reticence, can be found in self-published books. For people predisposed to sneer at the practice, a lack of editing or the absence of publisher endorsement and review might justify self-published works’ second-class status. That matter is debatable. More clear is the consequence of disintermediation: Nobody takes a self-published manuscript and lays it out for printing in a manner that conforms with received standards. And so you often end up with a perfect-bound Word doc instead of a book. That odd feeling of impropriety isn’t necessarily a statement about the trustworthiness of the writer or their ideas, but a sense of dissonance at the book as an object. It’s an eerie gestalt, a foreboding feeling of unbookiness. ❧
Having helped others to self-publish in the past, I definitely do spend a bit of time putting the small sort of bookiness flourishes into their texts.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:41PM
The weird way you tap or push a whole image of a page to the side—it’s the uncanny valley of page turning, not a simulation or replacement of it. ❧
This may be the first time I’ve seen uncanny valley applied to a topic other than recognizing people versus robots or related simulacra.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:44PM
The iPad’s larger screen also scales down PDF pages to fit, making the results smaller than they would be in print. It also displays simulated print margins inside the bezel margin of the device itself, a kind of mise en abyme that still can’t actually be used for the things margins are used for, such as notes or dog-ears. ❧
It would be quite nice if a digital reader would allow actual writing in the margins, or even overlaying the text itself and then allowing the looking at the two separately.
I do quite like the infinite annotation space that Hypothes.is gives me on a laptop. I wish there were UI for it on a Kindle in a more usable and forgiving way. The digital keyboard on Kindle Paperwhite is miserable. I’ve noticed that I generally prefer reading and annotating on desktop in a browser now for general ease-of-use.
Also, I don’t see enough use of mise en abyme. This is a good one.
In Western art history, mise en abyme (French pronunciation: [miz ɑ̃n‿abim]; also mise en abîme) is a formal technique of placing a copy of an image within itself, often in a way that suggests an infinitely recurring sequence. In film theory and literary theory, it refers to the technique of inserting a story within a story. The term is derived from heraldry and literally means “placed into abyss”. It was first appropriated for modern criticism by the French author André Gide.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:49PM
Ebook devices are extremely compatible with an idea of bookiness that values holding and carrying a potentially large number of books at once; that prefers direct flow from start to finish over random access; that reads for the meaning and force of the words as text first, if not primarily; and that isn’t concerned with the use of books as stores of reader-added information or as memory palaces. ❧
Intriguing reference of a book as a memory palace here.
The verso/recto and top/middle/bottom is a piece of digital books that I do miss from the physical versions as it serves as a mnemonic journey for me to be able to remember what was where.
I wonder if Ian Bogost uses the method of loci?
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:53PM
So do all manner of other peculiarities of form, including notations of editions on the verso (the flip side) of the full title page and the running headers all throughout that rename the book you are already reading. ❧
I do dislike the running headers of digital copies of books as most annotation tools want to capture those headers in the annotation. It would be nice if they were marked up in an Aria-like method so that annotation software would semantically know to ignore them.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 12:56PM
Skimming through pages, the foremost feature of the codex, remains impossible in digital books. ❧
This is related to an idea that Tom Critchlow was trying to get at a bit the other day. It would definitely be interesting in this sort of setting.
(Why yes I am procrastinating my to-do list. You?)
— Tom Critchlow (@tomcritchlow) September 17, 2021
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 01:03PM
“We’ve been thoughtful,” Amazon continued, “about adding only features and experiences that preserve and enhance the reading experience.” The question of whose experience doesn’t seem to come up. ❧
They’re definitely not catering to my reading, annotating, and writing experience.
Annotated on September 18, 2021 at 01:04PM
Today’s #ManuscriptOfTheDay is Ms. Codex 1060, a calendar and lectionary, ca. 1450, and gradual from the last quarter of the 15th century, for use in an unidentified Carthusian foundation, likely in Germany #medievaltwitter
— Schoenberg Institute (@sims_mss) September 4, 2021
See also MarginaliaMonday.
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM Pacific
Event page: https://events.indieweb.org/2021/09/gardens-and-streams-ii-pPUbyYME33V4
We’ll discuss and brainstorm ideas related to wikis, commonplace books, digital gardens, zettelkasten, and note taking on personal websites and how they might interoperate or communicate with each other. This can include IndieWeb building blocks, user interfaces, functionalities, and everyones’ ideas surrounding these. Bring your thoughts, ideas, and let’s discuss (and build).
This will be a continuation of the ideas from the Garden and Stream pop up session in 2020. Everyone is welcome and need not have attended prior sessions.
We’ll try to do something between a traditional all day IndieWebCamp and a single session pop-up over the span of several hours so that we can accommodate a brief introduction and three BarCamp topic related sessions. Feel free to brainstorm session ideas in advance of the mini-camp, but we’ll choose session topics the morning of the event.
All times Pacific.
- 9:00 AM 30 minute introduction & IndieWeb building blocks
- 9:30 AM 20 minute session pitches and scheduling
- 9:50 AM 10 minute break
- 10:00 AM 60 minute Session 1 (including 10 minute break)
- 11:00 AM 60 minute Session 2 (including 10 minute break)
- 12:00 PM 50 minute Session 3
- 12:50 PM 10 minute closing remarks
- 1:00 PM pop up finished
Hack day? Yes, we’ll all gather the following day for 3 hours at roughly the same time with a short demo session to follow for folks to show off what they’ve been working on. Details for this will be forthcoming.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
- Technology for attending
- IndieWeb Chat Room
- Etherpad: https://etherpad.indieweb.org/GardensAndStreams (for real time session planning, chat, questions, and note taking during the session)
- hashtag: #GardensAndStreams
- Code of Conduct: This event is covered by the IndieWeb Code of Conduct. By participating, you’re acknowledging your acceptance of this code.
- Notes and archived video for this session, once finished, can be found at https://indieweb.org/2021/Pop-ups/Gardens_and_Streams_II
- If your website supports it, post an indie RSVP as a reply to this post or to the event page.
- Or, log in to indieweb.org and on the event page click “I’m Going”.
- Or, RSVP your attendance to this syndicated Tweet
- Or, Add a comment below indicate that you’ll be attending.
And if none of the above methods means anything to you or you can’t log in to use them, don’t worry about it; just show up on the day!
Questions? Concerns? Volunteers?
h-book is an experimental microformat at best.
I might recommend for minimizing the vocabulary that one might use the existing
h-product instead and allow parsers to find an ISBN, Library of Congress book number, ASIN, UPC, or other product code to determine “bookness”.
Annotated on August 01, 2021 at 09:13AM
In preparation for Peer Review Week, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the collaborative community review experiments that have happened recently on PubPub. Finding new ways to harness engagement in scholarly communications is a goal of the Knowledge Futures Group, and inline annotation is a technology that I rely upon every day to organize my thoughts and track my online reading. I reached out to the authors of three forthcoming MIT Press books that have undergone this type of review during the last year. I was excited to learn about their experiences and to share some of their observations here.
These could be added to the example and experience of Kathleen Fitzpatrick.
“Criticism is a marker of respect and an acknowledgement that others see in us the ability to learn.” they noted. ❧
quote from Catherine D’Ignazio, Assistant Professor, Emerson College, and Lauren Klein, Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, authors of Data Feminism.
Annotated on June 21, 2021 at 07:57AM
He notes that authors of such projects should consider the return on investment. It take time to go through community feedback, so one needs to determine whether the pay off will be worthwhile. Nevertheless, if his next work is suitable for community review, he’d like to do it again. ❧
This is an apropos question. It is also somewhat contingent on what sort of platform the author “owns” to be able to do outreach and drive readers and participation.
Annotated on June 21, 2021 at 05:12PM
Horse racing was so popular and influential between 1930 and 1960 that nearly 150 racing themed films were released, including A Day at the Races, Thoroughbreds Don't Cry, and National Velvet. This fast-paced, gossipy history explores the relationship between the Hollywood film industry, the horse racing industry, and the extraordinary participation of producers, directors, and actors in the Sport of Kings. Alan Shuback details how all three of Southern California's major racetracks were founded by Hollywood luminaries: Hal Roach was cofounder of Santa Anita Park, Bing Crosby founded Del Mar with help from Pat O'Brien, and Jack and Harry Warner founded Hollywood Park with help from dozens of people in the film community. The races also provided a social and sporting outlet for the film community -- studios encouraged film stars to spend a day at the races, especially when a new film was being released. The stars' presence at the track generated a bevy of attention from eager photographers and movie columnists, as well as free publicity for their new films. Moreover, Louis B. Mayer, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Betty Grable, and Don Ameche were all major Thoroughbred owners, while Mickey Rooney, Chico Marx, and John Huston were notorious for their unsuccessful forays to the betting windows.
The next Cooking with H5P and Pressbooks webinar takes place Thursday, April 29 at 9:00 am PT (check for your local time). For this episode, we invited into the kitchen Steel Wagstaff, Educational Product Manager for Pressbooks. From his position, he will be able to share much about the features and capabilities of Pressbooks, how H5P integrates with it, examples worth looking at, and maybe some insight into future directions for the platform.
Let’s hear it for the electronic versions, which give us infinite space though!
They’ve just opened up the entire conference program with links to all of the sessions and videos for those who’d like to watch them.
You’ll see my presentation video embedded above. If you’d like you can also watch it in the custom player made for the conference, though I notice that it doesn’t replay the live chat.
Due to scheduling issues beyond my control just before the conference, I had to shorten my hour-long workshop down to a 20 minute talk. I intend to do a couple of separate hands-on workshops at upcoming Domain of Our Own meetups so that people can implement the moving pieces I demonstrate into their own websites. Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll let you know when they’re scheduled.
I’m hoping that when the next conference rolls around at least some of us can participate using our own domains and not need to rely on Twitter’s infrastructure.
I posted a link to the slides last week if you’d like to follow along that way and have links to some of the resources. (You should also have access to some of my notes/rough transcript as well as alt-text for some of the images included.) The slides still have some context and links to portions of the original version that got cut out.
For those unaware of the conference or topics, it was two days of great presentations about the topics of Open Education Resources (OER) and A Domain of One’s Own which is focused on giving teachers and students to websites and underlying technology of their own for daily personal and professional use. Those interested in the IndieWeb may particularly find the Domains track enlightening. Others interested in teaching, pedagogy, and publishing will get a lot out of the OER tracks.
The publication of scientific results is an essential task of scientists. The peer review of a publication by other scientists ensures its quality. Their publication is proof of their achievements. In addition, it provides the basis for discussions within a scientific community and serves as a basis for further findings. It is therefore desirable for the publication to be dissiminated and received as widely as possible.
I got a note from the senior executive editor at Yale, who has been my main contact throughout the process of getting my book published. Peppermint Kings has not been flying out of the warehouse so…
These days the idea of bestseller means selling in the range of 10,000 books. The average book released these days sells only 250 copies, so if you’re over that, you’re doing well.
It’s also incredibly uncommon for any publishers to put any serious money behind promoting their titles unless PR opportunities are falling off the trees for them. (This means that unless you’ve been selling a million copies of everything you write, they probably don’t care.) Many publishers will assign you a pro-forma publicist to help when they can, but don’t expect much from them. Most publishers will tell you to hire your own book publicist (usually for about $1,500-3,000 a month).
My guess is that the first run of your book was probably 1,000 to 2,000 books, which will bring the cost of raw printing down to $2 a copy. If you need copies of your book and they’re remaindering them, you might offer the publisher $1-2 a copy plus shipping to get 50 or 100 copies for yourself for hand sales over the next decade (for speaking engagements, etc.) or selling a few copies from your own stash on platforms like Amazon, Abebooks, Alibris, etc. The cost of keeping a book in print these days is usually around $12 a year and then they print them on demand.
Some of the methods you mentioned, talks, online readings, etc. can be useful marketing for both you and your book(s). Look around your local community/state for book events, fairs, bookstores that invite authors, etc to supplement this.
Depending on your next title, it might be worth hiring a publicist if you’re going the route of a text accessible to a broader public.Often this can be a reasonable risk but getting copies into reviewers’ hands can be helpful, as can radio or print appearances. Another option is to pay for adds in appropriate print magazine outlets related to your material.
It’s an uphill slog, but getting a publisher to take most of the risk and offering you all the free amenities of editing, proofreading, typesetting and distribution can be worth it in the end to get your material out.
When choosing your next publisher/editor, have a bit of this conversation with them at the outset to see what expectations they have for themselves. Don’t tip your hand though by letting them know prior sales numbers.
Since you’ve got your own website/newsletter/social media presence, you should also look into affiliate accounts with the bigger online platforms. Chances are you’re actually selling most of your own copies, you may as well get a 4% or larger cut of the referrals you’re giving. Your link on this page alone could give you a reasonable little return on top of the boilerplate 7% you’re probably getting from the publisher.
In the coming months and years, we’ll be working to further enable choice for creators, including giving them the power to choose not only how someone wants to create or monetize audio, but also where specific content is able to be consumed, ensuring creators have an opportunity to decide if they are aligned with the platforms distributing their content.
The open RSS standard has provided immense value to the growth of the podcasting ecosystem over the past few decades. ❧
Why do I get the sinking feeling that the remainder of this article will be maniacally saying, “and all of that ends today!”
Annotated on April 19, 2021 at 09:34AM
We also believe that in order to democratize audio and achieve Spotify’s mission of enabling a million creators to live off of their art, we must work to enable greater choice for creators. This choice becomes increasingly important as audio becomes even easier to create and share. ❧
Dear Anchor/Spotify, please remember that “democratize” DOES NOT equal surveillance capitalism. In fact, Facebook and others have shown that doing what you’re probably currently planning for the podcasting space will most likely work against democracy.
Annotated on April 19, 2021 at 09:13AM
In the coming months and years, we’ll be working to further enable choice for creators, including giving them the power to choose not only how someone wants to create or monetize audio, but also where specific content is able to be consumed, ensuring creators have an opportunity to decide if they are aligned with the platforms distributing their content. ❧
So this means you’re going to use simple, open standards and tooling so that not only Anchor and Spotify will benefit?
Or are you going to build closed systems that require the use of proprietary software and thus force subscriptions?
Are you going to Balkanize the audio space to force consumers into your product and only your product? Or will producers be able to have a broad selection of platforms to which they could easily export and distribute their content?
Annotated on April 19, 2021 at 08:57AM
Thus, the creative freedom of creators is limited. ❧
And thus draconian methods for making the distribution unnecessarily complicated, siloed, surveillance capitalized, and over-monitized beyond all comprehension are beyond the reach of one or two for profit companies who want to own the entire market like monopolistic giants are similarly limited. (But let’s just stick with the creators we’re pretending to champion, shall we?)
Annotated on April 19, 2021 at 09:07AM
tl;dr: Anchor: We’re doing this not so much because creators say they want it, but because we really, really want it. P.S.: We don’t care at all what our listeners think, and so have nothing to say about their freedom.