Read Ebooks Are an Abomination by Ian BogostIan Bogost (The Atlantic)
If you hate them, it’s not your fault.
Ian Bogost has a nice look at the UI affordances and areas for growth in the e-reading space.

A🧵 of annotations
theatlantic.com/books/archive/…

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.

definition: bookiness

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.

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

Realizing my interest in old and illuminated manuscripts, incunables, and drolleries is giving me ideas for icons, dividers, lettering, and illustrations for my sketchnotes process. These are the original (OG) sketchnotes.

See also MarginaliaMonday.

Gardens and Streams II: An IndieWebCamp Pop-up Session on Wikis, Digital Gardens, Online Commonplace Books, Zettelkasten and Note Taking

Event Details

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.

Format

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.

Tentative Schedule

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.

Resources

RSVP (optional)

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?

Feel free to ask in the IndieWeb chat: https://chat.indieweb.org/indieweb/ or post a question below or on the call for volunteers post.

Replied to Introducing a Microformats API for Books: books-mf2.herokuapp.com by Jamie TannaJamie Tanna (Jamie Tanna | Software Engineer)
Announcing the Microformats translation layer for book data.
This is awesomeness!

h-book 

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

Read Collaborative Community Review on PubPub by Heather Staines

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.

A short text “interview” with the authors of three works that posted versions of their books online for an open review via annotation.

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

RSVPed Attending April Webinar: Inside Pressbooks with Steel Wagstaff

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.

Replied to a tweet by Remi Kalir (Twitter)
My one hot take: A book about annotation should have had bigger (better) margins. Being part of a pre-existing series understandably made that difficult.

Let’s hear it for the electronic versions, which give us infinite space though!

A Twitter of Our Own at OERxDomains 2021 Conference

The Association of Learning Technology and Reclaim Hosting hosted the OERxDomains 2021 Conference last week.

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.

Bookmarked Modern Publishing: Digital Tools for Modern Publishing Processes (Modern Publishing)
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.
Katharina Schulz in domains21 ()
Read The Future of Publishing? by Dan AllossoDan Allosso (History4Today.com)
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…
Sorry to hear this Dan, but I might be able to help in terms of providing some perspective for moving forward.

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.

Replied to a post by Patrick Rhone (patrickrhone.net)
I created a shop on Bookshop.org for all the books I read this year for easier browsing and, if interested, purchase.
I like this idea Patrick. I’d recently used Bookshop to create a list of books I’m currently reading. Having finished one or two, perhaps it’s time to start a read shelf like you have?

It might be interesting to see them build out some UI to make a less corporate Goodreads-esque site as well.

Read Why I’m no longer linking to Amazon for books… by Patrick Rhone (patrickrhone.net)
For a long time now, I’ve linked to Amazon when linking to books, especially on my /reading page. The reasons: It was an easy default and I always knew that if something existed at all there would be a greater than 99% chance one could find it there. As an author, I know from direct experience tha...
Watched The Booksellers (2019) from Amazon Prime
Directed by D.W. Young. With Parker Posey, Fran Lebowitz, Gay Talese, Susan Benne. A behind-the-scenes look at the New York rare book world.

Rating: ★★★½
My sort of catnip. How do they not ask about whether or not these sellers use the internet that is killing them?