When will we have real print-on-demand?

I’ve been thinking it for a while, but have needed to write it down for ages—particularly from my experiences with older manuscripts.

In an age of print-on-demand and reflowing text, why in goodness’ name don’t we have the ability to print almost anything we buy and are going to read in any font size and format we like?

Why couldn’t I have a presentation copy sized version of The Paris Review?

Why shouldn’t I be able to have everything printed on bible-thin pages of paper for savings in thickness?

Why couldn’t my textbooks be printed with massively large margins for writing notes into more easily? Why not interleaved with blank pages? Particularly near the homework problem sections?

Why couldn’t I buy my own hardcover, custom edition of Annotation with massive five inch margins to really make having a handwritten easier? (C’mon MIT Press, I know it’s part of a pre-existing series, but editorial considerations should have necessitated leaving at least an inch!)

Why can’t I have more choice in a range of fonts, book sizes, margin sizes, and covers?

When are publishing platforms going to give us this?!? 

I’ve downloaded my copy of The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow for Dan Allosso’s forthcoming Obsidian-based book club. https://danallosso.substack.com/p/obsidian-book-club-the-dawn-of-everything

Curious to see how these tools can be communally used for collaborative note taking, knowledge creation, and discussion.

Annotated About by Mandy BrownMandy Brown (A Working Library)
books are a means of listening to the thoughts of others so that you can hear your own thoughts more clearly. 
to which I might add:

And annotation helps you save those thoughts, share them with others, and further refine them.

Holiday gift idea for your favorite annotation fan/nerd: Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England by William H. Sherman (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007) 

(There should be a discount code KISLAKCTR21-FM to get 40% off & free shipping as part of the Schoenberg Symposium for the next few days Nov. 17-19, 2021)

Annotated Curating a Public Conversation about Annotation (commonplace.knowledgefutures.org)
For academics, annotation is also essential to scholarly communication and knowledge production. With Annotation, we eagerly accepted a social and scholarly responsibility to spark, curate, and facilitate discussion about annotation. 
The tools for thought crowd should all be reading Kalir and Garcia’s book Annotation.
Read Creating a Commonplace Book (CPB) by Colleen E. KennedyColleen E. Kennedy
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, one of the most important tools of a reader or writer was a commonplace book (CPB). Peter Beal, leading expert on English manuscript studies, defines a commonplace book as “a manuscript book in which quotations or passages from reading matter, precepts, proverbs and aphorisms, useful rhetorical figures or exemplary phrasing, words and ideas, or other notes and memoranda are entered for ready reference under general subject headings.” Your sources can include, first and foremost, the assigned readings and supplementary materials, as well as any other useful texts you come across. I encourage you to supplement CPB entries with extra-curricular material: quotations from readings for other classes, lyrics from songs, lines from movies, tweets with relevant hashtags, an occasional quotation from a classmate during discussion, etc. These extra-curricular commonplace passages, however, are in addition to and not in place of the required passages as described below.
I love this outline/syllabus for creating a commonplace book (as a potential replacement for a term paper).

I’d be curious to see those who are using Hypothes.is as a social annotation tool in coursework utilize this outline (or similar ones) in combination with their annotation practices.

Curating one’s annotations and placing them into a commonplace book or zettelkasten would be a fantastic rhetorical exercise to extend the value of one’s notes and ideas.

Annotated Helping Hands on the Medieval Page by Erik Kwakkel (medievalbooks)
We are taught not to point. Pointing with your finger is rude, even though it is often extremely convenient and efficient. Medieval readers do not seem to have been hindered by this convention: in …
👈

As I’m thinking about this, I can’t help but think that Hypothes.is, if only for fun, ought to add a manicule functionality to their annotation product.

I totally want to be able to highlight portions of my reading with an octopus manicule!

I can see their new tagline now:

Helping hands on the digital page.

I’m off to draw some octopi…

Annotated Jonathan Edwards’ Organizational Genius by Dr. Matthew Everhard (theLAB: The Logos Academic Blog)
Jonathan Edwards’s so-called “Blank Bible.” JE received as a gift from Benjamin Pierpoint, his brother in law, a unique book. Structurally, it is a strange animal. It is a small, double-column King James, unstitched and then spliced back together again inside a large blank journal. The result is a one-of-a-kind Bible that has an empty sheet between every page of Scripture text.
If one is serious about annotating a text, then consider making a “blank Bible” version of it.

Interleaving a copy of your favorite text can leave massive amounts of space for marginalia!

Copies of print and digital editions of Jonathan Edwards’ blank Bible are available.

Apparently one can buy modern copies of interleaved bibles as well: https://www.amazon.com/Interleaved-Journal-Hardcover-Letter-Comfort/dp/078524316X/

Video review of an interleaved bible:

What other books can be found in interleaved editions? Ayn Rand perhaps?

Replied to a tweet by Bodong ChenBodong Chen (Twitter)
There’s also the model: skim down the annotations/highlights to evaluate if the piece may be worth reading based on the social signals of the annotators themselves and their annotations.
If you haven’t read their book Annotation yet, today’s keynote #⁠AnnoConvo: A Conversation about Annotation, Literacy, and Learning at I Annotate 2021 promises to be the next best thing. It’s a must see for readers, note takers, and thinkers of all stripes.

Free registration is still open for those who’d like to attend remotely.

Antero Garcia (Stanford University) and Remi Kalir (University of Colorado Denver) will discuss their recently published book Annotation (MIT Press) and the literary, scholarly, civic, and everyday significance of annotation across historical and contemporary contexts. Their conversation will focus on social annotation contributing to learners’ digital and civic literacies, how annotation enables creative and critical learning, as well as implications for teacher education and professional learning.
If it helps, I’ve got three copies of the book in various formats, one for each time I’ve read it. My biggest disappointment of remote attendance for IAnno21 is that I was hoping to get the title page of my copy of the book annotated by the authors.
 
Promo card for I Annotate 2021 with the subtitle Reading Together and featuring a drawing of a book with two hands writing on each other in an ouroboros-like style
Read A Year in Marginalia by Sam Anderson (The Millions)
The writing I enjoy doing most, every year, is marginalia: spontaneous bursts of pure, private response to whatever book happens to be in front of me. It’s the most intimate, complete, and honest form of criticism possible — not the big wide-angle aerial shot you get from an official review essay, but a moment-by-moment record of what a book actually feels like to the actively reading brain. 
This is a phenomenal way to do a look back at a year in reading. I’ll have to consider how to pull it off for myself this year.
 
Annotated ‘What I Really Want Is Someone Rolling Around in the Text’ by Sam Anderson (nytimes.com)
The practice, back then, was surprisingly social — people would mark up books for one another as gifts, or give pointedly annotated novels to potential lovers. 
This could be an interesting gift idea. Definitely shows someone that you were actively thinking about them for extended lengths of time while they were away.
 

It’s also sort of founding example for the idea of social annotation given that most prior annotation was for personal use. (Though Owen Gingerich has shown that early annotations were copied from book to book and early scribes added annotations to texts for readers as well.)

It also demonstrates the idea of proof of work (in this case love “work”), which is part of the reason that social annotation in an educational setting using tools like Hypothes.is is worthwhile. Students are indicating (via social signaling) to a teacher that they’ve read and actively engaged with the course material.

Of course, unlike the example, they’re not necessarily showing “true love” of the material!

Thinking about how annotations in my books are really conversations with the text which also spur thinking about them in a way that’s similar to rubber duck debugging.

An awful lot of my thinking happens in the margins.