Kyrgyzstan recipe for green walnuts in syrup from “Wildwood – A Journey Through Trees” by Roger Deakin
Essential reading for anyone with an interest in trees, wood, food and the environment as a whole.
Tag Archives: books
I finally got round to watching my copy of the BBC’s Imagine … Books: the last chapter? this morning. Well worth watching, if only to encounter the woman whose main job is to sniff books at MOMA and to hear Douglas Adam’s prophesy regarding publishing from over thirty years ago.
There is much talk throughout the programme on the future of the book publishing industry, the main point made by publishers and agents being that copyright laws must be strengthened to protect writers – and the livelihoods of publishers and agents – and to ensure continued availability of quality product. This does not take into account the growing Creative Commons, self-publishing and free download markets, or explain some of the ridiculous limitations placed on e-books through DRM, such as Harper Collins putting a 26-checkouts cap on e-book loans via public libraries
The production, distribution and sale of print books is very costly, in terms of resources as well as cash, so it would seem reasonable to expect that a shift to e-books leads to much reduced prices for the reader and increased royalties for the writer. This, of course, is not the case, as profit is all. The parallels with the movie and music industries are obvious, the main difference being that book publishers are more polite about exploiting their creators and consumers than record companies and movie producers, as one would expect.
Digital technology poses problems for big business due to the very nature of digitisation. Non – degraded copies are easily made and the rapid development of domestic scale technologies makes it easier for people to produce and/or edit their own media or choice of media, cutting out the middle man, so to speak. Big business responds by introducing restrictive and obstructive software, threats of legal action and using corrupt or stupid politicians to force through draconian legislation, rather than channeling their energies into using the technologies to make their products more pleasurable for the consumer.
Increasingly, movies are delivered to the cinema digitally, rather than by transporting fragile rolls of film. Digital technology makes switchable subtitles a piece of cake on movies, so why are there still so very few subtitled screenings in the cinema? I would think any cinema which publicised it’s policy of switching on subtitles should a deaf person arrive at the box office and make the request would quickly find a whole new audience. With books, the cheaper production costs, and higher profits, of e-books could allow publishers to subsidise the price of audiobooks to book lovers who had difficulty reading or holding a print book.
There will always be a demand for print books, just as there is still a demand for 35mm film, vinyl records, audio cassettes and even VHS cassettes. Partly this is down to the superior quality delivered, as with 35mm photographic film and vinyl, partly because the replacement delivery system is inferior – CDs are shit, always have been and always will be. But a digital file, be it music, an image, raw data or a book, is, to all intents and purposes, invisible. Even a tatty, trashy old print book has an attraction of its own as an object, a possession.
LibraryThing turns out to be yet another thoroughly enjoyable way to lose several hours on the web.
Once I’d input my depleted collection this morning (which is dead easy – quite often I add with one click if another user has already added the same title and edition), I tootled around the site a bit more….ok, a lot more, finding out who else has books that I have, who has the most books in common with me, how many other users have tagged their books the same as mine – it just goes on.
I found that I was thrilled when I saw that only one or two other users had a copy of one of my books, and near ecstatic when I had input a unique book. Unique to LibraryThing , that is. It’s easy to get carried away.
A pity LiveJournal users cannot yet use the online ‘widgets’ to connect directly between blog and LT, soon I expect.
Now I have to photograph and upload all the missing book covers. Another day down the drain. But what a way to go.
In the autumn of ’02 I sold or gave away almost all of my 1,000 plus books. I miss very few of them (I did miss frequent re-readings of tens of Philip K Dick sci-fi novels, every reading revealing to me more repeated patterns and arcs of plot and character, but I got over it) and treasure what I have left.
I rediscovered LibraryThing this morning and tomorrow, when I have to wait in for a plumber who will definitely be here “between 8.30 and 4” without fail I will immerse myself in listing my books.
Another fine example of Web 2.0 culture.
Hey sexy man! With your sexy hairdo, sexy moustache, sexy open shirt and medallion and sexy Terylene trousers! No surprise you wow all the chicks! And that sexy pipe! You having a Condor moment there? Just be careful you don’t strike a match too near the sexy chicks’ nighties, y’dig?!