Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy holidays

I'd like to wish all of my readers happy holidays and to thank everyone for your many contributions in 2008. This will be my last post until the new year, so I'll see you again in January. Until then (and after), peace.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New to the blog roll

New to the blog roll is Catherine Grant's Film Studies for Free. Catherine is "a full-time researcher and writer on film and culture, affiliated with the School of Film and Media at the University of Sussex [England] as a Visiting Research Fellow." What's great about her site, beyond all the Film Studies resources and smart commentary she provides, is her steadfast commitment to open access. The tag line of Film Studies for Free reads, "commentary on and links to online open-access film studies resources of note." Catherine is one of a growing contingent of humanities scholars who have recognized that scholarship is only as good as its instruments of production, exchange, and propagation.

Her latest post is about Daniel Frampton's book Filmosophy (Columbia University Press, 2007), which I blogged about back in March 2007. There I expressed concern about a disclaimer that accompanied the book's advertising. It indicated that the term "filmosophy" was a registered trademark of Valentin Stoilov. At the time I wondered how the literal ownership of ideas would affect the production of scholarly knowledge and critique. Catherine's blog shows us a better way in its embodiment of the principles of open access.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Going commercial

Above you'll find a promo video for a Columbia University Press book called American Pests. Tomorrow I'm shooting one of these promos for my book, The Late Age of Print. I'm excited to do it, but at the same time I'm feeling a little daunted. I've done my best to avoid video blogging and indeed entering into the video age more generally. I guess it's all finally catching up with me.

What's intriguing about the prospect of shooting a video for my book--beyond whatever potential there may be for getting the latter noticed--is what the promo tells us about the changing nature of book authorship. Never did I imagine having to become a multimedia personality when I began work on The Late Age of Print. I certainly wasn't trained for that in graduate school!

I suppose I was operating under what is, today, an increasingly antiquated understanding of authors and their work. That is, I had erroneously assumed that authors still could get away only with writing words and perhaps making an occasional public (i.e., "live") presentation of their work. I should have known better, given the arguments and subject matter of The Late Age of Print. If university presses are on to making videos, moreover, then you can be pretty sure the era in which authors were strictly writers has just about come to an end. Video killed the radio star twenty five years ago. Today, video has just about finished off the reclusive book writer, too.

I'll let you know how the shoot turns out, and once the promo is finished I'll post it here. It will also be available on the Columbia University Press "channel" on YouTube.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Kindle paper v. 2.0 now live

Back in October I presented a paper called "Kindle: The New Book Mobile or, the Labor of Reading in an Age of Ubiquitous Bookselling" at the American Studies Association convention in Albuquerque, NM. Before the conference I had posted a working draft of the Kindle piece on the Differences & Repetitions Wiki site, where I received amazing feedback.

Anyway, I've been pecking away at the paper some more and have posted the beta version to D&RW. This one isn't an outline, in contrast to the previous iteration. Version 2.0 also contains a more substantive conclusion, which incorporates some of the feedback I received on the initial draft.

I'm not looking to crowdsource feedback on the new version of the Kindle paper per se, although as always comments are indeed welcome and can be left right on the worksite. I've also included a new feature on all D&RW pages allowing you to share material easily on Facebook,, Furl, MySpace, and elsewhere.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"...not a democracy"

There was a telling moment in last night's Inside the Actors Studio interview with Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter in the film adaptation of the bestselling book series. About midway through the video sequence embedded above, host James Lipton asks Radcliffe how he felt about the various romantic pairings author J. K. Rowling had crafted for her characters. Lipton then admits that he once believed Harry and Hermione Granger would eventually end up together, whereupon the studio audience applauds. "Vox populi," Lipton observes.

Radcliffe's response? "The Harry Potter series is not a democracy." Truer words haven't been spoken.