Quoth the Book: “Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated”

James Surowiecki is the business writer for The New Yorker, and though I usually am not one to pour over the financial pages, I find his columns fascinating. None more so than the article he wrote for the July 29, 2013 issue of the magazine. The article is titled “E-Book Vs. P-Book,” although the online version of the article is actually identified more accurately as “It’s Not Over For Barnes & Noble.” The article, which I strongly suggest you read, basically argues that with Borders gone, Barnes & Noble is actually poised to do quite well, if it would only “focus on something truly radical: being a bookstore.”

As I say, the article is worth a read, but I would like to concentrate on a few data points that Surowiecki mentions in his piece that, I believe, point to larger trends in the writing market. In no particular order: While […]

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A Very Personal Post About Word Processing

[Tuesday Edit: A few years back, my very good friend Stephen Leigh posted about his new love affair with Scrivener. I remember loving the post and thinking it was very clever — it compared his new use of Scrivener to a relationship. Here is the post: http://www.farrellworlds.com/loveaffair.html As you can see, the post is very similar to this one. Or, I should say, mine is very similar to his. I didn’t remember it that way, but I absolutely did read it at the time, and so it is quite possible that the idea insinuated itself into my head and manifested itself in this post. I am deeply sorry for this, and I apologize, especially to Steve. It was not something I did intentionally, but I did it nevertheless. Quite frankly, I’m mortified. I will be more careful in the future.]

So I have to ask you a personal question: What […]

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This is the second or third time I’ve started today’s post. Hopefully this one will take…. I have snippets of ideas for today, but nothing that seems willing to cohere into a full post. So it looks like you’re going to get snippets.

Snippet 1: I started today by writing about ritual. My girls both start school tomorrow, and I’ve been reflecting on all the back-to-school, end-of-summer rituals that we go through in our household, from shopping for school supplies to taking a First-Day-of School picture of the girls the morning of that first Monday. We have photos going back years, marking their growth, their different hair styles, their favorite clothing at any particular age.

And I thought it would be fun to write about my work rituals, the things I do every day to stay productive and positive in my work. Turns out though that they’re more like […]

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A Luddite Looks at the Future of Books

Back in the early 1980s, when I first heard about compact discs, I swore that I would never give up my beloved vinyl records. (–sigh– Kids, ask your parents if you don’t understand what I’m talking about.) I had a good-sized collection of LPs that included what were called “audiophile” pressings — Original Master Recordings and records pressed in Japan. I LOVED my records. Then, in 1985, I got to play with a friend’s CD player. The discs were small and shiny and you could do just about anything to them and they didn’t get tics or pops or anything else that ruined the play quality. I bought a player that December. I held on to my turntable for a while (Yeah, kids, ask your parents about that, too) and I still listened to those records I hadn’t yet replaced on CD. But I don’t think I’ve listened to a […]

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