"publishing tools" entries
Reinventing publishing: what can we do now that we're no longer tied to the myth of stable literary objects?
Note: this post started as a Foo Camp 2013 session.
A few weeks ago, Tim O’Reilly sent around a link to Who Edited Shakespeare?, which discussed the editor for the First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays. It included a lot of evidence that someone had done a lot of work regularizing spelling and doing other tasks that we’d now assign to a copyeditor or a proofreader, presumably more work than the Folio’s nominal editors, Heminges and Condell, were inclined to do or capable of doing.
It’s an interesting argument that prompted some thoughts about the nature of publishing. The process of editing creates the impression, the mythology, that a carefully crafted, consistent, and stable text exists for these plays, that the plays are static literary objects. We like to think that there is a “good” Shakespeare text, if only we had it: what Shakespeare actually wrote, and what was actually performed on stage. We have a mess of good quarto editions, bad quartos, the First Folio, apocryphal works, and more. Some versions of the plays are significantly longer than others; some scholars believe that we’re missing significant parts of Macbeth (Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, for which the First Folio is the only source). Perhaps the worst case is Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, which is known entirely through two early print editions, one roughly 50% longer than the other.
I’m skeptical about whether the search for a hypothetical authoritative version of Shakespeare’s text is meaningful. Shakespeare’s plays were, first and foremost, plays: they were performances staged before a live audience. If you’ve had any involvement with theater, you can imagine how that goes: “Act III, Scene iv dragged; let’s cut it next time. Act V, Scene i was great, but too short; let’s fill it out some.” The plays, as staged events, were infinitely flexible. In the years after Shakespeare, poor editors have certainly done a lot to mangle them, but I’m sure that Shakespeare himself, as a theater professional and partner in a theater company, was constantly messing around with the text.
O'Reilly Mobi files have been upgraded to meet the specs of Amazon's KF8 format.
If your O'Reilly ebook bundle includes a Mobi file, you can now download a KF8-compliant file. These updated files take advantage of the Kindle Fire's functionality.
Hugh McGuire says the disruption publishing has endured is a mere hint of what's to come.
Hugh McGuire, co-author of "Book: A Futurist's Manifesto," explains why publishing's digital transformation goes way beyond format shifts. He also reveals nine ways the publishing industry will change over the next five years.
An embargoed book leaked, Amazon bought The Book Depository, and why page flipping is a drag
In the latest Publishing News: George RR Martin wants a head on a spike, Amazon's purchase of The Book Depository is being challenged, and Pete Meyers has ideas on how images and text could work better together.
Publishing tools should address the obvious, like layering text over images.
Callouts and captions enhance visuals, but some publishing tools make it difficult to mix images and text. That needs to change.