… a book is its text. A book is a unique string of words, as good as its bits.
But printed books are also objects, manufactured objects, owned objects, objects that have been marked by pencils and time and coffee cups and the oils from our skin. “A book is more than a bag of words,” the project’s founder, University of Virginia’s Andrew Stauffer, told me. “These books as objects have a lot to tell us.”
“This meticulous account of a brutal man-made calamity is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the history of the 20th century. With access to hitherto hidden archives, Frank Dikötter has created a harrowing, superbly-written indictment of Mao’s disastrous revolutionary experiment that led to the unnecessary deaths of 45 million Chinese people. This epic record of human folly is stunningly original and hugely important, and casts Chinese history in a radical new light, with a devastating psychological portrait of the dictator whose “Great Leap Forward’ plunged China into catastrophe.”
Cory Doctorow, of BoingBoing, recommends Steven Johnson’s new book Where good ideas come from
For Johnson, the secret lies in the “thin air” — the unplumbed space we credit for the “sparks of brilliance” and “happy accidents” that create new connections, strategies and thoughts. And for Johnson, this thin air is anything but: rather, it is a relatively predictable outcome arising from certain pre-conditions.
…Johnson makes a convincing case that innovation is fractal.
The upshot: From an e-book sale, an author makes a little more than half what he or she makes from a hardcover sale.
The new economics of the e-book make the author’s quandary painfully clear: A new $28 hardcover book returns half, or $14, to the publisher, and 15%, or $4.20, to the author. Under many e-book deals currently, a digital book sells for $12.99, returning 70%, or $9.09, to the publisher and typically 25% of that, or $2.27, to the author.