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Is Book A Verb? (FSU)

Presentation for the Florida State University Future of the Book Conference, July 21 & 22

Joe Windish

on 30 August 2011

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Transcript of Is Book A Verb? (FSU)

Simultaneous technological discovery;
Precursor inventions make new inventions possible and inevitable.

Technology evolves
BUT extinction doesn't happen, no technology ever goes away.
Kevin Kelly
Ray Kurzweil
"New communications paradigms don’t eclipse old paradigms, they generally expand the pie. And they’re also profoundly democratizing."
Timothy Taylor
Humans were never
wholly biological.
Darwin was wrong:
humans evolved
with technology.
Survival of the
The Krulwich Challenge
1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalogue...

Every tool still being made new today.
Institutions, norms,
traditions and practices are
only beginning to be established
Is Book A Verb?
to run very fast, aka get the hell outta there
"i saw the cops and started bookin it"
to leave very quickly, vacate as fast as possible.
"when i saw the cops i just booked"
The Social Future of the Book
Cory Doctorow
IMAGINES: "[I]nstead of giving an author an advance to go away for years to write a book, how about if the publisher announced to the world so-and-so is going to start work on a biography... And n-thousands of people say, yes, I'm interested, and they subscribe to [the] project and they pay two dollars a year... at the end of ten years you'll have a body of work, and [the author will have earned] the same [money]. The difference will be that you've done this in public and you've done this with a group of people helping."
- November, 2009
Bob Stein
Founder, Institute for
the Future of the Book
It's happening now...
Means of
Cultural Transmission

"Book is what you do when you’re reading...
it’s not a literary form and it’s not a physical object, it’s a practice.
It’s the thing that you do when you are reading things that are book-like…it’s a verb, it’s not a noun."
- May 2005
Cory Doctorow w/Dave Schuller, Voices in Your Head, May 31, 2005

Bob Stein quote, On The Media, Books 2.0, November 27, 2009

The Long Tail blog

Googlization of Everything blog

Etymology of the word Blog:

State of the Blogosphere, Technorati:

Fast Company:

Blog Herald:

End of Blogging:

Plato, The Phaedrus – a dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus written down by the pupil of Socrates, Plato, in approximately 370 BC.

The Record Effect, How technology has transformed the sound of music.

The Cultural Observatory, Culturomics:

Science article

Geoffrey Nunberg, The Chronicle, Counting on Google Books

Wikipedia 10th birthday

Nobody knows you're a dog cartoon, New Yorker, July 5, 2003,_nobody_knows_you're_a_dog

Transcendent Man opens today (2/3/11) in NYC

Kurzweil quote, Tech Nation, October 11, 2005

Krulwich Kelly Challenge
Early adopters get notice
Niche Blogs, trend takes off
2007 - present
Blogs go
Writing will aid memory
Writing will harm memory
370 B.C.
folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, chants
Less reliant on technical accuracy; whole, idiomatic truths gleaned from context, emphasis, the storytelling "art"
Give us
the facts
Once appreciated for the variations of live & impromptu performance, with the invention of the
phonograph, we came to want from live performance a precise technical replication of recording.
Printing Press
Google Books Ngram Viewer
"Quantitative analysis of culture
using millions of digitized books"
Quantify culture with a database of 5m digitized books from the past 200 years
a 'Cultural Observatory'
8,500 new English words a year
The lexicon grew by 70% between 1950 and 2000
Most of these words do not appear in dictionaries
Believe whatever we want?

Anti-Science movement:
Evolution, climate change
"OnLine Diary" 1994
"Weblog" 1997
"Blogger" 1999
"Webzine" & "E-zine"
2002, Talking Points Memo - Senator Trett Lott praises U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, suggesting that the United States would have been better off had Thurmond been elected president

2004, Little Green Footballs - 60 Minutes documents that conflicted with accepted accounts of President Bush's military service record. The "Rathergate" scandal
J. Gutenberg
definitive authority
definitive authority
Pub date 3/7/11
(2008 to present)
definitive authority
Dead in 2011?
Why do
But wait...
Precise technical
representation of culture...
Books That Die, Brooke Gladstone, On The Media, November 27, 2009
New York Times, September 6, 1902
Images:, video edit: Joe Windish
infuses the literal tradition...
...with oral attributes
The New Yorker
July 5, 2003
Bought in 2003
Name going away?
In any given month 1/3 of the
people on the planet visit Wikipedia
Ranked #7 last 3 yrs, 3 mos,
last 30 days, last week
Most search results had
Wikipeda in the top 10
Non-profit non-commercial media presence
1895 Montgomery Ward catalog
Everything in it still being made!
Krulwich Challenge
The first information technology?
Author, blogger, copyright activist
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