Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Relevant Material

John Updike, at the 2006 Book Expo, took offense to Kevin Kelly's article Scan this Book and the new process of digitizing books. He asks what happened to "accountability and intimacy." I'll include links to an edited transcript as well as the Book Expo podcast in case anyone wanted to check it out.


At 9:29 PM, Blogger Belle And Sebastian said...

I can see what he is saying - the rise of the respect of the person for his celebrity more than for person as author of words - in a sense the words become just tools of fleeting celebrity, given not the meaning intended by the author, but rather unintended meaning by the links, and the author's ideas given not time to germenate in the mind, but rather in the digital age, becoming just another link that is either hot, or in-active, thus placing the author and the book in a world of fleeting celebrity where it never intended to exist.

Over time, will this change the meaning then of the book? Will authors write not for the written page on paper, but for the page embedded with links - will they be forced to think of what their words might be linked to - not in the mind of the reader but in the mind of the search engine? How will this change the process of writing and thinking? Surely it will.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Dave Z. said...

He's a prime example of the threatened paradigm; so he would say that, wouldn't he?

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Belle And Sebastian said...

I don't see that he is defending his own turf or his livelyhood though - it doesn't read like someone from Atlantic Records bemoaning Napster in 1998.

I guess i read it as something more genuine. He's not a mass-market writer. It would be different for me if the same article were written by an author who pens cheap romance novels or someone who Stephen King - somone who is an author\ celebrity.

Maybe I'm buying into some covert marketing ploy targeted at indie music fans who are future librarians? If so then I guess I am guilty.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Frances said...

Updike's words on the intimacy of writing and reading, the one-on-one communication between author and reader, were what struck me the most. I found myself squirming reading Kelly's article when he talked about hyperlinking... I believe there's a place for it, and I can even see the usefulness of having an entire book online and hyperlinked, but I think the traditional mode of reading a book as its own insular text has its own merits. I think we're just starting to articulate these now that other possibilites are entering the picture.


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