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Old 12-07-2009, 10:40 AM   #16
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:21 PM   #17
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Damn! I was afraid of that!
Yeah, same here. Such a shame...

But seriously, the author of this article sounds like a luddite. While some individuals may prefer one form of writing over another, there is nothing intrinsically special in a certain kind of input devices. He talks about people being distracted in their writing, but some people benefit form the stream of consciousness, others disconnect their internet while writing, and other people still get so involved in writing that they do nothing else for a good while. There is no reason why e-book authors would be shielded from readers and criticism; comment sections and reviews offer plenty of those.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:34 PM   #18
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Yeah, same here. Such a shame...

But seriously, the author of this article sounds like a luddite. While some individuals may prefer one form of writing over another, there is nothing intrinsically special in a certain kind of input devices. He talks about people being distracted in their writing, but some people benefit form the stream of consciousness, others disconnect their internet while writing, and other people still get so involved in writing that they do nothing else for a good while. There is no reason why e-book authors would be shielded from readers and criticism; comment sections and reviews offer plenty of those.
FYI Related thread here:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...942#post684942
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:55 PM   #19
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Ebooks won't spell "the end of great writing," but they'll make it harder to find for a while. The old methods of review and analysis don't always work on ebooks and web-based content, and it'll take us a while to find methods of describing and sharing great works.

The good news is that lots of terrific content that would never have been printed is now available. Printing involves financial risks that digital content can bypass.
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:24 PM   #20
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Ebooks won't spell "the end of great writing," but they'll make it harder to find for a while. The old methods of review and analysis don't always work on ebooks and web-based content, and it'll take us a while to find methods of describing and sharing great works.

The good news is that lots of terrific content that would never have been printed is now available. Printing involves financial risks that digital content can bypass.
I'm not so sure about that. I mean, it's so *easy* to download an ebook - anywhere, anytime. Of course, the 'professional' reviewers are probably going to experience difficulties because they may well be wedded to dead-tree formats, but given the number of people who routinely blog about new stories and authors, this isn't as much of a problem as one might think. One just has to be willing to read the reviews from 'common folks'.

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Old 12-07-2009, 05:10 PM   #21
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One just has to be willing to read the reviews from 'common folks'.
The problem is finding the good reviewers. Not just "being willing to read"--I know half a dozen excellent reviewers at LiveJournal (erm, mostly of fanfic), and there are some specific book-rec communities, but you have to know they exist to find them. And then you have to figure out whose reviews are worth paying attention to, and who just says "I liked this one, therefore it was great! I didn't like that one, therefore it sucked!"

Ebooks that don't exist as pbooks are scattered around the web, and reviews are even more scattered. There's a lot of terrific writing being ignored because nobody knows it exists or where to find it.
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:10 PM   #22
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The problem is finding the good reviewers. Not just "being willing to read"--I know half a dozen excellent reviewers at LiveJournal (erm, mostly of fanfic), and there are some specific book-rec communities, but you have to know they exist to find them. And then you have to figure out whose reviews are worth paying attention to, and who just says "I liked this one, therefore it was great! I didn't like that one, therefore it sucked!"

Ebooks that don't exist as pbooks are scattered around the web, and reviews are even more scattered. There's a lot of terrific writing being ignored because nobody knows it exists or where to find it.
The simple solution is to create a dedicated website that is a home for ebook reviewers. Then advertise the heck out of it. Simple. Easy. Clean.

Should be *no* problemo. So trivial I leave the implementation to the students.

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Old 12-07-2009, 09:28 PM   #23
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I think the question the original article asked was more along the lines of: "will great writers and great storytellers continue to write very good books and tell very good stories in the future of this Digital Age, especially if a child in.... say the year 2050..... grows up entirely e-reading school e-textbooks and school-assigned e-novels and short story e-collections (Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Animal Farm, and books by Sterling, Gibson, Doctorow, Jordan, etc)....grows up doing all his or her reading from day one on screens since everything will be on screens then, 50 years from now or so, and will that boy or girl growing up reading on e-readers grow up to become an adult who becomes a great writer and storyteller?

And I think the answer has to be....YES! Of course. Writers learn to write by doing a lot of reading when they are young, that is how the rhythms of language and the magic of words gets locked into their young brains, and they go on to become great stylists and wordsmiths, and it won't matter if they do their early reading, from elementary school to high school and college, on screens. The gift of language and storytelling will live on, and take on new forms, sure, but great writing and great storytelling will live on, even after paper books lose their appeal.
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:59 AM   #24
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The problem is finding the good reviewers. Not just "being willing to read"--I know half a dozen excellent reviewers at LiveJournal (erm, mostly of fanfic), and there are some specific book-rec communities, but you have to know they exist to find them. And then you have to figure out whose reviews are worth paying attention to, and who just says "I liked this one, therefore it was great! I didn't like that one, therefore it sucked!"

Ebooks that don't exist as pbooks are scattered around the web, and reviews are even more scattered. There's a lot of terrific writing being ignored because nobody knows it exists or where to find it.
This problem is better solved by social networks like twitter. I've taken several great book recommendations that I never heard of or would've even considered looking at on my own from authors I follow on twitter. Admittedly, mostly Doctorow but still, the concept isn't his nor is he the only one participating.

Nobody needs reviews, they're a huge waste of time and effort anyway. What one really needs is trusted sources for recommendations and a little legwork of their own to form their own opinions. Detailed reviews only serve to sway your prejudices anyway.

I'd rather get a 40 character tweet from doctorow saying "Book Name by Author Name is fantastic!" and since I respect his opinion, I'll check out the book on my own.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:46 AM   #25
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This problem is better solved by social networks like twitter. I've taken several great book recommendations that I never heard of or would've even considered looking at on my own from authors I follow on twitter. Admittedly, mostly Doctorow but still, the concept isn't his nor is he the only one participating.

Nobody needs reviews, they're a huge waste of time and effort anyway. What one really needs is trusted sources for recommendations and a little legwork of their own to form their own opinions. Detailed reviews only serve to sway your prejudices anyway.

I'd rather get a 40 character tweet from doctorow saying "Book Name by Author Name is fantastic!" and since I respect his opinion, I'll check out the book on my own.

Not for me. I'd prefer a bit more information as well as a bit of consensus on a recommendation from reviewers whom I am familiar.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:08 AM   #26
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What would you rather 'experience'; 'Ulysses' or 'The Odessey'.

Great writing such as we have known it for the last 100-200 years, might disappear in favour of other styles and forms, but great storytelling will probably never go out of fashion.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:14 AM   #27
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Nobody needs reviews, they're a huge waste of time and effort anyway. What one really needs is trusted sources for recommendations and a little legwork of their own to form their own opinions. Detailed reviews only serve to sway your prejudices anyway.
I don't agree. It's not enough for me to know that Joe likes a book--especially if I don't know Joe's history with picking books. If I know why he recommends it, I can better decide if I'm interested. Without knowing a recommender's reasons for the recommendation, it just becomes a popularity contest where promotion is more important than the book--pretty much where the market is now--in which choices are determined based on the volume of "thumbs ups" from people without knowing what their taste is.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:54 AM   #28
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I'd rather get a 40 character tweet from doctorow saying "Book Name by Author Name is fantastic!" and since I respect his opinion, I'll check out the book on my own.
Me too--but that's because I know Doctorow's opinions from longer writing.
I know that anything Amalthia tags as "instant rec!" is worth reading.

But that doesn't mean I can skip around Twitter looking for the phrase "book rec." And while I trust Doctorow's recs for sci-fi and geeky books, and Amalthia's for fanfic, that doesn't mean either of them would've led me to Lewis Hyde's The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property. I might've found it by spending time on philosophy discussion boards--but I'm not mostly interested in discussing philosophy; it was recommended to me by my religious teacher.

Finding good writing in fields you're directly interested in is relatively easy. Finding good stuff in a category you've never read before is much harder; you don't know whose recs to trust.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:56 AM   #29
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I don't trust reviews of any kind any longer. Too many times I've wasted money or even more importantly, my time, on a film or book or an album and hated it. I no longer read reviews or trust recommendations.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:51 PM   #30
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I don't trust reviews of any kind any longer. Too many times I've wasted money or even more importantly, my time, on a film or book or an album and hated it. I no longer read reviews or trust recommendations.
How do you make up your mind what to read, then? You have to rely on someone's description of the book, surely, and at least a person who's actually read it is likely to have a more "informed" opinion of it than someone who hasn't.
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