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The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected

Books have been unchanged for a century or more. Even ebooks are just print books digitized. But digital technology has transformed the entire ecosystem around them: Print-on-demand, Kickstarter, social media, email newsletters, audiobooks, podcasting, and more. [Craig Mod]

I can think of two reasons why books themselves have been unchanged, despite breathless 1990s predictions to the contrary — and yeah these reasons are contradictory:

  • Books are perfect for what they are. Mass-published print books have been evolving for a thousand years, and the written word has evolved over ten thousand years. Books are mature technology, like shovels and forks and tables, refined to perfection with only a little bit of fiddling left to do around the edges. Sure, other media emerge, but they’re other media; a movie is not a book, nor is a podcast.
  • Monopolization by Amazon stifles innovation. We’re not going to see ebook innovation until somebody competes with the Kindle.

The Blacklist: After the Fall: Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan were close friends and collaborators, but they fell out when Kazan named names to the House Un-American Activities Committee. HUAC didn’t call Miller to testify until Miller became engaged to Marilyn Monroe. Miller wrote “The Crucible,” a parable for the witch trails, set in the actual witch hunts in colonial times in Salem, Mass.

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Posted by Bitch Code on Friday, January 4, 2019

The Blacklist: Lena Horne + Paul Robeson

During the Communist witch-hunts, Lena Horne was forced to choose between her career and her friendships — including her relationship with her mentor and friend Paul Robeson, the “singer, actor and political firebrand.” [You Must Remember This podcast]

The room of requirement

Libraries aren’t just for books. They can often be classrooms, cyber cafes, places to find answers, or be alone. This American Life tells “stories of people who roam the stacks and find unexpected things that just happen to be exactly what they required…. Libraries are some of the last places you can go where you don’t have to buy or believe in anything to be allowed in.”