The End of Publishing (Books Are Dead and Boring)

I heard about this video from the good folks over at BoingBoing and just knew I had to share it with all of you here at The Late Age of Print.  Now, I generally don’t make a habit of posting corporate promotional videos, but this one’s a gem.  Truly.

DK, a subsidiary of Penguin, originally created this ingenious short for a sales conference.  Spoiler alert: it plays upon and then completely reverses a host of misconceptions people have about so-called “digital natives.”  Be sure to watch the whole thing through, because there’s a good bit of misdirection going on in the first half.

I’m working on something BIG at the moment related to Late Age, and so I’m not going to blather on at length about the video.  Just enjoy it, and consider it a little something to tide you over.  Hopefully I’ll be able to roll out the big news in a week or so.

One other quick announcement: Columbia University Press, my publisher, is currently holding its annual spring sale. The Late Age of Print is 50% off the cover price, which is a steal.  Stock up and save!



  1. Ted,

    I just read “The Gutenberg Elegies” by Sven Birkerts, probably the most anti-ebook exposition I’ve encountered (with maybe the exception of Mark Bauerlein’s”The Dumbest Generation” or Chris Hedges’s “Empire of Illusion”), a work that’s probably dated in terms of the old misconceptions of eliteracy it actively employs: such as that it lacks depth, is ahistorical and reduces reading to flimsy ‘lateral’ thought processes.

    I’d like a more balanced approach, more attuned to the economic, philosophical and linguistic underpinnings of any true debate on this topic. Would you happen to know of any recently published works that offer a more comprehensive, research-based approach to eliteracy?

  2. Ted Striphas says:

    Great question, Conrad, and a difficult one in that most of the work published on e-literacy tends toward the extremes of naive celebration or outright dismissal.

    I don’t know how historically grounded the work is, but I’ve long enjoyed McLuhan’s The Gutenberg Galaxy. Jay David Bolter’s Writing Space is also quite good as well, and given what I know about you/your research interests, I suspect it’d be right up your alley.

    I’ll try to brainstorm some more. I’ll post another comment if I come up with any.

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  4. phill says:

    Indeed an interesting question Conrad. Finding a middle ground in this discourse is very difficult. Quite cutting edge actually. Have you read Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck – same era as Birkerts’ text and the other side to the argument. My current PhD is on this issue of what the future for literature, the book and book culutre might be. I have read Birkerts book and, while an interesting read, certainly seems outdated in a web 2.0 world. Andrew Keen’s fairly recent text is of the same ilk, but poses some intersteing questions as does Jonathon Zittrrain’s and Sherman Young’s work. You might also check out Henry Jenkins stuff. There is some research coming out now about the impact of e-readers and ebooks, but again this is fairly new stuff. Would be interested in hearing of your work.

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