Archive for Quick Takes

Late Age of Print Now 50% Off!

Columbia University Press is holding its annual spring sale, and by sale, I mean S-A-L-E!  All CUP titles, including The Late Age of Print, are now 50% off.  (The deal is for North American orders only.  Sorry, rest of world!)  Here’s the link to the Late Age page on the CUP website; just enter the promo code “SALE” when you check out to get the discount.  Get it while it’s hot…and cheap!


Happy Holidays!

I’ll be back in 2012, most likely the second week in January.  Until then, happy holidays to all of my readers, and thanks for supporting The Late Age of Print — both the book and the blog2011 has been a banner year for Late Age, and with you it promises to get even

Until then, here’s a little something for you — a Christmas tree composed entirely of books.  I’m not sure whether to see the sculpture as a cool art piece or a statement about what to with paper books now that e-readers are becoming ubiquitous.  Either way I guess the image is on theme, at least around this end of the internet.

Best wishes, and see you in 2012.


And…We're Back!

It’s been awfully quiet around here for the past six weeks or so.  I’ve had a busy summer filled with travel, academic writing projects, and quality time with my young son.  Blogging, regretfully, ended up falling by the wayside.

I’m pleased to announce that The Late Age of Print is back after what amounted to an unannounced — and unintended — summer hiatus.  A LOT has gone in the realm of books and new media culture since the last time I wrote: Apple clamped down on third parties selling e-books through the iPad; Amazon’s ad-supported 3G Kindle debuted; Barnes & Noble continues to elbow into the e-book market with Nook; short-term e-book rentals are on the rise; J. K. Rowling’s Pottermore website went live, leaving some to wonder about the future of publishers and booksellers in an age when authors can sell e-editions of their work directly to consumers; and much, much more.

For now, though, I thought I’d leave you with a little something I happened upon during my summer vacation (I use the term loosely).  Here’s an image of the Borders bookstore at the Indianapolis Airport, which I snapped in early August — not long after the chain entered liquidation:

The store had been completely emptied out by the time I returned.  It was an almost eerie site — kind of like finding a turtle shell without a turtle inside antabuse tablets 500mg.  Had I not been in a hurry (my little guy was in tow), I would have snapped an “after” picture to accompany this “before” shot.  Needless to say, it’s been an exciting and depressing summer for books.

Then again, isn’t it always?  More to come…soon, I promise.


…in translation

Great news, y’all. About a month ago I received a copy of the Korean translation of my book, The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture From Consumerism to Control! I’m thrilled, needless to say, and even a bit surprised. Last summer the publisher of the English language edition, Columbia University Press, let me know that the translation was in the works, but honestly I didn’t expect it to surface for…oh, I don’t know, a few years, I suppose. And yet, here it is, now. Can’t you tell how giddy this makes me?Флора и Фауна Земли – экваториальный и субэкваториальный пояса


The picture appearing above is of the new cover, which a former student of mine was kind enough to translate into English. A big thanks to him, as well as to Columbia U.P., the Korean Publishing Association, and the translator (whose name, unfortunately, is partially cut off from the annotated cover) for all their dedication to the project.


Good, Cheap Books for the Holidays

My publisher, Columbia University Press, is offering a 30% discount on all — yes, all — of its books from now until Christmas.  What a great deal in a sluggish economy!  Just another reason, I suppose, to love Columbia University Press, about which I have nothing but great things to

Here are the details on the sale:

To save 30%, add the books to your shopping cart, and enter code CUP30 in the “Redeem Coupon” field at check out. Click on the “redeem coupon” button and your savings will be calculated.

To insure delivery by Christmas, please place your order before December 15. (Sale for U.S. and Canadian customers only.)

I’d be remiss not to mention that The Late Age of Print makes a great holiday gift, especially for the book lovers among you.  In fact, the introductory chapter contains a discussion about how books were among the very first commercial Christmas presents.  The circle, evidently, is now complete.


Critical Lede on "The Abuses of Literacy"

My favorite podcast, The Critical Lede, just reviewed my recent piece appearing in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, The Abuses of Literacy: Amazon Kindle and the Right to Read.”  Check out the broadcast here — and thanks to the show’s great hosts, Benjamin Myers and Desiree Rowe of the University of South Carolina


How Coffee Will Save the Magazine Industy

I’ve long been a reader of magazines, and so for several months now I’ve been intrigued to see lots of pro-magazine advertisements appearing in some of my favorite periodicals.  Maybe you’ve seen them, too.  Generally, the ads are filled with all sorts of upbeat facts about magazine circulation and subscribership.  The campaign’s purpose is to correct the belief — mistaken, apparently — that digital media and magazines are at odds with one another, and that the former are slowly choking the life out of the

Well, this week I happened upon the cleverest ad of them all.  “Will the internet kill magazines?” we’re asked.  The response — given in the form of a question — is deliciously pithy.  “Did instant coffee kill coffee?”  What’s brilliant is how the answer operates so efficiently in two distinct registers.  On the one hand, it conveys the message of complementarity that’s central to the campaign: just as there are markets for both instant and premium coffee, so, too, are there markets for internet and print-based publications.  Everybody’s satisfied! On the other hand, the terms of the analogy offer a none-too-subtle dig at digital media, likening it to the unsatisfying simulacrum of the real thing: just as instant coffee is a quick-fix approximation of the good stuff, so, too, are internet publications little more than over processed conveniences for impatient people with undiscerning taste. Ouch.  What one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away.

I could go on and on about “subject positioning” and “enthymemes” in an effort to explain what makes this ad tick, but for once I’m going to pull back.  Instead, I’m going to do something a person like me — someone schooled in cultural critique — so rarely does: give credit where credit is due.  Kudos to the folks at Young and Rubicam-NY for crafting such a pointed ad.

Will printed magazines survive?  I don’t know, but I’d like to think so.  The proof, I suppose, will be in the pudding…er, make that coffee.


It's Official: It's Franzen

There’s been speculation going on all week that Oprah Winfrey would choose Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Freedom, as the inaugural selection for the final season of her talk show/book club.  Well, it’s official: Freedom it is, as you can see from this email that just landed in my inbox:mensclub24

I’m not surprised at all by Winfrey’s decision.  As you can see below, on Monday I Tweeted about this possibility, days before speculation about the selection broke out in earnest.Movie A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

How did I know this would happen? Because I know The Oprah Winfrey Show, and even more so I know Oprah’s Book Club.  Both are about redemption, forgiveness, magnanimity, and healing (see Chapter 4 of The Late Age of Print).  What better way to bring closure to one of the most notorious episodes in the history of the Book Club than by giving the author who’d snubbed Winfrey the opportunity, finally, to set things right during this, her final season on the air?


Update + Reviews

I’ve been away on vacation for the last couple of weeks; hence the quiet around here. I’m busy now catching up on emails, writing projects (one of which is already late!), page proofs, and other assorted business. I’ll be back here blogging in full force once I get through my weighty to-do pile.

In the meantime, I’d love it if any of you reading this blog who’ve also read The Late Age of Print would be willing to post a review — even a short, considered one — on the book’s page on There are two reviews there already, but I’d love to see more.  And don’t worry — I’m not averse to thoughtful criticism.  Praise is of course welcome, too.

Back soon.


Social Media Hour Appearance

Just a quick note to let y’all know that I’ll be a guest on Social Media Hour on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm EDT.  The topic is privacy, transparency, and social networking sites.  You can listen live by clicking here; the archived recording will be available here.  Here’s a complete description of the program from the SMH website:


This week the show will explore the topic of privacy and transparency specifically looking at how social networks and social technologies/platforms are changing the standards of privacy … or are they? With the amount of transparency in today’s world, are people reevaluating what they share? Is that a good thing? Ted Striphas from Indiana University joins the program to discuss. Also on this week’s show, Shirin Papillon, the Founder & CEO of OneMoreLesbian – a media site that aggregates the world’s lesbian film, television and online video content in one place. What does this have to do with the other topic? Simple. An array of sites and networks have arisen catering to myriad special interest groups. You can find site and networks for just about anything … that’s not new. But think about it, you choose to visit a site and participate in a social network … that behavior is tracked – whether by Google or brands that may appear there. If you choose to post links or comment on posts, others see your participation – so suddenly your personal affinity for a particular group is now public, which means in the case of LGBT oriented content, you are now more out than you were before. We’ll talk about OML as a business and about its growth and what it means when it comes to helping further expose a wider audience to the gay community.

Should be a blast!  Please listen if you can.

UPDATE — Here’s an embed from which you can stream the entire episode: