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Archive for April, 2011


Really? Is the book dead? I don’t think so.  If you define “the book” as a physical artefact of words printed on the page then, no the book isn’t dead it is just transforming. If you define “the book” as the knowledge/entertainment traditionally held within the artefact then again, no, as that is also transforming.

This then is a post that looks at where we are heading, and how that impacts on my twin and intertwined professions of librarianship and authorship. This is why this is posted on a couple of deferent venues.  It all starts with this article: E-book Sales Explode in February as Other Segments Sink. The eBook market has exploded, and time will tell if it maintains its momentum.  I want to prevaricate and say no one can tell the future, but I really believe the future is electronic even when I have no real concept of what it will look like.

The time of the big chain book store is over. I think we are at a fulcrum point, where the publishing, and by virtue of being so heavily linked, library worlds are going to go though radical paradigm shifts.  What I think will happen is that your mass market publishing will be solely in electronic form, and the dead tree books will be collector’s items for bibliophiles and luddites like myself. This will be a challenge for the big publishers and the library world.

So in my not so crystal ball I see several problems. The first being for libraries. When eBooks are so cheap why will people want to use libraries? I can see libraries becoming less and less about fiction, and mass market publications and instead really transforming into the mythical information centre, where non-fiction is king, and access to aggregated  electronic sources is their purpose.  This will be coupled with a real focus on the social services (holiday programmes etc) that libraries offer.

With the demise of the powerhouses in publishing, how am I going to get my books into libraries, and will there be a need for it? I am going to sell my novels through a small publishing house, so how and should we get those works into a library platform is troubling me.

As an author I also see several other issues arising from this brave new world. One is the seeming disregard for copyright and desire for free content in the coming generation. Will the new media bring about a new concept of delivering content? Will there be a place for the traditional author?

Maybe a new model will be the author gives there story away for free, and instead asks for donations? This model of mass patronage is already being mooted around the Internet. And if we are dealing in eformat only, will there be a need for expanded products? Will simply having text on the screen be enough or will there be a need for multimedia products?

I have more questions than answers at the moment, and I thing that may be the shape of living in interesting times!

[This post is repeated on michaeljparry.com, The Room of Infinite Diligence, Sky Warrior Publishing Forums]  

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The Art Of Disengagement


Having realised that it has been almost a month since I posted anything here I decided I must post something. In fact I should post anything. Having gone from being loud and prolific I am in danger of fading away into cyber nothingness. Ego demands that I write something, just to say “hi, don’t forget me.” That of course ignores the twin propositions that I might not have anything to say, nor that anybody would want to read my thoughts.

It’s not that I haven’t spotted many things to post on, or that I don’t have many other thoughts twirling around in the darker recesses of my mind. No it is the fault of other priorities in life, my writing for a start, with my first novel due out on the 1st of July this year. There is also an element of disengagement at the moment. Again this may be part of having become more engaged in the publishing community, but truthfully there is an element of disengagement with the library world.

I wonder of part of the problem lays in there being so much to do and think about in my new job.  It could be you know, or is that just an excuse.

Maybe it is something more symptomatic of a general malaise that encompasses the library fraternity? That could be projection, but I am not seeing a lot of writing coming out in the kiwi library world. I was stoked to see Sean writing on Gamification and on his own blog, as we don’t seem to have that sort of communication in New Zealand a lot. I know Hana is struggling to get content onto the new ELibraryLIfe newsletter, and I am seriously worried about the future of the New Zealand Library and Information Management Journal.

This antipathy has me wondering about the future success of the Registration process. How are we supposed to have a strong professional culture when we don’t have a strong culture of research or writing?  And I am struggling to see the value in the Journal process. That maybe because mine is due in three months and I have lots to do on it.

Anyway that is all a bit gloomy for a beautiful day.  Especially when Sally Pewhairangi is doing such a sterling job of being proactive on the Internet in finding local library heroes.  See it must be just me. 😆

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Gamification is a term that has been used in business and tertiary contexts for a while, and seems to be entering library discourse. As a lifelong gamer and librarian, I am hugely interested in the potential as well as the pitfalls of this evolving paradigm.

My plan is to publish on this topic here in The Room of Infinite Diligence fortnightly – on alternate weekends to my work writing for LIANZA’s library profession magazine, eLibraryLife, where I first published on the 26th of January 2011 and am now a regular columnist.

For those of you interested in a little background, please refer to my currently-in-development annotated bibliography. Dr A. Duus Pape of Binghampton University Dept of Economics and Pikiora Wylie of Auckland Libraries have kindly agreed to provide peer review for this part of this project.

If you are doing any reading in this area and would like to contribute what you see as key documents to the list, please email seanfish at gmail with your thoughts. Again, this is very much an embryonic bibliography at this point.

I recommend this article as a thorough backgrounder on the current discussion. Under the cut, I lay out my initial plans for the coming series of posts.

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