Arpith Siromoney đź’¬

Publishing Context

Brian O’Leary’s talk calls for another look at the role of context in publishing. As James Boyle points out, the web has indeed thrown new light on this role:

The problem is not simply that Shakespeare flourished without copyright protection for his work. It is that he made liberal use of the work of others in his own plays in ways that would today almost certainly generate a lawsuit. Like many readers, I found myself wondering whether Shakespeare would have survived copyright, never mind the web. Certainly, the dense interplay of unidentified quotation, paraphrase and plot lifting that characterizes much of Elizabethan theatre would have been very different; imagine what jazz would sound like if musicians had to pay for every fragment of another tune they work into a solo.

But the joy of the web isn’t just the way content is linked, it’s the richness of the context itself. And that is what Gruber seems to think Push Pop Press gets.

No one looks at the Kindle app and says, “Wow”. But that’s exactly what you’re going to say when you first see a Push Pop Press book.

Kindle’s minimalism is perhaps appropriate for books like novels, which are entirely (or almost entirely) text. (They could certainly stand to vastly improve their typography, however.) I suspect that Push Pop Press’s platform would be overkill for a purely-text book like a novel. The demo book from Push Pop that I played with was, content-wise, more like a textbook or Taschen-style coffee table book — chock full of photographs, illustrations, and movies.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the web has enabled us to author, publish and consume in an ever evolving dialogue. Not merely in the sense of Wikileaks exposés but also how Modern Art Notes reacted to the spate of tweets on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, generating tremendous response:

Feel free to add more examples in the comments…

Related: MAN’s swimsuit issue, part two, aka the post with balls. Also, art museums sent in their contributions for the MAN swimsuit issue. Don’t miss this peek behind-the-scenes! And if SI can do bodypainting, art can too.

The challenge remains to capture this context.