Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The future of booksellers

I found a really thoughtful piece on Boing Boing today about the future of bookshops. It's worth clicking through to Clay Shirky's original essay too, titled "Local Bookstores, Social Hubs, and Mutualization."

What particularly struck me were Cory Doctorow's thoughts on bookshops printing Google Books on demand:

"I can even imagine the profs across the street producing annotated versions -- say, a treatise on Alice in Wonderland with reproductions of ten different editions' illustrations and selling them through the store's printer and shelf-space, restoring the ancient bookseller/book-publisher role."

Not only is there a satisfying link back to the heady days of publishing in the 17th and 18th centuries, but the idea of producing my own annotated versions of Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Basile's Il Pentamerone for students. Imagine. Books especially designed for the students doing my courses! How amazing would that be? One step up from the unwieldy unit guides. [Just been pointed out that I can... now all I need is the time to figure it out and produce it...]

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