Archive for June, 2006

gay bookstores in Dublin

I check my stats regularly, to a point where it could be considered unhealthy. I also check referring URL's, just not as often. The WordPress graph for this blog has been fun to watch, traumatic at times, and the continuing growth in readers is encouraging and daunting. The referrals list has always been my favourite however – how did people find me?

Currently the largest search that has linked here has been 'gay bookstores dublin'. I have never posted about gay bookstores in Dublin – so for the benefit of those looking, here's a quick list.

Anthology Books; A small, friendly and very active bookshop in the centre of Temple Bar. Hosts events regularly and has a wide and eclectic range of books, journals, magazines and other bits.

Books Upstairs; Another small bookshop, opposite the gates of Trinity College. Very approachable and interesting staff with a large interest and participation in Irish literature.

Chapters; A great place if you have a few hours to lose browsing, rummaging and reading. With a basement full of second hand books, a floor for music/cinema and a huge selection of books in all genres.

Outhouse; I don't think Outhouse actually sell books, but if you are looking for reading material then it's library is certainly worth a visit. Or just have a drink in the coffee-shop, the hot chocolate is quite good!

That's all I can think of at the minute, there might be a few new stores opened since I left. If there are any that I missed please link them in the comments. GCN (Gay Community News) is also worth a look, with news, events, reviews and a very active and interesting forum. It also has the Little Gay Map Of Dublin – no explanations needed. Most of the larger bookstores in the city (Easons, Waterstones, Reads, Hughes & Hughes, etc.) have queer sections which might also be useful.

I hope this was useful!

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back in the USSR… well not quite

Flight EI275, Friday 9 June 2006 – approximate arrival in Dublin: 21:25

Officially leaving England, returning to Dublin. An excuse for the silence this week – a lot of loose ends to tie up before leaving the UK, amazing how many times you can say goodbye in a week. I have met some very amazing people in Wolverhampton, Birmingham and London and it is sad to say goodbye after such a great year. 

Looking forward to being back in Dublin though. Have a few things to sort over the weekend and then back to regular updates, and a few changes to the website/blog. All will be revealved once I get settled, but I am very excited about getting my hands dirty in a few new projects.

collaborative writing, digital publishing – writing by committee?

After thrashing out the issue, and several changes to my own opinion, I'm able to answer Litlove's question – What do you think of this notion of collaborative writing?

At first glimpse the idea of collaborative writing and digital publishing are alien, unwanted advances on one of histories most important technologies – the book. The thought of a writer opening up their writing/editing process to others is absurd, pointless and possibly very vain. How can literature gain from a writer and the audience writing the novel/poem/play? It removes the enjoyment of simply reading a piece of work, and the writing may lose a lot from having so many voices.

Digital publishing is inevitable; I'm saying that with the possibility of it being another fifty years or more before it really is inevitable. The new digital paper is already available in new e-reader devices; newspapers are investigating digital publication and traditional publishers are already scrambling a resistance. E-book sales are rising, mostly in academic books, and as more and more people carry at least one mobile device (phone, pda, laptop or mp3) the cry for digital text is growing. Perhaps not in our lifetime, but inevitably, digital publishing will overthrow the physical book – for the foreseeable future however, the two will exist separately with the internet bridging the gap.

With that in mind, collaborative writing can really only exist online at present, but could act as the most crucial bridge between the two media. The change in how people interact with the web – blogging, social networks etc. – is providing a much greater confidence in reader interaction and developing the web as a serious media. Newspapers are using wikipedia (carefully) as a source of reference and many writers are surviving on income from their blogs alone. As this confidence and development increases writers are forced, by vocation if for no other reason, to move with their audiences. 

In following their audiences online, into the blogosphere, social networks etc., writers are faced with a more informed and much more demanding readership. Great literature/journalism is no longer accepted as a result of who published it – ordinary day-to-day readers want justification, explanations and insight. Much like musicians have been forced to digitize in order to maintain their audience, so now, are writers. Collaboration between writer and reader is part of this, allowing the audience a greater sense of input and realism.

Currently writers with blogs/websites are trying to build their own audiences before approaching publishers, presenting them with a large enough audience to warrant publication. This is the first step in the right direction – but it shouldn't end here. Writers should, foreboding as it sounds, ask their audiences' opinion before publishing – allow the reader an input to the editing/drafting process. Introduce those changes, or discuss them, build them up and interact with readers from inside the writing process rather than presenting a final draft. 

There are problems with this amount of audience interaction, and it may not be to the taste of everyone – there will always be an audience for books that are not written collaboratively for instance – but the questions of justification and explanation will remain. The consummation of the time involved in discussing and moderating a website/blog can be extensive, but it is fast becoming a necessary task in order to maintain an interested audience. 

The inevitability of digital publishing increases the probability of successful collaborative writing – the increased discussion between writers and readers is moving toward it already. Projects and links listed in previous posts show the increasing interest by readers to become involved in some way with a book or an author. This will not replace the book, not at present, but it will be an undeniable rival and will change current publishing methods. Books are evolving and the book industry should be encouraging change, striving for larger audiences and developing new writing. 

Historically, literature has always been at the forefront of change – why should it be any different now? 

 

Future of the Book- Book 2.0: Links

Many thanks for everyone that has joined in the conversation – a few links to other posts/articles from over the weekend on a very bright Monday morning in England.  

This morning's New York Times has an interesting article, with lots of people I had never heard of using the web for collaborative writing (Mark Z. Danielewski, Yocahi Benkler and Lisa Scottoline).

Buzzmachine continues to be a hive of activity – with posts on books, why blogging is becoming imperative and more on books.  

if:book (The Institute for the Future of the Book Blog) has more on Gamer Theory, the reader collaborative book, as well as addressing moderation issues… 

I have linked to it before, but here it is again – infotainment rules has a few posts that compliment Buzzmachine. Books, books and well…more books.

Library Journal, The Guardian and Ricahrd Charkin (Macmillan CEO) all carry articles on digital printing.

readers: writers with blogs

The digital/online argument in the previous post saw little interaction by readers/bloggers who were not involved in writing. As a result, the post could only go a certain distance in addressing digital publishing issues. The argument is focusing now on whether or not readers would utilise e-reader devices (Sony and Philips), writers with blogs or online publications; or is it an unwelcome change?

"…I’ve read several books recently on a topic I’ve never read on before because of a personal experience that entered my life. A couple of the books really helped me to understand a perspective that was completely alien to me. I then took the opportunity to write those couple of authors and explain to them how their words had affected me. In both cases the authors wrote back and it was a really nice interchange.

The ability, through email, to so easily correspond with an author I found quite remarkable. In its way it added to the reading experience." Beatrice, via Buzzmachine

Eoin Purcell, via email this time, discusses the arguments involved and breaks them into two more manageable sides.

"…it seems to be generating the two default positions.

A) Its all going to pot and the standard is terrible. (Begging the question why they bother to respond at all?)

B) Its great and the opportunities are endless. (True to a degree but as in traditional publishing not everyone is a winner and the gap between winners and losers can be significant)."

Litlove, along with most of the publishing world, argue the case for recreational books to remain the same – or for changes to be as close as possible.

'…I think the internet makes a great resource for on-line books that have specialist agendas…
…other more pleasurable forms of publicataion are involved – fiction, cookery books, biography, poetry, for me the book is very much part of the experience and I would be very sorry to be without it.'

The developing e-readers (Sony and Philips – using technology from Eink and Plastic Logic) emulate the printed page and are ledgible at all angles and light that print is. The devices use little energy for only visual text, while also offering music, web browsing and soon, movies. These e-readers/PDA/Ultra Mobile PC's/Smartphone devices may not resemble the book physically, but the design of the content is dependent on the publisher and could be developed to create a hybrid of interactive/social website and book deisgn.

'…It really would depend on what it looked like in the end. I like to write on my books in the margins (terrible habit, I know) and I don’t suppose that would give the same sort of pleasure. But I could probably adapt. …'

The Philips/Irex Iliad e-reader enables the reader to write on the screen and save the notes as bookmarks/text files. The next step in this evolution would be for those notes to be published on a blog/forum or to be sent direct to the author. Mistakes could be fixed after printing. Additions be made, or changes to a plot. Readers could help revise books, sentences, paragraphs and chapters could all be changed as a result of direct conversation with an author and audience. (Raising grey issues about authorship, perhaps.) Great conversations could evolve as readers/critics read a novel.

Much of this will depend on the success of non-fiction and academia accepting the technology first, and possibly only after raising a new generation of digital readers, will fiction and other genre be open to the large scale change that digital printing allows. Is it simply a waiting game – for this generation die out and the next to be raised on the new technology?

The questions are still the same – Do audiences want to move print online, or to use the internet to compliment what they read in print? Would an audience want be involved more in the writing process of their favourite author, being able to comment and interact with them as the novel/poem/script was written? Would other writers/students like to be able to have that insight to others work?

Any and all comments are welcome and I will add links to list in the writers with blogs post.