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    It does not have to be ‘to own’ because web changes the nature of distribution. In fact the idea ‘to own’ is closer to Tsundoku [1] than actual reading, and that is a bad thing.

    A good corollary to look at, though not perfect, would be a blogpost.

    No one other than the original writer owns the blogpost they have written. Both the copyright and right to distribute it online. We all get to read the post because the author chooses to publish, distribute and broadcast it on the open web through their friends and networks. I never get to ‘own’ their post but I appreciate reading it.

    So what’s important here is that the authors never have to give their rights away for distribution. The machinery is cheap and available immediately. Some writers even make money off of it, but then intermediaries come into the picture again. It is just that the power to own the titles and control the distribution doesn’t concentrate over to a handful of greedy folks who later use that clout to influence public policy.

    I think we need a new model for books on web that is similar for books but also one that makes sure that the original author gets to keep the rights to their book. A model that is not a catalyst to boost sales and premium of dead tree books. IMO, we win by making the life of the writer simpler and our own.

    Web can be a great neutral agent for that!

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsundoku

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      I thought this essay is very close to our essay on the Frequently Raised Concerns.

      https://bubblin.io/concerns

      #bookmarked

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        This is an excellent write-up. I needed something like it for a project of mine.

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          I thought a very interesting discussion ensued on HN. Gives us a solid insight into what draws away readers from e-books currently.

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            On our latest build we are setting the hyphenation property to none; on CSS to make sure automatic insertion of new characters doesn’t happen within the staging area of text. This helps in locking down total amount of glyphs presented on a page and then scale it correctly with viewport units.

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              Books are expensive, I resonate with your sentiment on this post!

              They are almost 10X more expensive than apps are. And it only makes sense for major players to keep it that way, digital worse than the dead-tree… influence policy and copyright filtering. Things that don’t help the writers but distributers themselves.

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                In the end it’s all a “trend”, that is, the way in which market simply devours everything and empty it of meaning mostly because it “sells”. Publishers don’t even need to know why they use “a novel”. It’s just what (they think) people expect. And then even when it has a purpose, it gets lost in the way, I guess.

                But yeah, as you said, you could see something somewhat similar to this happening all over. I’d say it’s a matter of critical thinking, learning to read between the lines, that kind of thing.

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                  Interesting that most publishers responded with “I’m not sure I have much to say.”

                  This is such a great example of how processes hide a complexity and even the purpose of printing something bang on the face of the product is lost behind tradition. Even those making the product do not recall why they are doing it one way and not the other.

                  Kind of how purpose and necessity of vaccines has been lost across generations of people living through a time of peace and material growth(?). For example, hundred years from now, not knowing what a ‘nuclear holocaust’ means could mean more danger to society than reasonable policy & understood deterrence. Opportunity over innocents will easily produce conspiracy theorists that will propel a new crop of politicians who will deny the wrath of anything until they can either win or follow through a disaster.

                  IMO, this is why it is important for products and processes to open up so that people can learn, test, trust, accept and pass along the established norms and knowledge freely.

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                    True that it is not entirely Amazon that’s responsible for waning interest in local bookstores. A bunch have closed or moved away since the day of greater web but quite a few still carry on out there as torchbearers in their local communities. If we can get behind these smaller groups and provide them with open source tools to compete with the ecosystem could be powered back up on its feet. It all depends on how the different vectors align to move forward, and that includes legislation.

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                      It’s true that most businesses die because they don’t keep up with newer realities of the world but the role of an influential ambitious corp in shaping that future through lobbying and tipping laws in their favor cannot be denied. I mean Amazon did take away the .book TLD for example!

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                        I love Craig Mod’s writing!

                        Formatting on physical books is really a craft. To that end, it appears that the term ‘fluid layout’ is a marketing spin on lack of a layout. 🙂

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                          I have seen cases where writers went under with their forceful marketing campaigns/ad spends. This is from a real one on Twitter:

                          I’d drink battery acid to get you to check out the free sample of my book. Don’t make me do it! Click it: [a link here]…

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                            The key take away from the WSJ article is this:

                            “It is an inherently conflicted structure, in which the most powerful retailer has a competing incentive to favor books it publishes and those from authors using its self-publishing technology.”

                            Though I’d argue that a more radical step towards accomplishing total control was when they acquired the .book TLD from ICANN [1] a few years ago.

                            [1] https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/64762-amazon-book-and-the-new-top-level-domain-names.html

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                              People can’t easily print content so why would they try? Not even the browsers default stylesheets account for printing. Also, note that books and long-form text are a completely different monster

                              I used to print sections from Safari (when I was subscribed) to have next to me when working in code so I wouldn’t have to switch tabs or browsers when looking for a specific thing.

                              As to your specific question, no… I don’t know if there are studies about people printing blogs for offline reading. As far as books are concerned, the only element I found was about O’Reilly going for PDF rather than epub or MOBI

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                                Can anybody briefly summarize the article for those of us w/o WSJ subscriptions? :)

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                                  That website doesn’t seem to be opening responsively on my iPhone. Seems like a good event though!

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                                    Interesting article on how scrolling animation undoes our attention span and ability to commit to reading essays in full.

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                                      Is there a study on how many people choose to read content offline by printing to PDF or on physical paper vs. on url itself? I mean we know that the number of people who read a blog online far exceeds the number of people who end up downloading/printing it before reading.

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                                        CSS paged media extensions create the print-based context of pages, kinds of pages for you to work with and PDF specific stuff like bookmarks. Using tools like PrinceXML or Antenna House you then generate the corresponding PDF.

                                        I wouldn’t want a one-to-one reconciliation because, to me, PDF is more for reading offline in paper than it is reading online in a screen. That said there are a lot of things that you can do on the web that you can also do in a PDF document.

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                                          IMO, there is a significant difference between how information is presented on web and how it is put on the dead-tree—a one-to-one reconciliation of style and presentation isn’t possible. Although I could be wrong about this!