Are Book Publishers Useless?

Have digital books rendered the publishing houses obsolete?

Phone Books: End of an Era

More than a decade after they’ve outlived their usefulness, one major company has asked that they be allowed to stop publishing residential telephone directories. The digital age may claim another victim. The residential White Pages, those inches-thick tomes of fine-print telephone listings that may be most useful as doorstops, could stop landing with a thud […]

Why the Internet Will Fail

Newsweek presents a devastating essay by Clifford Stoll explaining why this newfangled Internet thing is unlikely to catch on. After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy […]

Sad Truths About Book Publishing

Joe Carter calls publishing a book “one of the most wonderfully disappointing experiences you’ll ever have.” Don’t get me wrong, there are some genuine rewards to having a book published. You get to say that you’re an “author” rather than, say, a “blogger.” Also, you get the validation that at least one person (who gets […]

Academic Specialization and the Cult of Irrelevance

Stephen Walt laments the hyper-specialization of the social sciences: One of the more unfortunate trends on contemporary social science has been a growing “cult of irrelevance,” a set of implicit standards that encourages smart young scholars to write more and more about less and less for fewer and fewer readers. The principle of academic freedom […]

You Know You Got it When You’re Going Insane

Norm Geras (who just celebrated his 6th blogging anniversary) points us to this hilariously annoying SPIEGEL interview with Wired editor Chris Anderson: SPIEGEL: Mr. Anderson, let’s talk about the future of journalism. Anderson: This is going to be a very annoying interview. I don’t use the word journalism. SPIEGEL: Okay, how about newspapers? They are […]

Science Editor Quits After Hoax

Yet another bogus paper was accepted for publication in an academic journal: The editor-in-chief of an academic journal has resigned after his publication accepted a hoax article. The Open Information Science Journal failed to spot that the incomprehensible computer-generated paper was a fake. This was despite heavy hints from its authors, who claimed they were […]

Conde Nast Closing ‘Portfolio’

Jeff Bercovici reports the demise of his own job: For nearly two years I’ve been covering the media industry’s bad news on this blog, including some that’s hit very close to home. Now it hits closer still: Condé Nast Portfolio is closing. Our editor in chief, Joanne Lipman, just broke the news to staff, saying […]

Twitter Law: Are Tweets Copyrighted?

Mark Cuban wonders, “Is a tweet copyrightable ?  Is a tweet copyrighted by default when its published ? Can there possibly be a fair use exception for something that is only 140 characters or less ?” I got to thinking about this when I tweeted about an NBA game.  I tweeted to the people who […]