CRITICAL LINKING: January 30, 2012

Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.


“Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough.”

You just know there was some scribe in 1436 sitting around saying how moveable type made printing too easy and how we were gonna all lose the sense of wonder and magic and a bunch of other baselessly romantic doom and gloom about crap they knew nothing about.


“What publishers count on from bookstores is the browsing effect. Surveys indicate that only a third of the people who step into a bookstore and walk out with a book actually arrived with the specific desire to buy one.”

Publishers say this is why they need brick and mortar stores.This tells me that publishing is so bad at letting readers know about books, even though a third of readers will buy books without any previous information about them.


“As others have noted, the smell and tactile pleasures of a paper book are missing, too, with these e-readers. This is a loss but not, for me, grave. What is much worse is that you can’t flip pages. You can bookmark and make notes but the random backtracking possible in a book – that is maybe not so random because I intuitively know where to find things – is harder to do.”

I’m beginning to think “but paper is better!” is the “I can’t set the clock on my VCR!” of the early 21st Century.


“I’ve also learned that it’s really important to have a designer layout your final book. After publishing a lot of books, I can tell you that we writers are good at putting words together, but we’re not as good at laying them out on the page as we think we are.”

Even Wil Wheaton understands that self-publishing needs more hands than just the “self.”


“You might find some (terrible) books that try to teach you how to be funny, but you certainly won’t find any funny novels there. You’ll find musings from Larry the Cable Guy and pictures of cats making stupid faces (these, in fact, might be the same book), but nothing that would make you say, “Hey, wow, this is like Wet Hot American Summer, but in book form!” That’s because they don’t put novels in the humor section. Even if they’re hilarious, they stick them with every other novel. And if you’re digging through just the general fiction section, you’ll have a hard time finding funny books”

Maybe there should be a “Funny” section right next to the Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal Romance, and Trying to be Harry Potter sections.

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