Critical Linking: February 22nd, 2013

What I’ve realized is that the library is wonderful not in spite of its scarcity but because of it. Every book in the library has been specifically acquired by one process or another. The library is a filtered store of knowledge.



The book industry is not going anywhere anytime soon. It is changing, as it should. But it will be around as long there are people who want to read books—in print or on their phones and tablets, or otherwise. We like to complain in this industry. Complaining is an art form. But don’t mistake that complaining for gloom-and-doom prophesy.

I wonder, though, how mood can influence direction. Publishing is a fundamentally conservative industry, in that the way things were seems better for it than the ways things are or are going to be. A culture of complaint can hinder progress in the long run.


To my eye, the two are so similar in form and content, I have a few questions to ask of Ben later today: were the people who wrote the first Sony-sponsored post employed by Buzzfeed or Sony? Or was it a team effort? If it was a team effort, why no Buzzfeed by-lines? Or did the same people write both the promotional copy and the journalistic copy?

Come on folks, it’s not hard. Make it clear who wrote what, and your readers will be more comfortable with all these new forms of advertising.


I’d amend that only to say that even a small amount of revenue from an affiliate or other arrangement requires disclosure. It’s never wrong to be clear with your followers and readers.

There we go.


That’s not to say that it wouldn’t be lovely if smartphones suddenly led to an expanded enthusiasm for literary short stories, but a newspaper’s job is to describe the world as it is, not as the members of an industry wish it would be.

That piece in the NYT about a boom in short stories was exceptionally hollow.

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