Critical Linking: March 5th, 2013


The New York Times and Starbucks are teaming up to give coffee drinkers a way to leap over the newspaper’s digital paywall — as long as beverages are savored in stores.

Pretty good idea.


But when it comes to discovery of new talent and the subsequent production of their work, things look much gloomier. After all, recommendation matters only if there’s great art to recommend. If that art is selected based on how likely it is to match the success of previous selections and if it’s produced based on immediate feedback from the audience, sales might increase, but will anything truly radical emerge out of all this salesmanship?

You gotta ask yourself, though. How many people interested in making “truly radical” works of art care that much about selling it? This might make manufacturing mediocrity easier I guess, but “radical,” almost by definition, isn’t at stake here.


In sum, Bowker presented heat-mapping imagery at this conference of eight covers. And in the aggregate, it then was able to present particularly successful and less successful elements of those covers.

Hmmm. Don’t have anything to say about this, but it’s interesting. I’m not a buy-it-because-of-the-cover person, but I know covers matter in selling books.


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