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Routledge released my first book, Artificial Culture, in paperback today. While a paperback might not seem that big a deal, I’m actually quite excited. When Artificial Culture first came out, while I was delighted, I was also pretty embarrassed by the $140 price tag. I never really expected anyone but libraries would ever be able to afford it, and I treated my 5 author copies as if they were gold (all given away now, except one). I never had a book launch because I didn’t want anyone to feel obliged to try and buy the book.
I was actually quite relieved to discover that quite a few libraries (and maybe a few humans, too) actually bought a copy. Enough that Routledge have been willing to actually do a paperback run; this was helped immensely by Professor Veronica Hollinger’s kind review in which she asked:
I am seriously considering reading some of Artificial Culture with the students in my senior-year seminar on ‘Science Fiction and Technoculture’, and it would also be an appropriate text to include in graduate courses. Routledge, where’s my paperback?
Thankfully, I can now answer: the paperback’s available widely, and for (really!) $100 less than the hardback, for $US45 (or $39 on Amazon currently; or for Australians, factoring in postage, Book Depository seems you cheapest option). Update: Routledge have also reduced the price of the Kindle version to match the paperback! 🙂
The cover, I should add, is the same as the hardback, but the poster above is what I fancifully imagine cover art might have looked like if a bespoke design had been possible (I know it’s a bit silly; maybe that’s why I didn’t get to do cover art!).
If you’re curious about the book, the opening material and first chapter can be read for free online. Oh, and anyone going to see the new Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game might want to read pages 7 to 9 for my take on Turing’s work and life (I’m a big fan!).
Links for January 6th 2009:
- Digital guru Clay Shirky’s media forecast and predictions for 2009 [Media | The Guardian] – “The question is who figures out the business model that says it’s better to have 6 million passionate fans than 7 million bored ones? That is going to be the transformation because what you see with these user groups, whether it’s for reality TV or science fiction, is that people love the conversation around the shows. The renaissance of quality television is an indicator of what an increased number of distribution channels can do. It is no accident that this started with cable. And the BBC iPlayer? That’s a debacle. The digital rights management thing …let’s just pretend that it was a dream like on Dallas and start from scratch. The iPlayer is a back-to-the-future business model. It’s a total subversion of Reithian values in favour of trying to create what had been an accidental monopoly as a kind of robust business model. The idea that the old geographical segmenting of terrestrial broadcasts is recreatable is a fantasy and a waste of time.”
- NIN’s CC-Licensed Best-Selling MP3 Album [Creative Commons] – ” … Ghosts I-IV is ranked the best selling MP3 album of 2008 on Amazon’s MP3 store.Take a moment and think about that.
NIN fans could have gone to any file sharing network to download the entire CC-BY-NC-SA album legally. Many did, and thousands will continue to do so. So why would fans bother buying files that were identical to the ones on the file sharing networks? One explanation is the convenience and ease of use of NIN and Amazon’s MP3 stores. But another is that fans understood that purchasing MP3s would directly support the music and career of a musician they liked. The next time someone tries to convince you that releasing music under CC will cannibalize digital sales, remember that Ghosts I-IV broke that rule, and point them here.”
- Twitter accounts of Obama, Britney Spears hacked [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “The Twitter accounts of US president-elect Barack Obama, singer Britney Spears and other prominent figures were hacked on Monday (US time) and fake messages sent out in their names on the micro-blogging service. Twitter founder Biz Stone, in a post on the official company blog, said a total of 33 Twitter accounts had been hacked including those of president-elect Obama and Rick Sanchez, a CNN television anchor with tens of thousands of followers. “We immediately locked down the accounts and investigated the issue,” Mr Stone said. … Twitter, which allows users to post real-time updates of 140 characters or less, has an estimated 4-5 million users according to a recent study. Launched in August 2006, it has been embraced by a number of celebrities including president-elect Obama, who has more than 150,000 followers, and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal of the Phoenix Suns.”
- How Windschuttle swallowed a hoax to publish a fake story in Quadrant (Margaret Simmons, 6 Jan 09) [Crikey] – “Keith Windschuttle, the editor of the conservative magazine Quadrant, has been taken in by a hoax intended to show that he will print outrageous propositions. This month’s edition of Quadrant contains a hoax article purporting to be by “Sharon Gould”, a Brisbane based New York biotechnologist. But in the tradition of Ern Malley – the famous literary hoax perpetrated by Quadrant’s first editor, James McAuley – the Sharon Gould persona is entirely fictitious and the article is studded with false science, logical leaps, outrageous claims and a mixture of genuine and bogus footnotes.” [Margaret Simmons’ Further Blogged Thoughts] [Windschuttle’s Response]
- Facebook under fire for racist rants [The Age] – “Facebook has come under fire from Australian users for ignoring racial vilification on the site and failing to remove blatantly racist groups even though they have been flagged as offensive. Sydney-based Facebook user Alex Gollan, who has campaigned against the racist groups, has been threatened with violence and fears the site could be used to rally people if another incident such as the Cronulla riots flares up. The site permanently banned one offender this week but only after the issue of racism on Facebook came under the spotlight following revelations that Scots College and Kambala students had created anti-Semitic groups on the site.”