next-book

book publishing on the web

💌 #5 The Book, Manifesto for Skills and some joy

More about books!

Hello friends!

I am on a short vacation at Šumava National Park, and it’s beautiful here.

I spent the last two weeks producing lots of books for internal testing (again!) and also some serious ones for Nová beseda. Two of them will be on display (and available for free) at Prague’s Knihex next week. Check it out if you’re anywhere near!

Last time I included Thoreau’s Walden e-book — thanks for all your feedback and even some bug reports! ❤️ (Most of them should be fixed now, yay!)

Have a nice day!
— Jan

P.S. If you think this letter would be interesting for some of your friends, please forward it to them. Thanks :)

Rainbow superimposed with statistics from a coding website.

I also worked on annotations and moved our reader-facing code to Typescript. That may be not very meaningful info for you, but it will make all changes and future improvements much more straightforward. Many thanks go to Honza Vlček for his thorough feedback!

1. A Book: The Book

I mentioned Leah Price’s book about books last time, and there’s another one that I like very much. It’s Amaranth Borsuk’s The Book, describing a book as an object, content, idea, and an interface. Borsuk shows how older formats evolved into a codex format that is used nowadays — an all-important knowledge when thinking about transitioning into digital.

From back cover: “Despite nostalgic paeans to the codex and its printed pages, Borsuk reminds us, the term ‘book’ commonly refers to both medium and content. And the medium has proved to be malleable. Rather than pinning our notion of the book to a single form, Borsuk argues, we should remember its long history of transformation. (…) Rather than creating a false dichotomy between print and digital media, we should appreciate their continuities.”

An illustration from Borsuk’s website that represents the continuity of books.

2. Manifesto for Skills

This concise manifesto calls for a change in the publishing industry — and my twitter feed says it (sadly) stays relevant. The structure below says a lot about possible goals, that might be more attainable using an open publishing platform as an agent of change.

  • Educate senior management about what code can do
  • Recognize that technical skills take time to develop
  • Develop an industry Management Training Scheme
  • Radically raise our expectations of our suppliers
  • Update our Occupational Standards
  • Harness the evident discontent amongst junior publishers

Read it at The Bookseller.

See you in two weeks!

It’s getting dark here in the mountains and I want to get back to reading, so that’s all for today — see you next-time (just a week before Christmas) with a next-book again!

Tips wanted: If there’s a text that you want to read, send us a suggestion — we might make it into a next-book. Public domain and Creative Commons works are the easiest to use now, but feel free to pitch anything you’d like.