Electric Book Works Publishing reinvented for the digital age

Electric Book links: Palatial libraries, books as websites, and an Amazon paradox

At Electric Book Works we’ve been talking about the physical journey we take when we read paper books: our thumbs measuring the block of the paper, our bodies shifting to the size and weight of the pages. The experience creates a vivid, visceral memory of our passage through a book and the places in it.

Can we ever bring that rich experience to books on screens? To even work on that problem, we need to understand the history of books, their place in our societies, and what it takes to make them in the twenty-first century.


On 99pi, I loved Roman Mars’ fascinating interview with Eric Klinenberg about his new book Palaces for the People, on the immense value of libraries and similar social infrastructure.


If you’re curious about book design with CSS, here’s a fun thing we made: paged.design is automated book-layout in the browser, with themes you can use and adapt for your own projects. We got to build it with encouragement and funding from Adam Hyde and the Shuttleworth Foundation, as part of the wonderful Paged Media community.


Mike Shatzkin, who received a lifetime service award from the BISG recently, makes a compelling argument for why big publishers’ sales are flat but profits are up: Amazon is their most profitable account. And that may be at the expense of smaller publishers. This is a complex issue and Shatzkin’s insights are fascinating.


Ebookcraft has become every ebook-maker’s favourite conference, even if like me you’ve never actually attended. Their lovely team has posted all the slides!


The Lego set we book lovers always wanted: a Gutenberg printing press by Michael Jasper.


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Arthur Attwell 6 May 2019