Monday News: Brexit & books, Twitter, iClassics, and fashion of the future
Brexit: what next? – Neill Denny’s pro and con consideration of Brexit’s likely effect on the book industry. Some of his pros are a little dicey (the ‘we’re masters of the English-speaking world’ angle, for example), but certainly it’s true that disruption makes room for change, both positive and negative. Still, even if the exit doesn’t ever happen in fact, it seems likely that the book market, like other markets, will suffer in the short run.
I have written about the other negative impacts before, when I predicted Brexit a fortnight ago, but they are worth listing again: weaker pound, therefore more expensive imports of print and paper raw materials; higher costs for prices and contracts denominated in dollars and euros; loss of EU grants for translation; loss of EU grants for research and consequential academic publishing. . . .
The rejection of Europe also allows us to sieze control of issues like VAT on ebooks and the Luxembourg tax dodge. As an industry, we now need to concentrate our lobbying power on the civil servants and politicians negotiating the exit strategy to get what we want out of it. . . .
The cheaper pound will help our exports, and since 44 per cent of British publishers’ income comes from overseas, that is no mean upside. Book Brunch
TWITTER IS BETTING EVERYTHING ON JACK DORSEY. WILL IT WORK? – Nick Bilton’s profile of returning Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, which also charts Twitter’s ongoing identity crisis and its alleged connection to all the behind-the-scenes leadership drama:
Dorsey then mentioned something more revealing. The stagnant user growth, he conceded, was due in large part to the constant turmoil at Twitter. “There has been an ever shifting leadership, platform, and strategy, and it’s hard to see any momentum in that,” he said, digging into his third beef taco. I agreed with him. One of the main issues with Twitter, both inside and outside the company, has always been that Twitter doesn’t know what Twitter is. Ten years on, that existential question persists: Is it, in fact, a media company? A social network? A messaging platform? Maybe it’s all of the above. But in order to persuade people to go through the somewhat laborious process of signing up for an account, learning the vernacular of the site, and sticking with it, this needs to be articulated to the public, whose behavior is the only thing that can convince Wall Street. . . .
The solution to Twitter’s problems, they all reiterated, along with Dorsey, is that word “live.” “We now know what inhibits usage, and what doesn’t,” Dorsey explained to me. He said he has a slew of new features—including hosting live video from the N.F.L., where people can talk about the game as they watch it—that will grow the audience and focus on that single, live strategy. – Vanity Fair
Project of the week: iClassics – An app that doesn’t exactly modernize classic literature, but rather modernizes the user’s engagement (making it much more interactive) in order to make books that are often seen as boring or irrelevant, especially by students reading them on assignment, more accessible. The project is currently doing a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for an Android version.
“Classic books are frequently deselected from libraries because their titles are not in demand anymore,” Garcia i Artero explains. “We are unwilling to accept it: classics don’t belong to the past, their wisdom can help us to build the present. iClassics is a magic combination of elements that helps us hook bookworms into enjoying essential books, as well as persuading those who haven’t yet discovered the pleasure of reading. In essence we aim to engage youth, who write in 140 characters, to read and enjoy classical literature.” – The Bookseller
1930s Fashion Designers Predict How People Would Dress in the Year 2000 – Open Culture has a lot of great content right now, but this short video is particularly rich. In fact, I think the narration might ultimately upstage the fashion, although the male outfit depicted at the end is pure gold. – Open Culture