Friday, March 18, 2011

This Man Is An Author

So yesterday I was surprised to discover a picture of me in a Globe & Mail article by John Barber called Getting a read on the future of publishing. It's part of what has been an interesting series of TIME TO LEAD articles they've been running.

The article looks at various innovations taking place within Canada and around the world in the publishing industry.

One of the things they mention is the Espresso Book Machine.

And it looks like they used an old file photo of the EBM at McMaster from back in 2008 when we first got our machine and the G&M came to visit Titles Bookstore.

There I am in a picture accompanying the article, gazing lovingly at the book From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne seconds after it has been bound and just as it has been passed off to the robot arm that is about to move it into position for the bottom to be trimmed.

Photo by Glenn Lowson for Globe & Mail

That's why, when I saw this video posted on a recent MOBYLIVES blog post this morning, I giggled, thinking about the differences between this process from 1947 and what the process can be now. (Again, I'm just talking about the process of making a physical copy of the book, not the writing process, nor anything related to digital distribution - you know, for simplicity's sake.)

I love the way the narration in this video begins:

"This man is an author. He writes stories. He has just finished writing a story. He thinks many people will like to read it. So, he must have the story made into a book."

Oh yes, he thinks many people will like to read it.  It would be fun to spoof the narration of the video and change it and incorporate the self-publish process available on the Espresso Book Machine now. You know, have the narrator say something along the lines of: 

"But the author knows that no agent, publisher or editor is likely to select it from a warehouse full of manuscripts they have to wade through. That pile of manuscripts is called a slush pile. So, the author decides he'd rather just print the book himself at his local bookstore."

Or maybe:

"But the author is impatient. He knows it'll take forever, and he wants to see his book printed today. After all, it took him 4 hours to write the book. Why should it take longer to publish it? And besides, who needs an editor? He is a talented genius after all. So . . ."

Or, the spoof could head down the dark-humour path:

"But he is wrong. Nobody wants to read his book. Back in 1947 he might have drank too much and then reached into his drawer for his Smith & Wesson handgun to end it all. But not today. Today, he can get his book printed; quickly, easily and without having to remortgage his home."

So many ways to spoof the original video. But in any case, I think it's cute to watch both processes side by side.

Video of how books are made circa 1947 - "Making Books is Fun (To Watch)"

Video of the Espresso Book Machine circa 2009 (there are newer, slicker models available now - too bad there aren't that many slicker and really short videos showing the machine)

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