As Slaw readers will know, one of the themes that recurs here quite frequently is the role of publishing and books in this culture of rapid technological change. Jason Epstein has a few thoughts on the matter, some of which he shared in the keynote at the recent O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference 2009 in New York. Epstein is someone you would very much want to listen to on the subject: now 81 years old, he created the Anchor Book imprint in the early 50s, launching the trade paper format; in 1963 he co-founded the New York Review of Books; and most recently he has founded On Demand Books, which has created the Espresso Book Machine [vid].
The text of his talk is available on the O’Reilly TOC site. I won’t try to summarize it — he ranges from Gutenberg to his Espresso (which can print and bind a book in four minutes), and tackles copyright, publishing infrastructures and the creations of groups along the way.
I should point out that O’Reilly TOC is (or also “has”) a blog that those of you interested in publishing might like to follow.
[via Jeff Miller]