Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  .This section is about books.  ---  1/24/2006

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  (1) Books defined as writing or text.  (2) Books defined as a collection of ideas.  ---  4/15/2005

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  (1) Pro:  (A) Books let you figure out quickly what it took others a long time to figure out, and thus can speed things up.  (B) Books are still the best information system: small, portable, and quick to skim.  (2) Contra : if you believe everything you read, books can keep you back.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  A book is a tool.  Get better books.  ---  3/3/2007

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  A country, or individual having many crappy books is not harmless.  It drives people crazy who are dying of thirst for truth and logic (reason).  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Any book written long for longs sake is a waste of time, energy, paper, and money, for both the author and readers, and even for the society who suffers from the authors and readers waste.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Be very choosy what books you read.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Best techniques for book organization is (1) Detailed logical outline.  (2) Up to date.  (3) Clear.  (4) Comprehensive.  (5) Succinct.  (6) Well organized (Three ways: logical, historical, and prioritized).  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Beware the print equivalent of bad television programs.  There are books that will waste your time as surely as bad television programs.  Finding worthwhile books to read is much like finding worthwhile television shows to watch.  Avoid trite, pointless, vapid, vacuous, banal, fluff.  ---  12/16/2006

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Book learning vs. experience.  Book learning can prevent unpleasant experiences vs. some good things you need to experience first hand to truly understand and appreciate.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Books = ideas.  Good books have many, new, helpful ideas.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Books are heavy in three senses: (1) Physical weight.  (2) Deep and profound.  (3) Ethical responsibility.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Books are passe'.  (almost) All the information you want and need is online for free (or will be soon).  Those who protest this most are people in the book business, i.e., publishers, editors and book reviewers.  (1) Compare the cost of purchasing a small library of paper books to the cost of going online.  Two hundred books at twenty U.S. dollars each costs four thousand dollars.  For the same amount of money you can get a computer and ten years of Internet access.  Once online, the amount of information available to you is roughly a million times more than your purchases of paper books.     (2) The collective ability of what will soon be a billion Internet users to accumulate, organize, evaluate, store and disseminate information is greater than all the publishing companies combined.  The publishing industries claim to expertise as gatekeepers is sadly mistaken, as exemplified by the fact that the "top 5000" amateur Internet book reviewers do a better job reviewing books than the top 5000 professional book reviewers.  Does the publishing industry really think they are the only people with taste or critical skills?  The publishers use a scare tactic by claiming that the Internet will create a flood of slush when a large number of books of low quality are published online.  However, that is exactly the situation of traditional paper-book publishing, which publishes a large number of trash books just to make enough money to publish a few books of merit.  So no change will take place except the readers will keep their spending cash.  ---  12/4/2000

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Books can keep you from thinking and living, or they can bring new thoughts and experiences.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Books: good things to have in them.  Contents in brief, and contents expanded.  Chapter outlines, chapter intros, and chapter summaries.  Key concepts, defined, in logical order.  Bold faced words.  Index.  Researchers and dates.  Pro and contra arguments.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Consider three forms of media: reading books, listening to audio books, and watching audio/video books.  What is the difference between them?  The medium is not the issue.  Rather, the quality of the content is the issue.  Avoid consuming junk, whatever medium it is in.  ---  12/16/2006

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Definitions.  (1) A book is nothing but a collection of ideas that can be true or false, or important or unimportant.  (2) A book is not a holy thing.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  E-books and e-publishing vs. traditional paper books and traditional publishing.  PART ONE.  The state of e-book publishing today.  (A) No publisher today is making money from e-books.  (B) No crackproof method of e-book copy protection has been devised.  (C) Napster and its cousins seem unstoppable.  PART TWO. Some observations on traditional publishing.  (A) Traditional publishers are less likely to accept your book if you self-publish it first.  (B) Traditional publishers are less likely to accept your book if you do not write it in the traditional prose style of paragraph formatting.  (C) Traditional publishing is as much about money as it is about quality of content.  (D) Traditional publishing is clubby and closed.  Only about 5% of all books submitted get published.  PART THREE. Paper books vs. e-books.  (A) Paper is portable, durable and requires no batteries.  People seem to like the look and feel of paper books.  (B) E-books are good in that you can carry an entire library on a small handheld device.  Online books can be accessed via the Internet from anywhere.  Ebooks are cheaper to produce and faster to transmit.  E-books have lower distribution costs, and thus easier to do-it-yourself publishing.  E-books combined with print-on-demand (POD) book production technology which prints and binds on site is a powerful combination to reduce inventories.  PART FOUR.  Any information you can pay for you can find its functional equivalent on the Internet for free.  Any art you can pay for you can find its functional equivalent for free on the Internet.  ---  8/10/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  E-books.  People often wonder what will be the online business model for e-books.  I think it is helpful to look at models of computer software for insights into where e-books may head.  Today there are at least two computer software models that the user can choose.  One option is to download a copy of Linux (free) and Linux Office (free) for a total of $0.  Another option is to buy a copy of Microsoft Windows 2000 ($300) and a copy of Microsoft Office ($700) for a total of about $1000.  If a billion people choose the first option it will keep a trillion dollars in the pockets of consumers and out of the pockets of Microsoft.  The point is that the Linux model, which paradoxically relies on  an independent "Do-It-Yourself" attitude combined with a spirit of cooperation in order to create free software, is just as powerful as Microsoft, the biggest and richest corporation on earth.  The Linux model of free and open software is where ebooks are headed.  Today online there are free newspapers, magazines, journals and books and their numbers will only grow.  ---  12/5/2000

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Ebooks: Notes from the Future by Paul Nervy.     (1) There was once a very funny commercial parody on Saturday Night Live in which a publisher of electronic books promises a new, richly textured reading experience.  The commercial parody proceeds to demonstrate the ebook.  It shows the user in a virtual living room, sitting on a virtual sofa, with a virtual book in their lap.  Scroll to the right and you see a lamp.  Scroll to the left and you see a coffee-table!  The joke being that electronic books are exactly the same as printed books.  Twenty five years and SNL is still producing great comedy.     (2) The real future of electronic books (ebooks) promises new alternatives, new choices, and more freedom.  In contrast to today's publishing environment of a few giant corporate conglomerates, the equitable, level playing field of ebooks holds out a hope for variety, competition, and dissension.  The gatekeepers shout "Who will judge quality?"  The answer: the readers and the feedback they provide with their reviews.  No longer will publishers decide which books will be read by which target segments.  Ebooks will find their own audiences.     (3) The following are six attributes of the ebook of the future.  They show how the future of ebooks will change our view of what is a book.  Ebooks of the future will differ from our traditional conceptions of the book, however, there are proto-examples from the history of literature that we can use to envision what will be.     (4) Databases:  Much attention is given to hypertext these days.  There have even been several books written about hypertext.  However, the database is just as useful and important.  Databases are searchable by field, allowing rapid retrieval of data.  Databases are sortable, enabling the book to literally organize itself.  Ebooks of the future will owe as much to the database as they do to hypertext.  The two forms, database and hypertext, will eventually combine and we will see more hypertext-databases hybrids.     (5) Non-linear and non-narrative:  Databases allow non-linear, non-narrative books.  These are books that you can dip into, rather than read using the "one book, start to finish" model.  An example of a non-linear book that many of us are familiar with is a book of quotations.  Another example of a non-narrative book is Walter Benjamin's "Arcade Project" which tells a story without a narrative plot line.     (6) Macro-books and micro-books:  Ebooks don't have to fit into the "one book, 200 pages" formula. Ebooks do not face the minimum page and maximum page binding limitations of paper books.  Ebooks can be 20 pages or 2000 pages.  Proto-examples of macro-books in the past include the complete works of Marcel Proust and the collected works of Jack Kerouac.     (7) Wide scope:  Macro-books allow many subjects.  The "one book, one subject" model relinquishes its hegemony.  A large ebook need not limit itself to one topic.  A common example of a macro-book of wide scope is an encyclopedia.  An ebook can be a "book of books". There is less need to parcel out information and entertainment piecemeal.  Less need to leave readers holding their bowls like Oliver Twist asking for more.     (8) Multimedia:  With the coming of higher bandwidths we will see more ebooks that incorporate images, sounds, and audio/video.  In the mean time, text-based ebooks will achieve variety by combining side by side the genres of poetry, jokes, aphorism, essay, and other forms, styles and voices.  The "one book, one genre" model is no longer the only model available.     (9) Low cost:  In the world of ebooks authors and publishers can keep their cut of the profits.     However, the cost savings of materials, printing, warehousing and distribution can be passed onto the consumer.  The result is the potential for lower prices for consumers.  Its called supply chain disintermediation, people.  Look into it.     (10) Where can one find an ebook of the future today?  The Paul Nervy Notes series are ebooks that embody all of the above traits.  The Paul Nervy Notes are database influenced, non-linear, global scope, multimedia, low cost macro-books.     (11) The future is bright for books if we are willing to grow and develop our idea of what is a book.  The ebook is evolving into new forms of life containing many media, many subjects, many voices, and many styles.  Today more than ever we celebrate and value bio-diversity and cultural diversity.  Let us now celebrate and value ebook diversity.  ---  4/15/2000

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Everyday good books are published.  Find them and read them.  It keeps the hope up.  It gives one purpose.  ---  02/22/1997

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Expectations of the public.  90% of readers are looking to have their beliefs confirmed.  They are looking for a friend, an ally, a comrade.  When you do not give them what they want they get very resentful.  Only 10% of readers are looking for new ideas.  I've been thrown out of more tribes than I can remember.  ---  10/28/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Expectations of the public.  Many writers stick to single views on single issues in order to maintain their audience and their customer base.  To disagree with your audience is to risk alienating and losing your audience.  The Notes, however, has many views on many subjects, and as a result the Notes has something for everyone to disagree with.  Thus the Notes could drive away everyone.  ---  9/19/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Expectations of the public.  They (the reading public) will like you as long as they agree with you, however, the Notes has something to offend everyone.  People have been conditioned by the media to expect communications that express single views on single subjects.  People get confused and angry if you switch subjects or if you seriously consider multiple viewpoints.  Looking at all sides of a situation is perceived by the public as waffling or vacillating.  If they cannot label and categorize you then they do not know what to make of you.  They want you to stay "on message".  They believe in the "one person, one idea" school of thought.  That school is a waste.  By devaluing intra-personal dialectic, the media stunts people.  ---  10/25/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Face it, nobody reads books anymore.  If you want to reach people then make a movie or write a pop song.  Books are an old, out-dated technology, like stone glyphs.  Why did I choose text as my medium?  Ugh.  ---  8/31/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Finding and picking books is very important.  Be a finicky reader.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Good book.  (1) Well structured.  Conceptually: right concepts in right outline.  Physically: form, type, etc.  (2) Comprehensive, in depth, up to date, cheap.  (3) Covers theory and practice.  (4) Historical and logical layouts.  (5) Can grow with it.  (6) Excellent structure.  Only most important ideas.  (7) Good table of contents, critical bibliography, and glossary.  (8) Rigorous academic style.  (9) Discusses, compares and criticizes all theorists and theories.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Most books are b.s. because it takes too long to read it.  Too much padding, poor structure, and takes to long to break it down by subject, view, argument.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Most books could say all they have to say in 1/10 the pages.  They pad, fill, and drag it out in order to make a longer book, in order to make more money.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Most permanent, least affected by advertisers.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  People today want and need short, truthful stuff.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Publishing options.  (1) Traditional publishing.  If you go to a traditional publisher, and make it past their 99% rejection policy, you are faced with a situation where 95% of the time very few people will buy your book.  And worse, you have signed over to the publisher all your rights to the book.  Then, worse still, the book will quickly go out of print.  That is not a pretty picture.  (2) Self publishing.  If you choose to self publish a paper printed book for a profit then 99% of the time next to nobody will buy your book, one reason being because the "informational functional equivalent" is available for free on the Internet, and another reason being people often balk if a book is not from a traditional publisher.  (3) Online fee-based publishing.  If you publish online for a fee then chances are no one will read your work.  (Because people don't read.  Because people don't pay to read.  Because people don't pay to read your bilious rants.)  (4) Online no-fee publishing.  If you post your work on the Internet, where anyone can read it for no fee, there is a chance that more people will read your work than if you went the route of traditional publishing or self publishing.  ---  9/1/2004

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Publishing.  Why write a book and then hand over all your intellectual property rights to a major publisher for a pittance royalty in return?  Will more people read the book if its published or if its free on the Internet?  ---  1/25/2004

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  The best books you can find on a subject are still 6 to 12 months behind the times, due to the publishing process.  So find top periodicals in all subject areas, and you will only be a month or two behind the times.  Formulate counter arguments to philosophy articles.  Write papers.  ---  08/08/1993

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  The goal of today's corporate-dominated, mass-market, publishing industry is to find books that fit neatly into the existing categories.  However, finding books that fit neatly into the existing categories is often merely repetition, not progress, and it does not really help us.  Progress is when we find something new and useful that does not fit neatly into the existing categories.  It forces us to develop new categories.  This book is progress.  ---  6/5/2000

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  The problem with writers is they make their living by writing more words.  The more words the more money.  So we get tons of shit, and the marketers tout it as great to further boondoggle us.  It's a waste of life to sort through it and figure it out.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  There are many, many books that are 80% to 90% close to being publishable.  Should no one be allowed to read them just because they are not 100%?  What a waste that would be.  Fortunately, the Internet makes possible the inexpensive self publishing of books that just barely missed being published by the major publishing corporations.  What a cool thing.  ---  8/26/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  There is a cannon of so called current "greats" that is available for $25 hardcover in bookstores.  There is also a cannon of "pretty darn goods" that are available for free on the Internet.  A community of focused  and energetic readers can often make more out of the free "pretty darn good" works than a group of bored and listless readers can make out of the expensive so called "greats".  The common counter-argument is that Shakespeare was light years ahead of his nearest competitor, and civilization would never get to where it is today without Shakespeare.  However, I am not a fan of "great man" theories of history.  I believe in the "second place will do" or "second string is in the wing" theories of history.     PART TWO.  Why should I write about movies that one has to pay for to see?  Why should I write about books that one has to pay to read?  Those authors must think they are pretty special to expect other people to pay for their writing.  I am not so sure that they are so special.  Therefore, I will write about texts that are freely available for all to read.  As an analogy, its true that the first place winner gets the trophy, the money, the interviews, the commercial deal, the publicity and the fans, but the second place no-name is often only a single step behind the winner.  And there are movies, books and paintings, not to mention webpages, reviews and conversations, available for free on the Internet and their quality is often only "one off" or "slightly irregular".  ---  11/10/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Time is very limited today, and there's too much to learn for wasting time on shit.  ---  12/30/1992

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Two objections to the current situation of authors and publishers.  First you authors have the temerity to charge money for ideas that you got for free, and for information that the next person can think of and give away for free.  Then you stupidly gave the rights to the publishers and now they own your work, so you can't give away your work if you wanted to.  PART TWO.  Two more objections.  You only showed us your best work when nowadays we have technology (i.e., computers) of unlimited storage and unlimited speed that obliges you to show all your work.  Secondly, you decided to work in only one medium and you decided to write only on one subject.  ---  11/20/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  What is the difference between watching a soap opera and reading a soap opera?  There's not much difference, despite what the reading snobs think.  ---  3/5/2002

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Why don't they sell books in digital form like they now sell music and Encyclopaedia Britannica?  You could purchase and download books onto a DVD to create a library, just like digital music.  When can I get rid of my paper book library?  ---  02/28/1998

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Why should one pay attention to so called experts when their insights lay hidden amidst tons of fluff that they will let you read only if you pay them?  ---  10/25/2001

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Wittgenstein's librarian might have said, "The limits of my library is the limits of my world."  ---  3/11/2007

Sociology, communication, media, books.  ---  Write one book.  Don't waste any words.  ---  12/30/1992

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.