The future of publishing is here today!

wire-sewing machine

The oddest thing about the newly announced winner of Bookseller magazine’s annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year is not its title, The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, but rather that its author, Professor Philip M Parker of the French business school Insead, has produced more than 200,000 books,

thanks to his invention – and patenting – of a machine which writes books, creating them from internet and database searches in order to eliminate or substantially reduce “the costs associated with human labour, such as authors, editors, graphic artists, data analysts, translators, distributors and marketing personnel”.

I think the graphic artist–eliminating part of the machine may need a bit of work, since if the competition had been based on covers rather than titles, I feel certain that Fromage Frais, for all its charm, would have lost out to either Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring or Curbside Consultation of the Colon, which were merely shortlisted.

The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring Curbside Consultation of the Colon

More: “Oddest Book Title prize goes to treatise on fromage frais” by Alison Flood, Guardian, March 27, 2009

2 Responses

  1. sc
    sc April 1, 2009 at 10:59 am |

    For the Guardian, the future is now:

    Consolidating its position at the cutting edge of new media technology, the Guardian today announces that it will become the first newspaper in the world to be published exclusively via Twitter, the sensationally popular social networking service that has transformed online communication. The move, described as “epochal” by media commentators, will see all Guardian content tailored to fit the format of Twitter’s brief text messages, known as “tweets”, which are limited to 140 characters each. Boosted by the involvement of celebrity “twitterers”, such as Madonna, Britney Spears and Stephen Fry, Twitter’s profile has surged in recent months, attracting more than 5m users who send, read and reply to tweets via the web or their mobile phones. As a Twitter-only publication, the Guardian will be able to harness the unprecedented newsgathering power of the service, demonstrated recently when a passenger on a plane that crashed outside Denver was able to send real-time updates on the story as it developed, as did those witnessing an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River. It has also radically democratised news publishing, enabling anyone with an internet connection to tell the world when they are feeling sad, or thinking about having a cup of tea.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/apr/01/guardian-twitter-media-technology

  2. India
    India April 1, 2009 at 11:23 am |

    Yes, yes, we all know about that already; we saw it on Twitter.

    What you may not know, however, is that Tor Books and Tor.com have chosen to disambiguate themselves:

    In an effort to distance ourselves from our fellow Macmillan property, Tor Books, Tor.com is hereby announcing that our website will henceforth be known as TÖRdötCÖM. While this move may come as a surprise to some in the SF/Fantasy community, we believe that the name change will allow us to maintain a link with the success and history of Tor, the largest publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy, while moving forward into the 21st Century without the baggage of musty, old, outdated, disease-carrying books (and the musty, old, outdated fandom who love them).

    FSM be praised; that was getting really confusing.

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