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HoL Adapted for Kindle

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  • HoL Adapted for Kindle

    MZD confirmed in an interview with the LA Times that of Leaves and will be converted to Kindle books this fall. I'm doing an undergraduate research presentation about the rhetorical significance of print novels like HoL in relation to the 'eBook Revolution,' and I think that this news undermines a little of what I'm arguing.

    Any thoughts on this? Do you all think the story will be different, less engaging/immersive, or less entertaining in eBook format?

    Thanks so much to the HoL forum community!

  • #2
    In my opinion there will be some loss. How significant the impact of that loss remains to be seen. of Leaves' physical features correspond to many things within the book, the shortened cover, the length of the claw marks, the golden ratio aspect of the book when it is laying open, the distance between text on opposite pages, to name a few.

    I was always skeptical of e-readers, always thought I would always prefer physical books but I received an ipad for Christmas and so I thought I would try it out for novel reading purposes. I read 1Q84 and enjoyed it just as much as I usually enjoy books.

    I've heard it said that e-readers are sucking the soul out of reading, but if that's the case whatever is being read must not have had much soul to begin with.

    I believe as a medium, e-books are in their infancy. Maybe someday they too will have their MZD. Someone that pushes the boundaries of the capabilities of the medium.

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    • #3
      I agree about the physical presence of MZD's books. However, let's not forget about the first edition of of Leaves.

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      • #4
        They even managed to make Infinite Jest into an ebook. Each endnote marker is a link that takes you to the end of the book, and then at the end of the endnote, there is a link to take you back to the page the endnote was indicated.

        So, it may take some re-invention or re-interpretation of the display, but I can see it working. And yes, IIRC, the "1st edition" of HoL online was in Flash format, so that it could show things HTML or PDFs couldn't do at the time.

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        • #5
          There was a page where the text spanned over both opposing pages. How do you accomplish things like that on an E-reader, that require the physical shape of a book with pages?

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          • #6
            That's what I mean by re-invent or re-interpret. It obviously can't work the exact same way. MZD or the publisher will have to make a new way to provide the same implication or maybe remove it altogether and provide a different implication. Things will have to change.

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            • #7
              Count me aboard the "can't be done" ship; or rather, the "shouldn't be done". I'm curious to see how it'll turn out, though, like OP, I'm working on my PhD which deals partly with the importance of books' materiality, so I feel a bit undermined as well.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Emjk View Post
                I'm working on my PhD which deals partly with the importance of books' materiality, so I feel a bit undermined as well.
                Forgive me for saying so, but if the mere existence (or even the possibility) of an eReader edition of HoL is enough to undermine your thesis, then I think it may be time to revise your thesis. Let me put it another way: why not see this as a perfect test case for the importance of materiality. Like Ellimist says, they'll have to find new and different ways of rendering the text in this new format, which means that it could be quite productive for your argument regarding the specificity of print. Plus, don't ebooks have a sort of materiality of their own?

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                • #9
                  Let's take Trekky0623's example. Original:



                  So, the Kindle has a 6" screen, like my Sony reader, so I did a mockup of a POSSIBLE solution to this particular issue.



                  It still snaps. It still spans.

                  Some things will inevitably be lost, but we may also gain new things.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fearful_syzygy View Post
                    Forgive me for saying so, but if the mere existence (or even the possibility) of an eReader edition of HoL is enough to undermine your thesis, then I think it may be time to revise your thesis. Let me put it another way: why not see this as a perfect test case for the importance of materiality. Like Ellimist says, they'll have to find new and different ways of rendering the text in this new format, which means that it could be quite productive for your argument regarding the specificity of print. Plus, don't ebooks have a sort of materiality of their own?
                    Maybe I didn't express myself clearly: of course I'm not going to throw my PhD into the trash because of the news (plus HoL isn't my only object of study). It's just that I was a bit surprised by this move from an author who fought so hard for the recognition of books' materiality.
                    But sure, it'll make for the perfect conclusion. Interestingly enough, out of four authors I'm studying (Danielewski, Alison Bechdel, Jonathan Safran Foer and Chris Ware), two of them have or will foray in the digital, and one (Safran Foer) has explored materiality further (see the wonderful Tree of Codes​).

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                    • #11
                      If HOL was 'coded' into something almost 'app-like' it could be very very cool, Flash/AS based for instance.

                      As an e-book adaptation, as the technology with the devices stand now? Epic failure.

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                      • #12
                        jumping on the discussion here, and drunk with fatigue, but it so happens I'm working on digital "reading" environments
                        especially in their tablet incarnation

                        still a rectangle, still a screen-page digital publishing is only kicking off (it took decade to get proper typography into computers, and now they're running the tools like inDesing or Quark Xpress, what can they do for digital-tablets ? we'll see...)


                        in the french traduction of HoL, Claro's translation is added as yet another level of reality : he translates the book from JT etc...
                        but what'd happen if a character from William Gibson's Neuromancer found that manuscript ?
                        How would he convey said book & contents to the cyberspace ?
                        He'd code a goddamned version of it, that's what !

                        Navigational space, annotating possibilities, heuristic maps a prototype for a whole other work perhaps... it'd be a program, there'd be another's writer marks all over artifacts in the code.

                        (yes, click that *show source* item in your browser)

                        So it'd be both "Back to the Future of of Leaves" and whatnot...

                        It's a fantasy of course, but it would negate in nothing HoL beauty as an artifact.
                        It must follow its course tale of a message in a bottle almost a curse, now that I think of it.

                        Tablets should not be immune. They never were four-legged "tables" anyway, but always the latin "tabula" a rectangle for inscriptions
                        aimed at both reading and writing...


                        first editions of HoL on digital form will be inadequate and probably buggy
                        but they may evolve, be updated our be outdated that's the instability of it
                        so unsettling to anyone having been raised with the certitude that his book is a stable
                        thing
                        (even though we know editions, re-editions, and editorial management of a source are more complex than they seem).

                        Denol, the french publishing of La de Feuilles has let the book go out of print 8 years ago, even if it sold well and there is still demand. A french teenager tweeted to me recently, "I've read your review and I'd love to read it but it's over 130 , even on the internet, because the book has gone collector".I could find one copy cheaper than that ... at 100
                        I was both disgusted and angered by the fact I had built up people to go looking for a book published a decade before and it simply was out of reach. Out. Of. Print.


                        Paper taken in default. Too scarce to answer the demand. Poor business and terrible shame because that translation was sur-human.


                        In that moment, I would have been happy for a digital version of that des Feuilles.


                        If only for reference don't forget that between the drafts and the book, there's a file.


                        (there is a digital version of HoL anyway a "digitized" version, as it is a pirate scan wrapped in a pdf but a digital version still : is it enough ? no. It's not searchable, clickable, queriable and/or legal...
                        when it could be quite the challenge). Many issue to raise there : the kindle format is not very open, and format like the ePub are still moving a lot : how to display on so many devices ? Apple apps are proprietary as well, and get buggier at each "update" of iOs... unstability at its best.
                        yet, to do a digital version of HoL you'd need a developer as mad as the kind of translator who takes on .... rare, but not inexistant.






                        That must have been quite confused, and I apologize already. Thank Ford for the auto-save and the edit-later option of digital-forum-writing.


                        Numriquement votre.
                        Last edited by Norkhat; 04-29-2012, 07:21 PM.

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                        • #13
                          This is pretty cool.

                          http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/mark...2207&startat=1

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                          • #14
                            It was my hope, too, that the likes of MZD would somehow fight against e-reading. However, these authors need to make money for the artistry they create; thus, I have no problem with HoL or any other MZD books making their way to Kindle. I will, however, advise friends and family to grab hardcopy versions of each book, for there are few authors today like MZD who take the time to make the actual reading experience exhilarating for readers.

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