Book Signal and Publishing Noise

Reading Ted Striphas’ blog entry from last February, The Shannon and Weaver Model brings to mind another one of Shannon’s contributions to information theory, and one that I find applies directly to the business of bookselling. As I have written before, I think discovery is destined to become once again a core service of independent bookstores. The easiest way to explain why is to use Shannon’s concept of signal to…

Discovery, trust and bookstores

I was reading Peter Turner’s blog post Nobody Knows Anything—But Let’s Not Let That Stop Us this morning, in which he reviews some of his assumptions about the book trade (while on the long drive to Maine). I was struck in particular by the first of these assumptions: As the volume of content that is available increases, both delivering and determining content of quality will become increasingly difficult and valuable….

Blocked bookman

I’ve just been trying to visit Greg Gibson’s Ten Pound Island Book Company web site. Like most people, I used Google to find the site, which it did. However, it then refused me entry. It seems someone had hacked the site with malware, and it was currently being banned by Google. In the current Internet age, that is the equivalent of a medieval excommunication. It effectively cuts the site off…

1930s Bookstore access

Almost every week a web page announces the closure of another bookstore. This week we have Queen Anne in Seattle and Capital Comics in Raleigh, NC among others. The flood of closures appears to have been stemmed somewhat by the closing of Borders across the country, an event that provided a lifeline for the indies. It is worth putting the closures of recent years into some sort of historical perspective….