There is a very good piece on the AAUP Web site about some developments in the university press world concerning so-called short-form publishing. Long-form means book length. Something is short-form when it is longer than an article and less than a book. In fiction we would call this a novella, but we don’t really have a term for this for nonfiction, unless we go back in time and raise the specter and form of the pamphleteers of the 18th century. O Thomas Paine, where art thou?
Three and a half years ago, I had an e-reader unwillingly thrust upon me. I ignored it at first; shunned it. Then one day I was packing for a long trip and it came on me in a flash that if I used the damned thing I wouldn’t have to limit myself to five pounds of books in my luggage. Since then I read more ebooks than physical books. I buy a lot more books, too. Last year I noticed that books were getting cheaper, but the writing was getting worse.
I am galvanized. Not only have I always wanted to say that, but it’s true. I am in awe of what is happening in this industry. Attending Making Information Pay (MIP) a couple of weeks ago fueled this feeling. A few things, in particular, struck a chord.