Public Access

Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, Jul 05, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article rekindles in me a project I have been pondering for a while, though if only by catering to some of my more crass motivations. Book publishers, argues the author, tend, at their peril, to ignore the blogosphere as a means of marketing their works. And this is manifest in their reluctance to furnish desk copies to notable bloggers; even well known writers have received only three or four books in as many years.

I have thought about explicitly reviewing books for a while now, not so much because I need new writing projects (heh) but because I want to capture and pass on the range and flavour of the longer reading I do. And, I confess, the thought of perhaps getting review copies has occurred to me. Moncton is served only by one Chapters store, an outlet that has been steadily shrinking and dumbing down its selection since the chain's takeover by Indigo. My best source of books these days is the independent bookstore in the Moncton airport.

So I have started my book review blog, imaginatively titled Review. It is currently located at Blogger, though I may shift it to a site devoted to book reviews (no, not Amazon - if you have suggestions, let me know) as I continue to experiment in distributed publishing and microformats (if you look at the source you'll see the review is in the hrevew microformat). It covers a wide range of topics, not just e-learning (the first review is of Gwynne Dyer's Future: Tense). And the free books? I'll play that by ear. I'd be happy if our local bookstore stopped selling trinkets and started selling books again.
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