Jul 11, 2006

Shakespeare Repackaged

In the newly independent India and even some time before that, the British education pattern had been adopted and is still largely followed today. There are a lot interesting stories about how the clever Indian folk grappled with the King's English.

My dad told me this one ...

One of them is when a young schoolboy approached a book shop and spent some time searching for a book. After a while he scratched his head asked the shopkeeper "Kya aapke paas 'Maimne ki dum se hilti Naashpati' hai?". The shopkeeper quietly picked up a book handed it to the boy, and pocketed the payment. Once the boy had left, the shocked shopkeeper's assistant asked, "Which book did you give him?". "Lamb's Tales of Shakespeare", replied the shopkeeper.

For my non-Hindi speaking readers, the boy had asked (rough translation) "Do you have the book - lamb's tail shakes the pear (tree)?"

Shakespeare's work in now out of copyright and available to the general public, without any lawyer breathing down their neck! Yaaay! This now also means that anybody can now repackage Shakespeare's content in their own context and present it. Uh-Oh!

Some of the sites offering Shakespeare's work are

I wonder when Mickey Mouse comes out of copyright! ;)

Battles for the future of Literature

Define a book.

  1. Is it that paper thingy we hold in our hand full of printed words, which does not need any batteries.
  2. Or is it a sum of an author's output compiled into a structure for an audience.

Think carefully, because the ground beneath the literary world is undergoing a major shift.

Outside the Media/Publishing/Librarian world, not many realize the battles being fought in for the future of the book. Who will be the major publishers of the future? What is the best format for books to be published - digital text or printed or audio? Who controls the experience when books are sold/retailed or sampled-before-selling? Who catalogs these books? Who reviews and rates these books? Finally, who reads them?

Also, one could also wonder how the Nobel Prize for Literature is defined 20 years from now.

Though large publishers (like Random House, Penguin, McGrawHill, Wiley, O'Reilly) and book shop owners and Online retailers (such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble) and Online search providers (like Google, Microsoft, Project Gutenberg) and Ebook pioneers (like Gemstar, Rollable display, Sony Reader) are all competing for this space (note that there is usually an overlap). The future at this stage is still unclear.

There are only two sets of people who really hold the answers - one of them are the authors and the other more significant is You. You, the User, the Reader, the Customer.

Jul 7, 2006

Quick Knowledge bytes

The size of an author's single packet of output is shrinking. For that matter, so is the user's apetite for large books. As the value of time gets measured in sub-minute scale - who has time to read books? If you do, you are one lucky person, because I don't.

There are a lot of alternative media competing for my attention - TV, DVD/Video, Internet - each engineered to be more captive than the other. If before providers were after your money, now its your time as well.

It's a multi-tasking world, even in your spare time. After all, it is said we are only using upto 10% of our brains - so it can be deduced that nobody need care about an information overload.

I grew up reading books, used to be my favorite passtime. Best way I find to read a book is a quiet place or at most instrumental music in the background. It would also be good to have a tension-free hour. The fact that I have to work at creating that, shows me how much the world has changed. My modern multi-tasking nature does not let me sit still doing one thing - I feel too nervous, that I'm missing something else somewhere.

From the author's point of view, books take time, usually months to write those hundreds of thousands of words, formed into a coherent structure. Newer generations don't have that patience. Modern books tend to arise from a collection of previously published smaller articles.

Is it any wonder that blog site such as these generate so much more participation and output.

Jul 6, 2006

Scio Sphere

Here We Go ....

Scio - Latin word meaning to know or understand
Sphere - English word with many meanings, one of which - an area

Scio Sphere will be a place where we'll see if any meaning can be brought to bear.

I hold my nose, squeeze my eyes shut, and I've jumped into the Blog World!

Hello! Hola! Bonjour! Namaste! SatSriAkal! .... Splash!