... in books

Yay! a new bookstore....

01 Sep 2008 | 173 words | books amsterdam business

I had a bit of a bad feeling when opening a package from amazon.co.uk on the day when i saw a sign in the window of my corner bookstore that announced that they would close within a month. The place has been empty for a while but since this summer there has been some activity inside which today has culminated in the opening of a new book store: INKT & OLIE

Lets hope that i and others will value this place more than amazon. so far it looks like they are doing everything they can to make this happen: long opening hours (till 20:00h), good quality tea (no tea bags but real loose leaf tea) and they will take orders for books by email. Good-bye amazon and congratulations to the owners: with the too-complicated-to-remember first names Nadezjda and Anouk (thanks, daan!) …

Update (2018): Of course that place did not last, closed some time before we moved out of our appartment in the summer of 2018 and was replaced by a coffee bar.

There is another warehouse way beyond the end of the long tail

02 Dec 2007 | 434 words | libraries architecture books copyright modernity

So the commonly used images to visualize the Long Tail are shots from inside the enormous warehouses run by the online book retailer amazon.com all over the world.

Seems like that these warehouse are not the only ones associated with the long tail. In reality (which is not properly depicted by all those fancy graphical representations of the long tail) enormous warehouses are being constructed way beyond the (imagined) end of the long tail:

The Guardian has an excellent article (‘Inside the tomb of tomes‘) that focusses on the construction of a warehouse that will house the British Library’s collection of books that no one is reading. The warehouse, currently being constructed somewhere in the cultural wastelands of the midlands, will house most of the books that the BL aquires via the legal deposit function it has for copyrighted works being published in the UK. Under this system it has to take into it’s collection a copy of every book being published in the UK which means that they are amassing a fair amount of unwanted books:

We used to build cathedrals. Now we build warehouses. [… This] warehouse is extraordinary because, unlike all those monstrous Tesco and Amazon depositories that litter the fringes of the motorways of the Midlands, it is being meticulously constructed to house things that no one wants. When it is complete next year, this warehouse will be state-of-the-art, containing 262 linear kilometres of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen environment. It will house books, journals and magazines that many of us have forgotten about or have never heard of in the first place.[…]

It is where, before this century reaches its teens, copies of books spared a quick death at the pulping plant – thanks to the grace of the provisions of the 1911 Copyright Act and later government legislation – will go to serve their life sentences in a secure environment. […] The British Library, you see, strives to live up to its self-imposed title of “the world’s knowledge”. That knowledge, though, is an odd thing. Along with the Magna Carta and the Gutenberg Bible, it includes Everybody Poos, by Taro Gomi (to help kids over toilet phobias). Not to mention Wayne Rooney’s autobiography, Jordan’s novel and a book called Do Ants Have Arseholes And 101 Other Bloody Ridiculous Questions. The MPs who in 1911 established the legal deposit principle for the five greatest libraries in the British Isles probably didn’t realise the full consequences of their decision.

Read the complete guardian article here [via BLDGblog which has a couple of amazing warehouse/library pictures in its review]

Deportation class

24 Nov 2005 | 211 words | deportations airtravel european union books

Every time i have visited lawrence in Bangalore he recommends me a book to read during the rest of the trip. Last year it was Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (be careful his self presentation on his own site is really evil) which i really enjoyed.

This year he told me to read Transmission by Hari Kunzru. I have finished it yesterday night and it is again very entertaining. the main story is about an indian computer nerd who, when fired from his H-B1 job in the US, releases an unprecedented virus attack on the internets. There are a number of sub plots and one of them features an obnoxious ad agency owner who makes a pitch for the brand identity of the newly created European Immigration Agency. Instead of winning the contract he finds himself being arrested in am immigration raid by the same agency and deported to Albania:

At 2 p.m. when he was supposed to sit down with director Becker and the other members of PEBA’s public presentation working group he was at 35.000 feet, flying deportation class en route to Tirana, Albania.

It is nice to see the term which we have coined 5 years back to be used in generic fashion in a work of fiction.

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: