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Hugh McGuire

Entries by Hugh McGuire

You Can't Shut WikiLeaks Without Shutting Democracy

(9) Comments | Posted December 15, 2010 | 3:27 PM

My mother just asked what i thought about WikiLeaks, and finally I had an answer. My gut reaction from the beginning has been to support WikiLeaks, but i haven't articulated that support till now:

1. There is nothing you can do about it.

The internet is designed to support...

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DRM is a Business Decision, Not a Moral Decision

(3) Comments | Posted November 30, 2010 | 9:55 AM

When we started building our new audiobook publishing company, iambik, we made an early decision: no digital rights management (DRM). (*See below for a definition of DRM). We were worried that our partner publishers from the print side would demand DRM on our audiobooks, and so we tried to...

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Publishing Interview: Catherine McKenzie

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2010 | 3:15 PM

Catherine McKenzieI've done a few interviews with publishing people wrestling with the business and technology of "books." I was curious about things from another angle: what a new author thinks of the publishing climate. So I asked Catherine McKenzie. She published her first novel,...

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Publishing Interview: Don Linn

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2010 | 11:24 AM

Don LinnDon Linn's seen most angles of the book business as a publisher and distributor. He's also been an investment banker, and explored briefly a promising digital publishing start-up venture, before pulling out. We are at an inflection point in this business - we all...

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Why "Talk" Culture will Destroy the World

(3) Comments | Posted March 18, 2010 | 12:43 PM

In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani takes on the Internet, remix culture, post-modernism and the technology-induced Decline of Western Civilization. She quotes the usual suspects: Jaron Lanier, Andrew Keen, Nicholas Carr as well as Cass Sunstein, Farhad Manjoo....

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Publishing Interview: James Bridle

(3) Comments | Posted March 17, 2010 | 10:12 AM

James BridleWhen I first started closely following the big changes in the publishing industry, James Bridle's blog BookTwo was one of my first stops. And since then I've continued to watch with great appreciation as James has pushed and poked at "publishing."...

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Interview with Liza Daly about the Ibis Reader

(2) Comments | Posted March 3, 2010 | 3:49 PM

I've started a bi-weekly interview series with leaders and innovators in the book industry. My first interviewee is Liza Daly, of ThreePress Consulting, and the woman who knows all about ePub. Liza, along with Keith Fahlgren, recently launched the Ibis Reader, a cross-platform mobile reading app built...

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Why the iPad Matters

(19) Comments | Posted January 31, 2010 | 11:16 AM

There have been a host of complaints about the iPad - it doesn't do this, it doesn't have that, why can't it, I wish it would, it's closed ... Even Hitler was disappointed.

All this misses the point.

The iPad represents a fundamental shift in the metaphors and language...

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Why Pirates Pirate

(0) Comments | Posted January 18, 2010 | 9:17 AM

CBC Radio show Spark, hosted by the lovely Nora Young, has an interesting segment with indie game designer Cliff Harris, who asked "pirates" why they were pirating his games.

One of the top answers is: "Because of Digital Rights Management (DRM)..."

It's not scientific by...

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Remixing the Book

(3) Comments | Posted October 12, 2009 | 11:46 AM

If the object of writing is to deliver to readers a text that is engaging and enlightens, or entertains them in some way or other, then the idea of maintaining a fixed form of a book needs to be reexamined. Writers will probably always want to keep control of their...

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What Is a Book?

(2) Comments | Posted September 25, 2009 | 12:03 PM

Ebooks are the fastest growing sector of the book business, by a long-shot, and there's this lingering question out there:

What is a book?

Text on pages, between covers, okay; and I think we can all agree that the electronic version of that thing is a book too,...

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Six Pixels of Clarity

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2009 | 11:58 AM

Here's a bit of a confession, in the world of the web that I have been exploring with great excitement since 2004: the thing that has interested me least is marketing. Blogging, podcasting, wikis, Twitter,, community filtering and big online datasets, and many other things have been thrilling to...

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Why "Self-Publishing" Is Meaningless

(6) Comments | Posted August 16, 2009 | 3:41 PM

This was going to be a short post. It's turned into a manifesto of sorts! Ah, well ...

I don't like the term "self-publishing."


In the emerging world of "cloud-publishing," it's meaningless, and does not reflect what's coming, what we're already seeing signs of. Cloud-publishing -- what we're doing...

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Babbling about Twitter

(3) Comments | Posted August 16, 2009 | 3:08 PM

Danah Boyd points to a study of Twitter usage by PearAnalytics, that concludes:

40.55% of the tweets they coded are pointless babble; 37.55% are conversational; 8.7% have "pass along value"; 5.85% are self-promotional; 3.75% are spam; and ::gasp:: only 3.6% are news."

As Danah Boyd suggests...

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Gawking at the Washington Post

(2) Comments | Posted August 3, 2009 | 9:56 AM

On July 9, Ian Shapira, staff writer for the Washington Post wrote a 1,500 word fluff piece about consultant Anne Loehr, who explains GenY to their cohabitants in the workplace. Then Gawker's Hamilton Nolan blogged the story, reprinting some of Anne Loehr quotations from the Post piece.


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Piracy vs. Availability: A Parable

(19) Comments | Posted July 30, 2009 | 9:53 AM

A Parable of the Past

A friend of mine heard an interview on Fresh Air with Scottish director Armando Iannucci about his new film In the Loop (IMDB). He'd never heard of Iannucci, or the movie, or the TV show upon which the movie is...

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Amazon's Sexual Failure

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2009 | 4:02 PM

You've no doubt read about the big Amazon rank kerfluffle last week, put in the public eye by the Twitter tag: #amazonfail. A huge number of sexually-themed and lesbian/gay/bisexual books got categorized as "adult", and hence deranked, removed from best seller lists, and buried in Amazon's search results....

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Book Publishers: Get Ye to The Web!

(2) Comments | Posted March 11, 2009 | 8:31 AM

Can we all agree that the web will increase in importance as the place where people find things, find out about things, talk about things, and then buy them? If you need convincing on this point, take a look at four of the universe's most successful web sites: Google,...

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Publishers: Go to the Eyeballs

(1) Comments | Posted March 4, 2009 | 11:15 AM

The real challenge for the book business is a simple, difficult fact: people are reading fewer print books, and this trend will continue.

By most standards I am an relatively avid reader, and I always have been. I finish probably 25-35 books a year. But I can see in myself...

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Economic Meltdown or Back to Normal?

(8) Comments | Posted March 2, 2009 | 1:21 PM

Wealth ought to come from the creation of value. That is, by designing and selling a better shovel, you make it easier for farmers to dig irrigation trenches which increases their yield. With your shovel, their output goes from 100 to 200 units a year, and so you, as shovel-maker...

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