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Simon Rowberry. Four Shades of Gray: The Amazon Kindle Platform.

Users of hardware such as the Kindle tend to have a preferred format, sometimes refusing to replace the device until it has completely gone beyond the point of use. This is just one of the phenomena that Simon Peter Rowberry hits on in his book Four Shades of Gray: The Amazon Kindle Platform (a nod to the greyscale used in the first Kindle back in 2007) as he delves into the inner workings of the Kindle, both as a platform and a larger tool in the Amazon ecosystem. This work balances the line in giving the reader valuable technical information, but remaining readable to most of the scholars, students, and publishers who will find merit in this book.

The Oxford Handbook of Publishing. Edited by Angus Phillips and Michael Bhaskar.

For this handbook, Angus Philipps, director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing, well-known to the publishing studies world as the co-author of Inside Book Publishing (sixth edition 2019) and editor-in-chief of LOGOS, joined forces with London-based industry insider Michael Bhaskar, author of The Content Machine (2013) and Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess (2016). The 25 chapters, written by an impressive range of experts from mostly anglophone backgrounds, can be used as stand-alone introductions to research areas and questions pertaining to publishing and book studies.

Simone Murray, The Digital Literary Sphere

Simone Murray’s The Digital Literary Sphere has a set of ambitious and interrelated objectives. The book proposes to understand digital writing as the product of an industry that is also becoming digital, touching on the ways that the digital sphere creates its own conceptualizations of authorship, marketing, book reviewing and reading. The Digital Literary Sphere additionally features a rationale for thinking of “the digital’s significance for literary culture” (1) via some of the methods and concerns of book history, media studies, and a specific aspect of electronic literary studies. Along the way, Murray considers, and for the most part discards, other ways of understanding digital writing, including literary studies more generally, the Digital Humanities, cultural studies, approaches making use of Bourdieu’s conception of the literary field, and literary sociology. ☛ ☞