Friday, May 01, 2009

Peanut Gallery

The Virtualpolitik book was officially launched with a reading and signing event at the Harvard Coop Bookstore. (Future book events in coming months will be in Baltimore, Irvine, Los Angeles, and perhaps New York City.) During the question-and-answer session, Tom Gamill of the The Doozies cartoon fame, who pretends to be a hapless social media user in his "Learn to Draw" series on YouTube, asked a legitimate question of me as a digital rights activist: how could he read the book online for free? Although asked in a jocular tone, it's a legitimate question, given the availability of online books by Lawrence Lessig, John Willinsky, and Chris Kelty and the circulation of full manuscript drafts by Lev Manovich, Peter Lunenfeld, McKenzie Wark, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. In answer I pointed to how MIT Press, like many academic publishers, is doing more to release electronic copies to university users, especially to encourage all-important classroom uses.

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