Friday, June 21, 2013

Out of Print

Out of Print photo IMG_20130618_183440_zps6623d70c.jpgTuesday night SF DocFest screened Out of Print, a pithy survey of the rapid changes in publishing & reading in the digital age. Even though it is less than an hour, it covers a lot of ground, from the role of the codex in the spread of Christianity, to the future of libraries, to how digital media might be altering the brains of the next generation. We get a lot of statistics & a variety of viewpoints. Interviewees include Jeff Bezos, Robert Darnton, Alberto Manguel, Fred Bass, & Jeffrey Toobin. I was excited to see a fleeting glimpse of book artist Brian Dettmer carving into a tower of books. Scott Turow, representing The Authors Guild, argues articulately against Google Books & for copyright, but I think John Perry Barlow is even more right on when he accuses Google of making private copies of public books. I liked hearing from teens who don't see the point of reading a whole book when there's Google & Spark Notes. I was amused when a student asked a librarian for Hamlet & the librarian responded, "The movie or the book?" Though the film highlights the ways long-form reading is under threat, it ends optimistic about the future of reading.

Adobe Books photo IMG_20130618_201729_zpsab65f814.jpgThe screening was preceded by a one-joke short called How to Sharpen Pencils, in which cartoonist David Rees, wearing a carpenter's apron & a condescending expression, gives a deadpan demonstration of artisanal pencil sharpening. After the show I happened to walk by the empty storefront of Adobe Books on 16th Street, which had a table of free books out front.

§ Out of Print (2013)
USA, 55 min, Vivienne Roumani

How to Sharpen Pencils (2013)
USA, 10 min, Kenneth Price

12th Annual SF DocFest
Roxie Theater
June 18,  2013, 7PM

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