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Re: [BKARTS] Twittering Twits...

Peter Verheyen wrote:
do emails (in a laptop) or twittering constitute books?
Not until they are arranged in a book-like form, I think.

I created a book in 1997 from email discussions -- "Lineland, Mortality and Mercy on the Internet's Pynchon-L@Waste Org Discussion List" by Jules Siegel, Christine Wexler, et al. -- that was published by Intangible Assets Manufacturing (which then promptly went out of business). I believe that this was the first book that was done from actual emails, although there was at least one earlier, "Microserfs" that used fictional emails. The publisher was Dale Larson, a truly legendary computer pioneer who had worked for Commodore and put together a book on connecting an Amiga to the Internet, not a trivial task. He also published Torn Shapes of Desire by Maryanne Mohanraj <http://www.mamohanraj.com/torn.html>, who ran a very active email list devoted to literary erotica.

Dale gave me full creative control. I not only created the text, but also designed the book and its cover. The emails were covered by fair use but we took the precaution of sending a pre-publication notification to each of the people whose items appeared in the book offering them two free copies each. None of them complained, but someone else got wind of it, and started a huge "plagiarism" flamewar, which was reported in media such as Wired. It was an absurd issue as fully 75% of the content was my work, but I so cleverly interleaved with carefully edited email excerpts that it produced the impression that it was a verbatim record.

There were a number of very good reviews, except for one outraged Pynchon expert who didn't seem to get the idea that the book was mainly a work of humor and autobiography, even though I explained that in the introduction.
See <http://cafecancun.com/bookarts/reviews.shtml> for the media reactions.

Lineland is now becoming a bit scarce and its price is appreciating on sites like abebooks.com. I republished it on Lulu, but the low resolution images somehow got sent in the pdf, so I can't recommend buying it until I fix that, which I hope to do forthwith, along with some other Lulu tasks that I've neglected. Meanwhile, you can see a preview at <http://www.lulu.com/content/548705>. Lineland is in the Artists' Books Collection of the Museum of Modern Arts.

JULES SIEGEL Apdo. 1764, 77501-Cancun, Q. Roo, Mexico

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