Now Reading: L.A. Review of Books, Detroit, RZA

‘Now Reading’ is a collection and sharing of online stories and is meant for minimal consumption by the few readers of this blog. Topics will include books, food, matters of culture, photography, media and technology … there are no rules. Have a story to add? Share it in the comments.

Another 100,000 galleys

This floated around Twitter the other day, and it’s a good piece from Joseph Peschel in the Los Angeles Review of Books in March about self-publishing and the future of the medium. We are still fairly new to the concept of self-publishing books – I’ll say we’re not “fairly new” anymore when self-publishing doesn’t bring an automatic stigma and major traditional publishing houses find a way to get some skin in the game – and I still think it will be a while until publishing in e-book form becomes the preferred choice of established authors (and that’s directly correlated with the percentage of the reading population using such digital devices to consume their books).

And while there are varying opinions about how this all could work out, every discussion has a common theme: that this IS where publishing is headed. One of the most interesting parts of Peschel’s piece, to me, is the stubbornness of the various book review newspaper sections and book award committees to shun e-books from their review processes. There’s a practical element I certainly understand – there’d be an impossible number of books to keep up with, if there aren’t already – but there are also shades of an attitude of, “This is how we’ve always done it, and this is how we’ll continue to do it lest there be more work for us to do.”

And I think that attitude is going to be forced to change. It’ll change when some of the most well-known authors start publishing works in digital forms. Times change with technology, which then drives the advancement of our products. This is a great thing – we usually end up with something better. All industries must stay ahead of these changes to stay ahead of competitors. That’s coming in book publishing. It’s just a matter of which publishing house is going to take the lead and figure out how to best monetize its digital product (it’s also fascinating to think about, because of the costs saved by going digital, how many fewer sold e-books it will take to create the current amount of revenue).

Amid newfound glory, echoes of old Detroit

I enjoyed this essay in The New York Times by Bill Morris about Lindell A.C., and old-time Detroit bar and restaurant that used to attract athletes and locals alike. One of those fell-good, old-time America pieces that warms the heart just a little bit.

For RZA, hip-hop was just a prelude to Kung Fu

Cool piece from Dave Itzkoff about Robert Diggs – or RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan – about how his lifelong love of film has led him into a second career in feature-filmmaking. Diggs has a particular interest in films with action revolving around martial arts (born from an interest in Far East culture). There’s a quote that I loved from RZA: “I got a bad habit of creating.” This could be taken to mean many things, particularly his desire to develop characters and turn them into content (like his rap career). But I read it as RZA has always had ideas, but he didn’t know how to see them to fruition. His own personal immaturity and professional inexperience used to hinder him. He had two films that never saw the light. Now, it seems, he’s taking the step from Idea Guy to Producer. His film, “The Man With the Iron Fists,” will be out on Nov. 2, featuring RZA, Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu.

Email: Twitter: @TMitrosilis

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