Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Arthur Attwell
407 followers -
Tech, content, Africa enthusiast
Tech, content, Africa enthusiast

407 followers
About
Arthur's posts

Post has attachment
After all our groaning at government, us publishers had better come up with some concrete suggestions for how to change the way textbooks are made, paid for, and delivered. Here's mine. 

Post has attachment
Crowd-funding is one of the most intense and difficult short projects I've worked on. But when it gets really tiring, this great video that +Tarryn-Anne Anderson made from Book Dash books and +Shaun Swingler footage and a fabulous song from Simon and the Band just picks me right up.

Post has attachment
"We have more black authors, more major women writers, and they’re selling well internationally in more popular genres. It’s a very good time to be a wealthy book lover in South Africa. It’s not a good time to be anyone else."

I have some sobering things to say about local publishing, and explain what we're doing with Book Dash. 

Post has attachment
WhatsApp + TextSecure = HUGE FREAKIN WIN

Not many people realise what a big deal this is. Basically, till now it's been reeeaally easy for governments and other nefarious sorts to watch your WhatsApp conversations. No more, thanks to the team at Open Whisper Systems led my Moxie Marlinspike. I've had the pleasure of spending time with Moxie as Shuttleworth Foundation fellows. He has a firm spot on my top ten list of Most Interesting People. Thank goodness for people like him, making our crazy Interwebbed world safer without us even knowing it.

Post has attachment
Give kids free books? Hell, yeah.

Post has attachment
"Word … like all Platonic models … is magnificent in its inner coherence but mostly irrelevant to the real world."

Really wonderful piece on why working in MS Word is infuriating, and escaping it so liberating. I haven't used Word (or its open-source equivalents) in about a year, and I've never been happier writing. 

(On 8 November I'm speaking at the Professional Editors' Group's 21st birthday event at the Centre for the Book, and I'll be focusing on editing tools in a post-MS Word world. Let me know if you'd like details.)

Post has attachment
Great piece in the M&G about the one-textbook policy. Love this quote from a teacher in Limpopo: 

'“One textbook per grade could be good because the examination would be set based on it,” she said. “But the question is: Who is going to choose the textbook? Those people sit in their offices listening to music. They’re not in the classroom but they choose textbooks for us. If a book is a bit expensive, the chances are that it’s thoroughly researched by the authors. Those [authors] who know they are going to get peanuts won’t put in much effort.”'

Post has attachment
If you're following the one-textbook issue, I've just added links here to the official Publisher's Association response and a great submission from UCT's Assoc Prof Rob Siebörger.

The PASA submission is very thorough. It's not only a solid response, but also contains lots of important and interesting information about the nature of local educational publishing. (Disclosure: I was part of the team that worked on it. It was a great team effort to pull together many disparate points of view.)

Post has attachment
Help stop govt prescribing the same textbook for every child

If you're in books or education, you may have heard the DBE aims to prescribe one textbook per subject for the whole country. Many of us believe that this will do more harm than good. If you do, too, please add your name to this petition. It will form part of official public comment to the DBE due on Wed 8 Oct.

Post has attachment
The new publishing-industry must-read

Clay Shirky at his best. So many of these themes are familiar to me after years trying to get publishers behind distributed print-on-demand. I love this especially, Shirky on the physical and geographic barriers to book access that used to beset publishing: 

"…given recent technology, those barriers could be lowered. Demand can now create supply, in the form of ebooks and print on demand. This turns books into a different sort of commodity. No book need ever be out of stock, or out of print, anywhere in the world. It used to be that if you were OK with people in Podunk having inferior access to books than people in Brooklyn, you were just a realist about the difficulties of making and shipping physical stuff. Now if you’re OK with that, you’re kind of an asshole. In the twenty-first century, not being able to correctly stock or distribute a product whose main ingredient is information suggests a degree of technical and managerial incompetence indistinguishable from active malice."
Wait while more posts are being loaded