textual remixing

So, I was just reading a discussion of why there hasn’t been a big backlash against DRM in ebooks, and one answer was that most people don’t want to remix the content in their books.

But I thought of a really compelling reason for textual remixing: it would be really great to be able to make your own Loebs, in effect, by remixing the ebooks of new translations of texts with source texts– source texts which are, at least in some cases, freely available online. There have been interesting tablet-based apps for reading different texts, but it would be great if you could simply sync up translations with source texts on a tablet.

And the more I read ebooks, the more I think that the current set-up (in Kindle, for example, with an ebook linked directly to a dictionary) is pretty suboptimal. Reading Wilkie Collins, for example, there are a lot of expressions, words, etc., that are old-fashioned. God knows there are a lot of readers of Victorian novels, and it would be great if they could simply comment on words and phrases, and then have those comments be reincorporated into the ebooks themselves. Ebooks, and even their comments, are pretty lightweight…

Wilkie Collins

As I’ve gotten older, I really have come to respect Virgil. I think Dickens is basically in the Virgil category for me– I respect both, and basically like them, but they’re also a bit stuffy for me, too respectable perhaps.

But Wilkie Collins, I’m finding, I really do love. He’s pulpy, in a way, and sort of predictable. But also pretty great, too, because it’s pulpy and predictable in a well-done way. He’s not too far off from Lovecraft and especially Robert E. Howard, is what I’m trying to say.