Sobre la distribución del conocimiento en el capitalismo de plataformas: acceso abierto al contenido pero no a los datos sobre sus usuarios, Bodó Balázs

«La distribución de libros digitales (book-streaming), la tarifa plana, el formato come todo lo que puedas de acceso a los libros se encuentra únicamente disponible en los audiolibros, pero raramente en los e-books. Me pregunto por qué. ¿Han notado que no hay demandas grandes por piratería de libros?

Por supuesto está la demanda contra Sci-Hub y Library Genesis en Nueva York, y hay otra en Canada en contra de aaaaarg, que es un problema mayúsculo para aquellos que han sido nombrados en estos casos. Pero esto es casi insignificante comparado a las guerras de alto perfil que la industria de la música y la industria audiovisual libro en contra de Napster, Grokster, Kazaa, megaupload y otras similares. Es como si los editores de libros se hubieran dado por vencido en intentar luchar contra la piratería en las cortes, y hubieran lanzado unas cuantas demandas únicamente para mantener la apariencia de que aún les importan los derechos de autor en el espacio digital. Me pregunto por qué.

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Sobre cómo se está transformando la industria del libro y la naturalización del «open access», Bodó Balázs

«Book-streaming, the flat-rate, the all-you-can-eat format of accessing books is at the moment only available to audiobooks, but rarely for e-books. I wonder why.

Did you notice that there are no major book piracy lawsuits?

Of course there is the lawsuit against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis in New York, and there is another one in Canada against aaaaarg, causing major nuisance to those who have been named in these cases. But this is almost negligible compared to the high profile wars the music and audiovisual industries waged against Napster, Grokster, Kazaa, megaupload and their likes. It is as if book publishers have completely given up on trying to fight piracy in the courts, and have launched a few lawsuits only to maintain the appearance that they still care about their digital copyrights. I wonder why.
I know the academic publishing industry slightly better than the mainstream popular fiction market, and I have the feeling that in the former copyright-based business models are slowly being replaced by something else. We see no major anti-piracy efforts from publishers, not because piracy is non-existent — on the contrary, it is global, and it is big — but because the publishers most probably realized that in the long run the copyright-based exclusivity model is unsustainable. The copyright wars of the last two decades taught them that law cannot put an end to piracy. As the Sci-Hub case demonstrates, you can win all you want in a New York court, but this has little real-world effect as long as the conditions that attract the users to the shadow libraries remain.
Exclusivity-based publishing business models are under assault from other sides as well. Mandated open access in the US and in the EU means that there is a quickly growing body of new research for the access of which publishers cannot charge money anymore. LibGen and Sci-Hub make it harder to charge for the back catalogue. Their sheer existence teaches millions on what uncurtailed open access really is, and makes it easier for university libraries to negotiate with publishers, as they don’t have to worry about their patrons being left without any access at all.
The good news is that radical open access may well be happening. It is a less and less radical idea to have things freely accessible. One has to be less and less radical to achieve the openness that has been long overdue. Maybe it is not yet obvious today and the victory is not yet universal, maybe it’ll take some extra years, maybe it won’t ever be evenly distributed, but it is obvious that this genie, these millions of books on everything from malaria treatments to critical theory, cannot be erased, and open access will not be undone, and the future will be free of access barriers.»

Sobre la nueva ecología del libro, Bodó Balázs

«I started to buy books again, usually books that I’d already read from a stolen copy on-screen. I know what I want to buy, I know what is worth preserving. I know what I want to show to my son, what I want to pass on, what I would like to take care of over time. Before, book buying for me was an investment into a stranger. Now that thrill is gone forever. I measure up the merchandise well beforehand, I build an intimate relationship, we make love again and again, before moving in together.

It is certainly a new kind of relationship with the books I bought since I got my e-reader. I still have to come to terms with the fact that the books I bought this way are rarely opened, as I already know them, and their role is not to be read, but to be together. What do I buy, and what do I get? Temporal, existential security? The chance of serendipity, if not for me, then for the people around me? The reassuring materiality of the intimacy I built with these texts through another medium?

All of these and maybe more. But in any case, I sense that this library, the physical embodiment of a physical-electronic hybrid collection with its unopened books and overflowing e-reader memory cards, is very different from the library I had, and the library I’m getting rid of at this very moment. The library that I inherited, the library that grew organically from the detritus of the everyday, the library that accumulated books similar to how the books accumulated dust, as is the natural way of things, this library was full of unknowns, it was a library of potentiality, of opportunities, of trips waiting to happen. This new, hybrid library is a collection of things that I’m familiar with.

I intimately know every piece, they hold little surprise, they offer few discoveries — at least for me. The exploration, the discovery, the serendipity, the pre-screening takes place on the e-reader, among the ephemeral, disposable PDFs and epubs.

Have everything, and own a few.


This new hybrid model is based on the cheap availability of digital books. In my case, the free availability of pirated copies available through shadow libraries. These libraries don’t have everything on offer, but they have books in an order of magnitude larger than I’ll ever have the time and chance to read, so they offer enough, enough for me to fill up hard drives with books I want to read, or at least skim, to try, to taste. As if I moved into an infinite bookstore or library, where I can be as promiscuous, explorative, nomadic as I always wanted to be. I can flirt with books, I can have a quickie, or I can leave them behind without shedding a single tear.

I don’t know how this hybrid library, and this analogue-digital hybrid practice of reading and collecting would work without the shadow libraries which make everything freely accessible. I rely on their supply to test texts, and feed and grow my print library. E-books are cheaper than their print versions, but they still cost money, carry a risk, a cost of experimentation. Book-streaming, the flat-rate, the all-you-can-eat format of accessing books is at the moment only available to audiobooks, but rarely for e-books. I wonder why.»

Descargable aquí:

Haz clic para acceder a Memory_of_the_World_ed_Guerrilla_Open_Access_2018.pdf

¿Y qué tal si la revolución social y política entre los seres humanos deja la relación entre la especie humana y la vida en el mismo lugar? ¿Qué tal que el problema ante la catástrofe climática no fuera ya el de la justicia exclusivamente entre los humanos?

“But what if the problem today were not that of a justice among humans? What if social political revolution among human beings were still to leave the relation between the human species and life in the same place? Today’s frequently cited Marxist cry—it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism —should be read as symptomatic. Should we not be more concerned with the world’s end than the relations among markets and individuals? The Marxist premise that we cannot save the world ecologically until capitalism is dealt with, should be questioned, and reversed: as long as we imagine life and the world to be primarily anthropogenic, or emerging from human meaning and history, we will not confront the disjunction between the human species (in all its modes) and the life that it regards as its own. A new mode of critique that would not be political would be required. Indeed, it is the political gesture, or the understanding of conflicts as ultimately intra-human, that needs to be questioned. One needs a hypo-Marxism or counter-Marxism whereby the very premise of Marxism—man as a laboring animal who furthers his own life—needs to be recognized as the limit of thinking. For what ‘we’ cannot accept is the obvious counter to this assumption: man is not an animal who furthers his own survival.”

Claire Colebrook, Death of the Posthuman, descargable aquí:

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