I've seen quite a bit recently about "innovative" book publishing to empower writers to get their words out there.
A book called Golem Song by Mark Estrin is being serialised by Unbridled Books. The first three chapters were posted earlier this month, with a new chapter being added each Monday, both written and in podcast form, until the book is complete in November. You can subscribe for 8 US dollars, or for double that you end up with a signed copy of the book (bound, one assumes). Booksquare today has an interview with Caitlin Hamilton of Unbridled Books, who is coy about how many people are actually reading or listening to the chapters, but is upbeat about how the enterprise is going after the first couple of weeks.
The Grumpy Old Bookman, who has been posting chapters of his new book on his blog for a while under a creative commons licence, has written a couple of posts about Lulu.com, the successful print-on-demand publisher which recently gained much publicity from its "Lulu awards". The three authors (one a pair of coauthors, to be accurate) now interviewed by Michael Allen are all pleased with their sales and with Lulu in general. The experiences of Carla Nayland are particularly satisfying -- the very same Carla who turned out to be Elizabeth Bennet in the "Female Literary Character" quiz, and who has an excellent blog herself. (Small world?)
There have been many blogs and reports about Book Expo America (BEA) all over the blogs (my favourite reports were the ones about John Updike), as well as many bloggy and other reactions to Kevin Kelly's "Scan that Book" article (I have a copy of that if anyone wants it). My favourite summary of it all is that by Lynne Scanlon, one of the world's top three witches (Lynne is the Wicked Witch of Publishing, not Hermione Grainger or Ginerva Weasley). Lynne says: "Perhaps all those writers who faced the patient blank page everyday and nevertheless created a living, breathing book, but couldn’t find a traditional publisher, should self-publish right now online, and reap some of those rewards that are just out there ready to be discovered." (She also suggests unpublished writers send her an email so she can tell them about a service she is launching in a couple of weeks.)
Visit Skint Writer for other ways to get your words out there. Skint posts about a new blog called unmade-up, featuring "a growing collection of non-fiction miniatures". (I like the blog title.) Indeed, Unmade-up features a piece by a certain impoverished author whom I have on reliable authority subsists on something called cawl (soup), so worth a look. And despite being skint, the aforementioned gentleman is generously holding a short-story competition, complete with prize.
Finally for this post, I discovered (forget how, inevitably) a site called The Institute for the Future of the Book. The mission is to explore the fact that the "locus of intellectual discourse is moving from the printed page to the screen". This is manifesting itself as a "networked book", not bound by time or space, but evolving "within an ecology of readers, authors and texts", and by its nature, never finished -- always a work in progress. Although it is all fascinating, this is a project funded by academia, so it is hard to see it expanding to fiction books or books that individual authors are wanting to publish. But this type of experiment is one way in which new forms of "publishing" can evolve -- side by side with the mega book searching and scanning projects going on at Google and now Microsoft and Amazon (this last company having just added an online reader for its "inside book search" feature, but probably only on its US site).