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"I can keep it on my bookshelf without worry of remote recall."
July 1, 2014 12:19 PM   Subscribe

"E-book backup is a physical, tangible, human readable copy of an electronically stored novel. The purchased contents of an e-book reader were easily photocopied and clip-bound to create a shelf-stable backup for the benefit of me, the book consumer."

Other projects by Jesse England include learning to write in different fonts, staring newscasters, streetview film camera and iPhone 1 case for the iPhone 5.
posted by jessamyn (31 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite

 
Calling the iPhone 1 "retro" and "nostalgic" proves that those words don't actually mean anything anymore, honestly.
posted by emptythought at 12:23 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Or it's sarcastic art making a point about the ephemeral nature of modern conveniences.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:28 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


emptythought, I was pretty sure that was (sandpaper-dry) comedy.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:30 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


(hi Slap*Happy)
posted by en forme de poire at 12:30 PM on July 1


I get that this is an art project and all, but I kid you not, we've had people doing this (and laptop screens!!) in our public copy center.
posted by xedrik at 12:35 PM on July 1


Oh goddammit this is exactly the kind of thing I love and want to post about.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:35 PM on July 1


Along the same lines as the iPhone 1 case, his What if the Simpsons existed in the 90s? is funnier the longer I look at it.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:36 PM on July 1 [12 favorites]


What if the Simpsons existed in the 90s?

Yes! Because, um, they did exist in the 90s. So the whole thing is creating a lot of weird sort-of-nostalgia but with very sincere intent (I think? I don't get a "Fuck you this is ironic" vibe from any of it) which was what made it stand out to me over other "I'm a social commentator art person from Portland OR" stuff I've seen.
posted by jessamyn at 12:43 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


"We would like our steaks boiled for 17 minutes, with no seasoning."
posted by graymouser at 12:46 PM on July 1


Paper is actually a decent backup medium. Paper documents can survive for hundreds of years, which is what, an order of magnitude better than CDs and DVDs, format changes notwithstanding?

With that in mind, may i recommend PaperBak? I use it for backing up small amounts of critical info, like password databases, cryptographic keys, two-factor authentication backup codes, and other digital documents. You could probably fit a kindle book onto a reasonable number of printed pages, especially if you have a good scanner and can print/scan in duplex.
posted by rustcrumb at 12:48 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the reductio ad absurdam aspect of it makes it feel more like an exploration of what nostalgia is and how it's created, vs. just simple irony.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:49 PM on July 1


Of course, it took me 5 seconds to get the point of the e-book backup ('Wait, why doesn't he just buy -- oh, right!')

I love the convenience of my kindle, but I don't love the drm, so whenever I buy an ebook from Amazon I use Calibre (and the necessary plugin) to strip the drm and save the book to my hard drives.

(Also, this picture kills me.)
posted by supermassive at 12:51 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Wait.. posted by jessamyn? As in 'running off to work on the internet archive' jessamyn? Oh dear god, like the rainforests aren't in enough trouble already.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:06 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


This is reminding me of Viz Top Tips ("Back up" your e-book purchases by simply photocopying the screen display of each page and clipping them together in a handy hard cover). I mean this in a good way.
posted by billiebee at 1:06 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


(Also, this picture kills me.)

It's kindles all the way down.

I used to do xerox art by, for instance, taking the stuff out of my pocket, xeroxing it all, then laying that copy behind the stuff in my pocket, effectively doubling it, doubling it again, adding newspaper clippings jumbled up to make nonsensical headlines, what not. There's a certain type of enlargement crud you can only get from blowing up copies of copies over & over by 200%. One can have fun with copiers.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:32 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


For pretty much all of my own electronic content, I either strip the DRM or buy the DRM'ed version and then download a pirated version that I actually use. I know it's technically illegal but I don't feel morally conflicted about it.
posted by VTX at 3:00 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Great for readers. the more up-to-date of us lug around the 28 volume 'the Wire' flip book edition, for when the DVD player keels over.
posted by davemee at 3:28 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


But, paper is just a tad delicate. I wonder if there would be a market for a bitmap embossed onto steel or titanium? Perhaps carbon fiber? We need a sub-site of projects for MiFi venture investors.
posted by sammyo at 3:35 PM on July 1


So the whole thing is creating a lot of weird sort-of-nostalgia but with very sincere intent (I think? I don't get a "Fuck you this is ironic" vibe from any of it)

Huh? I don't understand your read on this at all. Isn't the Simpsons video, just like the iPhone case, a (very funny, biting) parody of the recent Internet's love of five-minutes-ago pop-culture "nostalgia"?

more like an exploration of what nostalgia is and how it's created, vs. just simple irony

Why can't it be both? I don't think I understand what "irony" means in this thread, if this somehow isn't it. Like, yes, it's not a dumb one-note parody, but no, that doesn't mean it's not a parody at all nor does that make it sincere and straightforward.
posted by RogerB at 3:52 PM on July 1


The phrase 'book consumer' (about which I won't quibble, even though it makes me unhappy) makes me want to somehow rig up a 3-D printer to print paperthin edible substrate (like some kind of seaweed or something) on which the words of the ebook are actually reproduced, page by virtual page, that you can actually consume on a daily basis.

I want to eat my way through some great books!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:19 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


The purchased contents of an e-book reader were easily photocopied and clip-bound

An e-book can easily (in theory anyway) be printed, but when you get into many hundreds of pages, it certainly isn't cheap. Just buying a paperback would be cheaper than the printer. Or am I missing something?
posted by zardoz at 4:24 PM on July 1


Or am I missing something?

It's an art project. He's taking the piss.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:35 PM on July 1


real. artifice.
real artifice.
real.
artifice.

real artifice.

real artifice.

Nope, I still can't wrap my brains around it. But I like it anyway!
posted by not_on_display at 5:04 PM on July 1


It's kindles all the way down.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:19 PM on July 1


stavrosthewonderchicken: I want to eat my way through some great books!

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.


Mark Strand
posted by Sing Fool Sing at 6:09 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Paper is actually a decent backup medium. Paper documents can survive for hundreds of years, which is what, an order of magnitude better than CDs and DVDs, format changes notwithstanding?

The failure modes of paper are a bit more straightforward, too. Sure, a fire or flood will destroy paper, but hard drives and other digital media don't survive those all that well either. You are unlikely to accidentally reformat your bookshelf, or have some random virus maliciously encrypt it.

On the other hand, digital files are somewhat easier to back up off-site. And while paper and analog media experience "generation loss" if you try to copy them from degraded media onto new, some digital media can experience "generation gain" where the copy is better than the original.

If that sounds like it should be impossible, keep in mind some digital formats include enough redundant information to correct a certain number of errors encountered while reading them. When you make a copy of such media, you can fix all the corrupted bits in the process, so your copy has fewer errors than the original.

There's a happy medium in there somewhere involving DRM-free open formats, durable removable storage, and error correction codes. I feel like the current state of eBooks is mostly not that, however.
posted by FishBike at 6:42 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


emptythought, I was pretty sure that was (sandpaper-dry) comedy.

It is, but the fact that it even works as satire still says quite a lot about the meaning(or lake thereof) of those phrases in 2014.
posted by emptythought at 9:53 PM on July 1


I really want the paper camera. Gave me an idea for "developing" the film. Creating your movie's output generates a flipbook, with the frames of the short video on the odd numbered pages, and then using PaperBak or some binary-to-text format to contain the actual video on even numbered pages.

Essentially, the animated gif turns into a book. And then, if one has the patience, the book can be turned back into the animated gif.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:03 PM on July 1


It is, but the fact that it even works as satire still says quite a lot about the meaning(or lake thereof) of those phrases in 2014.

Yes, now those words have more meanings than before.
posted by Drexen at 3:06 AM on July 2


his What if the Simpsons existed in the 90s? is funnier the longer I look at it.

Oh man, that is perfection. Perfection.
posted by cortex at 9:53 AM on July 2


BTW, I posted the "what if the Simpsons existed in the 90s" thing on Facebook and at least three people were like "uh, for your information it DID exist in the 90s, kids these days!!" I was despairing for humanity until someone posted this amazingly appropriate clip.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:49 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


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