Week 787

What’s this? I’m blogging about my work on a weekly basis – a simple way to track and archive whatever it is I spend my time on.

Last week on Monday, my ebook piracy op-ed appeared in nrc.next; I put it online a day later (in Dutch): Mijn schoonvader heeft mijn boek gejat.

Interestingly, a similar piece by my friend Harry Hol was in NRC Handelsblad that afternoon. And writer Kluun did the same in de Volkskrant. We all tried to bring some nuance and realism to a discussion about ‘stolen’ books and inescapable downward spirals.

Then something even more interesting happened. Some of the major Dutch book publishers announced a ‘streaming’ book service. My op-ed called for authors to take the initiative to innovate, for two main reasons. This announcement pretty much nullified the first reason: that publishers (and bookstores) aren’t doing anything. Apparently they are!

The announcement only strengthens the second reason, though: that publishers are going to do what’s good for them, not necessarily what’s good for authors. As I said in the piece, I don’t want to be reduced to a stream. I want to be more prominent than that, and take a bigger chunk of revenues; authors’ interest in the survival of the publishing industry should only go so far. We better take care of ourselves! (Related thought: are books even suited for the ‘all you can eat’ model? How many are you going to read anyway?)

Auke Hulst and Abdelkader Benali share some of my worries about publishers employing their own streaming book service. If anything, it’s good that this issue seems to be on everyone’s radars now.

On Monday afternoon, my Flappy Bird piece was printed in NRC Handelsblad, and on Tuesday morning in nrc.next too, together with three short iOS reviews. It’s online here (in Dutch): Slecht gemaakt, onmenselijk moeilijk én een enorme hit.

By the time it was in the paper, I was sick and tired of the whole Flappy Bird thing. Although I’m happy with my analysis, I guess I’m just not interested in writing about whatever the rest of the world is already writing about, often in much longer and detailed form. What makes this particular case worse is that there’s so little there, that it’s easy to overanalyze. The current explosion of parodies and mashups is much more interesting than the game itself…

I fell ill on Tuesday, though I was still able to help reply to some enquiries from potential applied game development studios who might make the game I’ve been consulting on recently, and to edit two short game reviews that’d appear in nrc.next on Thursday: OlliOlli by Rogier Kahlmann and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII by Harry Hol.

The illness lasted all the way through Thursday. On Friday, I was back in action, writing some copy for a small game Codeglue is working on. And I couldn’t resist the urge to jot down a quick outline of the next book I want to write.