Category Archives: readers

the doctor the salon

Well, I don’t want to give away much about what was a blindingly brilliant episode of Doctor Who, but suffice to say the library survived, though the whole collection had been backed up on the biggest mainframe in the universe. The Doctor also met a mysterious future friend whose diary was a reassuringly dog-eared notebook, not a wafer thin superblackberry.
Thanks to those readers who have been introducing themselves below – and I agree with not-so-snarky James that the writing finds the audience, but it is intriguing to discover a bit more about who finds us.
UK readers of if:book living near Leicester are very welcome at a Salon event at the Institute of Creative Technologies to find students of the Creative Writing and New Media MA (that includes me) showcasing their work. It’s on Wednesday 18th June 2008, 5.30pm – 7.15pm (doors open at 5.00pm for drinks)
at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (see for map and directions)

if:book london… tomorrow the stars

We’ve now launched a website for if:book london, the British iteration of the Institute, at, and that links both to this blog and one which will focus on UK activities and in particular our work with the literature sector following a very positive reception by Arts Council England to the report by Mary and I: read:write – digital possibilities for literature and the imminent launch of another report, digital livings, how new media writers do, can and could make their way in the world , commissioned by the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University. We will be making both reports available to download as soon as possible.
I think this if:book blog is wonderful, stimulating, challenging, brilliant – and so somewhat daunting to post on. It has a strong sense of itself and, tell me if you disagree, but it doesn’t feel right to me to start bombarding this space with discussion of very specific issues to do with the UK literary scene and the organisations which work around it. Which isn’t to say that some posts shouldn’t appear in both places.
One reason I’m hesitant about writing here is uncertainty about who I’m talking to.
I would love to know more about if:book readers and wonder if some might be prepared to step forward and tell us briefly about themselves and why they keep an eye on this place.
I would love to see an anthology of if:book’s best bits, in print on page or screen. People have been writing serious, lengthy essays here, some of which quickly stimulate much attention, others drift by unnoticed like leaves in the blogflow and deserve fuller consideration.
Meanwhile Sara Lloyd, Head of digital publishing at Pan Macmillan in the UK quotes if:book in a fascinating book publishers manifesto for the 21st century. You can download it from It’s more evidence that the future of the book may be arriving shortly in the NOW and, having led the way up to this point, now is a good moment for the Institute to reflect further on what role(s) it wishes to play in a rapidly changing landscape, whether it should be looking much further ahead for next big futurethings or focusing on specific interventions in distribution and creation in the digital here and now.
However on the ‘it’ll-never-catch-on’ front, Doctor Who, Britain’s favourite time traveller, is trapped on a gigantic planet-sized library on BBC 1 this week. Electronic librarians oversee rows of very conventional looking dusty tomes and death lurks in the shadows. The Doctor has already told us how, despite all the advances in technology, future life forms still love nothing better than the smell and feel of a proper old book. No sign of the great grandchildren of Kindle here yet then, but it is only episode one. More next week!