Matt Briggs’ The End is the Beginning is truly just the beginning

I’m very excited to see not only that Matt Briggs has a new collection of stories, but it’s available in three eco-friendly formats: a web-powered Google Books preview edition, downloadable PDF, and print-on-demand trade paperback.

I’ve been a fan of Matt’s work for several years now and was lucky to convince him to drive all the way down from Seattle to do a reading and visit my fiction writing class (upon whom I took full advantage/opportunity to impose his wonderful collection Misplaced Alice). Also, as an editor at Clackamas Literary Review a couple of years ago, I gleefully plucked Matt’s story “The Death of Charlotte Bronte” from the submission stack and fast-tracked it into the 2007 issue. The experiments in his stories are subtle little knives that do their damage very sweetly, and I highly value the direction he is heading by opening up this new collection to the brave new world of electronic publishing.

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3 responses to “Matt Briggs’ The End is the Beginning is truly just the beginning

  • Matt Briggs

    Thanks Trevor.

    It is a relief, really, to see that you noticed the release of my book…a trick to me of publishing and reading books is how to do it in way that doesn’t completely squash other people. The thing I like about online stuff is that it just grows to accommodate all the people who are making things and reading things. When there is more, there is just more.

    In the old world of bookshelves and retail stores and literary readings, there was a fixed number of feet for books to fill. There was a fixed number of days of the week that reading can happen. When an author reads in Seattle, for instance, at the Elliott Bay Book Company, they took up one slot among a fixed number of slots. Their books also took up space. I’m fortunate that I’m still getting the three and a half of inches from Elliott Bay, and I feel awkward asking for them for more inches. (You can take that any way you like!)

    And so in this old world when someone speaks, they block out anyone else who wants to speak. A stack of books from Jonathan Raban for instance means there isn’t a stack of book from someone else. This actually a favor for a person who comes to a bookstore to browse. There is now way they could make sense of a bookstore filled with all of the books published every quarter.

    Instead, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that a book published primarily online (aside from the pragmatic reality that is about a million times easier to manage logistically) does not displace other books. There aren’t any shelves. Bookstores are unlikely to host a reading for a virtual book. How would you buy such a book? With your iPhone from the author or at the cash register?

    Books coexist peaceful online with reading. I’m unsure where the idea that digital technology is hostile reading comes from — I think there is some kind of odd transfer from the long standing prejudice against the television and vide games being applied. The digital is hostile to the current corporate media ecology.

    I thought Jessica Crispin made her point very well a recent essay in the Washington Post.

    “Now, of course, with Amazon, Abebooks and Powells, no rural teenager has to beg her parents for a ride into town to stare at the same books that have been for sale for the past 15 years. Every single book that has ever existed is a point, a click and a parents’ credit card number away.” OBetter, the same rural teenager can make their own books and find books written by nearly anyone that interests them no matter how backwoods or erudite their tastes are … despite the decline in the publishing industry and maybe even the shift of mass literacy to whatever is meant by post-literacy I think there the same kinds of people, you know bookish people, will like books in the future. I like books and play video games. My daughter likes books even though she as a pink Nintendo DS attached to her left eye like a barnacle.

    I hadn’t thought of my book being green. Any book I’ve ever published has had print runs so low that I doubt nothing beyond a couple of rounds of wood were lost. But, I guess it is green.

    Thanks again,
    Matt

  • the lid

    matt and trevor and whoever else i can seduce:

    READ THIS BOOK.

    loyally yours,
    lidia

  • trevor

    Matt, I love the way you’re thinking about using online publishing and distribution as a way to allow a little extra wiggle room out there for those who want it. And I totally totally totally agree 100 million percent about the false impression that books and games are mutually exclusive combatants in the (supposedly) fierce competition for readers’ eyes. Shane and I actually talked a bit about that in an upcoming episode of First Wall Rebate that we recorded last week, particularly how the archivist impulse is something we can easily track in games culture now.

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