Via TCTD I saw Kieran’s tweet about a new chiptune book. As far as I know, this is the second book on the topic, after Nils Dittbrenner’s one in German (which is very good, btw). But this one is a bit different, because it uses content from Wikipedia. But it doesn’t just copy the information. It’s a bit more fancy/trashy than that. Looking at the title of the book it’s quite obvious that it’s automatically generated content. The title reads: “Chiptune: Video game console, Sample-based synthesis, Golden Age, Video game music, Electronic musical instrument, Pulse-width modulation, Elektron SidStation, … Wavetable synthesis, Arpeggio, GoatTracker.” The title was made by using all the links in the order they appear at the chiptune-article at Wikipedia.
I would love to have this book! It’s 76 pages long, so there has to be some good stuff in there. I have some kind of love-hate relationship with these algorithmic attempts to communicate. Spam poetry, etc. The only thing is — the book costs 51 US Dollars!
The publisher of the book, Alphascript Publishing, “anually publish more than 10,000 new titles and are thus one of the leading publishing houses of academic research. We specialize in publishing copyleft projects”. So they scrape Wikipedia for content and at the moment they offer almost 40,000 books at Amazon, priced at something like 40 to 80 US Dollars. All the books that I have seen are edited by the same three persons. There are books about blogs and bazookas, eyes and aztecs, the high court of Australia, Lufthansa and intestines, and so on. They also have three other books that mention chiptune. This is probably the most well-published and well-educated editors in the world, as a commenter hinted here.
I don’t know if they have a print-on-demand thing connected to Amazon, or some other smart solution. But I like the idea that Amazon is stocking up on tens of thousands of books full of generated shit-scheisse. How can you get 76 pages from a single Wikipedia-article? Spam-style gets materialized, and injected back into the economy, sitting on some Amazon shelves somewhere. Post-digital and post-algorithmic, yep. Everybody’s happy, because noone is stupid enough to buy these books. Right? We are supposed to be the rational economic man. Yep. Hello.
But please, if you bought the book — step forward. Or scan it and e-mail it anonymously. You will be rewarded with a unique dot matrix copy of my chipmusic thesis, when it’s finished in August. It’s definitely free from auto-generated content. Hand-made information to clean the universe.