Anna Lee Phillips, a senior editor at American Scientist, recently invited me to join her and book critic Phil Manning in a roundtable discussion about reviewing science books.
Here's a taste:
ALP: Do you see differences in the ways science is communicated in books that are published solely as e-books and books published in print? What new strategies are you seeing that you especially like?
CZ: The best of the e-books are the products of from-the-ground-up thinking. Rather than simply cloning an existing book, the innovative people are making good use of the electronic format. That may mean publishing a great 20,000 word story that’s too short for a traditional book but too long for a magazine feature—something we’re seeing done well by sites such as Byliner and the Atavist. Or that may mean reproducing exquisite facsimilies of Leonardo da Vinci’s lost anatomy notebooks interleaved with interactive graphics showing what we now know about how anatomy works—something that Touch Press has just published.
Unfortunately, a lot of e-books have become victims of the general decline of editorial oversight in publishing. We’re coming across a lot of slick e-books about science that show no signs of being edited at all. Some people think that if they just dump some text into a digital format, magic fairies will transform the content into gold.
You can read the rest here.