Saturday, April 21, 2012

Can Byliner save writers?

Los Angeles Book Fest, Day One: A great start from the beginning, running into some of our favorite writers, M.G. Lord and Dana Gioia. Didn't get to see as many panels as I would have liked, but did get over to one that had the words "digital" and "narrative" in the title. At first, it was a letdown that most of the panel was about the writing business -- namely, can the digital landscape save (rather than obliterate) magazine, short story, and novel writers. But panelist Mark Bryant, co-founder and editor at Byliner, gave me hope that the state of online reading was on an upswing.

Anyone who's ever tried and failed to find a magazine or newspaper article by a certain writer within a site's clunky search engine should be pretty excited about Byliner. The site features original content but it also collects and, hooray!, CURATES excellent articles. I keep hearing that curation and editing will characterize Web 3.0, and here we go...

Another discovery from this panel is Atavist, a site that specializes in the kind of literary, lengthy magazine story that is becoming extinct. As the front section of the New York Times Magazine mimics a web-surfing 15-year-old buzzed on Arizona Iced Tea, web sites are stretching out and allowing us to luxuriate with a 25,000 word article. A positive trend.

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