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Reading Machines: Toward an Actual Publication Date

I am very flattered by the number of congratulations I’ve received on and offline for the publication of my book, Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism. (University of Illinois Press). Many have even pre-ordered it, and I fully intend to reimburse anyone who does that by buying them beer. But I must point out that the book is not actually out. When I try to click through and order a copy, it tells me that it won’t be available until the first week of December.

I don’t know how accurate that is (it’s the first time I’ve read an actual release date). I can say that the book is very close to being ready for the printer.

But now that it has been revealed, I want to take this opportunity to point out how amazing the cover is. I didn’t have any brilliant suggestions to make about cover art (I’m kind of a text guy), and so I just left it to the design department at Illinois. They hired a brilliant designer named Alex de Armond ( who created the image by layering blank pages from Google Books, thus creating a texture somewhat like the layers of an onion skin. The thumb, of course, is one of the infamous artifacts from the Google Books scanning process. I am so very, very glad that I left this decision to others. I think it’s fantastic.

And really, why not judge a book by its cover?

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