What makes books the sine qua non of publishing? One can admit that books have been a comforting constant at some point in their lives. The feel of crisply-bound pages coupled with the smell of print books provide feelings of pure bliss. While the ability to purchase and instantly read a book online is a difficult one to resist, e-books have so far failed to displace books as the preferred literary medium. Interestingly, data from Pew Research indicates that only 7% of Americans consume books digitally. In her book, Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in the Digital World, neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf opines that printed text allows readers to absorb details comprehensively by cultivating empathy and perspective. It appears that paper books are likely to stay for a while, just like video failed to kill the radio star.
ArchiTangle is a Berlin-based independent publishing house and digital service provider in the architectural space, focusing on knowledge transfer and projects of social relevance. Founded in 2019, ArchiTangle’s publishing program spans the entire architecture spectrum and aims to preserve the exchange of architectural knowledge through publications and archiving. ArchiTangle’s publishing service combines physical and digital innovations to provide an immersive literary experience for academics, historians and architecture enthusiasts.
The architect is the instigator of new creations, an all-round consultant who is responsible for planning, designing and constructing buildings. A rapidly evolving architectural landscape, in combination with growing demand for public discourses has led ArchiTangle to publish books on built, planned and speculative architectural projects. Knowledge exchange in the architecture spectrum primarily takes place through publications. Aiming to preserve publications as a cultural asset, ArchiTangle offers a means to make the architecture book irreplaceable by adhering to high quality standards associated with content, individual graphic implementation and exclusive material selection.
ArchiTangle works with architects and artists to develop creative concepts and designs, unique to each book. With decades of experience in printing and prepress, ArchiTangle manages the entire physical process of publishing top-shelf quality books. From text work to the entire layout, everything can be individually adapted and put together. Each book project has an individual team of experts and a project manager, who is the central contact person in the publishing house for the client and who organizes and controls the smooth running of the work processes.
Having been vetted by an entire network of people, books are trusted to be legitimate sources of information. However, ArchiTangle aims to promote multi-channel knowledge transfer beyond the traditional book trade. In the case of traditional book publishing, publishers are often responsible for determining what content will or will not be published by their firm. Authors are limited by the content they can provide to readers due to issues related to printing costs, book size and relevant information. ArchiTangle’s distinctive Book+ Program enables authors to provide complementary digital content to their readers such as images, videos, plans, and designs relevant to the book.
Considered as a memory palace by many, the internet is thought to be a platform where “what you read is what was written.” However, the internet is slowly gaining repute as an amnesiac: information that was once thought to be permanent can now be deleted out without leaving a trace. Blum and Beyer (2018) define digital permanence as “techniques used to anticipate and then meet the expected lifetime of data stored in digital media.” The concreteness of data has become a prevalent issue in society, with every technological leap bringing with it copious amounts of critical information.
Information is not easily controllable once in cyberspace, as seen by the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. Numerous hyperlinks on the internet tend to point to websites, servers or data that is permanently unavailable. This could be due to a myriad of reasons: intentional content removal by the owner, links being taken down as a result of legal orders or a mere website closure. In short, none of us can predict how long the information on web pages can survive.
ArchiTangle’s Book+ program adopts sophisticated distributed ledger technology (DLT) to store content that is permanent and immutable. Blockchain technology, one of the variants of DLTs, is a decentralized, distributed computer architecture where in all information is permanently stored and cannot be forged. The features of DLT make it an ideal solution for permanent data storage. Through the Book+ program, book owners gain direct access to additional digital contemporary content directly from the author. Unlike the uncertainty surrounding the availability of information today, DLT ensure that additional content stored as part of the Book+ program will be available for access until perpetuity… just like paper books!