• Crowd as Author: The folks at Lifebushido have just published a collectively authored book, entitled Why Are You Here Right Now? The book includes 1,000 answers to just that question, all submitted via Mechanical Turk. This is somewhat reminiscent of The Sheep Market,
which also capitalized on teh eagerness of Turkers to do anything for a fistful of pennies. The jury is still out on whether consumers find this kind of
group authorship to be compelling content. The Swedish consulting firm Interesting.org
– which uses a community of 30,000 to generate ideas for their clients
– recently published a book authored by 50 of their members, with another collaborative book in the works. Teo Hausen at interesting.org tells me it's sold well. It's only available in Sweden, so I have no idea of confirming this. Finally, in 2007 the artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher will publish a book featuring works contributed to their Web site Learningtoloveyoumore.com.
Some will point out that these are essentially just anthologies – hardly an experimental genre of literature. True enough, but I think there's something more interesting at play in the broadly participatory nature of these projects, which strive to represent the crowd in its very diversity, as opposed to representing a spcialized attribute through a select group of authors. At any rate all three books signify a new approach to the oldest medium and I'll be anxious to see how they fare.