Chalk up one more for traditional media. We’ve been plugging Harmony and Dissent by Bruce Elder since its release a better part of a year ago. It’s a great book and most recently, you may recall, won the Robert Motherwell Book Award from the Dedalus Foundation. Sales have been respectable, but it’s an expensive hardcover academic book, and in these times of fiscal restraint that format is a harder sell.
So you can imagine my curiosity when I noticed a jump in sales of this title just a few days ago. I wondered if news of the award was just filtering through. This morning in my mail, however, was a clipping of the review in CHOICE Magazine, a publication of the American Library Association, used by many librarians for collection development. I can’t reproduce the whole review, because it is under copyright, but here’s a sampling of what the reviewer says:
With a distinguished career as a filmmaker and critic, Elder (Ryerson Univ.) comes qualified to discuss this subject. In this rich, complex book, he sets out to explore both the “absolute film tradition” as it developed principally in Germany and France (particularly in the work of Walter Ruttman, Hans Richter, and Viking Eggeling) and the development of constructivism in the Russian tradition (especially in the work of Sergei Eisenstein).
Elder’s masterful book is a must for everyone interested in cinematic modernism, particularly the early-20th-century European avant-gardes. Summary: Essential
What this means to me is that we need to continue to find ways for various platforms of media to survive. Regardless of premonitions of doom for print media, it’s obvious that, at least at this point, there are still people, or perhaps sectors, who are using it. In the case of CHOICE, the review would have been printed in a magazine, and also made available online to subscribers only. What would make this website even more valuable would be a free section so that archived reviews would be accessible without a subscription.