Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chamber Four--A Review by David Duhr

The Fringe blog will be running an interview with Fringe EIC Lizzie Stark and the founders of Chamber Four, a new blog "for readers of books and ebooks," in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Fringe Assistant Fiction Editor David Duhr fills us in on the backstory:

Halfway between Harvard and MIT, a new website devoted to readers is developing an underground following that grows by the day. Chamber Four—created by Nico Vreeland, Sean Clark, and Eric Markowsky—provides daily news and analysis about the world of publishing, literature, and e-reading technology, always advocating for book readers stymied by an industry that often puts them second (or third, or fourth). These guys aren’t afraid to let their opinions loose, and their content is presented in a manner that is both informative and entertaining.

The C4 team scours the Internet to bring users only the most interesting and relevant reader-related news, while also sharing their own hopes and concerns about the future of e-readers, paper books, and the publishing industry as a whole. Book reviews are posted at a near-daily pace, with easy-to-follow ratings designed to help readers find good books quickly. The e-reader comparison will help those interested in e-reading technology but unsure of where to start.

Comments are welcome, readers are invited to send in their own book reviews (I’ve done it … just click Submit), and the trio has plans to launch a literary journal, and maybe even an online press, sometime in the near future.

For now, though, Chamber Four is content to be just what it is—a champion of book readers and an online haven for those of us increasingly frustrated with the underhandedness and incompetence of the publishing industry. As the creators write in their “About” page, “We like authors, we respect publishers, we enjoy booksellers; but we think of readers first and foremost.”

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