The Web Saves Old Books


New media need not destroy old. In fact, they can keep interest in and access to the old media alive. The Neglected Books Page at neglectedbooks. com, for example, helps sustain both memory of and access to the dead literary past.

Collating fresh essays of appreciation for long-out-ofprint books, mostly literary fiction, the site played a key role in getting at least one of its enthusiasms—Jetta Carleson's 1963 novel The Moonflower Vine—back into print. And it is about the only place on the Web to find excited and educated love expressed for the novels of libertarian founding mother Isabel Paterson.

While this method of spreading fan enthusiasm across the globe won't rescue fiction publishing as a business model, it keeps the advocates of the art form savvy to things they might have missed in the rushing flood of cultural production over the decades. Combined with other Web innovations, such as used bookseller aggregate sites, it helps writers' work live on, in print or out.