Steve Jobs and his Apple Empire was a great thing for Feral House …. for a while. His 512 K “Fat Mac” enabled us to to typeset and design books without going through the too-costly route of paying for text created on a Compugraphic typesetting device. (We must also thank a Mr. Stephen Bates who created the beta software “Just Text” which was the first program to allow its users to create elegant Postscript type, about a million times better than the usual crappy dot-matrix computer fonts.)
So Mr. Jobs and Mr. Bates created a shortcut that enabled us to create type in ’85-’86, and have it look professional enough to have our products accepted for distribution to the closed-off publishing marketplace.
Jobs’ machines also introduced us to MacPaint, which at the time was a revelation, enabling us to create wild art/montages which we published with George Petros in “Exit” magazine.
As the decades rolled on the ease of self-publishing through Apple’s DIY machines enabled the creation of thousands, then millions, of pieces of shit that we almost regretted the creation of the Macintosh computer and the resulting data smog.
And then Jobs discovered a way to supplement computer and software sales by cornering product distribution. I Tunes, and in recent years IBookstore through his iPad computer.
The whole eBook thing was for a while limited to those plastic Kindle devices. Kindles reduced the pleasure of reading a book in the way CDs reduced the pleasure of hearing and experiencing music though the LP. People could buy some Feral House books, and read them through the Kindle, which reduced the experience in that cd vs lp way. The reduction of the book to “text” while the layout design is eliminated and the color of many photos and illustrations reduced to greyscale.
Initially, we dug the idea of the iPad and the ability to see intended design once again, and images in color.
Then came the censorship. Jobs decided to become a moral arbiter of what could be seen on a book cover, a magazine cover, and everything else inside. That’s right, Steve Jobs, who blazed through revelations on acid suddenly was sickened with cancer, and decided what people could read on his computer devices. Jobs dictated to people what they could, or could not see on their iPad devices, and what they could buy on iBookstore. As for me, I thought that battle was fought in the ’50s and ’60s, thanks for Barney Rossett and William Burroughts and all that.
Today you cannot use IBookstore to purchase Mel Gordon’s Voluptuous Panic or SuicideGirs on one of his iPad devices. What a creepy conclusion to a life that enabled artistic and commercial expansion.