online matchmaking book – out 09 March

Onlinematchmaking A book I contributed a chapter to, Online Matchmaking is now available for pre-order on Amazon. The book was edited by by Monica T. Whitty, Andrea J. Baker, James A. Inman.

My chapter looks at how things have changed in the world of online dating and the body of social scientific research since I wrote my MA Thesis Cyborgasms (which was more about online identity, gender construction in text only environments, and online community than it was about the nuts and bolts of “doing it” online) back in 1996.

In the UK, the initial hardcover release (09 March) will be £42.75 from I can’t find it on the US version of the store and don’t know if a paperback version is planned.

I didn’t get paid for the article, don’t get a cut of the book’s takings, probably won’t get any feedback (eg. comments) from readers or website traffic out of it. It makes you wonder why academics still bother to do the dead trees thing when simply blogging it would not only improve the research itself (new insights, corrections, etc) but would also disseminate the final product more quickly, easily and to a wider audience. My guess is more people read this post the day I post it than will ever see the book which, in retrospect, goes almost entirely against the idea of academic publishing.

I’m not, of course, saying don’t buy it – it will be a good book. But I am somewhat shocked at the list price, which I think will severely restrict distribution, and promise that next time an offer to contribute to a book comes along I spend more time thinking about whether that is the best way to serve academia, myself and the public knowledge at large.


  1. Sometimes I feel the same way about MSM. When you spend too much time pitching, or your copy doesn’t go into print until days or weeks after you’ve finished it, and in the meantime it’s become ancient news online. At times I think why bother? Why not just blog it? An op.ed. of mine was just printed today, though it was weeks old, all that time without being able to talk or blog about it:-) And oh, how many editors who simply do not understand why anyone would ‘waste’ time blogging, or, as I occasionally do, blog something rather than bother pitching it, ’cause by the time it gets into print, it’s old news – at least in the blogosphere.

  2. I am not sure there is a big audience out there for academic books that is put off by the high price tags. The demands of academic publishing (use of specialised language, lots of citations etc) tend to make them tough to read for non-academics. Their purpose is to advance the state of knowledge among academics who can then pass it on to their students who then take that knowledge with them out into the world. A very slow process compared to the media and even slower compared to blogging but it has its own benefits (mainly that it is meant to be more rigorous in its search for truth than either).

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