The Book People Mailing List (1997-2007)

Book People was a moderated mailing list for discussions among a community of people who like online books. It was founded in January 1997 by John Mark Ockerbloom of The Online Books Page and Mary Mark Ockerbloom of A Celebration of Women Writers. It ran until the end of November 2007. The list had about 500 subscribers. The archives for the list can be found here.

Listmember Kent Larsen has started a successor list, Book Futures. Follow the link to find out more about the list, read messages, and subscribe.

Other mailing lists announced by listmembers around the time we announced the end of Book People include The Digital Text Community (moderated by Jon Noring of the EBook Community) and SharedKnowing (moderated by Larry Sanger of Citizendium).

The moderators of the list are still actively writing online. John Mark Ockerbloom blogs at Everybody's Libraries. Mary Mark Ockerbloom blogs at Celebrating Women Writers!

Below is a description of the old Book People list, written when it was in operation:

Description -- Archive -- Administration and netiquette


If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may find what you're looking for on the Book People mailing list.

The Book People mailing list is a forum for announcing and discussing electronic books that can be freely read on the Internet. The purpose of the mailing list is to aid and inspire the culture of volunteers and projects that are providing literary works to the Net at large, and to give the readers and fans of online books a forum in which they can discuss what they enjoy, and would like to see, in texts on the Internet.

The list is maintained by John Mark Ockerbloom, editor of The Online Books Page, and Mary Mark Ockerbloom, editor of A Celebration of Women Writers. To subscribe, write to [address now closed] and say that you'd like to sign up for the Book People mailing list. You will be sent a short message confirming your subscription, and containing further instructions on how to participate and where to send messages.

Messages which are related to the purpose of the mailing list as described above are generally welcome. Commercial advertising of any sort, flames, and other disruptions are not welcome.

The list started in January 1997. It is moderated, sometimes manually, and sometimes through an automatic script. The maintainers reserve the right to filter posts and posters as necessary to keep the list fulfilling its purpose, but posts are generally let through if they're on-topic and not disruptive. When the list is moderated manually (most of the time) posts are usually passed along at least once a day. As of September 2005, volume can vary from 1 to 20 posts a day, though the average is about 2-3. If you don't want to get each post individually, a digest option is available, which you can request at any time; see below for more details.

Hope to see you on the list!

John and Mary


Posts to the list are now available in a Web-accessible archive. Due to problems with email harvesting by spammers, the archive viewing program replaces part of anything that might be an email address with "[redacted]". If this obscures anything you really need to see on a post, write to us at the -request above and let us know the post you need to see in its original form.

Administrative details and Netiquette

If you hit "reply" to a post on the list, the default is to reply to just the sender, and not to the list as a whole. If you want to reply to the whole list, hit "reply to all", if your mail program has this feature, or change the To: line of your reply to the list's posting address (which is included at the bottom of every post). In general, it's always a good idea to check the "To:" and "cc:" lines of any mail you send on the Internet, to make sure your mail is going where you think it's going.

If mail to your address bounces (for any reason) for days at a time, we may summarily unsubscribe you, to avoid accumulating bounced mail. So if your mailbox is unable to receive mail for a while (due to its being full, or due to server problems, for instance) you may want to check to see if you're still subscribed, once your mail service is restored. You can always resubscribe at any time.

Note, however, that if you know you're going to lose an email address, you should still send an unsubscribe note to us. It's a lot more polite to do that than to force us to take the time to go through a lot of bounces until we decide to unsubscribe you ourselves.

Please don't send anything other than plain text to the list. We have a wide range of readers, and we can't count on everyone being able to handle anything more complicated. In particular, we will either strip out any attachments, HTML, or other more complicated formats, or reject the post that contains them.

Also, we generally discourage crossposts of discussions to multiple mailing lists, as we've found this makes all of the mailing lists involved more noisy. We may accept announcements sent to multiple lists if they're relevant to this list, but further discussion should not be crossposted, and such posts may be rejected here.

If you're replying to a previous post, it's often a good idea to include a bit of quotation from the previous post so that people will know what you're talking about. However, please do not include more quotation than necessary. We may cut quotes that appear to be excessive, or reject the post containing them. (If you haven't even cut the Book People list footers, which appear the same in every post, you're definitely quoting excessively.) The archives are available for folks who want to see the complete post you're replying to, so there's usually no need for you to include it all in your own reply.

A digest version of the list is now available. Digests get sent out on weekdays when posts have been made to the list, and sometimes at other times as well, but generally not more than once a day. If you'd like to subscribe to the digest version, or change your subscription to the digest version, write to the administrators at the address above, or just say that you want to be subscribed to the digest when you sign up initially.