Taking the commodification of literature way seriously

By Harriet Staff

A new online project, Books2 Barcodes,

is an ongoing effort to convert all the world's great books to QR codes (2D barcodes). Each work featured here is the entire text of a piece of classic literature translated into several thousand barcodes. With a mobile device equipped with a camera and a barcode-scanning app, you can experience the joy of a great book as read through 800-character fragments on your cellphone.

Each of the books now available in the catalog, including, among others, The Divine Comedy, Moby Dick, and Ulysses, shows up as a web page full of black and white squares. Each of these squares is an 800-character fragment of the book. Obviously this is not meant to replace the Kindle, haha, but to play with the unintended side-effects of literature's digitalization.

Originally Published: February 28th, 2011