You’d think we would have some serious cultural/anthropological academic books about geeks/nerds/anoraks/otaku, by now? I just searched Amazon books for “nerds” – 27 books. “Geeks” – 64 books. Take out all the rubbish (“Sex in Silicon Valley: The Geeks in the Valley Are Getting More Than You’d Think!” & “Nerds Who Kill : A Paul Turner Mystery”), and the misleading (“Freaks, Geeks and Strange Girls” – a study of the painted banners of early U.S. carnival side-shows), and a half-dozen ‘ boom’ history books — and you’re left with no heavyweight book examining contemporary geeks/nerds as producers. Although there are plenty of Media Studies / Cultural Studies tomes on consumerist fandom subcultures. An Amazon search for “Otaku”? Five books; one Dutch, one French, nothing that’s a reliable in-depth sub-cultural study. A Google search for “books on nerds” – four hits. For “books on geeks”? 48 Google hits, nearly all ‘Amazon affiliate’ Google-spam. “Research on nerds”, 6 hits, three being summaries of a Simpsons episode. Perhaps there’s something here of “the goose that lays the golden eggs” syndrome? We don’t want to pick apart the phenomena, because it’s the one that’s been giving us so many goodies on a regular basis. So, if you’d like to know about contemporary nerd/geek producers themselves (rather than simply surveys of the cultural forms that they’re into consuming), then read some Neal Stephenson novels, and browse the Wired magazine archive, follow some selected techie weblogs in the geekosphere, visit this 2001 bibliography, and translate the as-yet-untranslated Introduction to Otakuology (1996) by Japan’s Okada — that’s my best suggestion.

Update; June 2007. Try the Wikiversity Nerd project too.