The Future of the Book

Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?

(thank you daniel)

17 Comments leave a comment below

  1. das ist alles schoen und gut. ich sehe diese entwicklung als gute ergaenzung, aber nicht als ersatz zum herkoemmlichen buch, das aufgrund seiner haptik, aufgrund der lesefreundlichkeit fuer die augen (ohne flimmern) und der stille, die es umgibt, des weniger fluechtigen als bleibendes kunstwerk an. ich liebe es, vor- und zurueck zu blaettern, zu markieren, ohne dabei mit dem finger abzurutschen und dann dinge elektronisch mitzuoeffnen, die ich gar nicht wollte, die meine aufmerksamkeit ablenken. mit dem buch habe ich mehr das gefuehl der selbstbestimmung. ich kann es schneller aus der hand legen, wenn ich etwas anderes tun moechte. ich streiche an, lege hinein, schreibe randnotizen mit der hand… was durch meine hand geht, was ich in ruhe schreibe und lese, bleibt laenger haften, ist eindringlicher, einmaliger, empfinde ich als weniger fluechtig. sicher subjektiv. heisst auch nicht, dass ich die vorzuege moderner technik missen moechte.
    danke fuer das video.

  2. interesting concepts, well presented.
    i can’t help but think though that these don’t seem to be books as much as they are the apparatus surrounding books. perhaps that line will eventually blur past recognition.

    nelson seems concerned with the scholarship surrounding a book, coupland seems concerned with social networks involving books and alice seems concerned with non-traditional and audience-generated narrative structures.

    for one thing, it seems strange that these concepts are separated. perhaps that’s for clarity, but they seem to represent different perspectives, not different functions per se. further, the social aspects of coupland don’t seem particularly book centric, or even text-centric. the same mechanism could apply to music, movies, video, photos, etc.

    alice feels less like a book or a directed narrative and more like a literary game. while there’s nothing wrong with that per se, i wonder how satisfying a literary experience it is to be asked to craft part of the experience. particularly in narratives, my personal pleasure is in being allowed to sit back and “fall” into the story without having to determine it’s course overtly or even determine explicitly my level of active participation.

    certainly these are very beautiful and interesting conceptual ideas. i’m just curious if they looked at the core content as well and if they have ideas about that.

  3. How sad. What happened to the simplicity and the complexity of a real book. Less is definitely more.

  4. konzept ja. aber auch nicht neu. und leider ist mir etwas ein grosser dorn im auge: wenn man es dem leser allzu bequem macht, verschwinden seine eigene phantasie, sein vorstellungsvermoegen und das intensive einlassen auf den text. so wir eher unmuendigkeit, faulheit erzeugt.

  5. was anderes ist es vielleicht bei wissenschaftlichen texten, bei hoch komplexen sachverhalten, wo das allgemeinwissen nicht ausreicht, zu verstehen.


  7. Hoon, I think you’re spot on with what you’re saying. All of these ideas are part of a much bigger picture and alone seem to me to be a visualisation of concepts that have been inevitable for a long time.

    While I agree personally with your opinion of ‘sitting back’ and getting lost in the art of the literature itself, you can’t deny that future generations of readers will expect more. Being born into a time where there has always been the internet and mobile communication certainly brings its negative draw-backs. Its a sad point, but growing up with all of this dynamic and rich-media based content will surely make the Novel an antiquity that’s enjoyed as a bit of an old hat past time. I’m sure John Steinbeck wasn’t the first to realise that the Novel as a way of communicating ideas was on its way out and he certainly wasn’t the last.

  8. Much of Coupland already exists in Shelfari, in my opinion.

  9. @ricky:
    points taken. it all exists on a continuum i suppose – the novel just one of the more recent formalizations of the storytelling tradition. i suppose what i’m most curious about is the exploration of the storytelling itself and the proportion of user/reader participation in these new forms.

    text is such a beautiful abstraction, so powerful in its seeming simplicity. while i certainly see the value in the presentation of context – social, critical, etc. – alongside narrative, i hesitate to call that an evolution of storytelling itself. not that these concepts claim to be that. i would just love to see ideo’s and others’ thinking along those lines as well.

    as a comic book fan for example, it’s interesting to actually, literally,”see” the changes in form taking place as artists explore drawing styles, printing techniques, expanded formats, different types of serialization, etc.

    in music, you can track the transition from live performance in concert halls to amplified live performance, to recorded performance back to live performance – round and round. the technology and forms change with the times and that changes the actual music being made, its modes and its presentation.

    novels as they exist in the physical, non-digital realm have certainly evolved as well but i feel (and i’m no expert here) it’s been a much slower series of permutations – probably most dramatically demonstrated in the evolution of book covers for example.

    now, novels and text are about to embark on their “amplification”. and i’m so so curious and excited (and a bit sad to think that some of the other forms might become marginalized). but as i mentioned earlier, i’m not sure that these concepts presented by ideo are text-specific. they are the sort of contextualizations that might be applied just as easily to music collections, photo collections, blogs, etc.

    how does text on a page, organized as narrative, evolve in the digital realm? the actual words, the actual story. alice comes closest to that conversation – but again – once user choice is made explicit, it starts to become a game.

    of course, they thought of it and i didn’t so…

  10. I can drop a book. I can underline and dog ear a book. I can share a book and hopefully get it back. I can spill coffee on a book. I can roll over on a book if I’m reading in bed. I can (God forbid) even burn a book. The video presents some thrilling explorations, but environment be damned let me keep my paper books.

  11. by the way: if you are interested in… to go over the border:

  12. content should trump everything else even in this digital age. how do you explain 1,000s of today’s kids who pore through harry potter and twilight books? if you tell a good story, you don’t need fancy gadgets.

  13. Leave books alone!

  14. this is NOT the future, it is a slick corporate sales presentation.
    even my beloved @radiolab has fallen for this.

    no objections to any of these yet-to-exist products (although much of this seems like a mildly lame attempt to be ‘new’) i just wish these people would stop using the word book. books have pages. the use of the word book in this context is sort of like when a restaurant specializing in pork has a pig licking its lips on their sign out front. its just not right somehow.

    no one knows the future. any person or organization claiming to is just trying to sell you something.

  15. great. another gadget that will be obsolete a year (maybe less) after it is released.

  16. motion is ipad. or flash animation.
    that is not new action.