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Trending the Future of the Book

December 14, 2010

Trending the Future of the Book Trending the Future of the Book Trending the Future of the Book

The written word is one, if not the most important of the founding concepts which has shaped the modern world. It has democratized knowledge, culture and communications. Yet the concept of the “book” has been pretty much the same since the XV century, as well as our reading experience. Left to right –top to bottom, turn page manually, from page 1 to (with the exception of a few literary masterpieces) page whatever.

This is why we would like to explore and share how this digital-social revolution we are currently immersed in has and will continue to change not only the physical format in which we read a book but also the linearity in which we process the information input, and our experience as a whole with literacy.

The most visible change we are seeing is the actual physical format of the book. With the incorporation of the e-book and the its multiplying types of tablet carriers we are replacing the smell of ink and papyrus with the splendor of micro led bulbs. With a closer introspection into the changing aspects of the written word we take a look at the aspect of linearity. While eye movement sequence will still be left to right, top to bottom, this linearity will more likely evolve into the incorporation of a spherical 3-dimensional network of input and information.
To demonstrate these transformations in the future of books we present to you global design and innovation firm IDEO’s vision of three different concepts that demonstrate what our reading experiences will look and feel like in the future.  As you will see they all share common values of a new era:
Trust, community and interaction.
It is best explained in this short video:

Brief Summery:


The first experience, named Nelson, is focused on being informed at a 360º level in order for you to form your proper opinion on whatever the topic of reading material. Let’s say, for example, you are reading Bob Woodwards latest best-seller Obama’s Wars. You stumble upon an argument or concept which you are not quite certain about. With Nelson you could instantly- look up statistics not found in the reading, check the facts and numbers, the reliability of some of the sources mentioned, what is being said by journalist and media about this topic, enter online discussions. All of this in one single platform and with a single slide, click and drag of your finger. You will be able to receive all the perspectives and information necessary to form your own truly studied point of view on the topic of your reading.

The second experience is named Coupland. In short it’s a book club meets LinkedIn type platform. While the internet may be a priceless fountain of information for your professional needs it also comes accompanied by the phenomenon commonly known as information overload (often leading to stress and abandonment). How do you know which book is really adequate for your professional needs at the moment and what is it you should really be focusing on? With Coupland you have your own network of coworkers, colleagues, friends, or people you trust in your profesion which you can share information with, create reading lists based on specific types of projects or topics, recommend and share opinions. Lets say you have a tough marketing project on your hands and would like inform yourself on new techniques and opinions available. With Coupland you would have in your hands the recommendations and information necessary to filter through and obtain only the pertinent reading material that will help you complete your tasks.

The third and most interactive platform is called Alice. It is a mix between a written narrative + a mystery boardgame like Clue + Playstation. This is the true Interactive Storytelling, or Storyliving Experience. Here the reader actively participates in the story through a nonlinear reading of multiple angles in the narrative. Find hidden clues in the text which conduce to certain geographic locations viewed by a live streetmap software, co-develop stories, find secondary information on characters and places. For example you are reading Dan Browns The DaVinci Code, you would be able to decipher for yourself certain clues that would take you inside the corridors of the Louvre, find out the real story behind the founders of the Opus Dei or co-develop a side story with one of the characters in the story.


These are just a few examples of how our reading experiences are changing with the fast paced evolution of technology. There is an infinite amount of applications and derivatives to these new forms of literacy, especially when applied to educational purposes. Yet, as with everything, you can’t look at the positive without taking into account the negative. The first that comes to mind is that until technology finds a way to add more hours to each day (although this might sound nice to some, its actually kind of creepy science-fiction) the time it would take you to finish your novel of the moment could also become infinite.

Do you have any thoughts, intrigues, comments on the future of book? Let us know. Were always glad to listen and share.