Book of Tomorrow

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 Essay, Books
27 Aug 2010

The reading / writing, consuming / producing of literary works is having a fundamental shake up in the business and the consumer world. Today we may read a blog, scan the newspaper, and read a book on your mobile. The ways in which consumers are accessing written works are changing.

However, people are still making and buying books, newspapers, magazines etc… I do believe a change is happening to how we read, but I don’t see us losing the art of book making anytime soon, books and newspapers are both functional and historical, the medium was and still can be revolutionary at times.


Image by Steph McGlenchy

However, my belief is that we are finding new ways to write together. The book of the future is about collaboration between writers and editors, and more importantly, between consumers and writers. The book of tomorrow is written by everyone for everyone.

Using web technologies it could be possible to create a written word platform where one can write, collaborate, publish, share, comment, promote, and interact. By creating a community online that facilitates this sort of production and consumption, you don’t have to be restricted by what you buy, but by what you can imagine.

From the Gutenberg Press to the Internet, the printing press has democratised knowledge and instilled accountability. Today we are faced with a stark conflict of opinions concerning this so-called-Internet. Google has created Google Books, News Corp has put up their Walled Garden, and everyone seems to be looking to Apple and smart phones to get people paying for stuff again. These are bigger arguments perhaps, but they all affect the publishing industry, and without innovation it might be the end of the publishing industry (again). The Internet hasn’t stifled book purchasing, but if the liquidation of Borders is anything to go on, its not helping matters. Lets make a new book, a book for the future.

The book of the future is both inclusive and democratic, the focus is choice. Not only will you have a choice over what to read and how to feed back to that writer, you can write it yourself, and even allow your works to be changed and improved before your eyes. Most interestingly to me, works out of copyright or with their copyright opened up, can be read, remixed, copied, and made available to everyone.

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