Joho the Blog » [2b2k] The book of the future has arrived!

[2b2k] The book of the future has arrived!

Yikes. All this talk about the future of books and the future of ebooks. Will it be like the Kindle? Will it be like the iPad?

The book of the future is already here. It’s been here for about 15 years. It’s called The Web.

That’s taking books as the medium by which we develop, preserve, and communicate ideas and knowledge. The Web is already that book — distributed, linked, messy, unstable, self-contradictory, bottom up and top down, never done, unsettled and unsettling, by us and of us. The book of the future has a trillion pages and trillions of links, and is only getting started.

If, however, you mean by “book” a bounded stretch of an authorial monologue, we have plenty of those on the Web, and some have great value. But they now get their value by being linked into the roiling universe of their peers.

The book of the future isn’t on the Web; it is the Web.

15 Responses to “[2b2k] The book of the future has arrived!”

  1. Agree… agree… agree…

  2. I question your use of the word “bounded”. Did you mean a territorial limit or boundary? Or did you mean to imply a bound, as within a binding, “authorial monologue”? In this case it should read “a bound stretch” Let’s try to be a little more precise with our language.

  3. They say hell is to be sat at a feast with arms fixed straight that one cannot feed oneself.

    The eBook is literary hell. A work of literature that is instantaneously diffusable, that yet must remain uncopyable that it can simulate the limitations of paper.

    Whoever sees libraries loan eBooks and does not weep is a neo luddite lost to corruption.

  4. Luddites are people who abhor modern inventions. They or their neo-version would weep to see libraries loan ebooks, not vice-versa. Has everyone on this blog gone nuts all of a sudden?
    In any case, I must question the mental state of fetishists who get some kind of sick thrill out of reading words printed on the remains of dead trees.

  5. Disagree. Disagree. Disagree. The web is dandy for searching and reading snippets, but a sub-standard medium for long-form reading. Long-form reading can be done on the web, but barely. Print has persisted for this reason. Physical form matters for long-form reading. Ereaders are not innovating in software but in the physical interface or hardware for reading.

  6. Bileg, loaning an eBook is like harnessing a pair of horses up to a Ferrari. The abhorrence of its true potential is so deep seated that people consider this progress – from harnessing horses to railway carriages. The ‘future shock’ of setting the Ferrari free cannot even be countenanced, it is so terrifying.

    Anyway, I have some mp3 files here that I could loan you at good rates if you’re interested…

  7. [...] Joho the Blog » [2b2k] The book of the future has arrived! [...]

  8. I disagree on this
    it s missing a title

  9. 1. I meant a delimited stretch, with the implication of the book’s cover.

    2. After all, gianluca, isn’t the Book of the Web’s title you and me? Just so long as it has a picture of a Fabio on the cover.

  10. The web seems more like an anthology than a book.

  11. I would say the internet as a whole is defenetly the new book
    in terms of medium itself, aka a website is not a medium, the internet is

    but then the all point is
    the internet is the opposite of a book
    no author
    no cover
    no predictable end, no end whatsoever actually
    and a bizarre tendency to the most unlike of the events to happen

    like you using Fabio as an example, that happens to be my brother’s name
    that wouldn t had happen if we where writing on a book right now
    isn t it ?

  12. [...] Personally, I’m much more interested to see web-native offerings like the ibis reader take off. This is partly because the majority my eBook library (like my mp3 library) isn’t sold in stores – so it’s not accessible in the Kindle app nor iBooks app and partly because I think there’s lots of interesting things that can be done with ebooks & ebook readers that I’m not seeing yet. “The book of the future is already here. It’s been here for about 15 years. It’s called Th… [...]

  13. I will stand on the side of those who disagree.
    Over last couple of weeks or months since we discussed pBook versus eBook dilemma, I started to think about what really makes a book – the book.
    Certainly it is not the paper.

    I guess I’m not yet ready to formulate it – but the web as a whole does not meet some basic tenents of the book. Among them is the natural and forcefull concentration on the book, on the thoughts of the author.

    iBis Reader has an excellent button “no distraction” …

  14. The primary issue, as mentioned though, is that the Web is messy and not very structured which leads to an interesting question. Is this what writers / publishers of the future will do? Organize and structure the existing content of others?

    In a sense, writers already do this to a degree, by researching and gathering notes on the subject they are writing. The difference, however, is that instead of writing their “own” book, they are helping and empowering others to write theirs.

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