What Books Will Become

What do you think of this?

It’s easy to see, or perhaps more accurately feel, that the traditional book will in many cases be supplemented or superseded in the not too distant future. Amazon is now selling more Kindle books than traditional ones. Even I—ancient and doddering—have been working lately on a group project that involves the integration of traditional books, a website, and Apple iBooks.

I’ve been straining away on other ideas, too, for a long time, and despite my love for paper, ink, and local bookshops, I’m intrigued and excited about the possibilities of what books might become. Or what they might be made to become. But despite my love affair with my Kindle, my usual thinking on all this is as a book creator. Here is a particular idea from the linked article that excites me as a book reader:

… We can share not just the titles of books we are reading, but our reactions and notes as we read them … we will be able to link passages. We can add a link from a phrase in the book we are reading to a contrasting phrase in another book we’ve read; from a word in a passage to an obscure dictionary, from a scene in a book to a similar scene in a movie. We might subscribe to the marginalia feed from someone we respect, so we get not only their reading list, but their marginalia—highlights, notes, questions, musings.

… dense hyperlinking among books would make every book a networked event … when we can link deeply into documents at the resolution of a sentence, and have those links go two ways, we’ll have networked books.

Most of this, of course, would be drivel. But imagine being able to read and integrate the notes of people you know to be interesting, expert, perceptive, or witty. Scrumptious.

Not for you? Fine. But it’s coming. And lots more, besides.

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