Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Future of the Book ... is Here

Books in the future will be an experience in cross-media. We need to look to the gaming industry to see a space where people are not constrained by the old forms. Fiction authors will become creators of worlds that readers populate like World of Warcraft.
Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn blog attends attends a talk given by Bob Stein, founder and co-director of the Institute for the Future of the Book. She makes a good case for saying that the future that Stein predicts is actually already here.

She lists some of Stein's other thoughts : just ponder the implications :
  • Don’t confuse an object with its purpose. The physical book is not its content
  • Books are the vehicles that humans use to move ideas around in time and space
  • A book is a place where readers (and sometimes authors) congregate
  • In non-fiction authors become leaders of communities of enquiry
  • Old school authors’ commitment is to engage with subject matter for the benefit of future readers. New school authors engage with readers in the context of subject matter.
  • Authors will need to engage with the community around the work they create
  • The anxiety about saving a ‘version’ of the content as a printed book will go away. The content will have more of a timeline, a snapshot approach, developing all the time.
  • The author will become more like a professor in a class of students. S/he will lead the conversation and point out what may be relevant but the ideas will be in collaboration with the audience/readers.
  • Traditional booksellers may be safe in this lifetime, but “your children should go into another career”
  • Traditional publishing acts as an intermediary between an author and a reader. Their role in the future will be to build and nurture the community that exists around the author and their work
  • E-readers will soon be good enough that they will take off in mainstream. Bob will simultaneously publish his next book in print and ebook formats.
  • Print-on-demand is fantastic and will play more of a part as bookstores and publishers go bust

1 comment:

Joanna Penn said...

Thanks for the link Sharon - I am glad you enjoyed the post. The future of the book is indeed being determined right now by authors who get online and create - what a fantastic time! Thanks so much, Joanna