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21 MARCH 2012

The Future of the Book: design speculation

"The Future of the Book is a design exploration of digital reading that seeks to identify new opportunities for readers, publishers, and authors to discover, consume, and connect in different formats.

As more people consume pages in pixels, IDEO designers wondered why we continue to discover and consume the written word through the old analog, page–turning model. We asked: what happens when the reading experience catches up with new technologies?

The team looked at how digital and analog books currently are being read, shared and collected, as well as at trends, business models and consumer behavior within related fields. We identified three distinct opportunities – new narratives, social reading with richer context, and providing tools for critical thinking – and developed a design concept around each one.

The first concept, 'Alice,' turns storytelling on its head by making narratives non–linear and participatory. With Alice, the story world starts bleeding into the everyday life of the reader. Real–world challenges, like acting on a phone call from the lead character, or participating in photo based scavenger hunts, unlock new aspects of the story, and turn other readers into collaborators or competitors. Alice is a platform for authors to experiment with narratives, to allow their stories to transcend media, and to engage fans in the storytelling process.

The second concept, 'Coupland,' makes book discovery a social activity by allowing readers to build shared libraries and hear about additional texts through existing networks. Coupland makes it easy for busy professionals to stay on top of industry must–reads. Businesses can assign book budgets to their employees and build collective libraries through a group–licensing model. Personal recommendations, aggregation of reading patterns, and the ability to follow inspiring individuals and groups help ensure that Coupland users always are tapped into the latest essential content within and outside of the organization.

The third concept, 'Nelson,' connects books to commentary, critique, and contextual information, letting readers explore a topic from multiple perspectives. Nelson reinforces the role of books as carriers of knowledge and insight. Readers can explore polarizing material and see whose word currently has the greatest impact on popular opinion and debate. Layers of connected commentary, news, and fact–checking augment the core book content – providing greater context and encouraging debate and scrutiny.

Each concept features a simple, accessible storytelling format and a particular look and feel. We believe that digital technology creates possibilities, so our solutions truly adapt to the new environment, rather than emulate analog qualities onscreen. For example, we resisted any temptation to move books closer to the bite–sized character of other digital media, because longhand writing encourages immersion (deep reading) and reflection."

(IDEO, 2010)

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TAGS

2010Alice in Wonderlandanalogue bookbooks • collective libraries • connected commentary • consumer behaviour • contextual information • convergence • deep reading • design concept • design exploration • different formats • digital booksdigital mediadigital readingdigital technology • Douglas Coupland • end of printenvisioningformatfuture of the bookgo digitalhybrid formIDEO • inspiring individuals • intertwingularity • longhand writing • look and feelmedia formsmultiple perspectives • must-reads • narrative • new narratives • new opportunitiesnew technologiesnon-linearoff the pagepage-turning model • pages in pixels • personal recommendation • pictures under glass • reader • readersreading experience • reading patterns • rich context • shared libraries • social activity • social readingspeculative designstorystorytellingstorytelling formattechnology convergenceTed Nelsonthe future of the booktrendswritten word

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 NOVEMBER 2011

Baby plays with iPad, frustrated by paper magazine

"A YouTube video shows a 1–year–old expertly using an iPad – pinching and swiping – and then tries the same moves on a paper magazine without results."

(Jeff Glor reports, 14 October 2011, CBS News)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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