The Future of the Book by IDEO

Everyone by now must have had a discussion about future of books, magazines, newspapers, etc. You’ve probably seen Wired on the iPad, the Sports Illustrated Tablet Demo, any many more.

IDEO, respected company for their innovation and product design, came up with 3 concepts for the future of the book.

Nelson reinforces books as critical thinking tools, providing multiple perspectives, references, and current conversations on a single subject. The layers of information beyond the book itself provide greater context and encourages a deeper dive into the book throughout history and into the future.

Coupland addresses the challenge to stay on top of the thinking and writing in our world and professional field that so many of us feel. Readers can easily keep up with “must-reads” by following what colleagues are reading and interact with them through “book clubs” and other social layers (discussions, suggestions, lists, purchases) to help each other share and learn.

Alice explores new ways for users to interact and affect written narratives by introducing non-linear and game mechanics to reading. By introducing the reader’s active participation, this concept “blurs the lines between reality and fiction.” Certain interactions allow the reader to transcend traditional media by utilizing geographic location, communication with characters, and user contribution to storyline and plot.

Out of the 3 concepts, I like Alice the best. The first two don’t provide much vision, they just adapt to our current state. In fact, Coupland even assumes that people will buy books a-la-carte in corporate environment, instead of adopting the new trend of library or all-you-can-use subscription model. Alice in the other hand promotes interaction and engagement, key factors for the future of any digital product or service. It also has implicit AI (artificial intelligence) that personalizes the experience based on history, actions, context, and interactions. Very nicely done.