The Future Of Reading (Guy Dickinson)


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  • Big topic area - challenge is to try and nail a few ideas and observations\nJust scratching the surface\nScope\nObviously huge amounts of text produced and read\nI spend all day reading and writing text\nSo, I'm going to narrow the focus on the model of books, or rather, 'produced' texts for mass consumption\nThis is not about video, gaming or other media, (although v. worthy of comparative discussion), this is about readin'\n
  • 2. Do people still read?\nIn the US, just over half *do* read - "slightly more than 50% of Americans admit to reading"\n Reminds me of the Bill Hicks joke - "what you reading for?"\n But, when you define 'reading', it's a bit demoralising:\n "the proportion of adults 18 and older who said they had read at least one novel, short story, poem or play in the previous 12 months has risen."\nIn the UK:\n 96% said they had read something in the past seven days, whether books, magazines, newspapers or text messages.\n Nearly half of adults had read at least five books or more in the previous 12 months, with almost one in five claiming to have read 20 books or more.\n A quarter of adults had *not* read a book during the same period, including almost half of males aged between 16 and 24.\n\n
  • 3. Why do People Read?\nSurely video is more fun? Audio more convenient?\nSpeed and Density\n audio - 160 words per minute\n reading -250+ word per minute\nComprehension and Complexity\n You retain stuff that you read\nOk, the future bit...\n
  • 4. Lets get the device question out of the way\nI'm more interested in the broader trends than the devices, but I have some thoughts...\nI think dedicated ebook devices are a passing trend \nChanges in technology often ape familiarity in objects they're replacing\nFirst TV play analogy\nStill stuck with Office Desk metaphors in computing\nKindle is great because of connectivity - but why don't Amazon just create\n
  • 5. Regarding books as technology\nRather fab, actually:\nUnlike other 'media' that have been displaced by their electronic nemesis (CD -> mp3)...\nStarted thinking about equivalence of books to ebook readers:\nBooks are actually consumed within their own techology\n High res screens, portability, lightweight, No DRM (more on that), great battery life\nSo books are here to stay\n
  • 6. Mobile Devices\niphone, G1\n seeing both self contained books as 'apps' as well as generic readers with catalogues\n some level of standardisation around .epub format (I think)\n screen PPI needs to be above 160 ppi, I reckon\n And of course, we carry these things around with us all the time\nFormat - fiction vs. fact; the coming reverse bell curve of book publishing\n
  • 7. Type of reading - context\nWorth pointing out *where* people actually read\n65% in bed, 25% in the bath, 10% take a book to the loo (mainly men), almost 50% take a book on holiday \nAnd of course the type of book 'disposable' novels and biographies vs. non fiction \n
  • 8. I think there's an inherent 'disposability' in the way people buy, use and share fiction, vs. non-fiction\nNovels and Biographies, vs. text books, the gladwellisation of popualr science, etc.\nI'm really interested in how the type of content shapes the experience and therefore the appropriateness of format\n\n
  • 9. The reverse Bell Curve bit:\nnovels, biogs, inherently disposable - cheap, require narrative flow and immersion\n VS.\n'idea' books - where you can read excerpts, stop to research elsewhere.\nI think this will massively influence the production model in the future...\n
  • 10. Why are non-fiction books 300 pages?\nBiz model of publishing - £10+ books\nTime is money - would I pay more for the key ideas in 50 pages?\nWould I prefer to read 3 or 4 Malcolm Gladwell pamphlets a year instead of a single book?\nHBR charges £15 for its magazine...value in tightly defined ideas, delivered to minimise time spent reading\nPrediction - return of the Pamphlet as publishing model.. \nPerhaps already here - individual magazine articles taken from the parent publication?\n
  • 11. Beta Books\nFactual books take time to develop, but unlike the novel, there's value in the ideas, even piecemeal\nEarly revisions of books\n'rev 0' book\n\nO'Reilly Rough Cuts\n\n have to get this in - its an O'Reilly event\n
  • 12. Customisation - fact\nPrint on Demand or self printing\nDK Travel Guides\nCustomised Text Books\n\nChris Heathcoates scalpel travel guides great example of needing a 'bit' of knowledge, not the whole container\n
  • 13. Customisation - fiction\nPenguin Experiments\nClassic RPGs\nChoosing endings\nFan fiction\nSocial Books\n
  • 14. Collaborative Reading\nReading is usually a solitary act...but everyone likes to talk about ideas they've learnt, or...gulp, literary criticism\nGolden Notebook site\n\n
  • 15. Where's the of books?\nEveryone talks about creating 'the ISBN of xxxx' - well books have ISBNs!\nThey have ISBNs\nprops to Jyri Engeström - books function as *social objects* - bookshelves look great, displaying my activity\n# Two out of five adults were encouraged to read a book by tips from friends and 16% said they acted on recommendations from work colleagues.\nBkeepr...\nLibraryThing?\n
  • 16. Sharing reading experience via Social Updates\nlabels in books - history of authors...(brian eno picture)\nBooks themselves are too dumb\nbkeepr (again)\nBut they *do* have ISBN\nI thought about RFID tags...\nBut what about 2d barcodes at the end of each chapter - easy completion\n Semepedia\nIphones and Kindles could easily 'scrobble' your activity...\nSharing Reading\n
  • 17. Sharing annotations\nHow Buildings Learn notes from Phil Gyford\nAnnotations in Margins\nWhat if you could access those?\nThat's how I see the Golden Notebook project working out \n
  • 18. Sharing books\nConfession - I *hate* sharing books\nI feed my 'soft addiction' of books by buying second hand\n in fact, I've bought some out of print books second hand\nAnd non anally retentive people lend books all the time - they have a fantastic half life\nThe business case for newspapers is that they get read by more people than the print run - e..g Metro relies on getting read several times over by Tube travellers\nHere's a thought - what happens when newspapers end up being on devices? \nThe extreme low cost of newspapers means that people on tube leave them behind - e.g. Metro g...epaper version? Leave it behind/squirt over bluetooth to everyone - self announces...advertising the biz model, even more acute as physical publishing costs move to zero\n
  • 19. Da Da DRM\nBenjamin Button iphone ‘app’ experience\n
  • 20. Things I didn't talk about (but would like to afterwards)\n\n
  • The Future Of Reading (Guy Dickinson)

    1. 1. The future of Reading...
    2. 2. What you readin’ for?
    3. 3. Television, the drug of the nationBreeding ignorance and feeding radiation Television, Drug of the Free Disposable Heroes of Hipocrisy
    4. 4. “When someone buys a book, they are also buying the right toresell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want.Everyone understands this.” Jeff Bezos, Open letter to Author’s Guild, 2002"You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party..." Amazon, Kindle Terms of Service, 2007