How do we relate to books? In lots of ways – emotionally, ritually, logically; by looking, touching, handling, listening, reading, viewing. Which are the most important? If we know the mix of values involved, we can change the presentation of the book and make a ‘blue ocean’ (see the book Blue Ocean Strategy 2005) of demand somewhere away from the status quo of the industry, which has been running itself into the ground as the web lets anyone publish anything for nothing if they go ebook. Now the ‘gatekeepers’ are overrun, and the physical bookstores are seemingly unable to profit when the inventory grows exponentially and the market fragments to match. The industry is being driven to digital.
We still love to touch books, keep them as physical things that never turn off. they are like sculptures, shrines to the content within, sacred objects, places we visit – portable temples. but we only need so many ‘temples’ – the rest can be digital. the ipad or other tablet device is a temple too – a temple to evolving variety – all conceivable content, past present and future. A bit like a portable cinema of words – and all the images and sounds and interactivity that can go along with the words.
If the form of a tablet could morph to match the content, that would be great. but at least for now we still want the book-as-object – for our favourite books anyway. Especially the romantic ones, like fantasies. 🙂 That’s where i come in! Make the Book a thing of beauty, magic, a sacred space to house and honour the content.
And maybe change the mix so it can be more affordable while still ‘limited edition’ and sacred.