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IDEO on the future of the books

IDEO recently released this video that explores three different possible future directions for books on digital readers and tablets. Each direction has been given a code name – Nelson, Coupland, and Alice. Nelson is a concept that is kind of like adding Omniture tracking into your digital book so you can see how the book has impacted conversations, debates, media coverage and even the reliability of your information. It is an interesting idea but to me this concept seems like it would be of more interesting to the authors and publishers than the general public since it is so metrics driven. Coupland recommends books you should be reading based on what your professional network is reading and what they have to say about it. For me this is a little too close to what Flipboard is doing with social media by turning your friends into a dynamic magazine. Alice is the most interesting of the three concepts as it takes the book and adds interactive elements like hidden content that is unlocked by user action or going to a certain location in the real world, getting mobile content from characters in the story or allowing parts of the story to become a non-linear narrative written my multiple authors. These are all interesting explorations of this emerging medium that are only undermined by the fact that they were created by IDEO so my expectation was that this was going really unique and original thinking instead of shades of other technologies we have already seen.

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