The picture in your mind when you hear the word “BOOK” is rapidly becoming obsolete and evolving into a boundary-free, economically disruptive force of content consumption, packaging, and dissemination. However, BOOKs under the new undefined category of their multi-faceted containers are more important and valuable than ever before to our future.
The challenge faced in those mining this intellectual “Gold” is that as long as the current distribution systems continue to falter and fail to make ways for new models of ubiquitous and systematic consumption and delivery, the cost of metaphorically digging this GOLD out of the ground, will remain prohibitive to incentivizing the writers and manufacturers to spend the time, energy, money, and risk associated with mining “real GOLD” (valuable works of art, history, science, etc) instead of Fools Gold (the “everyone with a dollar, a dream, and a recently laid off editor friend who can put 45,000 words together) that currently clutters the mind and your inbox.
The NEW model requires a shift in production priorities that doesn’t value Content less than before, but that puts Context in front of Content as it relates to a strategic pecking order. I am of the opinion that CONTENT will be more valuable than ever in the future, but only if it is complimented with a robust and completely thought through integrated and funded strategy. Simply put an author and or their publisher can no longer think about the (BOOK of old) as the be-all-end-all, but instead needs to think of the (BOOK of New) as an anchor and integrated component of their entire brand architecture as well as a pulse-having thread of their mission, value, and purpose at large!
The thought leaders of the future will see The BOOK without Walls in the CONTEXT of the ultimate brand and message builder, and form a CONTENT strategy and relationship with the publisher who has vertically integrated mixed media assets and delivery systems and adds value to the positioning, productizing, promotion, and profit plan of their message and business.
The world we are living into is evolving at speeds unprecedented in humanity’s short 10,000 year recordable history. The key parts of that previous sentence are “speeds unprecedented” and “recordable history”! History has always been written (or destroyed and re-written) by the victors, and the proof of this amazing yet often inequitable fact has been in the work of many an archaeologist and anthropologist in the recent Epochs. The speed of information and advancing technological shift has often been the culprit behind the collapse of great empires in the past (read The Watchman’s Rattle by Rebecca Costa for a complete dissertation in digestable form of this evolutionary human limitation and conundrum.
This is relevant to the reality we all face in publishing and media because for at least the last 10,000 years and for the foreseeable (yet unwritten..wink wink) future BOOKs (loosely and broadly defined then and now in format) have created the history that we all call “REAL”. For those of us out there writing our history today and for those in support of their efforts, I believe this to be an exciting (all-be-it turbulent) time to break down the constraints of the OLD BOOK and Publishing infra-structure and to BOLDLY venture forward into creating an even more accessible-yet mutually profitable (so that it can perpetuate) future in information sharing and creation!
So what will be the Future of Books? I guess we will all see in 8-10 years when we read about its history on some yet to be invented medium!