Over the last several months, Hugh McGuire and I have been co-editing Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, which is being published in three stages by O’Reilly Media.
The first section, a collection of eight chapters that described publishing’s future environment, was released in October. We’ve just finished editing the second section, which features nine essays that really challenge the conception of “book” in a digital age. The chapters and authors include:
- Why the book and the internet will merge (Hugh McGuire)
- Web literature: publishing on the social web (Eli James)
- Making books out of words (Erin McKean)
- Why digital books will become writable (Terry Jones)
- 10,000 feet above the silos (Travis Alber and Aaron Miller)
- User experience, reader experience (Brett Sandusky)
- App, meet book (Ron Martinez)
- The curation of obscurity (Peter Brantley)
- A reader’s bill of rights (Kassia Krozser)
Today, you can read the first section for free online or buy it as an eBook (the current price is $7.99; it goes up as more sections are released). When the second section is released (we are aiming for mid-February), you’ll also be able to read it online and buy it as an eBook.
A print version of the book will be made available when the third and final section, which will offer a range of case studies, is released.
We’re taking this staged approach for three reasons. O’Reilly is interested in and has been testing staggered releases of some titles, and this project seemed like a good fit for them. On our side, the essays are contributed by a cross-section of folks (16 to date), and the dual-release (online and as a digital book) gives the authors and editors feedback through the web site that hosts the content.
Finally, the site we are using is PressBooks, a new authoring and publishing tool that Hugh McGuire has been working on for more than a year. We have been using PressBooks to write, edit and style the content for these chapters. The platform also generates digital (EPUB) and print (PDF) formats directly, a plus for both speed and cost.
I’ll post when the second section is available to read and buy. I think you’ll find the content of the first two sections to be both challenging and encouraging, and I hope you’ll add your voice in the commentary that is evolving online.