Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Future of Writing in a Digital World?

Came across “Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading in a Digital World” in the June issue of Wired and wanted to capture a few thoughts about the article.

As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been working on a book on Patterns-Based Engineering for some time now. In discussions with the publisher regarding timelines, production efforts, etc – I’m hoping that the finished product sees the light of day before the end of the year. So I’m living in the current of producing a book – and wondering - how will this future view of reading change how the book gets released and then read?

Looking at the stories listed in the article, as well as other successes out there such as Cory Doctorow or even the open source movement, its fascinating/appealing/scary to think of putting a book out there digitally with no restrictions. So much effort and time goes into the writing – it’s a challenge to think of just opening it up and letting it go.

I’ve not looked at the system yet, but CommentPress sounds quite interesting as it allows a book to become much more interactive – allowing the readers to start conversations on the content of the book – with very fine grained starting points – right down to the paragraph level. (As an aside, it would be interesting to look at comparing this to the capabilities of Google Wave)

We’ll be having some discussions with our publisher about how digital copies will be made available and their plans for interactivity. At a minimum, we’re looking at setting up a site along with an associated wiki for the EPF practice that we are producing in association with the book. In the meantime, we’ve been talking to many people about the book and looking to incorporate as much feedback as possible.

I’d be interested in any comments/suggestions anyone has on how they’ve changed their authoring efforts based on the “future” of reading and some of the new offerings out there such as CommentPress.


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