The 2010 Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina wrapped up yesterday. Internet professionals and entrepreneurs came together to discuss topics such as mobile marketing and social ecommerce. Our very own Bob Young sat on a keynote panel. He also discussed the future of both the web and books—no doubt two very broad and engaging topics.
Bob’s featured talk, “There is No Such Thing as a Book” claims that; “whatever replaces the book on the Internet is not going to look like a book.”
During Bob’s talk and as a fan of René Magritte, I couldn’t help but imagine someone somewhere in the world wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a Kindle or an iPad and the sentence “Ceci n’est pas une livre.” (I’ll wait while you go Google Translate that). Traditionally, we have all come to know and love books in their physical form. But now, “books” are hyper-mobile strings of binary code easily accessible and translatable on multiple devices. A modern-day book’s physical properties are seemingly confined only by the Wi-Fi signals that transmit them.
Bob argued that, “the device you are reading on is going to become more pleasurable.”
Tomorrow a plethora of textual enhancements like video and hypertext accompany the written word. The question for some at Internet Summit, however, is whether all you need is a good story? Things like video and an Internet connection may detract from a book’s narrative. These distractions diminish the pleasure derived from an uninterrupted read. Personally, I think in the future, some readers may intentionally choose to remain on one side of the digital divide. They’ll opt to read stories through printed books—not devices. But that will remain a question of preference and choice.
And if there is one thing the future of the web will include – it is choice.
Internet Summit on Twitter
For those of you who were unable to attend the event, be sure to check out a recap of the discussions on Twitter #isum10.
We’d like to thank the organizers of the Internet Summit! An informative and well-organized event! We look forward to seeing you again next year.